Nov 30 2009

Romans 2:13

Posted by Anthony Crumley

For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.

Knowing what God requires of us does not make us acceptable to Him.  Reading the bible, listening to preachers, going to bible studies and reading Christian books does not improve our standing before Him.

We are only acceptable to God when we hear and do what He requires of us.

Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.  But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.  For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.  But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.  (James 1:21-25)

Unfortunately, there is a problem with all this.  We are not capable of being doers of the law.  Actually, that is the point Paul is in the process of making.

Everyone is corrupted by sin and incapable of pleasing God on their own.  Jesus sacrificed Himself on the cross for us so that we could become pleasing to God.  We can be made righteous through Jesus and become justified before God because Jesus fulfilled the law for us.

When we believe on Jesus, He makes us right before God and begins to live through us.  Then, and only then, are we able to be doers of the law and not hearers only.

Romans 2:12Romans 2:14

Nov 29 2009

How Much Does God Love Us?

Posted by Anthony Crumley

Sermon by Joe Clark on Sunday, November 29, 2009.

Nov 25 2009

Holy Ground

Posted by Anthony Crumley

In Exodus 3:1-6, Moses is going about his normal everyday business when God reveals Himself to him.  Have you ever thought about what this would be like?  How would we react if we suddenly found ourselves in the presence of God?

There seems to be too casual of a perspective on what God is like in the Church today.  It is as if God is one of us and we can approach Him without a second thought.  While He is approachable because Jesus has reconciled us to Him, we must not forget who we are dealing with.

As Moses approached the burning bush God told him to do two things.  He told him to keep his distance and to remove his shoes.  In our current sin corrupted state we cannot come into the very presence of God without being destroyed.  This is because God is absolutely holy and separate from sin.  Physically, we have to keep our distance until we have a new body that has been transformed into the image of Christ.

God also told Moses to remove his shoes.  In eastern culture “the removal of the shoes is a confession of personal defilement and conscious unworthiness to stand in the presence of unspotted holiness.” (Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown)  In the church today, we seem to approach God with brazen indifference to His holiness.  We must never lose sight of our unworthiness to stand on our own before Him.

Moses’ immediate response to being in God’s presence was to hide his face and be afraid to look at God.  Fear and hiding seems to be the common response of people who come into the presence of God’s holiness.  Nothing will ever expose our sin like the holiness of God.  If we want to eradicate sin in our life then we need to seek greater knowledge and awareness of God’s absolute holiness.

As we think about what it would be like to come into the presence of God we need to keep in mind that He is a holy God.  We must show Him reverence and fear as well as love and thankfulness.

Nov 24 2009

Romans 2:12

Posted by Anthony Crumley

For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.

The question is always asked about what happens to people who do not know God’s law.  The answer is that they will be destroyed because of their sin.  Sin is a destroyer of people, regardless of whether they know God’s law or not.

This reality seems so unfair.  In verses 13, 14, and 15 Paul explains why this is true.  Everyone agrees with portions of the law even though we are all totally corrupted by sin.  This agreement with the law is proof that the law of God is written in our hearts.  So, when we sin we violate the law God placed in our heart.

Contrary to what some may think, knowing the law does not make us acceptable to God.  When we sin with knowledge of the law then we will be judged by the law.  This is a scary thought because the law is a harsh and unforgiving judge.  Everyone is found guilty when judged by the law and no one can escape.

Romans 2:11Romans 2:13

Nov 23 2009

Spiritual Adultery

Posted by Anthony Crumley

When thinking about committing spiritual adultery against God, we may think in terms of worshiping other gods and consider ourselves faithful.  Yet, James has a much broader view of spiritual adultery.

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.  (James 4:4)

We are spiritual adulterers if we are friends with the sinful world system that Satan has created to draw people away from God.  Just as we can’t have a faithful relationship with our spouse and have a lover on the side, we can’t have a faithful relationship God and love Satan’s world system.  John made it abundantly clear that we can’t love God and the world too.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions–is not from the Father but is from the world.  And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.  (1 John 2:15-17)

God is a jealous God and will not tolerate spiritual adultery.

Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? (James 4:5)

Obviously, it is difficult to live in this world without cheating on God.  Fortunately, He has provided the resources we need to be faithful to Him because  “he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.'” (James 4:6)  Living faithful to our God in this world requires a humble dependence on His grace.  When we are proud and think we know what is good for us is when we fall into an adulterous relationship with the world.

Spiritual faithfulness comes when we “submit [ourselves] therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from [us]. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to [us].”  (James 4:7, 8a)  Unfortunately our attitude tends toward rebellion against God.  Too often we resist God and draw near to the devil.  As a result, God withdraws from us and begins to chasten us until we humble ourselves in repentance, drawing near to him again.  Then He blesses us and lifts us up from the depths of our sin.

Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4:8b-10)

Nov 19 2009

Know The Hope

Posted by Anthony Crumley

There is reason for hope in Jesus who gave His life for us, yet it is so easy to lose hope in this world.  Satan has created a world system that is designed to rob us of all hope.

Paul was concerned that the people who lived in Ephesus would know and understand the hope they had.  He prayed for them “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give [them] a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of [their] hearts enlightened, that [they] may know what is the hope to which he has called [them]” (Eph. 1:17-18).  We all need to allow God to open our eyes to the hope we have in Jesus because Satan works constantly to darken “the eyes of our hearts” so that we might lose sight of the hope God has called us to.

This hope can only be known when we trust Jesus with our lives.  He is the only source of hope for all of us sinners.  Everyone who has not trusted Jesus’ death on the cross as payment their sin is “separated from Christ, … having no hope and without God in the world.  But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”  (Eph 2:12, 13)  Today is the day to trust the blood of Christ to pay for our sin and find hope in Him.

Nov 17 2009

Romans 2:11

Posted by Anthony Crumley

For God shows no partiality.

God is completely righteous, just and impartial.  He does not give preference to the rich or poor, educated or ignorant, fit or overweight, attractive or unattractive, intelligent or unintelligent, high-class or low-class, powerful or weak, religious or atheistic.  There is no hint of favoritism with God.

He judges every person according to His law and by Jesus (Romans 2:16).  If we have broken His law, which we all have, then He judges us as guilty and deserving of punishment.  Yet, if we believe on Jesus and His acceptance of our punishment by dying on the cross then God judges us as innocent and righteous because of Jesus.

Romans 2:10Romans 2:12

Nov 16 2009

Anything Worthy Of Praise

Posted by Anthony Crumley

Our thoughts, if known by others, should be such that they would give us praise and commendation for them.  Our thoughts should be about things that are approved of by God and other people.  We should avoid all thoughts that are worthy of blame, condemnation and criticism.

* See also Think On These Things

Nov 15 2009

Do You Want To Be A Winner?

Posted by Anthony Crumley

This message is about who God considers to be winners and what you can do to be one.

Sermon by Joe Clark on Sunday, November 15, 2009.

Nov 14 2009

Romans 2:10

Posted by Anthony Crumley

but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek.

In the previous verse, Paul described the consequences of doing evil.  Now he describes the blessings that come from doing good.

When we truly do good, we are acting like Jesus and will receive glory similar to His.  The good that we do and the glory we experience are all a result of being changed into Jesus’ likeness.  This is the work that the Holy Spirit is doing in our lives and is the reason He came to live within us.

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.  (2 Cor. 3:18)

The word honor literally refers to the value or worth placed on something.  When we do good our lives have value to God and He rewards us with honor and respect.  There is no greater honor in this world than to be honored by God for doing good.

The peace that results from doing good is first a peaceful relationship with God and also a peace of mind that comes from that relationship.  This peace is a tranquility and quietness of mind that goes beyond circumstances and even our own ability to understand it.

Just as God’s punishment of evil begins with the Jewish people, so does His blessing of goodness.  In God’s spiritual economy, the Jewish people are still a privileged people, His chosen nation.  So, when He blesses the good, He begins with Israel and proceeds from there to all other peoples.

Romans 2:9Romans 2:11