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The Workmanship of God (Ephesians 2:1-10)

April 29, 2015

Reflecting on the Passage:

This week’s sermon displays the power of God in His creation. Deacon Johnson exalts the beauty of God’s invitation and rich mercy towards His creation. The focus of this sermon is on the execution of God’s masterpiece in the way He dealt with our crucial conflict by sending a Conquering Christ to solidify the continuity of the family.

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God Dealt with a Crucial Conflict

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind (Ephesians 2:1-3;ESV).

Why is there a conflict between mankind and God? Due to Adam’s sin in the garden, mankind inherited his punishment, which includes broken relationships, burdensome labor, death (both physically and spiritually), and the wrath of God (cf. Romans 5). Being sons and daughters of disobedience, we believe that we can add something to our salvation, so we seek to find alternate ways to justify our lives before God and others. Deacon Johnson describes our universal condition as being destitute of the abundant life that flows from a surrendered and devoted will to God (Isaiah 53:6).

God Dispatched the Conquering Christ

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ by grace you have been saved and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-7; ESV).”

The error of our ways increases when we are far off from God (Acts 17:22-34). We were created for fellowship and worship, to be near to God. How is this resolved? God the Father, being rich in mercy and love, choose to send His Son, the Conquering Christ, to rescue us out of our hopeless condition and restore our relationship with God the Father.

God Dedicates Himself to the Continuity of the Family

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:8-10; ESV).”

More importantly, as we began to really understand how precious the Conquering Christ is in the sight of the Father, we also see the dedication of the Son to reconcile His people to one another (Daniel 7:9-14, 10:5-6; Matthew 17:5; Luke 3:22; Revelation 9:9-18). Jesus Christ is the key to receiving all the promises and privileges God has made available to His people. One of those promises is an outpouring of His Holy Spirit upon the people Christ purchased with His blood, in order that they may live harmoniously among one another, despite their previous conflicts and distinctions, as one true family (Acts 2:16-47; Ephesians 1, 2:12-22, 3; Philippians 2:1; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 1 John 1:7). Once we realize salvation is a gift, not a work done by us, but one achieved by Christ on our behalf, then we can share the Father’s dedication in building lasting relationships within the Body of Christ with gratitude (Titus 3:4-8).

What does it mean to be without God in this world?

A dreadful thought. If we believe there is no God, then we must assume the role of God, which puts an unbearable weight on our shoulders requiring us to try to control every circumstance, situation, and relationship. Fortunately, God has invited us into His rich mercy and His mercy-filled family made available in Christ and through Christ. Apart from Him, there is nothing but wrath and hopelessness.

Listen to this week’s full sermon for free and check out the sermon note below.

Warning Against Seduction (Proverbs 7)

April 22, 2015

Reflecting on the Passage:

This week’s sermon demonstrates the deceitfulness of sin. Elder Woodard explains the need of wisdom to combat seduction. The focus of this sermon is on the characteristics of the simple, the seductress, the seduction and the sagacious.

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Characteristics of the Simple: Naïve, Seducible, Foolish

For at the window of my house

     I have looked out through my lattice,

and I have seen among the simple,

     I have perceived among the youths,

     a young man lacking sense,

passing along the street near her corner,

     taking the road to her house

in the twilight, in the evening,

     at the time of night and darkness (Proverbs 7:6-9;ESV).

Elder Woodard describes the young man in this proverb as ignorant or unaware of the Lord’s watchfulness. He was devoid of wisdom and understanding. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time, because he was headed in the wrong direction. Moreover, he did not seek the wisdom of his father or keep his commands. Therefore, this foolish young man was susceptible to the seduction of the seductress.

Characteristics of the Seductress: Sophisticated, Unruly, Shrewd

And behold, the woman meets him,

     dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart.

She is loud and wayward;

    her feet do not stay at home;

now in the street, now in the market,

     and at every corner she lies in wait (Proverbs 7:10-12; ESV).”

The seductress is crafty and cunning, unlike the foolish young man. In fact, Elder Woodard rightly likens her characteristics to those of the devil and sin, which constantly seeks to destroy, to dishonor, and deceive as many as possible. She had the appearance of godliness, but her heart did not truly desire the things of God (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). She sought to satisfy the lust of her flesh (Matthew 16:23; Luke 4:1-13).

Characteristics of the Seduction: Temptation, Allurement, Death

She seizes him and kisses him,

     and with bold face she says to him,

I had to offer sacrifices,

     and today I have paid my vows;

so now I have come out to meet you,

     to seek you eagerly, and I have found you.

I have spread my couch with coverings,

     colored linens from Egyptian linen;

I have perfumed my bed with myrrh,

     aloes, and cinnamon.

Come, let us take our fill of love till morning;

     let us delight ourselves with love.

For my husband is not at home;

     he has gone on a long journey;

he took a bag of money with him;

     at full moon he will come home.

 

With much seductive speech she persuades him;

     with her smooth talk she compels him.

All at once he follows her,

     as an ox goes to the slaughter,

or as a stag is caught fast

    till an arrow pierces its liver;

as a bird rushes into a snare;

     he does not know that it will cost him his life (Proverbs 7:13-23; ESV).”

Henceforth, the seductress moves quickly by engaging all of the senses of the foolish young man. First, she appeals to his flesh by touch. Then, she flatters him with her words (appealing to his hearing; cf. Judges 14). Next, she prepares a meal (from the meat she was supposed to sacrifice unto God) and her bedding with colored linings and perfume to entice him (appealing to his taste, sight, and smell; cf. Judges 5:24-26). This young man was fully engaged in her seduction, because sin seeks to take captive the whole person, and then suffocates the victim to death (heart, mind and soul) [cf. Judges 16; 2 Samuel 11; 1 Kings 11:1-3; James 1:14-15].

Characteristics of the Sagacious: Attentive, Trustworthy, Life

My son, keep my words

and treasure up my commandments with you;

keep my commandments and live;

     keep my teaching as the apple of your eye;

bind them on your fingers;

    write them on the tablet of your heart.

Say to wisdom, You are my sister,

     and call insight your intimate friend,

to keep you from the forbidden woman,

     from the adulteress with her smooth words

And now, O sons, listen to me,

     and be attentive to the words of my mouth.

Let not your heart turn aside to her ways;

     do not stray into her paths,

for many a victim has she laid low,

     and all her slain are a mighty throng.

Her house is the way to Sheol,

     going down to the chambers of death (Proverbs 7:1-5, 24-27; ESV).”

Wisdom understands the repercussions and consequences of sin. Wisdom calls sin what it is, rebellion and an offense to the holiness of God. Wisdom will help us anticipate and avoid sin. Ultimately, Jesus Christ is the wisdom of God, who sagaciously lived to please the Father by keeping His word even to the point of death (1 Corinthians 1:24, 30; Philippians 2:1-16). He gave Himself, not for His own sin, but to save the foolish, the seductress and as many who would come to Him (Isaiah 53; Matthew 11:25-30; John 8:12-46; Hebrews 4:15, 9:28).

How can I avoid being seduced?

First, we have to understand the seriousness of sin. God sees all of our actions, motives and thoughts, and He will require all these things and our unrepentant souls, to be subject to Him (cf. Ecclesiastes 12:14). However, as the father in this proverb gives his son a way to live and avoid death, God the Father gives His Son as the only Way to live and avoid eternal death (John 14:1-12). We must count the cost of seduction, lest we find us ourselves more speechless than this young foolish man, when the wrath of God is revealed on the Last Day (Romans 3; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10).

Listen to this week’s full sermon for free.

The Good Shepherd (John 10:1-11)

April 15, 2015

Reflecting on the Passage:

Here at East Point Church, we had the pleasure of welcoming our brother Michael Leach (Senior Pastor at All Saints Redeemer Church) to bring the Word of God this week. This week’s sermon illustrates the uniqueness of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. Pastor Leach makes clear distinctions between the Good Shepherd and renegades (false teachers). The focus of this sermon is on two lessons concerning the Good Shepherd for His sheep, namely, His voice is correctly identified by His Sheep and His validity is clearly intensified to His Sheep.

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His Sheep Apprehend: His Voice is Identified

““Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers. This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them (John 10:1-6;ESV).

Pastor Leach describes those who reject Jesus as the Messiah as renegades. However, Jesus told them along with His disciples that His sheep do not listen to the voice of renegades, because they correctly identify the voice of their Shepherd through their intimate relationship with Him. In the context of this relationship, the Good Shepherd seeks, gathers, and feeds His sheep (cf. Psalm 23).

His Sheep Appreciate: His Validity is Intensified

So Jesus again said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep (John 10:7-11; ESV).”

In contrast to good shepherds, the robbers, thieves, renegades come to mislead the sheep, in order to feed on the sheep (cf. Ezekiel 34). Jesus’s validity is displayed in the care He gives in explaining His Words to His sheep, and they feed on them and are aware of imposters who would seek to lead them away from Him. More importantly, not only does the Good Shepherd feed, seek and gather His beloved sheep, He lays down His life for them in order to protect them and give them an abundant life.

Do you know Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd?

The teachers of the Law (i.e. religious leaders: Pharisees, Scribes and Sadducees) could not understand Christ, they were blind, and His voice was not recognized by them. We can only hear Christ in a saving relationship, where He changes us from wayward goats that willfully reject His commands to submissive sheep that willfully accept His commands. False teachers give death, but Jesus the Good Shepherd gives abundant life to all who come unto Him (Matthew 11:25-30).

Listen to this week’s full sermon for free.

For more information concerning Pastor Leach and ASRC, please visit their website at http://www.asrchurch.org

The Marvel of the Resurrection (Luke 24:1-12)

April 8, 2015

Reflecting on the Passage:

Here at East Point Church, we have the privilege of rejoicing at the glorious Resurrection of Jesus Christ each week, but this week we focused particularly on the significance of Easter morning. This week’s sermon displays the awe-inspiring Gospel of Christ’s Resurrection. Pastor Duncanson invites us to consider marveling at the Resurrection. The focus of this sermon is on the saving power of the Resurrection and the start of a life.

Easter Sunday HD Wallpaper. Web. 16 Apr. 2015.

Easter Sunday HD Wallpaper. Web. 16 Apr. 2015.

Resurrection Power: Christ is Risen

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise. And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. (Luke 1:1-9; ESV).”

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ was a glorious event, not simply because Christ was raised from the dead, but also His Resurrection is our motivation for living. He told His disciples the manner in which He would die, and then He told them He would rise on the third. Think about it, if Christ is raised from the dead what did His disciples have to fear, since not even death could keep Him from accomplishing His plan to save sinners?

Resurrection Power: Peter is Revitalized

Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened. (Luke 24:10-12; ESV).”

Pastor Duncanson carefully gives attention to the emotional state of the disciples to help capture the overwhelming joy they felt when they learned Christ was no longer in the grave. In particular, Peter was the vehement leader among his fellow disciples, who rightly professed Christ, but denied and abandoned His Lord. Therefore, when Peter heard the Gospel on that Sunday morning, he was revitalized from his deadened state to marveling at the Resurrection of His Lord.

Do you marvel at the Resurrection?

Peter placed his confidence in his own ability instead of humbly listening to the Word of God in Christ. When Peter was given the opportunity to die for Jesus, his flesh failed him, his heart was left exposed and his sin overwhelmed (cf. Matthew 26:41). However, when he heard the Gospel on Sunday morning, he could marvel because he realized that God in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is able to forgive His sin and strengthen his heart to follow Him faithfully (cf. Psalm 73:26; John 21).

Listen to this week’s full sermon for free and check out the sermon note below.

Jesus Will Not Reject His Own (John 6:35-48)

April 1, 2015

Reflecting on the Passage:

Here at East Point Church, we had the pleasure of welcoming our brother Jim Whittle (Project Director at Equipping Leaders International, Inc.) to bring the Word of God this week. This week’s sermon shows the power of rejection. Rev. Whittle highlights the significance of Christ’s sufficiency. The focus of this sermon is on the power of God’s acceptance in Jesus to overwhelm the enslaving effects of the fear of rejection.

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The Fathers Love Gifts to the Son

Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day (John 6:35-40;ESV).

Rev. Whittle emphasizes the importance God the Father giving those who come to Jesus the Son as love gifts. Fear leads to discouragement, but Jesus says He will not lose any nor reject those who come to Him in faith. Moreover, the love of Christ overwhelms and nullifies fear as we draw closer to Him (cf. 1 John 4:18).

The Sons Acceptance

So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, I am the bread that came down from heaven. They said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, I have come down from heaven? Jesus answered them, Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, And they will all be taught by God. Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life (John 6:41-48; ESV).”

The Father draws us to Himself through Jesus. When God draws those who He choses to Himself, the love of Christ will overwhelm the fear of rejection, since they know Jesus accepts and receives them on behalf of the Father. For example, as we trust Christ instead of fear of rejection, we can imitate Christ by serving others in love; we can forgive freely; we can share the love of Christ through the preaching and teaching of His Word; and above all, we can become more generous with those in need.

Do you believe the Lord is drawing you to Himself?

We try everything in our power to avoid situations where we may experience rejection from others. How much more should we concern ourselves with our state before God? We cannot earn our salvation and unless the Father draws us to His Son, no sense of rejection will be more devastating than hearing Him say to us, “Depart from me” (Luke 13:23-30).

Listen to this week’s full sermon for free and check out the sermon note below.

For more information concerning Rev. Whittle and ELI, please visit their website at: http://www.equippingleadersinternational.org/missionary-families/rev-jim-and-shari-whittle/.

The Gospel is Unstoppable (Acts 18:1-17)

March 25, 2015

Reflecting on the Passage:

Here at East Point Church, we have begun a new sermon series entitled “Acts: The Spirit and the Church in the World“. This week’s sermon displays the Power of God in the Gospel. Pastor Duncanson illustrated how the Gospel changes those to whom God choses. The focus of this sermon is on how the Gospel motivates its messengers, moves beyond boundaries, and manifests the power of God and the Grace of God.

The Gospel is Unstoppable: Motivating the Messenger

After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. And he went to see them, and because he was of the same trade he stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade. And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks (Acts 18:1-4;ESV).

Paul, once persecutor of the Church, is now preacher of the One to whom he ran from, namely, Jesus Christ. Although Paul lacked financial support when he first arrived in Corinth, this inconvenience did not prevent him from teaming up with Aquila and Priscilla so that he could continue proclaiming the good news of the Gospel in this city. Perhaps, Paul worked as fellow tent-maker throughout the week, then preached on the weekends.

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The Gospel is Unstoppable: Moving beyond Measure

When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus. And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles. And he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. His house was next door to the synagogue. Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire household. And many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized (Acts 18:5-8; ESV).”

When Paul came to a new city, he went to the synagogue (when possible) to preach the glories of Christ because he had a burden to see the Jews saved (cf. Romans 9-10). However, the Jews were not receptive to the message of Jesus as the Messiah, leaving Paul with no choice but to take this message to those who were outside of his natural heritage (cf. Matthew 10:14; Mark 6:11; Luke 9:5; Romans 10:5-21). While the Jews were slow to believe, the Lord prepared the hearts of two Gentiles named Tititus and Crispus, who were only a few feet from the synagogue.

The Gospel is Unstoppable: Manifestly Merciful

And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people. And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him before the tribunal, saying, This man is persuading people to worship God contrary to the law. But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, If it were a matter of wrongdoing or vicious crime, O Jews, I would have reason to accept your complaint. But since it is a matter of questions about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves. I refuse to be a judge of these things. And he drove them from the tribunal. And they all seized Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the tribunal. But Gallio paid no attention to any of this (Acts 17:12-15; ESV).”

Pastor Duncanson described how the Lord provides encouragement for those carrying the message of Christ by elaborating on the vision Paul received during his time of need (cf. Hebrews 4:16). First, God reminds Paul in the vision that His plans will always be accomplished, regardless of the apparent opposition (Isaiah 55). Secondly, God encourages Paul with the promise of His presence (cf. Matthew 28:20).

Does the Gospel govern your pursuits?

Whether working a secular job or not, Paul’s message of the Gospel was the same. The Gospel governed all of his pursuits, since he understood that through his preaching some would believe in the Christ he proclaimed. If you believe the God of the Universe is with you, you would live differently.

Listen to this week’s full sermon for free and check out the sermon note below.

A World of Desire (1 John 2:15-17)

March 18, 2015

Reflecting on the Passage:

Here at East Point Church, we had the pleasure of welcoming our brother Walter Henegar (Senior Pastor of Atlanta Westside Presbyterian Church) to bring the Word of God this week. This week’s sermon demonstrates the power of the Gospel to combat worldliness. Pastor Henegar makes clear distinctions between the will of God and the desires of the World. The focus of this sermon is on the problem of worldliness and the promises of God.

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The Problem of Worldliness

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 of life is not from the Father but is from the world (1 John 2:15, 16;ESV).

Pastor Henegar describes three prominent expressions of worldliness. The things and accolades we use to define ourselves before the Lord usually reveal the pride of life. The restless desire of the eyes and the flesh often lead us to seek for fulfillment in created things rather than the Creator.

The Promises of God

And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever (1 John 2:17; ESV).”

On the other hand, there are two essential promises to quench the desires of this world. First, the world and the desires therein are passing away, which means everything in this life is temporary. Secondly, God promises eternal life to those who abide in Christ (cf. John 3).

Where in your life do your desires draw you away from God rather than toward Him?

The problem is not that we have desires, but our problem stems from insatiable desires that lead us away from God. Our heart naturally opposes the things of God due to the sin we inherited from Adam and not to mention our own sin. Fortunately, Jesus Christ is able to deliver us from the enslavement of sin and even our desires, in order that we may do His will (cf. Galatians 1:3-5).

Listen to this week’s full sermon for free and check out the sermon note below.

For more information concerning Pastor Henegar and AWPC, please visit their website at: http://www.atlantawestside.org.

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