As I’ve worked on the sermon I’ll share on Easter Sunday at the North Wayne Mennonite Church, I have ended up with two different outlines. 🙂 One has more of a focus on what the resurrection of Jesus saves us from — death. The other has a greater emphasis on what we are saved to — life. Since I’m pretty confident they don’t want me preaching both of them on the same morning, here are the main points of the “No Longer DEAD” outline.
Because of Jesus we are no longer:
Distant — While especially true of Gentiles, even for the average Jew the approach to God prior to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus was always from a distance. From the time of Moses leading the people out of Egypt to the time of Jesus, the instruction from God to the people almost always sounded like “stand back!”. Yet while Jesus was on the earth, His words more often beckoned people to “come to me, you who are weary and I will give you rest.” When we are made alive in Christ, we are adopted into His family and are no longer considered distant.
Excluded — Sin separates us from God and excludes us from His presence. When Jesus paid the penalty for sin through His death on the cross, the veil in the temple which separated people from the presence of God was torn from top to bottom. God chose to make Himself accessible to all who were once excluded, should they choose to seek Him. Remaining dead in our sin excludes us from life in Christ, but through Jesus those who were once “not a people” can now become the “people of God.
Aliens — While science fiction fans may first think of strangers from another planet when they hear of aliens, in many ways that is exactly what we are to God when we remain in our sin. Because God’s ways are so much different and higher than man’s ways, while we live according to our own ways we are indeed aliens in regard to the kingdom of God. Yet an interesting thing happens when we arrive as aliens in a foreign land. When we choose to make that land our home and become accepted by its rulers, it becomes our home and we become aliens in regard to our former way of life. Through Jesus we are no longer aliens in regard to God and His kingdom. In fact, it is in Christ that we walk as aliens in this world.
Destroyed — Because the “wages of sin is death”, outside of Christ we are all on a path that leads to destruction. The sin that we commit, whether large or small in our eyes, all requires the same penalty — death. Because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus our penalty has been paid if we choose to accept the payment being made on our behalf. When we are in Christ, we choose to walk a path away from destruction and toward a life that remains eternally in Him. It is through the goodness of God and His mercy that He has made a way through Jesus to destroy the power of death so that we need not be destroyed.
Yes, because of the power of the resurrection, in Christ we are no longer dead.
This is the audio from the February 4, 2018 sermon, “The DESIRE of Your Heart!”, shared by Tom Lemler at the North Wayne Mennonite Church.
Text: Psalm 37:4
God promises that when we delight in Him, He will give us the desire of our heart. While it is easy to jump to the thought that God will give us what we want, the larger promise is that our delight in God will put within us a new desire that could only come from Him.
Our delight in the Lord will give us the . . .
Direction of our heart.
Expressions of our heart.
Surrender of our heart.
Inclination of our heart.
Rejoicing of our heart.
Endurance of our heart.
When God transforms the desire of our heart through our delight in Him, we become more like Jesus with each passing day!
This is the audio from the January 28, 2018 sermon, “DELIGHT Yourself in the Lord!”, shared by Tom Lemler at the North Wayne Mennonite Church.
Text: Psalm 37:4
We often like the idea of God giving us the desires of our heart but it is easy to overlook the first half of that promise where we must delight our self in the Lord. The audio file is missing the “Heal yourself in the Lord” point, but here are the main points from the sermon:
Discover yourself in the Lord.
Encourage yourself in the Lord.
Love yourself in the Lord.
Inspect yourself in the Lord.
Guard yourself in the Lord.
Heal yourself in the Lord.
Teach yourself in the Lord.
The key to finding delight in all of this is not the “yourself” part of the statement, but the “in the Lord” part!
Here are some thoughts, lessons, and/or reflections from the day:
It was an early start to the day as I headed to work to finish up cleaning and building prep for the day. I still think getting up early was a better plan for me than staying up late last night.
Once the building was ready for the day, I cleaned myself up and headed to Dowagiac, Michigan where I had the privilege of preaching this morning.
My sermon was focused around how we can delight ourselves in the Lord. Here are the main points of my message:
Discover Yourself in the Lord: While many people spend a considerable amount of time trying to “find themselves”, we must find our self in the Lord if we truly want to live with delight. When we seek to “find what pleases the Lord”, we find that doing those things bring us great delight.
Encourage Yourself in the Lord: As one who regularly bounces up and down between being encouraged and discouraged, I can attest to the fact the where we find our encouragement has a lot to do with how long it lasts. When we look to the Lord for our source of encouragement, we find delight even in circumstances that would not be encouraging without God’s presence with us.
Love Yourself in the Lord: In a culture that defines love in so many different ways that it becomes difficult to know what true love really is, we can find delight in knowing that God is love. When we learn to love who God has made us to be, we discover that we can love others more fully and find delight in God’s love for us and in the love He has placed in us.
Inspect Yourself in the Lord: Inspection is a necessary part of life if we want any level of confidence in the things around us. We inspect bridges, roadways, food, buildings, and so many other things in order to make sure they meet certain standards for our safety and protection. As we draw into the presence of God, we find delight as we inspect our life so that we would allow nothing to remain that would hinder an appropriate relationship with God.
Guard Yourself in the Lord: When we find delight in the Lord, it isn’t long before the enemy tries to steal our joy from us. The good news is that God has given us all the armor necessary to guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Guarding our self in the Lord should bring us great delight as we realize that nothing can separate us from the love of God that we have in Christ.
Heal Yourself in the Lord: Somehow I left the “H” out of my outline this morning but when that was pointed out, this is the word I would have used in this place. The healing we find in the Lord ought to be cause for great joy and delight. As Jesus went about teaching and doing good, He would often heal people and tell them that it was their faith that healed them. While physical healing is nice, it is the spiritual healing we receive from the Lord that ought to bring us the greatest delight.
Teach Yourself in the Lord: While God surrounds us with faithful witness that we ought to learn from, He has also given us His Word and His Spirit so that the lack of a teacher is no excuse. Whether we are learning from a person, God’s Spirit, or His Word, we ought to find delight in being teachable. God has created us to be curious learners and when we seek to find delight in the Lord, we will find ourselves being taught in the things of the Lord.
After the church gathering, I dropped my family off at home and headed to a missions committee meeting. It was good to gather and discuss the missions outreach of the local church I attend.
The late afternoon found me home and relaxing after a full day.
Part of my relaxing was going through another day’s worth of photos from the camp leaders conference.
Today’s photo is one that brings me great delight as it comes from a hike I took to a waterfall before setting up the prayer ministry display at the conference last week.