Sunday – September 11, 2016 Genesis 13:5-18 “A Tale of Two Men”

Sunday – September 11, 2016 – Read the Word on Worship

Sunday – September 11, 2016 Genesis 13:5-18 “A Tale of Two Men” from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

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Genesis 13:11-13
So Lot chose for himself all the valley of the Jordan, and Lot journeyed eastward. Thus they separated from each other. Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled in the cities of the valley, and moved his tents as far as Sodom.”

There is a point along the Continental Divide high in the Rocky Mountains at which the waters of a small stream separate. It would not seem to matter much whether a drop of water goes to the left or to the right. But the outcome of those drops of water is totally different. One drop goes to the west and eventually flows into the Colorado River and empties into the Gulf of California. Another drop goes east until it flows into the Mississippi River and dumps into the Gulf of Mexico. Two drops of water, two entirely different destinations, but one small turning point that determines the outcome.

Many choices in life are like that. At the time they don’t seem significant. But those choices set in motion a series of events which shape your life and the lives of your children and grandchildren after you. If we could share how we all came to know Christ as Savior, I would guess that many of you chose to go somewhere where you met someone who started talking to you, which led to a chain of events resulting in your salvation. The original choice wasn’t a big deal, but the outcome was life-changing. Or if we all shared how we met our mates, many of the stories would begin with seemingly insignificant decisions to attend some social event. That decision led to a relationship which forever affected our lives, not to mention our children’s lives.

We tend to think of Christian commitment as a bold decision to forsake everything and follow Jesus. There is a sense, of course, in which that is true. We must make that once and for all commitment. But Lot had done that. He had left his family and friends in Ur to go with Abram to the Promised Land. Lot’s problem, like many Christians today, was in not following through, walking step by step in dependence upon the Lord, saying no to the things of this world based on faith in the promises of God.

Someone has said that we tend to think of commitment to Christ like laying a $1,000 bill on the table: “Here’s my life, Lord. I’m giving it all.” But the reality is that God sends most of us to the bank and has us cash in the $1,000 for quarters. We go through life putting out 25 cents here and 50 cents there, in small deeds of faithfulness and obedience. But it’s right there, in those little 25 cent choices, that our lives take their direction. So make your choices based on God’s principles: Relationships over rights; godliness over greed; fellowship with God over the world’s approval; and, faith in God’s promises over immediate pleasure from the world. So seek Him first, and all else is yours.

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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Word On Worship – Sunday – October 4, 2015 Download / Print

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 – December 14, 2014 1st John 5 verses 6 to 13 “Is Christianity Merely Psychological?”

Sunday – December 14, 2014 – Read the Word on Worship

1st John 5 verses 6 to 13 from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

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Word On Worship – Sunday – December 14, 2014 Download / Print

1 John 5:6-8
“This is the One who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood. It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.”

Skeptics frequently allege that Christian conversion is merely a psychological phenomenon that can be explained in purely naturalistic terms. In their minds, conversion to Christ is a purely subjective experience. They will agree it is nice if it works for you, but you shouldn’t try to impose it on everyone else or say that those who do not believe as you do are wrong. If you say that Jesus Christ changed your life, the skeptic will reply, “That’s great for you, but it doesn’t prove that Christianity is true for everyone else. Buddhism changed Richard Gere’s life. Scientology changed Tom Cruise’s life. Cabalistic Judaism seems to have changed Madonna’s life. So if changed lives are the criteria of truth, there is plenty of evidence that Christianity is not the only religious truth out there.”

How do you counter such arguments? There is value in subjective, inner assurance of the truth of the gospel for believers. But we need a more sure foundation for our faith than our subjective experience alone provides. Throughout 1 John, the apostle has been addressing the matter of authentic Christianity. False teachers had caused confusion in the church and had left, taking a number of people with them. They claimed to have secret knowledge about Jesus Christ, but their teaching contradicted the apostolic witness to Christ. John repeatedly shows that authentic Christians believe the truth about Jesus Christ, they obey God’s commandments, and they love one another.

John wasn’t relaying some inner, subjective vision or philosophy. He was telling about his objective experience with Jesus Christ. You can’t get much more objective than seeing, hearing, and touching! Jesus Christ is God’s witness to us through the apostles who spent three years with Him. In our text, John comes back to this objective witness with which he opened this letter. He wants us to have a sure foundation for our faith. Authentic Christian faith rests on God’s testimony to the person and work of Jesus Christ.

If you don’t know whether or not you have eternal life, nothing is more important than to make sure. Go back and read again God’s testimony of His Son in the gospels. See the witness of the Spirit throughout the life, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. God’s testimony about Jesus is the foundation of our faith. Christianity is not just a psychological experience. It rests on this solid witness.