Sunday – May 27, 2012

May 27, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship

Being Covenant Keepers from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

We are a nation, a community and families based on keeping covenants. The nation promises to protect us and govern us justly in return the people give their loyalty. Employers promise good wages in exchange for the employee’s promise to labor diligently. The same is true between husbands and wives and also parents and children. Being faithful to the covenants we make is essential to a functioning society. When covenant order breaks down, God is grieved. He has made covenants to us that He will never break, and given us the picture of marriage as the picture for the relationship between Jesus and the Church. Join us this Sunday at 8:45 as we continue in our study of the Book of Malachi as we look at “Being a Covenant Keeper” in Malachi 2 verses 10 to 16.

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Malachi 2:16
“I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel, “and I hate a man’s covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,” says the LORD Almighty.
So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith

In our study in the Book of Malachi over the last couple of weeks we have looked at how, in application of this Old Testament truth, the church is to function today as a light in this dark world, as salt in this dead earth. But we have also seen, just as the people in Malachi’s day experienced, awful indifference and apathy in the lives of believers today. We live in a day of little passion and even less power among God’s people! Even though we are New Testament priests, we find that we are not living up to the charge that God has given to us. I ask again, in all that we are experiencing in the church today, is God not disciplining us and chastening us, because we have allowed the world in which we live to push us into its mold?

The specific question and application here today is: have we become so like the world in our family life, like those in Malachi’s day, that God’s purpose in choosing and saving us to be a witness has been jeopardized? We need to remember there is a reason why God chose us and saved us and set us apart. If we are following the ways, lifestyle and attitude of the world, there is a very real danger our light won’t shine and our salt won’t work. The reason why we were saved in the first place, to be a witness, has been jeopardized.

This has become abundantly clear in Christian marriages. Today, even believers seem to enter into it with the assumption that there is a get-out clause. God’s express purpose from the beginning is that no marriage would end in divorce. If you’re here today and your marriage is on the rocks, remember all of us have problems, and you’re no any different. As far as is possible, persevere and don’t give up to the spirit of the age. What is the spirit of the age, you ask. The spirit of the age tells us our personal happiness is what determines our willingness to honor the covenants we have made. That’s the spirit of the age. A Christian ought never to start that process prematurely. It has been said that when the doors on a marriage are shut and bolted, and a fire breaks out, all your time and energy goes to putting out the flames.

Are the doors of your marriage bolted and shut as a Christian?  Decide to make your vows before God a covenant in His presence, and stop looking for a fire escape. Decide you will make this work, no matter how difficult things are. If anything, one of the reasons why we have a lukewarmness in the church today is that Christians are too easily running — for every reason — for a divorce. What does it do to the testimony of Jesus Christ? God says: ‘I am the LORD, I change not’ and He still hates divorce.

Sunday – May 20, 2012

May 20, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship

The Blessing of the Successful Ministry of the Word from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

We have all turned on the TV or opened the internet and heard the news of the latest minister of some church who has morally failed and brought disgrace to the Church and to ministry they have devoted themselves. With each sordid revelation, many, even in the church begin to question the relevancy of the Church and raise questions in their own heart and mind about the whole Christian enterprise. God takes the failure of His ministers very seriously and desires to wake all of us up to the curse of ministerial failure. But the heart of God is for His ministers to find success in His purpose for the ministry of the Word. Join us Sunday as we resume our study in the Book of Malachi and examine the "Successful Ministry of the Word" in our second look at Malachi 2 verses 1 to 9. We look forward to worshiping with you this week.

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Malachi 2:4-5
“Then you will know that I have sent this commandment to you, that My covenant may continue with Levi,” says the LORD of hosts. My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him as an object of reverence; so he revered Me and stood in awe of My name.”

 It was no light thing to be a priest in the Old Testament. It was a gracious gift of God through His covenant with Levi. There is no order of priests making sacrifice, in the Old Testament sense, today. Because of grace, this has been done away with and superseded by Jesus Christ. In fact we find in the New Testament that we are the priesthood of all believers, and we are to worship God by bringing spiritual sacrifices to God. We are to bring our body, our substance, our financial giving, and our praise to God as our sacrifice.

In Malachi, we find the priests of Levi have corrupted the covenant God has made with them. God says: ‘This is my judgment upon you: I will curse your blessings’. There was no curse in the blessing God gave to the priests initially, blessings they inherited as descendants of Levi. They brought about the curse by their disobedient ways, which meant the blessings they would make over the people would be cursed also. As they ministered to the people, they would minister a curse! In Deuteronomy 28, God told the people of Israel very clearly what would happen if they didn’t obey His word. Instead of Israel being a light unto the Gentiles and a blessing to the whole world, God said that He would turn their blessings into a curse. I’m asking the question: is it possible that God’s people today, as the church of Jesus Christ, is more of a hindrance to the world around it than a help? Is it possible? Yes, I would say it’s more than possible, it’s probable.

God still looks for obedience to bless. I believe the weight of the message is the cry of Malachi to his own priestly people: how do you fare in comparison to your forefathers, Levi and Phinehas? How do we measure up? The priests of Malachi’s day were weighed in the balance and found wanting. I’m asking us today, how do we compare with our forefathers? What have we done with the privileges that we have because of their faithful endurance? They have passed down the charge of the Gospel to us, but what have we done with it?

What’s the solution? It’s found in 1 Corinthians 11:31, Paul said: ‘For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged’. In other words, we are to analyze our hearts, search and see if there are any wicked ways in us. My prayer for myself is that I would see that my life is now dictating, word for word, into Christ’s lips what He is going to say to me on the Day of Judgment! I am writing it now, with my life! It was George Whitefield who rightly said, “O that I could always live for eternity, preach for eternity, pray for eternity and speak for eternity”. May we all live in the light of eternity beginning with today!

Sunday – May 13, 2012

May 13, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship

Mother’s Day 2012: How to Find Your Boaz from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

This Sunday for Mother’s Day we are taking a break in our study in the Book of Malachi to celebrate the women in our lives. Don’t make Mother’s Day the only day you respect and honor the godly women in your life. This Sunday we will see what we the Bible has to say about “Treating Our Women Like Ladies” from the story of Ruth and Boaz in the Book of Ruth. Join us Sunday at 8:45 for a time of honor and fellowship. And FYI, no Sunday School this week. Take the time to honor the women in your lives and treat mom like a lady!

Word On Worship – May 13, 2012 Download / Print

Ruth 3:10-12
The LORD bless you, my daughter,” Boaz replied. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All my fellow townsmen know that you are a woman of noble character.”

Mother’s Day is when we celebrate the dedicated service by women of noble character who have earned the title Mom. While Mother’s Day is an annual awards banquet for those who are essential to the daily operation of families, I wonder if we have forgotten how to train our children to be women of noble character in order to become mothers worthy of honor and respect. Just as important, young men need to be trained to recognize a woman of noble character and how they need to prepare themselves for marriage with such an honorable woman.

First, understand that the decisions you make before you consider marriage will affect who you do marry. Ruth made the decision before meeting Boaz that following God was the most important decision she could ever make. She decided to follow the God of Israel, which prevented her from staying in her own land where she would only find men who worshipped false gods. Her decision to follow God paved the way for her to meet a righteous mate when the time came.

Second, she strived for godly character in herself and then associated herself with others who shared her passion for godly character. Through her obedience and care for her mother-in-law, Ruth demonstrated her desire for godly character through God’s strength. Godly character is attractive to people who strive for godly character. The quickest shortcut to disaster is for people to choose superficial compatibility with those who enjoy the same pastimes, make a good living, or treat them well when they compromise their holiness. Instead, seek the deepest levels of spiritual compatibility, not compromise. Look for others with a passion for God and His people and make your associations there.

Third, run and don’t walk to the nearest exit when you see the “all about me” mindset in a potential mate. It is never all about another person; it is always about God and the fulfillment of His purposes and promises. Anyone who focuses on their needs to the exclusion of others is destined for despair. When our focus is on His purposes and promises, we are released from being a hostage to performance love, the kind that dictates devotion and affection conditioned on compromise and isolation from the Body of Christ.

Ruth and Boaz are the picture of the relationship between Jesus Christ and His Church. Boaz is the provider and the protector of his bride. This allows Ruth to be an example of a woman under the gracious protection and care of the Sovereign God, which will cause her to be a mother worthy of praise and true honor. If this Mother’s Day you have not trusted in the saving work of Jesus Christ on your behalf, I urge you to trust Him today. He paid the price with His blood so that you might be called righteous in Him. Come to Him today.

Sunday – May 6, 2012

May 6, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship

The Curse of Ministerial Failure from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

Do you know what pastor does? Is it just preparing sermons? Visiting the sick? Praying for the needs of people? When the church does not understand pastoral ministry, it can be easy to allow the leadership of the church to stray from their calling and obligation to God and to the church. That what Malachi had to correct, because the priests of Israel had been derelict in their duties and careless in their worship. Join us this Sunday morning as we continue in our study of the Book of Malachi in Malachi 2 verses 1 to 9 as we examine failure in the ministry and how the Church can avoid "The Curse of Ministerial Failure".

Word On Worship – May 6, 2012 Download / Print

Malachi 2:1-2
And now this admonition is for you, O priests. If you do not listen, and if you do not set your heart to honor my name,” says the LORD Almighty, “I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not set your heart to honor me.”

The prophet Malachi brought to the people of Israel the symptoms of spiritual bankruptcy from God’s perspective. Malachi was the messenger but God was stating His case directly to the people. The Israelite’s insensitivity to God’s love and carelessness in worship had made them lukewarm in their faith. The power had left their relationship with the Lord to such an extent they believed they were pulling the wool over the eyes of God with impunity. They could offer God their leftovers and He was some how obligated to continue to bless them because of His covenants.

Malachi referred them back to the time Israel was on the verge of entering the Promised Land. The Canaanite kings turned to Balaam, offering him tremendous wealth if he would only curse the people of Israel. Balaam agreed to the request with the one caveat, that he could only do what the Lord allowed him to do. Three times Balaam approached the Lord as to what he would be allowed to do. And each time the curse he wanted to proclaim came out as a blessing for Israel leaving Balack the king of Moab to tell him in Numbers 23:11-12 “What have you done to me? I brought you to curse my enemies, but you have done nothing but bless them!” Balaam answered, “Must I not speak what the LORD puts in my mouth?

It is a wonderful thing to know that God can turn the curses of an enemy into blessings for His people. But have we given any consideration that God, considering how His people behave, can turn their blessings into curses? Nothing in God’s Word fails, not one smallest letter or stroke until all has been accomplished. There are many blessings the Church has inherited which are gifts from God. But God can also take those blessings when His people forsake Him and turn them into curses to discipline His people. We need to understand when we show contempt for God, especially we who should know better; the punishment will fit the crime.

God still looks for obedience to bless. But the thing which has pierced my heart is how do I measure up? It is easy to see the failure of obedience in others; the priests in Malachi’s day were weighed in the balance and found wanting. But how do we compare? We accept the sacrifice made by those who came before us because we are better off for their faithfulness. Yet the price we have paid for our comfortable Christianity is far smaller than the price they paid for their faithfulness. Would we recognize we have lost God’s smile or are we too blind to see it?