February 23, 2020
Rose of Sharon Baptist Church February 23, 2020
Church Service Notes
Scripture: 1 Peter 4:7
Do you keep a calendar? If so, is it a computer calendar, a wall hanger, a planner notebook, pocket sized or do you have several? I have many calendars. There is one hanging in our kitchen, on three in the office, and I have a planner I carry. What type of things do we write on our calendars? Appointments with the doctors, birthdays, anniversaries, dates bills are due, trips that we have scheduled, visits planned with friends. We put a lot of information on our calendars. Part of the reason we put these things on the calendar is to keep of track of what is ahead. We see a birthday on the calendar and we know we need to plan to send a birthday card. We see a visitor is scheduled to come by and we know we need to clean house. The calendar is a tool we utilize to make sure we are prepared for what is to come. It is also used to help us make sure we a preparing others for what is to come. If my wife has an appointment that is outside our normal routine, she sees it on the calendar and it reminds her to inform me that I need to pick up the children from school. I see on the calendar that there is a picture day scheduled at school, it reminds my wife and I to make sure our children are dressed for pictures. The calendar is a great tool for keeping us focused on the tasks at hand and preparing ourselves and others for what is to come.
There are two key components to the effectiveness of a calendar. One is to write down the appointments. If you fail to write down a bill is due on a certain day, how easy is it to overlook that payment! Also, you have to consult your calendar. Just last week I started my workweek on Monday and thought to myself – I have a free week to focus on all the tasks I need to complete. And so I went to work and I was able to get a lot completed. On Thursday, I had a phone conversation with a coworker and he asked me how my training on Tuesday had been. I realized then I had forgotten my appointment. It was written on my calendar, but I had not checked my calendar all week. It won’t does us any good to not look at our calendars.
Now, let me ask: how many of us have the end of the world on our calendars? Our Scripture tells us that the end of the world is at hand and that we should be watching for the end. Is this something we are focused upon? Are we busy about the needed business to be ready for when the end comes? Are we helping others be prepared for the end of the world?
What exactly is the end of the world? The end we are referring to is when Jesus Christ shall return. The Bible tells Jesus is going to come to earth a second time. The first time Jesus came He was borne a baby, He grew up, He lived a life without sin, He gave himself to die as the sacrifice needed to pay the death penalty for our sins, He was buried, He rose from the grave alive, He appeared to hundreds of people, and then He ascended into heaven. The purpose of Jesus’ first coming was to be the sacrificial lamb to offer atonement for our sins. When Jesus comes a second time, He will not be as a lamb, but rather as the conquering, victorious, leader of angel armies! When He returns Jesus will call all the Christians out of this world and into heaven. Jesus describes the scene in Matthew 24, two people will be together, then the one who is a Christian shall be called out of the earth and the other person, the nonbeliever, will be left behind.
For the Christian, when Jesus returns it will start a beautiful future. A future in the new heaven and the new earth. We will be transformed into new bodies that no longer have the pains of this world. In the new world there will be no more sorrow, no more tears, no more death, no more sin! It is a glorious future that awaits the Christian. So why delay? Why does God allow the world to spiral into further debauchery and people continue to suffer? In 2 Peter 3:8-13 we are told why. God wants all people to be saved. God wants every person to become a Christian. To God, time is different – God is on the eternal system, not our 24 hours a day system. God will send Jesus back to earth when God is ready. And no one knows when that will be.
Unfortunately, for the non-Christian that is left behind, their future is not so beautiful. The Bible tells about horrible tribulations in the time on earth when God chooses to bring about the end. Some Bible scholars interpret the Scriptures to mean that a person who heard the Gospel prior to Jesus’ return will not have an opportunity to change their heart and seek Jesus afterwards, meaning they will be lost and condemned to hell. Although God does not want anyone to go to hell, and God is patiently allowing us every opportunity to surrender our lives to His salvation, one day the end, that is already at hand, will finally be realized.
As we consider this coming end. Let me ask are we living with a watchful eye, watching in prayer with our hearts, living righteous lives on the ready for Jesus’ return? The end is on the calendar, the Bible tells us that. We may not know the exact date, but we do know that at the end of today, we are one more day closer to that end. Are we doing what we can to prepare the other people in our lives for that day? Are we making all the arrangements necessary? Are we sharing the Gospel with people so they can choose for themselves whether to believe Jesus or not? We need to make every day count, and live it for the glory of God, pointing others to Jesus as best we can! We are running out of days to continue our delays…
Let’s commit to living each day for the Lord and to share His love with others!
Scripture: James 3:1-12
James has shared with us in chapter the importance of proving our faith with works of ministry. In chapter 3 James addresses how the words that leave our mouths reveal what is in our hearts.
Verse 1 begins with a guidance to teachers and leaders of the church. Being in a position of influence brings greater responsibility. We must take care of our responsibilities and make sure we are leading people accurately according to God’s Word and not our opinions, other people’s opinions, of falsehoods.
Verse 2 contains the truth that all people cause offense when they sin. When we sin it offends other people and it offends God. Very frequently our sin is accompanied by sinful words. We speak our sins in many ways. James also tells us in verse 2 that a person who can control the words they speak, is perfect. What James means is that if we control our words so as to not sin, we can likely control our actions to not sin. This is a step in maturing in Christ. We are not perfect people as Christians. But we should be closer to perfect today, than when we first surrendered our lives to Jesus.
James makes the connection in verse 2 between our words and our whole body including our heart and soul. Jesus makes a similar connection. We see in Matthew 12:33-37 Jesus making this connection. Verses 33-34 Jesus shares that the fruit of a tree reveals the identity of a tree. If there are peaches growing on a tree, it’s a peach tree; and if its pecans on the tree then you have a pecan tree. So it is with us – our words reveal our identity. Jesus makes the point in verse 35 of how our hearts contain treasure, be it good or bad, and whatever is in our heart will come out of mouth and also be revealed in our actions. Jesus says in verses 36-37 that we will be judged by the words we speak. So what will it be for us?
Consider the power of our words. The first half of Proverbs 18:21 tells us that in the power of our words is both death and life. Are we speaking life or are we speaking death? Does the love, the gospel, truth, all the things of God fill our hearts and come forth in our conversations? Or is it evil that we speak?
If evil is what is coming from our mouths then we need to remove the evil from our heart. Proverbs 4 gives us great instruction on how to ensure our hearts are filled with good treasure! Proverbs 4 tells us to listen to God’s Word, to the wisdom of God, to make it a part of our life, and to be grounded and live in it. It also warns us not to dabble in evil, to avoid evil, to remove evil influences; this keep evil rot out of hearts and will keep it out of words too!
I cannot help but be reminded of Psalm 1:1-2 where we are told the benefits of dwelling on God’s Word. Let’s be people who are filling our lives and hearts with the Word of God and speaking its love and truth to others, the power of life!
If we can be of help in some way to you, please let us know.
In Christ’s Love,