Tag Archives: Sermon

More Than Words

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I listened to a sermon this morning that… well, shook me up a little.  Let me tell you why.

The preacher, who was standing in for the regular guy, entitled the sermon “Being Marked by His Name.” Sounded encouraging to me. When I heard the title, I thought “Yes, we’re claimed; a people of His possession.” This guy took it from another angle.

He began in Deuteronomy 5, explaining that after Moses delivered the 10 commandments to the Israelites, God referred to Himself as “YHWH” (pronounced ‘yah-weh’); the most personal, intimate, and relational name of God, given specifically as a convenant between He and the Israelites.

However, YHWH, was more than just a name. It was a mark upon God’s people; they were His possession, His bride, and the recipients of grace, goodness, and provision. They were set apart; the sheep of His pasture, guarded and guided by His sovereign hand over them.

There was (and still is) power in His name.  There is freedom and life and redemption in His name. It is by His name and for His name that we are saved, reconciled, baptized, made whole, and proclaimed righteous before the His throne. For the praise of His glorious grace and by the matchless name of YHWH, we are ransomed and made heirs with Christ. 

Then he said…”So when God says, ‘Do not take my name in vain,’ He’s not just referring to the words you say. He’s referring to the entirety of your existence.”

*blank stare*

Then it sank in. If we claim to be people of His possession and call Him YHWH, then all that we do, the things that we say, how we spend our time, the effort that we put into relationships, how we serve, if we tithe, etc. are ALL reflections of His name. And if in any area of our lives we do not reflect His nature or bear the fruit of His spirit, then we take His name in vain.

If all that we are and everything that we have is not offered in worship, then we profane the name we proclaimed.

Convicting? Yep. Challenging? Yep. Impossible? No.

2 Corinthians 5:14 says “For the love of Christ controls us…” His love, if we surrender to it, will control and compel to do what we ought. His love is greater than and has conquered all that we will ever encounter. He has given us all that we need for life and godliness, if we would but choose to follow and obey.

The pastor concluded with this challenge:

We can not expect Him to be our shepherd if we are not willing to be His sheep.

Sovereign Struggle

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I went to the gym tonight for the first time in a week… I rarely go 24 hrs without going to the gym.  But a month ago I found out I had mono and so I have been struggling to get my eyes open every morning. I haven’t had the energy to do much else besides breath and move from my bed to the couch.

Now I know what you are thinking: “Isn’t that the kissing disease?”  Technically, you can get it from kissing, or you can get from any number of other things.  So no, I didn’t get it from kissing anyone. I have kept my lips to myself, thank you very much.  Although I will go ahead and admit that I would prefer saying that I did get it from kissing someone because it’s makes for a better story than not. That’s neither here nor there. Moving on.

While walking (at the pace of a sloth) on the treadmill tonight, I was listening to a sermon, as usual, by Matt Chandler who is the pastor of the Village Church in Dallas, TX.  The sermon that I landed on this evening was called “A Theology of Struggle,” and if you have read any of my earliest post, you know that is not only something I write on often, but something that I tend to dive into instead of run away from.

Tonight’s sermon hit on the some new thoughts that I had not yet arrived at myself and I felt compelled to write them here for… because… because it’s a blog and that’ what you do.

I won’t attempt to “re-preach” to you–I don’t want to dilute it.  So here are my notes… take from it what you will.

1. The wrong way to struggle is to operate in guilt:

  • The wrong motivation is to respond to it by “white-knuckling it,” to work harder, strive more, to perfect your imperfections thru your flesh.
  • In so doing, you mock the crucifixion of Christ and His free gift of grace thru faith. And going down this road only leads you away from the Lord.
  • Result-religious repentance (self righteousness): you will not be any better spiritually than the sinners that you despise OR you will accumulate worldly sorrow

2. The right way to struggle:

  • To struggle with temptation, sometimes falling, but moving still in the right direction
  • Temptation is not a sin; it is part of life in a fallen world. It is not going anywhere this side of heaven.
  • Be encouraged by the Word: 1 Corinthians 10:13- “no temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.”
  • The beauty of the body of Christ is that we can look to others who have victoriously walked thru the same circumstance and allow their testimony to empower and encourage us to walk thru with confidence.
  • To struggle well is long lasting obedience in the midst of the pressure of refinement.
  • In this position, we can more clearly see our depravity and His grandeur; His grace to save us, love to cover us.
  • The right motivation is not thru trying harder; it is thru allowing someone to show you different. It is allowing yourself to be shown a new way thru slow and steady teaching, instruction and demonstration. It is discipleship
  • The greek word is “gymnatsia” translated SWEAT. 

3. End result- TRANSFORMED lives.

  • There is no contradiction between “grace thru faith” and “faith without works is dead.” They are compatible.  They do reflect one another.

Perhaps it doesn’t make sense to you, although my prayer is that it will apply personally and deeply.  If you would like to listen to the sermon, look up “The Village Church” on iTunes.