Sermons by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder
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by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | February 8, 2015
Gregory Magruder Parkview Baptist Church Gainesville, FL 2-8-15
THE GOD FACTOR—GOD’S POWER IN YOUR LIFE
The Awesome Power of Faith
What kind of person does God bless? What kind of person does God use? It is people who are not afraid to trust God completely. That is what I call the faith factor. God blesses people who are not afraid to trust Him completely. When you do that it produces enormous power in your life. The Bible tells us there’s a direct connection between faith and power. “Jesus did not do many miracles of power in His hometown, because of their lack of faith” (Matt. 13:58 Amp). In the Bible Abraham is called the father of faith. Why is he the father of faith? “Abraham’s faith did not leave him, and he did not doubt God’s promise; instead his faith filled him with power...” (Rom. 4:20 GN). Today we’re going to look at four ways that you grow in faith so that God’s power can be more evident in your life.
1.FAITH IS CHOOSING AND BELIEVING GOD’S DREAM FOR MY LIFE.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Prov. 29:18 (NIV)
*Dreamers dare to ask. “God, by His mighty power at work within us, is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of – infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.” Eph. 3:20 (LB)
*Dreamers believe God’s promises. “I am the Lord, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me?” Jer. 32:27 (NLT)
*Dreamers dream big. “Ask of Me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.” Ps. 2:8 (NIV)
2.FAITH IS BEING WILLING TO RISK FAILURE.
“They risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Acts 15:26 (NAS)
“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:17-18 (NIV)
“The fear of human opinion disables.” Prov. 29:25 (MSG)
“Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else.” Gal. 6:4 (NIV)
- FAITH IS EXPECTING God TO BLESS AND USE ME.
“I expect and hope that I will not fail Christ in anything but that I will have the courage now... to show the greatness of Christ in my life here on earth, whether I live or die.” Phil. 1:20 (NCV)
“I believe I shall enjoy the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living.” Psalm 27:13 (NAB)
“According to your faith will it be done to you.” Matt. 9:29 (NIV)
“Faith assures us of things we expect and convinces us of the existence
of things we cannot see.” Heb. 11:1 (GW)
4.FAITH IS NEVER GIVING UP.
“Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up. Expect God to get here soon.”
Psalm 31:24 (MSG)
“My life hangs in the balance, but I will not give up obedience to
Your Word.” Psalm 119:109 (LB)
“Even if good people fall seven times, they will get back up.”
Prov. 24:16 (CEV)
“Let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will
reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up.” Gal. 6:9 (LB)
“Then the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, ‘Lord, I
believe! Help me with my unbelief!” Mark 9:24 (KJV)
Are you ready to believe?
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | February 1, 2015
Gregory Magruder Parkview Baptist Church Gainesville, FL 2-1-15
WEEK 4: THE GROUP FACTOR
We Are Better Together
INTRODUCTION: We need each other. God says that the key to happiness is not independence but inter-dependence. We belong to each other. We need community in our lives. God wired you to go through life not as a solitary individual but in community. “Since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others.” (Rom. 12:5b NLT). Today we are going to focus on love and relationships. We’re going to look at why we need each other.
I NEED OTHERS TO WALK WITH ME.
“Just as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him...” Col. 2:6-7 (ESV)
“It is not good for man to be alone.” Gen. 2:18 (NLT)
“Let us not give up the habit of meeting together… Instead, let us encourage one another.” Heb. 10:25a (TEV)
- Community is God’s answer to: LONELINESS
“When you gather, each one of you be prepared with something useful for all: Sing a hymn, teach a lesson, tell a story, lead a prayer, provide an insight… Take your turn, with no one person taking over. That way… you all learn from each other.” 1 Cor. 14:26, 30-31(Mes)
“As each part does its work, it helps the other parts grow, so Christ’s whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” Eph. 4:16 (NLT)
“Open your homes to each other without complaining.” Peter 4:9 (TEV)
2. I NEED OTHERS TO WORK WITH ME.
“God made us to do good works, which He planned in advance for us to live our lives doing.” Eph. 2:10 (NCV)
“Two people are better than one, because they get more done by working together.”
Eccl. 4:9 (NCV)
- Community is God’s answer to: FATIGUE
“Every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.” Gal. 6:10 (MSG)
3. I NEED OTHERS TO WATCH OUT FOR ME.
“Look out for one another's interests, not just for your own.” Ph. 2:4 (TEV)
“Keep being concerned about each other as the Lord's followers should.” Heb. 13:1 (CEV)
“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” Eccl. 4:12 (NLT)
- Community is God’s answer to: DEFEAT
“If one person falls, another can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble.” Eccl. 4:10 (NLT)
4. I NEED OTHERS TO WAIT AND WEEP WITH ME.
“You should be like one big family, full of sympathy toward each other...” 1 Peter 3:8a (LB)
“If one member suffers, all suffer together.” 1 Cor. 12:26 (ESV)
- Community is God’s answer to: DESPAIR
“Be happy with those who are happy, weep with those who weep.” Rom. 12:15 (TEV)
“Encourage each other and strengthen one another.” 1 Th. 5:11 (GW)
5. I NEED OTHERS TO WITNESS WITH ME.
“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are My disciples.” John 13:35 (NLT)
“The Holy Spirit doesn’t want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them.” 2 Tim. 1:7 (LB)
- God’s answer to fear is COMMUNITY.
“...You are working together and struggling side by side to get others to believe the Good News.” Ph. 1:27b (CEV)
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | January 25, 2015
Gregory Magruder Parkview Baptist Church Gainesville, FL 1-25-15
GOAL SETTING: Setting Goals in Faith*
WHY I NEED TO SET PERSONAL GOALS
- Goal setting is a spiritual discipline.
“God plans to bring all of history to its goal in Christ. Then Christ will be the head of everything in heaven and on earth!” Eph.1:10 (GW)
- Goals focus my energy.
“I do not run without a goal. I fight like a boxer who is hitting something—not just the air.” 1 Cor. 9:26 (NCV)
“Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days.” Eph. 5:16 (NLT)
- Goals stretch my faith.
“According to your faith will it be done to you.” Matt. 9:29 (NIV)
“Everything that does not come from faith is sin.” Rom.14:23 (NIV)
- Goals build my character.
Paul: “I do not claim that I’ve already succeeded or have already become perfect. I keep striving toward the goal for which Christ Jesus has won me to himself.” Phil. 3:12 (TEV)
“Then we will be mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him.” Eph. 4:13 (CEV)
- Goals give me hope.
Job: “I do not have the strength to endure. I do not have a goal that encourages me to carry on.” Job 6:11 (NLT)
“The plans I have for you are plans to prosper you, not to harm you. They are plans to give you hope and a future.” Jer. 29:11 (NIV)
WHAT KIND OF GOAL DOES GOD BLESS?
- Godly goals, the kind that God blesses, bring glory to God.
“Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Cor. 10:31 (NIV)
“We make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.” 2 Cor. 5:9 (NIV)
2. Godly goals are motivated by love.
“Everything you do must be done with love.” 1 Cor. 16:14 (NLT)
“Let love be your highest goal.” Cor. 14:1 (NLT)
3. Godly goals fulfill one of God’s purposes for your life.
“Do not use any part of yourselves to sin or to be used for wicked purposes. Instead, give yourselves to God… and surrender your whole being to him to be used for righteous purposes.” Rom. 6:13
Paul: “I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step.” Cor. 9:26 (NLT)
4. Godly goals are set in faith.
“Without faith it is impossible to please God...” Heb. 11:6 (NIV)
5. They are achieved with God’s power.
“We plan the way we want to live, but only God makes us able to live it.” Prov. 16:9 (MSG)
“You will NOT succeed by your own strength or power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord.” Zech. 4:6 (NCV)
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths.” Prov. 3:5-6 (NLT)
*from the Daniel Plan by Rick Warren
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | January 18, 2015
Gregory Magruder Parkview Baptist Church Gainesville, FL 1-18-15
PRINCIPLES FOR LASTING CHANGE
What It Takes to Really Change*
INTRODUCTION: What does it really take to change? Romans 12:1-12 is the classic text on what it takes to change.
- DEDICATION: COMMIT MY BODY TO GOD.
Rom. 12:1 (NIV)
1st LAW OF CHANGE: Change is my choice.
3 WAYS TO OFFER YOUR BODY AS AN
ACT OF WORSHIP:
- By cleansing my body. “Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates the body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1 (NIV)
- By caring for my body. “No one hates his own body but lovingly cares for it, just as Christ cares for his Body, which is the church.” Ephesians 5:29 (NLT)
- By controlling my body. “Each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable.” 1 Thessalonians 4:4 (NIV)
“I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.” 1 Corinthians 9:27 (NLT)
- CONCENTRATION: REFOCUS MY MIND.
2nd LAW OF CHANGE: To change my life I must change my
model. “Put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; and be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24
- EVALUATION: HUMBLY ASSESS MY CURRENT STATE.
“… Be honest in your estimate of yourselves.” (NLT)
3rd LAW OF CHANGE: I can only manage what I measure.
- COOPERATION: GET GROUP SUPPORT.
4th LAW OF CHANGE: Change requires community. “In Christ, there is no difference or division between Jews or Gentiles, free people or slaves, male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus!” Galatians 3:28 (NIV)
- AFFIRMATION: FILL MY LIFE WITH LOVE
- MOTIVATION: NURTURE MY ENTHUSIASM.
*from The Daniel Plan by Rick Warren
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | January 11, 2015
Gregory Magruder Parkview Baptist Church Gainesville, FL 1-11-15
God’s Prescription for Health: What God Says about My Body*
1 Corinthians 6:12-20
INTRODUCTION: We’re going to look at God’s prescription for physical health. The truth is you already know what to do. This is not rocket science. But what I want to do today is to focus on the motivation. The why. Why do you not stick and do I not stick with get-in-shape programs? The reason why is, if you don’t have the right motivation, you will not stick with it. You’ve got to have the reason. When you figure out the why in your life, God will always show you how. So what does God say about my body? Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 to see the classic answer.
- GOD EXPECTS ME TO MANAGE MY BODY.
“Everything is permissible for me – but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me – but I will not be mastered by anything. Food for the stomach and the stomach for food – but God will destroy both.” 1 Cor. 6:12-13a (NIV)
- MY BODY IS GOD’S PROPERTY.
“The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.” 1 Cor. 6:13b (NIV)
- MY BODY WILL BE RESURRECTED AFTER I DIE.
“By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.” 1 Cor. 6:14 (NIV)
MISTAKES WE MAKE:
- We rely on willpower instead of God power.
- We have the wrong motivation.
- We try to change on our own.
- MY BODY IS CONNECTED TO THE BODY OF CHRIST.
“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ
himself?…Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man
commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.” 1 Cor. 6:15a & 18 (NIV)
- THE HOLY SPIRIT LIVES IN MY BODY.
- JESUS BOUGHT MY BODY ON THE CROSS.
“You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” 1 Cor. 6:20 (NIV)
“I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.” Romans 12:1 (NIV)
“ You made my body, Lord; now give me sense to heed your laws.” Psalm 119:73 (LB)
“These instructions are not mere words—they are your life! By obeying them you will enjoy a long life in the land…” Deut. 32:47 (NLT)
“Keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity… Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. Honor the Lord with the first part of your wealth, the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing.” Prov. 3:1-10 (NIV)
*Trusting God is good for my health. “I said to myself, “Relax, because the Lord takes care of you.” Psalm 116:7 (NCV)
“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Prov. 14:30 (NIV)
*Confessing my sin is good for my health. “When I refused to confess my sin, I was weak and miserable, and I groaned all day long. …My strength evaporated... Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide them… and you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.” Psalm 32:3-5 (NLT)
*Giving generously is good for my health. “A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” Pr. 11:25 (NIV)
*Having fun is good for my health. “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Prov.17:22
*material used from The Daniel Plan by Rick Warren
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | January 4, 2015
Gregory Magruder Parkview Baptist Church Gainesville, FL 1-04-15
Mission 2015: Fit 4 Fifteen!
INTRODUCTION: Our overriding purpose-driven objective for 2015 is Worship. Our motto for the year is Fit 4 Fifteen. We will build our objectives on Mark 12:30: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.” Our objectives for the year 2015 will be Healthy Bodies, Healthy Souls, Healthy Spirits, and Healthy Minds. Goals help us reach our objectives. We will aim to establish good habits in each of these areas of living. We want to be healthy in all areas of our lives in 2015. A healthy person is a whole person. A whole person has fitness in body, soul, spirit and mind. We want our church in 2015 to be filled with healthy, happy and whole people.
HEALTHY PEOPLE ARE PURPOSE-DRIVEN.
*Jesus quoted the Shema to answer the lawyer’s question: “What is the greatest commandment?” “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deut. 6:4-5).
-He added the second commandment from Leviticus 19:18. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:31).
*Our purpose in life is to love God first and then to love others as much as we love ourselves. How do we do love God in this way?
HEALTHY PEOPLE LOVE GOD WITH THEIR HEART.
*The heart (kardia) is the center of our physical and spiritual life. It is the inner part of the human being’s life that connects with God.
*We need to connect our spirits with God in 2015 through spiritual disciplines, prayer and worship. I challenge you to commit fifteen minutes with God a day in 2015. Call it 15 in 15:
- 5 minutes in Bible reading
- 5 minutes in Reflection
- 5 minutes in Prayer
*Resources: https://www.youversion.com; www.BibleGateway.com; www.rbc.org; Our Daily Bread; Open Windows;
HEALTHY PEOPLE LOVE GOD WITH THEIR SOUL.
*The soul (psyche) is the personality, the living essence of a human being and includes the mind, the will and the emotions. The soul is connected to the body but lives on after a person dies.
*We develop our souls in relationship with others. The best way to grow personally is to love others through service and ministry. I challenge you to serve in one of our ministries at Parkview this year: Ronald MacDonald House, the Food Ministry, GRACE Marketplace, Habitat for Humanity, and other church ministries.
HEALTHY PEOPLE LOVE GOD WITH THEIR MIND.
*The mind (dianoia) is the mental, understanding and reasoning faculty of the human being. It processes our feelings and thoughts.
*We can be transformed by renewing our minds (Rom. 12:1-2).
We can study and learn and think through the issues of life through Bible study, Discipleship training, life classes, and skill training. I challenge you to join a small group study this year.
HEALTHY PEOPLE LOVE GOD WITH THEIR STRENGTH.
*Strength (ischys) refers to power and might and ability. It means using my body, soul, and mind in the most effective way possible.
*We need our entire being healthy to serve God in 2015. I challenge you to start the New Year Fit 4 Fifteen emphasis right with our six week Daniel Plan that centers on faith, food, fitness, focus and friends. Join a group today and begin the New Year right.
A Fit 4 Fifteen commitment:
- I will get fit in my spirit through the 15 in 15 daily quiet time.
- I will get fit in my soul by serving in at least one ministry.
- I will get fit in my mind by a small group study this year.
- I will get fit in my body by joining the Daniel Plan emphasis.
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | December 28, 2014
Gregory Magruder Parkview Baptist Church Gainesville, FL 12-28-14
The Blessing of Vision
INTRODUCTION: The Christmas story dramatizes the normal ups and downs of human relationships including distractions. Sometimes the distractions of this world keep us from seeing what God is revealing to us. We have said that Christmas is a time of blessing. Christmas brings us the blessings of hope, God’s love, lasting joy and inner peace. Christmas also brings us the blessing of vision. We can discover the true nature and person of God through his son Jesus Christ. We have clarity and we have purpose through the revelation God gives us at Christmas. The Magi followed God’s vision and discovered the King. They overcame all distractions.
THE MAGI SAW A STAR.
*God used the configuration of a star to get the wise men’s attention. 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 when it rose and have come to worship him” (Matthew 2:1-2).
*The Magi followed the star and God’s promptings.
THE MAGI HEARD THE WORD OF GOD.
*Signs point the way but scripture gives a clear message.
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel’”(2:3-6).
*God leads us through the Holy Scriptures. “from infancy you
have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:15-17).
THE MAGI BELIEVED THE PROMISE.
*The Wise Men trusted the prophecy was true and proceeded to Bethlehem. Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him”
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed (Matthew 2:7-10).
*Faith hears the word of God, believes it and acts upon it.
What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead (Hebrews 11:1-2 TLB).
THE MAGI BOWED TO THE KING.
*The Magi offered themselves first and then offered gifts to the newborn King. 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, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route (Matthew 2:11-12).
*Wise men and women still seek him. Are you willing to bow in faith and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and King? All who are acceptable because of their faith simply say, “The message is as near as your mouth or your heart.” And this is the same message we preach about faith. So you will be saved, if you honestly say, “Jesus is Lord,” and if you believe with all your heart that God raised him from death. God will accept you and save you, if you truly believe this and tell it to others (Romans 10:8-10).
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | December 21, 2014
Gregory Magruder Parkview Baptist Church Gainesville, FL 12-21-14
The Blessing of Peace
INTRODUCTION: The Christmas story speaks of God’s true peace. It dramatizes the normal ups and downs of human relationships. Christmas is a time of blessing. We said last week that the blessing means that I have significance. I am needed. I am wanted. I have identity and worth. Christmas brings us hope, God’s love and joy. Christmas also promises the blessing of peace. The angels declared to the shepherds the night Jesus was born, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14). What kind of peace were they describing? Who will receive this peace?
GOD PROMISES US PEACE AT CHRISTMAS.
*The Jewish people greeted one another with the Hebrew word “shalom.” Shalom means “Completeness, welfare, prosperity, friendship, peace.” The Greek word for shalom was “eirēnē.” This word for peace means “tranquility, harmony, safety and the way that leads to salvation.” The Greek translation of the Old Testament uses “eirene” for peace.
*The angels pronounced an “eirene” peace that would unite people and bring personal, inner tranquility to humanity: “on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14).
*God’s peace would come through a savior born in Bethlehem. “But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).
*The birth of Jesus brings a heavenly peace to the world.
GOD BLESSES THOSE WHO RECEIVE HIS PEACE.
*The Psalmist wrote that the wicked would fade away but God would give peace (shalom) to the meek. “But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace” (Psalm 37:11). The meek were the
humble and gentle people that trusted God through all circumstances.
*Jesus quotes Psalm 37 and says that the meek are blessed. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). God blesses those of a humble spirit who receive his truth and salvation.
*Jesus the Messiah offers us his peace, the same peace the angels spoke about. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).
*The peace of Jesus transforms us to live lives of peace so that we are recognized as children of God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9).
*God’s favor rests on those willing to receive his peace.
WE CAN ACCEPT GOD’S PEACE AT CHRISTMAS.
*We receive God’s gift of peace though faith in Jesus. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…” (Romans 5:1).
*We become children of God when we believe Jesus is the Savior and receive him as the Son of God. “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:11-12).
*We can experience God’s salvation and peace as we humbly (meekly) commit our lives to him. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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” (Phil. 4:4-7).
Will you receive God’s peace and salvation this Christmas?
All you need to do is pray and ask him to be your Lord.
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | December 14, 2014
Gregory Magruder Parkview Baptist Church Gainesville, FL 12-14-14
The Blessing of Joy
INTRODUCTION: The Christmas story dramatizes the normal ups and downs of human relationships. Christmas is a time of blessing. We said last week that the blessing means that I have significance. I am needed. I am wanted. I have identity and worth. Christmas brings us hope and God’s love. Christmas also brings the blessing of joy.
What is joy? Rick Warren has defined joy as “the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.” The Blessing of Christmas affirms this definition of joy.
THE JOY OF UNEXPECTED BLESSINGS.
*God gave Zechariah and Elizabeth a child in their old age.
Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord” (Luke 1:11-15).
*Christmas provides a time for us to review God’s grace and gifts during the past year. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
THE JOY OF SHARED EXPERIENCES.
*Mary and Elizabeth rejoiced together in their unusual pregnancies.
At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to
*Christmas is a time to celebrate life together. Christmas is a time to show compassion and care. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15).
THE JOY OF GOOD NEWS.
*The angel proclaimed a joyful message to world-weary shepherds.
“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger’” (Luke 2:8-12).
*All of us like to receive good news! Christmas is a time to share the good news of salvation. 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 (John 3:16).
God wants to bless you with joy!
Look around and find unexpected blessings this Christmas…
Share experiences with family, friends, and those in need and…
Tell others the Good News that Christ has come!
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | December 7, 2014
Gregory Magruder Parkview Baptist Church Gainesville, FL 12-07-14
The Blessing of Love
INTRODUCTION: The Christmas story dramatizes the normal ups and downs of human relationships. From the excitement of sharing a family birth to the challenges of marriage conflict to the fear of physical harm and rejection, the Christmas story deals with the real life situations that each of us face. Christmas also reveals the remedy to life’s normal trials. Christmas is a time of blessing. We said last week that the blessing means that I have significance. I am needed. I am wanted. I have identity and worth. Christmas brings hope. Christmas also brings the blessing of love. God’s love is revealed at Christmas and demonstrated in Joseph’s response to Mary’s pregnancy. Joseph had a choice to make – bless or curse.
HOW DO YOU RESPOND WHEN SOMEONE HURTS YOU?
*Joseph faced an embarrassing personal and hurtful situation.
This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18).
*Joseph was a good man and knew the Law of God. He had every right to have her stoned (Deut. 22:23) but he chose to have mercy (maybe she was violated and called for help) (Deut. 22:26). Joseph decided to divorce her quietly without public shame. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly (Matthew 1:19).
*Joseph chose to respond to injury and perceived unfaithfulness with love and mercy. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails (1 Cor. 13:4-8).
The best response to harm is to bless someone with love. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you (Col. 3:13).
GOD GAVE US THE BLESSING OF LOVE AT CHRISTMAS.
*God revealed to Joseph that Mary’s child would be the savior of the world. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20-21).
*Joseph confirmed his love for Mary by trusting God’s word and by taking Mary home as his wife. When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus (Matthew 1:24-25).
*God demonstrated his love for us by sending his son to save and forgive us even when we had rebelled and hurt him by our choices.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:6-8).
*God gave us the blessing of love at Christmas by sending us a savior. We can receive the blessing of love at Christmas when we welcome Jesus as our Savior and Lord. 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 (John 3:16).
Are you willing to receive the blessing of love at Christmas?
Are you willing to give the blessing of love at Christmas?
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