Sunday – December 30, 2018 Gospel of Luke – Luke 12:35-48 “The Way to Wait”

Sunday – December 30, 2018

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Word On Worship – Sunday – December 30, 2018

Luke 12:42-43
And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time?  43 “Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes.

I doubt that there is anything I dislike more than waiting. It may be that you can identify with me in my annoyance with waiting. How many people, during the peak travel times of Thanksgiving and Christmas, were forced to spend a day or more in the airport waiting for the weather to clear or for the airline schedules to be untangled. Think of how many “fast food” restaurants there are compared with those which cook food the slow, old-fashioned way. Credit cards appeal to us because we can buy what we want without having to wait till we have the cash.

When you think of the Bible, waiting is one of the things which men and women of faith are called upon to do. All of those named in the “hall of faith” in Hebrews 11 had to wait for the promised blessings of God. Their wait was even longer than we would like to contemplate—they were still waiting when they died. They are still waiting! If we are required to wait, then you and I had better learn how to do it right.

The problem of waiting usually comes the fact we rarely, if ever, think about the future. When we only think about today, if we get some money, we don’t think about the rent that will be due in two weeks or other bills coming due. We celebrate that we’ve got money in our pocket today, but the one thing we will not do is save any money, because we don’t think about the future. Our Lord taught that we should not be anxious about tomorrow, but He did not teach that we should ignore tomorrow! In fact, to the contrary, Jesus taught that our view of the future ought to be uppermost in our thinking about how we should live today. We should view ourselves as stewards who have been entrusted with time, money, and abilities, which we are to use for our Master’s kingdom and not hypocritically on ourselves.

As I have suggested before, Jesus is dealing with hypocrisy in Luke 12. The other side of the coin of hypocrisy is stewardship- living in a way that is consistent with our calling and the use of the resources God has provided, knowing we are accountable to Him. From the perspective of stewardship, verses 1-12 addressed the disciple’s stewardship of the gospel. The disciple must make good use of the gospel by boldly living and proclaiming it. Verses 13-34 addressed the stewardship of possessions. Our preoccupation must not be with material things, but with true “life.” We need not worry about our life, but we should use things to minister to men’s needs now, which is laying up treasure for ourselves in heaven. In verses 35 and following our Lord turns to the stewardship of time. He will instruct us as how we are to view and use the time which remains until he comes.

Sunday – December 9, 2018 Gospel of Luke – Luke 12:12-23 “Affliction of the Affluent”

Sunday – December 9, 2018

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Word On Worship – Sunday – December 9, 2018

Luke 12:15
Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”

When I read the parable of the rich fool, I cannot help but think of Howard Hughes. From some of the reports at the time of his death, he had accumulated a great deal of wealth but did not enjoy any of it in his last years. In this sense, Howard Hughes is a present-day example of what Jesus is giving us warning. The danger of thinking of a man like Howard Hughes implies that the text applies primarily to the rich and enables us not to think of ourselves as a “rich fool.”

We may come to this parable with a sense of smug security. Perhaps Jesus will be speaking to us when he gets to the next section, where Jesus is addressing His disciples. But here, Jesus is telling a parable about a very wealthy, unlike ourselves. Jesus can hardly be addressing us. I’m not so sure about that. I think that most of us would be hard pressed not to admit that we are, as individuals, financially comfortable. Our nation is, in comparison with most others, exceedingly blessed.

The world says our life consists of things, but God says life consists of being rightly related to Him and to others. The world would view this rich man as a success. He would be held up as a model to follow. He had not gained his wealth by dishonest or corrupt means. He had worked for it, poured his money back into the business, and had done well. He was financially secure. He could now enjoy the good life: good food, fine wine, servants, and whatever pleasures money could afford. Isn’t that what we all aim for in life? Isn’t that why we go to college, so that we can get a good career, make plenty of money, provide the finer things in life for our children, and retire some day with plenty in our investments? What’s wrong with that?

This man’s whole attitude was the very reverse of Christianity. Instead of denying himself he aggressively affirmed himself; instead of finding his happiness in giving he tried to conserve it by keeping. His goal was to enjoy life, but in seeking his life, he lost it. What was wrong was the man’s focus. He had the world’s perspective, not God’s perspective. God’s perspective is not that riches are inherently wrong. Money can be a great good if used with a perspective of the life to come. There are several wealthy men in the Bible, such as Job, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph who enjoyed God’s blessing and were godly men. But, to a man, they were generous men who lived in light of eternity. As Paul tells Timothy, “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy (1 Tim. 6:17). If we want to be rich toward God, we need to be careful to distinguish between the world’s perspective and God’s perspective. God’s perspective always takes into account the life to come.

Sunday April 29, 2018 Gospel of Luke – Luke 6:20-26 “Defining Discipleship”

Sunday – April 29, 2018 – Read the Word on Worship

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Luke 6:20-22
Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.”

At first reading the words of Jesus are incredible. It would seem as though Jesus has said that all who are poor, hungry, mourning and persecuted are blessed, while all who are rich, well-fed, happy, and honored are cursed. Living in an affluent country as we do, it raises many questions which it would do us well to wrestle in our hearts and minds. Is it a blessing to be poor, hungry, sorrowful, and rejected? Are all the hurting people of the world suddenly so fortunate, while all of the comfortable, happy people of the world are really cursed?

As Jesus frequently taught, when a choice must be made between money and God, God must come first (Matt. 6:24). Money is not evil, unless it takes the place which only God should have. The rich young ruler’s money meant too much for him. When forced with the choice of following Christ or being rich, he chose to remain rich. In the Lord’s parable of the soils, the thorny soil symbolized the “cares of this world” are that which chokes out the seed of the gospel. Luke tells us that Jesus called them “worries and riches and pleasures of this life” (Luke 8:14). When we must choose wealth or Jesus, being well-fed or Jesus, laughter or Jesus, we must always choose Him.

This raises an interesting and important point. What is it that makes following Jesus so great a blessing that men will gladly give up riches, comfort and even friends to do so? Luke’s account would supply us with a very strong reason: the blessings which Jesus gives are eternal, while those which disciples may reject are temporal. We can fill in many other answers from the gospel as a whole. Jesus gives the forgiveness of sins, peace with God, the joy of fellowship with Him and of serving Him. Discipleship leads to the greatest blessings, so great that wealth, health, and the praise of men pale in comparison with the joy of knowing Him.

Giving up lesser benefits for greater ones is not a principle known and practiced only by Christians. It is a principle practiced by all who are wise. We give up immediate pleasures to save our money to buy something that is of lasting pleasure or value. Runners give up food and even friends to maintain rigorous training, all for the joy of winning the race. Sacrifices are a blessing when they lead to greater blessings. That is what Jesus was saying in this sermon. How blessed were His disciples! True, they would become poor, they would experience hunger, and they would be rejected and persecuted. But in light of the blessings of fellowship with the Son of God these were hardly worthy of being called sacrifices.

Sunday – January 15, 2017 Genesis 25:27-34 “Trading Your Soul For What?”

Sunday – January 15, 2017 – Read the Word on Worship

Sunday – January 15, 2017 Genesis 25:27-34 “Trading Your Soul For What?” from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

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Genesis 25:32
Esau said, “Behold, I am about to die; so of what use then is the birthright to me?”

It does not take much imagination to see we live in an “instant” society. We have instant coffee, instant breakfasts, instant soup, instant pudding, and microwave popcorn. We also have cable Internet and e-mail, universal cell phone coverage, and satellite TV (as if cable TV was not fast enough). As efficient as all this can be, we have become products of an “instant society.” We want everything quicker and faster. We cannot and will not wait for desires to be met. We demand instant gratification. If there is a complication in our lives, we believe there must be an instant solution.

What is especially disturbing is that we seem to believe we have an inalienable right to be happy. Thus, no one wants to wait for anything, and for the most part no one has to. If that means cutting corners, then so be it. We are willing to sacrifice our reputation tomorrow for what we want today. Waiting is interpreted as pain. Yet, as Richard Hendrix has said, “Second only to suffering, waiting may be the greatest teacher and trainer in godliness, maturity, and genuine spirituality most of us ever encounter.”

Are you surprised to observe that the biggest “crook” in our chapter is a believer? While Esau may have been crude, he was no crook. How many Christian businessmen and employees are crooked, just as Jacob was? We call ourselves shrewd, but that is only a euphemism for unethical practices. One reason why Christians can be as crooked as Jacob is that they are so convinced of the importance of the ends they seek that they feel that any means to achieve them are justified. Many of us convince ourselves that much of the money we make is going to missions, or the church, and so we “launder” our money in Christian ministry. The goal is never more important than godliness. In fact, the Christian’s goal is godliness.

Esau also bears accountability in this mess. The sad reality is that he did not believe the word of God. Many believers are like Esau, who have traded their blessings for what amounts to a bowl of lentils. When we exchange our purity, our integrity, our family, or our relationship with God or His church, the benefit we receive is nothing more than a pile of beans! Satan is constantly tempting us to forfeit the eternal riches of our spiritual inheritance in Christ for the pleasure of immediate gratification: An illicit affair, financial compromise to get ahead, lusting after money or material things, letting loose our anger in abandonment of reason, or succumbing to depression without check. We are in constant danger of being tempted to give up something very precious in order to indulge a sudden strong desire. The pile of beans that is truly dangerous is any temptation to gratify the “feelings” of the immediate moment in a way that shows we “despise” the promises of the living God for our future.

Sunday – February 17, 2013

February 17, 2013 – Read the Word on Worship

Less is More from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

How different are God’s ways when compared to the ways of men? The Pharisees loved riches and considered their wealth as the evidence of God’s reward for their piety. In their minds, God would be pleased with the size of their contributions. Yet in our passage we see Jesus condemn the “rich and famous” for their faulty thinking and elevate the insignificant gift of the widow. The rich were only focused on how much their gift was. Jesus was focused on what the gift meant to the giver. That small donation was her life and all she had to live on. In making this gift, she gave evidence of her faith in God, not her money, to provide for her needs.
I am not here to tell you or myself how much to give. I do not see in Scripture where Jesus was ever impressed with how much was given. But I do see Jesus is very impressed with how much was left after we give. How much faith do you have that God is Jehovah-Jireh (the Lord Will Provide)? With all the corruption going on, the widow’s gift was an act of faith. When those coins left her hand, she had totally entrusted herself to God. But she did what she believed God had for her to do. The question is what will we do as stewards with the limited time, talent and treasure He has given us?
Join us Sunday morning as we continue our series in the Gospel of Mark in Mark 12 verses 38 to 44 and see “Less is More”


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 Mark 12:42-44
A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.”

How different are God’s ways when compared to the ways of men? The Pharisees loved riches and considered their wealth as the evidence of God’s reward for their piety. In their minds, God would be pleased with the size of their contributions. Yet in our passage we see Jesus condemn the “rich and famous” for their faulty thinking while elevating the insignificant gift of the widow. The rich were only focused on how much their gift was. Jesus was focused on what the gift meant to the giver. That small donation was her life and all she had to live on. In making this gift, she gave evidence of her faith in God, not her money, to provide for her needs.

It is easy to use the widow and her two coins as an example of sacrificial giving. Clearly this is a woman who loves God with all she has and stands in stark contrast to the rich in light of her poverty. She also stands in contrast to the scribes who go to great lengths to highlight their piousness for personal gain and attention. She is just another person fallen through the safety net of society and holds no honor in this community of alleged faith. Yet she still loves God and will sacrifice all that she has in service to God as she responds to Him.

The so-called “little gifts,” which count as nothing in human circles, eclipse the gifts given from excess from God’s perspective. Religious institutions cannot build great temples with their massive stones from the meager gifts of widows. But then God is not looking for stone buildings to call His home. God is looking to occupy people’s hearts. But He can only do that with disciples willing to submit themselves to Him and to love Him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength.

I am not here to tell you or myself how much to give. I do not see in Scripture where Jesus was ever impressed with how much was given. But I do see Jesus is very impressed with how much was left after we give. How much faith do you have that God is Jehovah-Jireh (the Lord Will Provide)? With all the corruption going on, the widow’s gift was an act of faith. When those coins left her hand, she had totally entrusted herself to God. But she did what she believed God had for her to do. The question is what will we do as stewards with the limited time, talent, treasure and breath He has given us?

Sunday – February 3, 2013

February 3, 2013 – Read the Word on Worship

Did the Religious Leaders Wear Boxers or Briefs? from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

Our passage raises the important issue of the relationship between God and the governments of the earth. This is not just an issue in Jesus day, but an issue that every generation in every society must confront. Jesus is not saying Caesar is control of the political sphere and God is in control of the religious sphere, as if they were counter-weights against each other. To Jesus, the coin with the face of Caesar was just another idol in a long list of idols and Caesar can have it back if he desires it.
Whoever’s face is on the money has the right to ask for it back in terms of taxes. Jesus had no problem with the people giving back to Caesar what was his. But the expectation goes both ways- just as Caesar expected to get back the things that were his, so too God expects to get back the things that are His. If we bear God’s image, as we are told in Genesis 1, then God owns us and we owe Him worship and obedience. The danger is we have grown to love our money. If government owns the money, and we make money our god, then the government owns us.
Join us this Sunday as we look at Jesus answering questions about money and marriage as we look at “Did the Religious Leaders Wear Boxer or Briefs?” as we continue in Mark 12 verses 13 to 27.


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Mark 12:15-17
[Jesus] said to them, “Bring Me a denarius to look at.”  They brought one. And He said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” And they said to Him, “Caesar’s.” And Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.

Our passage raises the important issue of the relationship between God and the governments of the earth. This was not just an issue in Jesus day, but an issue that every generation in every society must confront.  Jesus is not saying Caesar is control of the political sphere and God is in control of the religious sphere, as if they were counter-weights against each other. To Jesus, the coin with the face of Caesar was just another idol in a long list of idols and Caesar can have it back if he desires it.

In the past it was the desire of the church to exercise sovereign control over the state in the name of God. For centuries in Europe, the rule of kings was just another instrument of the papacy to enforce the will of the church in secular society. But the church that seeks earthly power and glory always loses both its moral compass and its spiritual vigor. The pursuit of power in earthly terms, whether by the church or the state, has always done tremendous harm to both. It is the spirit of this world that lies to us with the promise of might makes right and take before it is taken from you. It is only the power of Christ which enables people to give so that God can give us yet more.

Whoever’s face is on the money has the right to ask for it back, usually in the form of taxes. Jesus had no problem with the people giving to Caesar what was his, but the expectation must go both ways. Just as Caesar expected to get back the things that were his, so too God expects to get back the things that are His. Since we bear God’s image, as we are told in Genesis 1, we are owned by God and we owe Him worship and obedience. The danger is we have fallen in love with our money. If government owns the money we love, and we make money our god, then the government owns us.

An unhealthy union between church and state has been the undoing of both. We are drawn away from our primary mission of the proclamation of the gospel when the church becomes politicized. Inevitably, politics distracts the church to get behind good causes, not the gospel which transcends every society and government. However this should not distract the individuals who make up the church from being salt and light in every arena they are called to serve, from the school room to the board room and from public sector to the private sector, even political action. However, the church must deter the things of God from becoming political wallpaper for programs and policies promoted by politicians. The church is to have clean hands and hearts to speak with power the words of life: “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.”

Sunrise – December 30, 2012

December 30, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship

What Does Not Get You to Heaven? from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

Who rules over your life? Is it God or money? Jesus is calling this rich young man to join a community of believers who will take care of others material needs. And the challenge given to this man should be a warning to all of us who live in a materialistic culture that possessions, even when they are few, can be a hazard. Wealth possesses many dangers because so many people crave it. No Christian is immune to its seductive lure. Covetousness is a virus which takes residence in the soul and then slowly begins its work of destruction. Once the anesthetic of self-gratification is applied to our heart, the call for self-sacrifice deadens into numbness the things of eternity.
Join us this Sunday as we continue our study on the Gospel of Mark chapter 10 verses 13 to 31 and we look at “What Doesn’t Get You to Heaven?”


Word On Worship – December 30, 2012 Download / Print

Mark 10:23-25
And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

It is easy for many in our culture to dismiss the command by Jesus to sell all we own and give it away as a statement of hyperbole because it appears so unreasonable. The central point of the passage is not Jesus denouncing the having of possessions, but rather one’s ultimate loyalty. Jesus did not insist Zacchaeus sell all of his goods and give them to the poor before He would agree to eat in his home. Zaccheaus voluntarily offers to give half of his possessions and restore fourfold whatever he gained from his treachery. Very few are willing to divest themselves of whatever provides them security in this life to enter a new life under God’s rule.

Who rules over your life? Is it God or money? Jesus is calling this rich young man to join a community of believers who will take care of others’ material needs. And the challenge given to this man should be a warning to all of us who live in a materialistic culture that possessions, even when they are few, can be a hazard. Wealth possesses many dangers because so many people crave it. No Christian is immune to its seductive lure. Covetousness is a virus that takes residence in the soul and then slowly begins its work of destruction. Once the anesthetic of self-gratification is applied to our heart, the call for self-sacrifice deadens into numbness the things of eternity.

Jesus told the man he lacked one thing, yet in human terms he lacked for nothing. He had plenty to live on, but nothing to live for (a sad truth of our culture today). Money brings us many things, but neither holiness nor eternal life. Yet for all the rich young ruler had, the emptiness became a gnawing hunger. What must I do to have life beyond this life? Yet when confronted by Jesus with the invitation to sell all and follow Him, he counted possessions dearer than the hope of eternal life with God and a meaningful life on earth.

Possessions can easily deceive us into thinking that they offer security and the abundant life. Having money leads us to the false conclusion that anything can be had for a price – even salvation when it is given to the right charity. We must sound the alarm to our generation about the dangers of committing ourselves to possessions and share with those who are looking for eternal life to look to Jesus Christ alone. Eternal life will only be found by people who are willing to lose their lives and their possessions for the sake of Jesus and the gospel.