A New MIND! (Sermon Audio)

A New MIND! (Sermon Audio)

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This is the audio from the January 29, 2023 sermon, “A New MIND!”, shared by Tom Lemler at the Deer Run Church of Christ.

Text: Ephesians 4:20 – 5:2

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2

Today continued a sermon series with a focus on being Made New In Christ. Being made new in Christ will change the way we act because it changes the very foundation of our thoughts through a transformation of our attitude.  To do that well, it is important to realize the in Christ we live with a new . . .

  • Motive.  Ephesians 4:20
    • Being made new in Christ will cause us to examine why we do what we do as we allow God to purify every motive that we have.
  • Instruction.  Ephesians 4:21-24
    • Being made new in Christ will lead us to make use of God’s Word as instruction for how we live.  The instruction of God’s Word is not simply for filling our minds with new information, but for transforming the way we think and act.
  • Nature.  Ephesians 4:25-32
    • Being made new in Christ will change the very nature of who we are as we are transformed through the renewing of our mind.
  • Direction.  Ephesians 5:1-2
    • Being made new in Christ will cause us to walk, live, and think in a new direction.  Godly repentance is not only about our actions, it is also about turning our thoughts completely around and thinking in a new direction.

Today, how will you live a new MIND?

A New LIFE! (Sermon Audio)

A New LIFE! (Sermon Audio)

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This is the audio from the January 22, 2023 sermon, “A New LIFE!”, shared by Tom Lemler at the Deer Run Church of Christ.

Text: Romans 5:20 – 6:7

“But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out.  ‘Go, stand in the temple courts,’ he said, ‘and tell the people the full message of this new life.'”
Acts 5:19-20

Today continued a sermon series with a focus on being Made New In Christ. Being made new in Christ will not only give us new life, but it wall also call us to tell others the full message of that new life.  To do that well, it is important to realize the in Christ we have been given a new . . .

  • Likeness.  Romans 5:20 – 6:7
    • While mankind began by being created in the image of God, the entrance of sin into the world has stamped our flesh  with a different image — the image of sin.  When we are made new in Christ, we die to sin and are made new in the likeness of Jesus.
  • Individual.  Romans 6:8-14
    • In the ways of the world, our individuality is primarily all about us — we become ruler of our own domain.  When we are made new in Christ, our individuality is all about becoming one with Christ and with one another as the body of Christ.
  • Freedom.  Romans 6:15-18
    • Most people long for freedom and believe that true freedom means they can do whatever they want.  When we are made new in Christ, we find a freedom from the bondage of sin as we are set free to live in obedience to righteousness.
  • Example.  Romans 6:19-23
    • Many times our society will set people up as heroes and examples based on criteria that is very short-lived and even more short-sighted.  When we are made new in Christ, we find a “great cloud of witnesses” that teach us how to be examples of faith even as we become part of that great cloud for others.

Today, how will you live a new LIFE?

A New WAY! (Sermon Audio)

A New WAY! (Sermon Audio)

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This is the audio from the January 15, 2023 sermon, “A New WAY!”, shared by Tom Lemler at the Deer Run Church of Christ.

Text: Hebrews 10:19-29

“This is what the LORD says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.’
But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’“
Jeremiah 6:16

Today continued a sermon series with a focus on being Made New In Christ. Being made new in Christ will call us to live in way that is new only because we are not accustomed to living that way.  In fact, this “new way” is a return to the ancient way . . . the way of God defined from creation forward.  When we know Jesus as “the Way”, we find He  is the One that gives us a new . . .

  • Washing.  Hebrews 10:19-22, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
    • When we are made new in Christ, we are washed in a new way.  This isn’t a “good enough” wash or even a “that will do” wash but rather it is a full and complete cleansing of every part of our being.  To be washed in a way that is complete will require us to reject a “you tell them” attitude when the Bible talks about sin and instead take the message to heart and be cleansed.
  • Assembly.  Hebrews 10:23-25, 1 Corinthians 11:33
    • When we are made new in Christ, we are called to a new assembly.  When we are put together and assembled by God into an organism that is His body, we discover the importance of one another.  The new way that is to be lived by those who are in Christ is not the “everyone for themselves” mentality of the world but rather an everyone for one another mindset that creates an eagerness to come together for fellowship, encouragement, and worship of God.
  • Yielding.  Hebrews 10:26-29, Philippians 2:3-4
    • When we are made new in Christ, we experience a new yielding.  While our flesh often leads us along a path of least resistance and easy pleasure, God’s calling is for us to reject the allure of sin through a full submission to Christ.  The good news is that God can see and know the details of our heart in a way that realizes whether our sin is a continual practice or a stumbling of temptation.  When we yield fully to God, we no longer have a desire to practice sin even if that sin finds ways to creep in and tug at our life.  This new way of life is one that says God is in charge of everything and I willingly submit to Him and to one another.

Today, how will you be made new in your WAY?

Made New In BIRTH! (Sermon Audio)

Made New In BIRTH! (Sermon Audio)

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This is the audio from the January 8, 2023 sermon, “Made New In BIRTH!”, shared by Tom Lemler at the Deer Run Church of Christ.

Text: John 3:1-21

Today continued a sermon series with a focus on being Made New In Christ.  In John chapter 3, we find the account of an interaction between Nicodemus and Jesus which results in some teaching that includes one of the most famous verses in the entire Bible.  Being made new in Christ includes a response to the call of Jesus that we must be born again.  When we follow Jesus fully, we find that we are made new in . . .

  • Belief.  John 3:1-3
    • Experiencing a new birth in Christ will result in a new belief that is more than just a verbal parroting of what seems to be expected.  While Nicodemus begins the conversation with a statement that would indicate some degree of belief, there is also the issue of approaching Jesus under the cover of darkness while very few of the encounters Jesus had with the Pharisees were positive.  The first response of Jesus to Nicodemus in this encounter was that something more was needed — the belief that Jesus had come from God needed to bear the fruit of a new belief that comes from a new birth.
  • Inclusion.  John 3:4-9
    • Experiencing a new birth in Christ will result in a new inclusion that gives a place of belonging to all who are born both of water and Spirit.  This isn’t a universal inclusion that says anything and everything is just as good as anything else, but rather an inclusion that says in Christ you belong.  All who are born of the water and the Spirit are included in God’s family because of the new birth the experience.  I don’t set the criteria and no human institution can set that criteria to either include or exclude someone, that is done solely by God.
  • Relationship.  John 3:10-15
    • Experiencing a new birth in Christ will result in a new relationship with God and with one another.  When we are born in the flesh, we are related to both those who gave us birth and to those they are already related to.  Being born by the Spirit brings us into relationship with God, with all those who are already in relationship with Him, and with all who will still come into the family.
  • Truth.  John 3:16-18
    • Experiencing a new birth in Christ will result in us having a new understanding of the truth of God’s love.  While John 3:16 tends to be quoted often to describe the incredible love of God and His desire that none would perish, in context the truth expressed in this passage requires an active belief in God to escape the condemnation that we have brought upon ourselves.  It is by living in the truth of God’s Word and His love that we not only experience eternal life, but we have the tools available to share the good news of this new birth with others.
  • Hope.  John 3:19-21
    • Experiencing a new birth in Christ will result in a new hope that endures all things.  It doesn’t take very long to realize the truth of the world living in darkness.  It is fascinating to me that Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night and then Jesus concludes this conversation with a statement that those who practice evil love darkness and those who live by truth will come into the light.  When you live with the light of Jesus in you, you have all that is needed to find hope in the midst of the darkness of this world.  While the darkness is plentiful, it is not powerful enough to overcome the true light of Jesus.

Today, how will you live as one who has been made new in BIRTH?

All In! (Sermon Audio)

All In! (Sermon Audio)

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This is the audio from the January 1, 2023 sermon, “All In!”, shared by Tom Lemler at the Deer Run Church of Christ.

Text:  2 Chronicles 16:9, Mark 8:34

Today began a sermon series with a focus on being Made New In Christ.  Before we dive into various things that are made new by Christ, we begin with a foundation of being all in when it comes to our relationship with Christ.  It can be far too easy and common to try to walk down the center of the fence in life in an attempt to keep one foot in the world and one in the kingdom.  God says that He searches the earth to find those who are fully committed to Him so that He can strengthen them.  When we choose to live all in, we do so with the help of God.  When I think of a snapshot of all in believers, I think of the events in Acts 2 when the church was born on the day of Pentecost.  When we choose to live a life that is all in, we become a church family that is . . .

  • All INvited.  Acts 2:21, Revelation 22:17
    • Throughout scripture, we find that God is constantly inviting all to come to Him.  We begin the process of living all in by accepting God’s invitation to find life through Christ.  We live all in when we do our part in extending God’s invitation to all.  .
  • All INstructed.  Acts 2:37-40, 1 Thessalonians 4:1
    • We grow in Christ when we are willing to accept all of the instruction contained in God’s Word.  Peter made it clear that the instructions of God were for all . . . all present that day and all who would come in future generations.  We live all in when we do our part in taking the instruction we have received and passing it along to all.
  • All INvolved.  Acts 2:41-44
    • God’s invitation and instruction are both designed to involve every person who would respond to Him favorably.  We see the foundation of the church being established as a place for everyone to be involved and to use the gifting God has placed in their life.  We live all in when we do our part in both our activity within the body of Christ and in involving all.

Today, how will you live as one who is All IN?

The Christmas Truth: The WORD of Truth! (Sermon Audio)

The Christmas Truth: The WORD of Truth! (Sermon Audio)

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This is the audio from the December 25, 2022 sermon, “The Christmas Truth: The WORD of Truth!”, shared by Tom Lemler at the Deer Run Church of Christ.

Text:  John 1:1-15

Today concluded our Christmas FEAST series as we looked at Jesus coming to earth as the Word of Truth.  Generally, how  you feel about truth depends at least partially on the context in which truth is being requested.  When you are cruising down the interstate thinking about everything except your speed, you are probably not such a big fan of truth when the flashing lights behind you turn out to be an officer who clocked you at 100 mph.  However, if that same officer shows up to investigate an accident in which your vehicle was hit in a manner that was entirely someone else’s fault, you are likely very interested in truth.  When it comes to our relationship with Jesus, we don’t get to choose whether the truth of who He is is convenient or not . . . we simply must decide if we accept Him as the Word of Truth that He claims to be.  Our encounter with Jesus should lead us to know Him as the . . .

  • Wonder of Truth.  John 1:1-5
    • The truth of Jesus ought to fill us with great wonder as we consider His hand in creating all that exists . . . including us.  It was the Word speaking forth that called everything into existence that is.  To imagine the power of that Word to call light into being and by that same Word established an ecosystem that sustains life.  All that we see and experience ought to fill us with a great sense of wonder at this Jesus who is the WORD of Truth.
  • Object of Truth.  John 1:6-11
    • It seems like nearly everything of great value and significance in this world draws people that want to imitate the appearance while substituting something far inferior.  Sometimes when we are the messengers of Christ that He calls us to be, it can be tempting to put our self in the position that is reserved for Him.  John wanted to make it very clear that while he was preparing the way for the One to come, that was the extent of who he was.  He consistently made it clear that he was not the real object the people were looking for, but rather Jesus was the genuine thing when it came to truth..
  • Result of Truth.  John 1:12-13
    • Perhaps most importantly to us, there is a result of truth residing in our life.  When the Word of Truth shows up in our life, we find that by believing in that truth we gain the right to be children of God.  It is the truth of God’s Word that instructs us and calls us to repentance.  It is through an obedient belief in the Word of Truth that we have a place of belonging in the family of God.
  • Deity of Truth.  John 1:14-15
    • All of this discussion of Jesus as the Word of Truth only makes sense when you accept the deity of Jesus as being the One who was with God and the One who is God.  When the  WORD of Truth include the element of deity, then the Christmas story is more than just a neat tale of a baby being born in the midst of difficult circumstances.  In fact, it is the deity of truth that leads to the calling of Jesus, Immanuel, meaning God with us.  The Christmas story then becomes a story of God taking on flesh and dwelling among us so that He could offer Himself as the perfect and spotless sacrifice to take away the sin of the world.

Today, how will you live with Jesus being the WORD of truth in your life?

The Christmas Surrender: Living As the LORD’S Servant! (Sermon Audio)

The Christmas Surrender: Living As the LORD’S Servant! (Sermon Audio)

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This is the audio from the December 18, 2022 sermon, “The Christmas Surrender: Living As the LORD’S Servant!”, shared by Tom Lemler at the Deer Run Church of Christ.

Text:  Luke 1:26-38

Today continued our Christmas sermon series with a look at the surrender element which is central in the Christmas story.  At the very center of the Christmas story is Jesus who surrendered His position with the Father as something not to be grasped onto, but emptying Himself and becoming a servant of all.  And then there’s Joseph who wanted to both protect Mary and do the right thing from his understanding of the wrong which must have occurred, but surrendered his will and understanding to the message of God through an angel.  And of course, there’s Mary.  At the heart of Mary’s surrender is the statement in Luke 1:39, “I am the Lord’s servant.  May it be to me as you have said.”  As we gaze into the life of Mary, we discover how to surrender when we choose to live as the . . .

  • Listening Servant.  Luke 1:26-28
    • Our journey to a Christmas surrender begins by choosing to be a listening servant.  The Lord’s servant must realize the relationship between servant and Lord and seek to listen fully to God.  It is through listening that we learn about God, about our self, and about others.  As we share the feast of Christmas with the people around us, we serve them well when we listen to God and listen to them.
  • Observant Servant.  Luke 1:29
    • Our journey to a Christmas surrender continues as we choose to be an observant servant.  One of the great barriers to people gazing deeply into God’s Word and doing what it says is when we are greatly troubled by what we see.  Our honesty with God and His Word needs to carry us to a point of faith even when our initial observation leaves us with a lack of clarity.  God’s message to Mary was troubling to her yet she continued to watch and listen for what God would do and say.  As we share the feast of Christmas with the people around us, we serve them well when we deliberately observe the working of God in His Word, in us, and in others.
  • Respectful Servant.  Luke 1:30-34
    • Our journey to a Christmas surrender also continues as we learn to be a respectful servant.  I suspect this becomes most tested when the request that is made is something we either don’t understand or don’t like.  One of the keys to being a respectful servant of God is to always keep in mind He is God and you are not.  Mary was troubled by the message delivered to her by the angel and I suspect there was great confusion in her mind yet her initial response is a respectful question.  Being a respectful servant doesn’t mean that we have no questions, or that we can’t ask questions, it simply means we honor God with the respect He deserves.
  • Decisive Servant.  Luke 1:35-37
    • Our journey to a Christmas surrender also continues as we learn to be a decisive servant.  Having doubts and questions when it comes to serving God is a very natural thing.  We can express those doubts and ask our questions of God, but being a servant says that we will decide to do what God says no matter what.  There comes a time in our questioning and doubt that we must decide if we believe God and will walk by faith or if we will continue to stumble in the darkness.  Mary took her questions to God and listened to the answers given which led her to a moment of decision.  When we choose in the light to follow God’s Word no matter what, it makes it easier for us to be a decisive servant even in the midst of darkness.
  • Submissive Servant.  Luke 1:38
    • Our journey to a Christmas surrender culminates when we take each of these characteristics we’ve talked about and use them to lead us in being a submissive servant.  In many ways, that is a rather redundant statement as you’re not really a servant if you are not submissive and a submissive spirit will always lead you to serve.  Mary’s response is one that ought to echo from our lips and our hearts each day that we live.  Our willingness to serve God is not measured by our words, but rather by our actions . . . and not just our actions toward God, but also our actions towards others.  When we choose to say each day, “I am the Lord’s servant.”, we find that our life will reflect the level of surrender found throughout the Christmas story.

Today, how will you live as the LORD’S servant?

The Christmas Excitement: A Great JOY! (Sermon Audio)

The Christmas Excitement: A Great JOY! (Sermon Audio)

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This is the audio from the December 4, 2022 sermon, “The Christmas Excitement: A Great JOY!”, shared by Tom Lemler at the Deer Run Church of Christ.

Text:  Matthew 2:1-12, Philippians 2:12-18

Today continued our Christmas sermon series with a look at the Christmas excitement experienced by the wise men.  When I think about excitement and exceedingly great joy, I often think about accomplishing or experiencing something that is extremely difficult or even thought to be impossible or at least highly improbable.  There seems to be a correlation between the effort put forth and the joy produced.  In fact, it can be the times of greatest difficulties which lead us to a joy that is unlike any other.  For these Magi from the east, it was the earnestness of their search that led them to “rejoice with exceedingly great joy” when the star reappeared and let them to the house in Bethlehem where they found the child Jesus.  As we examine the story of the Magi, I want us to also consider our own story and reflect on the elements of our great . . .

  • Journey.  Matthew 2:1-8, Philippians 2:12-13
    • The wise men set out on a great journey with the goal of being able to worship a child who had been born king of the Jews.  They had observed a sign that led them on a great journey, not knowing exactly where they were headed.  Our journey to Christ is often similar in that we receive a calling from God’s Word and we continually grow in holiness and righteousness as we pursue God each day.  Given Herod’s reaction, it appears to have taken the wise men up to two years to find the Christ after first seeing the star in the east.  They kept searching and learning until their goal was accomplished.  When Paul tells us to work our our salvation, he is not talking about earning our salvation through our efforts bur rather to live in such a way that our path to salvation in Christ becomes evident to us and to those around us.  Life’s journey will be difficult and full of trouble but when it is a great journey toward God, it leads us to a great joy.
  • Observation.  Matthew 2:9-10, Philippians 2:14-16
    • Having a great observation is not only about being able to see, it is also about knowing the significance of what we observe.  The wise men noticed something that stood out to them and for some reason it carried a message to them that no one else seemed to get.  We really don’t know if this star was exclusively revealed to the wise men or if it was visible to anyone who happened to be paying attention to the sky.  I tend to believe that it was something God placed in the sky for all to see, yet the vast majority of people paid it no attention.  Whatever the case might be, these men observed something that both got their attention and led them to action.  Paul writes to us and challenges each child of God to live as those who “shine like stars”.  Our joy ought to be amplified when we observe the working of God in someone’s life, just as the joy of the Lord ought to grow in others as they see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven.  When we seek to live with great joy in the midst of a troubled world, we live in such a way that a great observation leads us and others closer to Christ.
  • Yielding.  Matthew 2:11-12, Philippians 2:17-18
    • The wise men appear to come from positions of influence and power as they are able to spend much time traveling, they gain an audience with Herod, and they have precious and valuable gifts to give to Jesus.  Yet the very heart of their trip was to worship and yield to the authority of this child that was born king of the Jews.  Their plans, even in their changed departure, was a continual yielding to the will of God.  It is this very element that helps us in having joy that the world knows nothing of when we find ourselves dealing with the struggles of life.  Even when it feels like our life is being poured out through the trouble of this world, we gain strength as we yield to God and desire His will to be done in us and through us.  When we daily yield to Jesus, we find that even the sorrows and grief of this life can result in the growth of our faith and testimony as we seek to make Jesus known.

Today, how will you have a Christmas JOY that others can see?