Sunday – January 22, 2017 Thom Rachford

Sunday – January 22, 2017 – Read the Word on Worship

Sunday – January 22, 2017 Thom Rachford from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

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Gen 12: 3 And I will bless those who bless you. 
And the one who curses you I will curse. 
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

Genesis 17:8  I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”

The living God made a promise to Abraham for him and his descendants. He promised them the land and through them an eternal blessing to all peoples.  God could do this because he is God and He says the land and the people of Israel are special to Him.  Many times in scripture God states his promises to Israel are forever.

Today however, the world treats Israel and her people as though they have no connection to the living God. Even some major Protestant Church organizations say that because Israel rejected Jesus as their Messiah and King at his first advent, they broke the conditions of God, negating all promises, and so Israel and her people have been swept aside. They say any promises made to Israel now are given to “the church”.  If they find it difficult to connect any specific promise to “the church” they like to say that promise was symbolic, not literal.  How convenient.

Now that they believe Israel is cast off, these major denominations believe Israel to be supremely evil and refuse to do business with Israel or any business or organization that does anything with Israel.

Is this the point of view for “born again” Christians to have? As believers in Jesus, we are directed to search the scriptures for truth rather than just accept any person or organization’s word.

Sunday – October 4, 2015 Revelation 3:14-22 “Laodicea: Church of the Closed Door” Part 2

Sunday – October 4, 2015 – Read the Word on Worship

Sunday – October 4, 2015 Revelation 3:14-22 “Laodicea: Church of the Closed Door” Part 2 from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

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Revelation 3:19
‘Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.”

I do not want to be a doormat, but I have lived like one. I’ve stayed put in situations where I know I should leave. I have stood silently when people have spoken out of hatred and discrimination. I have let people slander, falsely accuse, and violate me; their words like slung mud on my back. I have acquiesced to going places and doing things in I had absolutely no interest. I know the Scriptures tell me that I should bless those who curse me (Romans 12:14), or turn the other cheek (Luke 6:27-29), or that the meek are blessed and shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5). I agree wholeheartedly. But that is not what I am talking about.

What I am talking about is motivation. I’m ashamed to say that too many times, my motivation for turning the veritable cheek is not Christ-likeness. Rather, my motivation is acceptance, or fear, or apathy. That’s doormat behavior ­– limp, passive, going nowhere, and getting trampled. Our calling is to be more like Jesus, and Jesus was no doormat. Jesus cleaned feet, yes, but that’s where the similarities end. Jesus willingly, intentionally donned clothes of a servant, knelt at people’s feet, poured fresh water on the dirty and muddy places and made them clean. I hate to ask myself this, but must, continually: what is my motivation in turning the other cheek, in remaining silent, in pausing before I respond? Is it to be mired in dirt, or to emulate the One who is making me clean?

When my motivation is spiritual growth, focus on Jesus, and pursuing righteousness, I enthusiastically work to wash the feet of my friends and foes alike by bearing with those who require extra grace, compromising on issues or excursions, or by calling out faulty thinking in order to edify (not embarrass). It takes work to cover people with grace when their deeds might merit negative exposure. It takes self-control and character to be truly meek.

Doormat living thrives on dirt, the soil of passive-aggression to avoid conflict. The soot of absorbing the maltreatment of others because you believe it’s your lot in life. The motivation of doormat living is self-pity and pride. Self-loathing is a crazy hubris; it is believing that even if God says I’m made in His image, He’s wrong … but only about me. It’s attempting to live like we’re just dust even after receiving God’s breath. We have this treasure, this water, so to speak, in our earthen vessels (2 Corinthians 4:7-12). The treasure is the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:17-18). This water is the God-given ability to forgive and be forgiven, so we can continually walk in peace with God. No one but God knows the motivation behind our actions; and we can live the façade of holiness while all the while having a heart of a white-washed sepulcher, encasing dead men’s bones instead of living water.

 

Sunday – September 13, 2015 Revelation 3:1-6 “Sardis: A Mostly Dead Church”

Sunday – September 13, 2015 – Read the Word on Worship

Sunday – September 13, 2015 Revelation 3:1-6 “Sardis: A Mostly Dead Church” from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

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 Revelation 3:1
He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.”

From time to time I hear of the bands of my childhood come to town to play a concert. Some of the bands that are still touring today that were touring in the 1980s and I am shocked to see it. I will think to myself, “Wow, those guys are still touring?” The reason it is strange to me is because these bands are not putting out any new songs or any new music. They are simply playing the hits that were so great 20-30 years ago. They are living on the reputation that they made for themselves decades ago. But they are not creating any new, fresh music.

In Christ’s letter to the church in Sardis, He gets immediately to the heart of the problem. Christ describes Himself as the one who is in charge, holding the seven stars and has the seven spirits of God. Christ knows the works of the church at Sardis and they are dead. This is a dead church. In the other letters to the seven churches so far, Christ knows their works have been good for the church. Christ sees what the Christians are doing in their love, faith, and service. Christ also knows the works of the church in Sardis and those works are not good.

Even more interesting is the fact that they did not know they were a dead church. The church in Sardis had a reputation of being alive, but it was not living up to its reputation. The problem that Christ exposes is superficial Christianity. Members claim to be of Christ but they do not live like they are of Christ. They seem to be Christians, but the Spirit has left the body. They are not putting what they have received from the Scriptures into practice. Christ calls them and us to remember not just what they received and heard but HOW they received.

A dead church is a church that is living on its past. It has a great resume, but the work of Christ has run out of gas and the church will not finish well. How can we avoid such a fate, to start well but finish so poorly? Ask yourself, how has this week been different because of what you have heard from last week’s message? What act of ministry have you participated in? Or is that the pastor’s job because you pay him to do it for you? Are you mentally and physically participating in worship? Our Lord’s words to these churches are not to make us feel comfortable with where we are, but to cause ourselves to examine ourselves to see if our faith is changing us to be more like Jesus or are we becoming that touring band living on past glory?