Sunday – January 26, 2020 Book of Acts – 3:1-26 “A Lame Excuse For Preaching the Gospel”

Sunday – January 26, 2020

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Word On Worship – Sunday – January 26, 2020

Acts 4:1-3
As they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them, being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

Most of us don’t know much firsthand about persecution for the sake of Christ. The threat of someone rejecting us or thinking that we’re weird is enough to make cowards of us when it comes to witnessing. We don’t know what the council said by way of threats, but if Peter and John continued to proclaim the resurrection of Jesus Christ, they would pay a severe price. But rather than saying, “Yes sir, we’ll be more restrained in the future,” they said, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” (4:19).

There are two common misconceptions that we need to keep in mind regarding opposition or persecution for our faith. The first is that if we’re faithful to the Lord, He will protect us from persecution. I’ve heard many Christians say something like, “I don’t understand what’s happening. I was faithful to the Lord, but I’m being attacked by my co-workers or friends. Why isn’t the Lord protecting me?” The Old Testament prophets were bold and faithful witnesses, but many of them were persecuted and killed. John the Baptist, the twelve, the apostle Paul, and the Lord Jesus Himself all were faithful witnesses who suffered much because of their faithfulness to God. Paul promised, “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12).

The second misconception is that persecution comes mainly from those outside the church. We expect the world to oppose the name of Jesus, but for some reason, we are surprised when those who profess to be Christians that attack us. But it was the religious establishment that opposed the prophets. The religious leaders opposed and crucified our Lord. Here the religious rulers lead the opposition against the apostles. The Sadducees were mainly wealthy priests who wanted to protect the status quo in order to preserve their wealth and influence over Jewish affairs. The chief priest and the high priests were all Sadducees, along with the captain of the temple guard.

As then, so it has been down through church history. Opposition to those who preach the gospel and who uphold God’s Word often comes from the religious establishment, whose power and privileges are threatened. In countries where the Roman Catholic Church or the Orthodox Church are strong, they are the source of most opposition to the gospel. In our country, theological liberals, who deny the resurrection, are often our main opponents. But, Spirit-filled witnesses are bold to obey God rather than the religious establishment, even if it means persecution. If we want to be confident witnesses, we must daily be filled with God’s Spirit.

Sunday – November 10, 2019 Gospel of Luke – Luke 24:36-53 “Invisible, No Invincible”

Sunday – November 10, 2019

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Word On Worship – Sunday – November 10, 2019

Luke 24:36-38
While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”  They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?

One of the strongest proofs of the resurrection is the fact that the disciples were so prone not to believe it at first. If they had immediately jumped to the conclusion that Jesus was risen, we could think that their testimony to the resurrection was just wish fulfillment. They wanted it so badly that they convinced themselves that it was true, apart from solid evidence. But the gospel narratives show clearly how slow all of the disciples were to believe that Jesus really was risen. They were not gullible men, prone to superstitious ideas, who were easily persuaded to believe. Even though, just before Jesus appeared, they were saying, “The Lord has really risen” (24:34), when they see Him in their midst they immediately conclude, not that He is risen, but that they are seeing a ghost. And when the Lord confronts them regarding their doubts, “they still could not believe it for joy” (24:41).

I can understand why they were troubled. It would be startling to have someone instantly appear in a room without walking in through the door! Jesus, however, is trying to calm their hearts so that they can think more clearly. But they weren’t just troubled; they also were doubting. The Greek word for “doubts” refers to inward reasoning and disputing. Because of our fallen human nature, we all are prone to doubt the things of God, revealed to us in His Word.

God does not expect us blindly to believe without thinking matters through. He gave us the capacity to reason and He expects us to use our minds. But we need to be careful, because of our sinfulness, not to go to excess and to demand unreasonable proof for that which God has plainly revealed. To continue raising objections and disputing about matters that God has made reasonably clear is to yield to our fallen nature, not to rise above it by faith.

It really is true that Jesus Christ died for our sins, that He was raised bodily from the dead, and that He offers forgiveness and eternal life to every sinner as a free gift. And, it really is important for you to believe the testimony that He gave to His disciples. It will flood your soul with eternal peace, knowing that He has forgiven your sins and accepted you because of Christ’s righteousness. It will give you joy and hope, even in the most difficult trials, knowing that His resurrection guarantees your resurrection when He returns. It will make you “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58). Even though at times you will be tempted to doubt it, thinking, “This is too good to be true, that Christ died for my sins,” the Lord wants you to know, “It is true!” It’s far better than the news that you have won the Reader’s Digest Sweepstakes! Believe God’s Word about Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, and rejoice!

Sunday – July 28, 2019 Gospel of Luke – Luke 20:27-40 “Seven Brothers for One Bride”

Sunday – July 28, 2019

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Word On Worship – Sunday – July 28, 2019

Luke 20:37-39
“But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the burning bush, where he calls the Lord THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB.  38 “Now He is not the God of the dead but of the living; for all live to Him.”

Our knowledge of the Sadducees is a bit scanty and uncertain. We don’t know for sure the origin of the group or its name. They were mostly upper class, educated, rationalistic, religious conservatives who held to the supreme authority of the Torah (the first five books of Moses). They rejected the oral traditions of the Jewish rabbis. The high priest and many of his associates were Sadducees (Acts 5:17). In their denial of the resurrection and the existence of angels and spirits, they disagreed sharply with the Pharisees (Acts 23:6-9).

Consequently, they took little interest in religious matters and in many respects clashed with the Pharisees, especially as regards the Pharisees’ attachment to the ‘traditions of the elders’ which made Jewish religious life so intricate. Everything which, according to their views, was not taught by ‘the law of Moses’ (the first five books of the Old Testament) was rejected by the Sadducees as forbidden innovations. The letter of the Law in the first five books of the Torah was enough.

In the past, I would have called the Pharisees the “conservatives” and the Sadducees the “liberals,” which is somewhat true. But in terms of insisting that doctrine be grounded in biblical revelation, the Sadducees wanted “chapter and verse,” while the Pharisees were content to cite their traditions. If the Pharisees were the moving force behind the opposition to Jesus before His crucifixion, death, and resurrection, it is the Sadducees who take up this role afterwards, for now the issue of resurrection has become a crucial part of the gospel message. The main thing which Luke wants us to be aware of is that the Sadducees, who are pressing Jesus for an answer concerning the resurrection do not really believe in it themselves.

It is quite easy to look at the Sadducees with a very critical eye. How foolish, we might think, for them to reject the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, when it is so clearly taught in the Scriptures. But let me ask you, as I ask myself, how much do we believe in the resurrection of the dead? How does the certainty of our resurrection, and of the kingdom of God to come, impact our present lives? I still have many earthly desires for the future, and I do not yearn for heaven as I should. My lifestyle and my values betray my lack of faith in this area. Are we, like the Sadducees, so “blessed in this life” that we would set aside thoughts of the next?

Easter Sunday – April 21, 2019 – 2 Corinthians 5:1-19 “Why the Resurrection Matters”

Sunday – April 21, 2019

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Word On Worship – Sunday – April 21, 2019

1 Corinthians 15:1-2
Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

The resurrection is not a religious myth, which coincides with springtime to inspire us with hope and positive thinking. Rather, it is an historic fact that Jesus of Nazareth rose bodily from the dead. It was a physical, not just a “spiritual” resurrection. To be sure, Jesus arose with a resurrection body, which has different properties than our earthly bodies, as Paul explains (15:35-49). But it was a body that could be seen and touched, that could eat and drink.

The resurrection is a matter of great import to the apostle Paul. Few men can claim to have been more impacted by the resurrection of our Lord than Paul. The resurrection of our Lord was the means by which Paul was converted from an enemy of Christ to a true believer. Three times in the Book of Acts (chapters 9, 22, and 26) Paul’s conversion experience on the road to Damascus is reported. This appearance of the risen and glorified Christ blinded Paul, stopping him in his tracks, and led to his conversion. No wonder Paul saw the resurrection of our Lord as such a significant event. It turned Paul’s life upside-down.

Just how important was the resurrection of our Lord to Paul? It was not only the basis for his salvation and apostleship, it was a constant theme in his preaching (Acts 17:30-31; 24:15, 25). It was the reason for Paul’s imprisonment and trial before Caesar (Acts 23:6; 24:21; 26:6-8; 28:20). No wonder Paul is so emphatic about the resurrection of our Lord and about the error of those who say there is no resurrection of the dead. The gospel is the starting point and standard for all Christian teaching and practice. Paul takes us back to our origins to reinforce the vital role which the resurrection of our Lord plays in our salvation and Christian life.

Jesus indicated that the way for Him to bear fruit was to die. And then He applied this same truth to His disciples. Those who love their lives will lose their lives; those who hate their lives in this world will keep them eternally. The way Jesus would “draw all men to Himself” was by being lifted up on the cross of Calvary. Jesus taught that the way to life was the way of the cross. By means of His death, burial, and resurrection, we have been given life by faith in Him. Now, as Christians, we are to apply the same principle to our earthly life. We are to take up our cross, to hate our life, to die to self, and in this way, we will obtain life eternal. Here is an entirely unique approach to life. It is one you will never find originating from unbelievers, but you will find it repeatedly taught in the Word of God. Death is a defeated enemy; death is now our friend, and our way of life. To God be the glory!

Sunday April 1, 2018 – Resurrection Sunday Service

Sunday – April 1, 2018 – Read the Word on Worship

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1 Timothy 1:15-16
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners — of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on Him and receive eternal life.”

The significance of Easter is often overlooked or distorted by churches in America. All too often, Easter Sunday is more of a “coming out” ritual, a part of the celebration of the commencement of Spring, than it is an observance and celebration of the resurrection of our Lord. Ladies can show off their new hats and outfits. Once-a-year church attenders can show up to shock the preacher, and to give him his annual “shot” at them as they attend. I am convinced, however, that many of the non-Christians who attend Easter Sunday services accept the resurrection of Christ as a fact. They simply have not come to recognize and act upon the resurrection’s personal significance.

There are many religious unbelievers who have taken the resurrection of Christ to be true academically, but have not taken this matter personally. Allow me to give you two biblical examples of those who took the resurrection of Christ personally. In the second chapter of the Book of Acts, we find the church being baptized by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Peter took this occasion to explain that this manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s power was a partial fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy. This prophecy spoke of the coming “day of the Lord” when God would judge the sins of His people. Peter boldly proclaimed that while they had been responsible for the death of Christ, God had purposed to save them by His death, and had also overruled their actions by raising His Son from the grave. The bottom line of Peter’s message was this: “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ – this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:36). Taking this personally, many in that crowd confessed their sins and professed faith in Christ as their Savior.

Saul, later known as Paul, also had a personal encounter with the resurrected Christ, as recorded several times in the Book of Acts. When Saul was intercepted by Christ on his way to Damascus, he acknowledged Christ as Lord, and he came to see the ugliness of his own sins, even though they were religious and outwardly commendable in the sight of men. It was when Saul saw his own sinfulness and Christ’s majesty and power that he was converted.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the most significant events in history. I pray that you, like those in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost (Acts, Chapter 2) and like Saul (Acts, Chapter 9), will come to recognize the seriousness of your sinful condition, the holiness and awesome majesty of God, and will come to trust in Him as your Savior and Lord. I urge you to trust in Him, in His death, burial, and resurrection, not only in an intellectual and academic way, but in a very personal way, as God’s only provision for your salvation.

Sunday – April 20, 2014 Resurrection Sunday CHRIST IS RISEN!

Sunday – April 20, 2014 – Read the Word on Worship

Easter 2014 from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.


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Luke 24:45-49
“Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”

If there is one thing I despise, it is those phone calls that come from toll free numbers, which begin with the assurance that the caller is not “selling” anything. The Bible could not be more open and direct about the purpose of the Scripture. Through it God has one goal for the unbeliever: He wants to demonstrate as clearly and as forcefully as he can that Jesus not only claimed to be the Christ (the Messiah), the Son of God, but that by many miraculous signs He proved it! The last and greatest of these signs was His resurrection from the dead.

While the resurrection of Jesus from the dead was prophesied in the Old Testament, and by our Lord Himself, the Bible makes it very clear that the disciples – just as many people today – were not predisposed to believe it. Only after the most forceful and compelling evidence that they could see and touch, would the disciples believe Jesus really was alive. And having become convinced of this great truth, the disciples never ceased to proclaim it, first in Jerusalem, then in Judea and finally to the ends of the earth. The resurrection of Jesus is the final and compelling proof that He is the Son of God and the Savior of the world.

Believing in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, is the only way God has provided for the forgiveness of your sins and for the gift of eternal life. By believing in Him, you will be saved: John 1:11-13 “He came to what was his own, but his own people did not receive him. But to all who have received him – those who believe in his name – he has given the right to become God’s children – children not born by human parents or by human desire or a husband’s decision, but by God.”

In many ways, the Bible is not a simple book. But its message to the unsaved is incredibly simple: Jesus Christ saves from sin, death and hell. If you have never come to believe in Jesus as the Christ, the promised Messiah, the Son of God, then this book is addressed to you, and for you, to give you all the evidence you need to believe in Him. Have you believed? This is the most important decision you will ever make. It determines your eternal destiny.

Sunday – August 4, 2013 “All’s Well That Ends…Well?”

August 4, 2013 – Read the Word on Worship

All’s Well That Ends…Well? from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

The ending of Mark’s gospel often raises more questions than it answers. In terms of Easter passages, it is the road less traveled. We want the details of the resurrection seen in the other gospels, to experience the emotion of Mary meeting her Lord or the satisfaction of Jesus reunion with the disciples. Was Mark being clumsy or just deeply unsatisfying with his ending? Mark’s gospel has been incredible in its power and its subtlety, but does that mean there are no lessons to be learned from Mark’s unique stopping place?


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Mark 16:7-8
 But go, tell His disciples and Peter, “He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He told you.” They went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had gripped them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

The ending of Mark’s gospel often raises more questions than it answers. In terms of Easter passages, it is the road less traveled. We want the details of the resurrection seen in the other gospels, to experience the emotion of Mary meeting her Lord or the satisfaction of the reunion of Jesus with the disciples. Was Mark being clumsy or just deeply unsatisfying with his ending? Mark’s gospel has been incredible in its power and its subtlety, but does that mean there are no lessons to be learned from Mark’s unique stopping place?

There is no narration in any of the gospels about the resurrection, only the aftermath. Whether it is the response of the religious leaders to the report of the Roman garrison about the body disappearing or Jesus meeting up with the disciples and the restoration of Peter, none of the gospels tell us what happened at the resurrection other than the tomb was empty. The prophets said death could not hold Him, Jesus promised that God would raise Him and the angels proclaimed that God has done exactly this. But for those at the tomb this Sunday morning, the only evidence they have is an empty grave with the command to go to Galilee to see Him. The question that must be answered is a question of faith: How can we find Him?

The angels do not tell the woman: “Surprise! He is here.” Instead their message is go and tell. Tell Peter and the others He has gone on ahead of them to Galilee. Yet, Mark does not write of any reunion with the earthly form of Jesus, no tears of joy or hugs of comfort. We are only told of the fear of the women and their fleeing from the empty tomb. But people respond to the Lord in fear throughout the gospel of Mark. The disciples were afraid when Jesus calmed the storm. The people of Gerasenes feared Jesus power to cast out demons and restore a man to his right mind. Not to mention the eleven at the arrest and crucifixion of Jesus. Humans have been deaf, dumb and afraid to know God’s glory throughout the story.

How do we treat the empty tomb? Is it our Wailing Wall that we visit every year at Easter? Have we become like the women? — leaving the sanctuary in haste and afraid to speak to anyone about the resurrection evidence? Consider what Mark teaches us and consider how the words of the angels should cause us to move forward, not retreat in fear. All we have is the news that Jesus has been raised. If any want to see Jesus for themselves, they must go to where He leads. For the disciples, that was Galilee. If today we ask where is Jesus, Mark tells us the answer. Jesus is always ahead of us, leading us on to new lands. Jesus is to be found when we are obedient to His commands.

Sunday – April 14, 2013, “The Proper Wife”

April 14, 2013 – Read the Word on Worship

The Proper Wife from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

The prophetic allegory in the Old Testament illuminates the New Testament.


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John 5:39-40
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me;and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.

As the speaker, Jesus is referring to what we now call the Old Testament. Today, many assume that because we have a New Testament that the Old one is nullified or at best a historic curiosity and at worst a mythical depiction of a vengeful, almost sadistic God. Indeed, there are Christian groups and denominations that say they would not follow or want a God who would tell the Jews to slaughter the inhabitants of the land of Canaan. They only want a God of LOVE. And that love is defined by their limited understanding and desires, not necessarily as defined by God and revealed in the scripture Jesus is addressing.

However, Jesus gave validity to the Old Testament. He quoted the scriptures of the Old Testament a multitude of times, referring to them as absolute truth from God the Father. The problem is not that the scriptures are out of date, as some suggest. The problem is many don’t study the Old Testament, and don’t know the scriptures well enough to see the truth clearly. What they see they discount because it does not fit their preconceived notions. Also, they believe false assessments and interpretations of those who are advancing another gospel cleverly disguised as truth by their language or sincerity. The truth is that God the Father has revealed his plan for man’s salvation throughout the Old Testament.

This revelation is purposely deep enough to prevent a casual reader, curiously interested in the intellectual and informational content only, from grasping God’s deep truths. Yet, the revelation is simple enough for the sincere seeker to see the completeness and unity of God’s plan for the redemption of mankind throughout both Testaments. The plan remains unchanged from the God who is the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow. And Jesus makes it clear in John 5:39 that the scriptures testify about him – as the redeemer of mankind. As Jesus often said, “let he who has ears hear and he who has eyes see.”

Today, we have an advantage – we see the Old Testament through the magnifying glass of the New Testament. We can more easily see Jesus and his redemption through his sacrifice in the pages of the Old Testament. For example, in Isaiah 9:6,7 we see the prophesied miraculous birth of Jesus the savior and his reign as king in his kingdom forever. In Genesis Chapter 5 we see God’s complete plan of salvation of man explained by joining the root meaning of the succession of names in the chronology from Adam to Noah.

In the Genesis account of Abraham and Isaac we again see God’s salvation plan in an innocent willing to be sacrificed. Through Abraham and Isaac, we see the miraculous birth of a son, followed by a father willing to sacrifice this only son, the providing of the real sacrifice by God himself and finally the choosing of a willing and perfect bride for the son. All are prophetic allegories of the purchase of the bride of Christ for salvation and new life with him. Let he who has ears hear and he who has eyes see.

Sunday – March 31, 2013 – Lessons from the Empty Tomb

March 31, 2013 – Read the Word on Worship

Easter 2013: Lessons from the Empty Tomb from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

It is very easy to read the story of the women at the tomb of our Lord and to expect a very different message from the angels. When I consider my shortcomings and lack of faith, I hear the angels prepare a word of rebuke at why these women failed to take Jesus at His word at rising again on the third day. How many other things has Jesus spoken to us in the gospels that we acknowledge as Scripture but still fail to truly take Jesus at His word?
Join us this Resurrection Sunday at we “Learn From the Empty Tomb” lessons on taking Jesus at His word for life and living from the Gospel of John 20 verses 1 to 18.


Word On Worship – March 31, 2013 Download / Print

John 20:11-13
But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying. And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”

It is very easy to read the story of the women at the tomb of our Lord and to expect a very different message from the angels.  When I consider my shortcomings and lack of faith, I hear the angels prepare a word of rebuke at why these women failed to take Jesus at His word at rising again on the third day. How many other things has Jesus spoken to us in the gospels that we acknowledge as Scripture but still fail to truly take Jesus at His word?

This is a teachable moment in the lives of these women, just as you and I have teachable moments when the Lord calls us closer to look and see, testing for ourselves that the validity of His promises is sure and not to throw away our confidence which yields great reward. Jesus is no longer in the tomb, but the evidence remains — the linen wrappings lying there with the face cloth rolled up to the side. No disciple has come to remove the body or any enemy to pillage the tomb. Jesus has yet again kept His word.

There is a time to believe the promises of God as a child believes a parent when told to be ready for school in the morning. But there comes a time when each one of us must learn by faith to believe the Word of God is unfailingly true. We will experience the prick of our doubts, just as the women must have felt when the angels reminded them in Matthew 28:6 “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said.” This resurrection Sunday is the day for us to move forward, past our previous doubts and failures, into the realm of faith. Not understanding how God will do what He has promised, but believing He who has promised is faithful, and will bring it to pass for our good and His glory.

For the church to believe Jesus rose from the dead is fine, but it is not enough. We need to personally understand what kind of Savior rose from the dead. He is the same loving Redeemer who healed the sick, comforted the mourning and died for the sinner. That is the Savior who now calls us to share with others  — the news Jesus Christ has risen — just as He said. He laid down His life so we could share in the inheritance as members of His family, if we believe as John did that first morning when he entered the tomb and saw and believed.