Sermons by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder

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THE CHRIST OF CHRISTMAS: Christ - Our Hope

Gregory C. Magruder       Parkview Baptist       Gainesville, FL      11/27/16
 
Christ – Our Hope
Jeremiah 29:1-14
 
INTRODUCTION:  Many words can describe Christmas.  God’s word gives us some words to live by at this time of year.  The prophets have a word of hope for those who will listen.  Jeremiah had warned the people of Israel that they would be taken captive by Babylon.  No one believed him until they were suddenly carried away.  Now what?  False prophets told the king and exiles that they would be returning home soon.  Jeremiah told them to prepare for a long exile (1-3). They would be captive seventy years but there was yet hope.  God would bring them home.  Many are exiled from God today and have lost hope.  Christ Jesus provides hope for anyone who turns to him.
 
FALSE HOPE IS NO HOPE AT ALL (29:8-9).
 
*The world offers false dreams and lying schemesYes, this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the LORD (8-9).
 
NO MATTER WHAT YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES, YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE (29:4-7).
 
*Plant yourself wherever you are and build a life. This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce” (4-5).
 
*Build the family home through marriage and the birth of children. “Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease” (6).
 
*Pray for the city you live in and seek its peace and prosperity. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (7).
 
WHERE THERE IS GOD, THERE IS HOPE (29:10-14).
 
*You can depend on the promises of God.  This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place” (10).
 
*God has plans to prosper you and give you hope and a future. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (11).
 
*God wants the best for us and will rescue us when we seek him with all of our being. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity.  I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile” (12-14).
 
God wants to give you hope this Christmas.  He already proved it by sending his Son Jesus.
 
You can be God’s instrument of hope to others this Christmas.  Look for ways to bring hope to others.
 
“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).
 

AMAZING GRACE: Carry the Load

Gregory Magruder        Parkview Baptist     Gainesville, FL      11/13/16
 
“Carry the Load”
Galatians 6:1-18
 
INTRODUCTION:  In The Letter to the Galatians, Paul is trying to defend the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He is trying to save it from those who would return to the Mosaic system of righteousness.  In Chapters 4-6, Paul shows that living the Christian life is not slavish obedience to rules and regulations but a life of freedom walking in the Spirit.  The Spirit gives life and the power to please God.  The Spirit also gives to us the power to carry out our God-given responsibilities. Freedom in the Spirit calls for responsible action in service to others.  Paul describes this as “carrying the load” or “bearing the burden.” He gives four crucial actions in Galatians 6.
 
CARRY THE LOADS OF OTHER BELIVERS.
 
“Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (1-2).
 
-Rescue the struggling Christian caught in sin.
 
-Support each other when you are struggling with problems.
 
CARRY YOUR OWN LOAD.
 
If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load (3-5).
 
-Do the work that God has given to you.
 
-You have a creative responsibility to develop your own gifts.
 
SUPPORT YOUR SPIRITUAL TEACHERS.
 
“Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor” (6).
 
-The church operates on the gifts of God’s people.
 
-Pastors depend upon the faithful giving of God’s people in response to the faithful instruction in God’s Word.
 
SUPPORT YOUR COMMUNITY.
 
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers (10).
 
-We need to support the community in which we live.
 
-We need to be active in a local community of believers and encourage and support them like family.
 
PRINCIPLE:  You reap what you sow.  You either serve yourself or you serve others in Jesus’ name.
 
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (7-9).
 
 The privilege of freedom requires us to shoulder responsibility for others.
 
 
 
 
 
 

AMAZING GRACE: The Three Actions of Freedom

Gregory Magruder        Parkview Baptist     Gainesville, FL      11/06/16
 
“The Three Actions of Freedom”
Galatians 5:1-25
 
INTRODUCTION:  In The Letter to the Galatians, Paul is trying to defend the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He is trying to save it from those who would return to the Mosaic system of righteousness.  In Chapters 4-6, Paul shows that living the Christian life is not slavish obedience to rules and regulations but a life of freedom walking in the Spirit.  The Spirit gives life and the power to please God.  Paul very clearly says, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25). In other words, if you are a Christian then live like Jesus Christ.  The Holy Spirit lives in you and his life should be seen in your everyday life-actions. Paul gives us three basic actions that show that we walk in the freedom of the Holy Spirit.
 
STAND IN THE FREEDOM OF CHRIST (1-12)
 
            -Stand firm in faith. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (1).
 
            -Do not submit to outward actions for righteousness.
“But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” (5-6).
 
LOVE ONE ANOTHER (13-15)
 
            -Do not use your freedom to pamper your selfish desires.   You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature”(13). 
 
            -Serve one another.  Rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."  If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other” (13-14).
 
WALK BY THE SPIRIT (16-24)
 
            -Let the Holy Spirit guide your life. Do not yield to the desires of the flesh.  Nail your passions and wrong desires to the CrossSo I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law…Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” (16-18, 24).
 
            -Sinful actions: “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God” (19-21).
 
            -Spirit actions:But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law” (22-23).
 
SELF – EVALUATION: Rate yourself on a scale from 1-10 with 10 being “I am consistently strong in this area” and 1 being “I am consistently weak in this area.”
 
______ I stand firm in the freedom in Christ and do not depend upon rules and regulations to please God and men.
 
______ I always put others above myself in my actions and seek to promote peace in my church.
 
______ I consciously seek to let the Spirit guide my life and show evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in my attitude and my actions.
 
______ How would you rate yourself as a follower of Christ?
             What will you do today to follow Jesus?
          

AMAZING GRACE: One in Christ

Gregory Magruder        Parkview Baptist     Gainesville, FL      10/30/16
 
“One in Christ”
Galatians 3:23-29
 
INTRODUCTION:  In The Letter to the Galatians, Paul is trying to defend the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He is trying to save it from those who would return to the Mosaic system of righteousness.  Paul argues that the true child of God is not made that way by outward signs and the keeping of rules and regulations but rather a true child of God is made that way by the grace of God through faith in his son Jesus Christ who perfectly fulfilled all the demands of the law for righteousness.  We are accepted by God when we accept what Christ did for us.  Everyone who believes this becomes one in Christ.  In order to present this truth Paul looks at salvation through Christ through many angles and facets: What is the law?  What is faith?  How are do you become God’s child?  Who is the true son of Abraham?  Why Jesus Christ?  Let’s look at this passage together.
 
The Jailor.
 
“Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed” (Gal. 3:23).
 
The Nanny.
 
“Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith” (3:24).
 
The Child.
 
“But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith” (3:25-26).
 
The Baptized.
 
“As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (3:27-28).
 
The Heir.
 
“And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise” (3:29).
 
 
Are you a child of God?
 
Have you accepted what Jesus Christ did for you in his life, death and resurrection? 
 
Do you believe that God accepts you as his child when you place your faith in Jesus?
 
Do you belong to Christ?
 
You can enter the family of God today by trusting in Jesus as your Lord and Savior.  You do not need to do anything else to please God.
 
 
 
 
 

AMAZING GRACE: A Personal Defense

Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 10/23/16
 
A Personal Defense of the Gospel
Galatians 2:1-21
 
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.
 

AMAZING GRACE: Personal Testimony

Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 10/16/16
 
Personal Testimony
Galatians 1:11-24
 
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”
 (Gal. 1:15-16).
*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?

AMAZING GRACE: The True Gospel

Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 10/09/16
 
The True Gospel
Galatians 1:6-10
 
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.

AMAZING GRACE: Grace and Peace

Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 10/02/16
 
Grace and Peace
Galatians 1:1-5
 
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).

RADIATE JESUS: Be the Church

Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 09/25/16
 
Be the Church
Hebrews 13:7-19
 
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 (18-19).
 
“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.

RADIATE JESUS: Marriage

Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 09/18/16
 
Marriage
Hebrews 13:4
 
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…”
(Gen. 2:24). We are alone (Gen. 2) and fallen (Gen.3). Our cup is full of damaged emotions and sin. We need to empty the cup. We “leave” our mother and father when we no longer look to our family of origin to meet our needs (see handout). Our cup is full.
  • 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).
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