This is the audio from the September 25, 2022 sermon, “Loving the Outcast: Share TRUTH!”, shared by Tom Lemler at the Deer Run Church of Christ.
Text: John 4:4-42
There are people all around each one of us who have experienced some form of rejection and the accompanying feeling of not belonging. I suspect that there are people you know who live as an outcast . . . perhaps that person is even you. The good news is that Jesus loves people, including those who are outcasts of society. When we examine God’s Word to see how Jesus loves people, we ought to learn how He would have us love people. Today’s message takes a look at the story of a Samaritan woman who seems to be living as an outcast of her community yet had an encounter with Jesus that changed her life and the lives of many in her town. When Jesus stepped up to love this outcast, He did so by sharing truth in a way that was gentle and loving. We love like Jesus when we learn to share . . .
Time. John 4:4-8
How often do we use our lack of time or our tiredness as an excuse not to love people like we should? As Jesus passes through Samaria, we read that He is tired from the journey and sits down by the well. Instead of ignoring the other person there, Jesus engages this woman in conversation with a simple request that she was capable of meeting. In the midst of His weariness He shares His time. When we seek to love the outcast like Jesus does, we must choose to share our time whether we feel like it or not.
Respect. John 4:9-10
While a common saying today is that respect is earned not given, Jesus seems to show a pattern of giving respect whether a person has done anything to earn it or not. This Samaritan woman was a bit confused about why a Jewish man would be asking her for anything, let alone even speaking to her. I believe Jesus wanted her to know He understood the differences and common practices but had enough respect for her to treat her like a person. When we seek to love the outcast like Jesus does, we must choose to share a respect that comes from the common ground that exists because of our need for Jesus.
Understanding. John 4:15-18
With a foundation of time and respect, Jesus begins to reveal to this woman an understanding that she had likely never experienced before. He was able to talk with her about her past and her current way of life in a way that did not bring the conversation to an abrupt end. There was something about the way Jesus offered exactly what she needed, living water, that caused her to not only believe her life was understood by Jesus, but also to understand the offer of Jesus was far greater than anything she had ever experienced. When we seek to love the outcast like Jesus does, we must choose to “walk a mile in their shoes” and share an understanding that can bring us to unity in Christ.
Teaching. John 4:19-26
I suspect many times when we want to share truth we like to jump right to the “teaching” part. Jesus did get to the teaching, but it was teaching built on a growing relationship of time, respect, and understanding. There are many who believe that the woman in the text attempted to change the subject because she was uncomfortable with Jesus talking about her personal life. I tend to think she believed she finally found a person who could answer her deep questions about worship which God finds acceptable. Jesus takes the time to teach her not only about the rules of worship given by God through the Old Testament law, but also how those rules were really meant to bring people into a lifestyle of worship wherever they were. When we seek to love the outcast like Jesus does, we must choose to share teaching with gentleness and respect.
Humility. John 4:39-42
One of the greatest hindrances to loving people like Jesus does is a lack of humility that keeps us from seeing people like Jesus does. Even when Jesus identifies Himself as the Messiah this woman is waiting for, He does so with a gentleness that contains no hint of condemnation or condescension. While the Bible is clear about Jesus being the ultimate example of humility, I also marvel at the humility of this woman who goes back into the village to proclaim she had encountered the Messiah. To go from outcast to evangelist only takes place from a position of humility. When we seek to love the outcast like Jesus does, we must choose to share humility in a way that serves others according to their need.
This is the audio from the September 18, 2022 sermon, “Loving the Overlooked!”, shared by Tom Lemler at the Deer Run Church of Christ.
Text: Luke 19:1-10
As I begin a new sermon series which will look at various gospel stories of Jesus loving people, we look at a trait that is common in most of the Bible characters we will look at during this series — the difficulty of being overlooked. Because understanding how to love the overlooked is foundational to loving like Jesus, I decided to use an old-school outline of the three “R’s”.
A Loving Realization. Luke 19:1-4
When this encounter with Zacchaeus takes place, Jesus is simply passing through. We begin to love the overlooked when we begin to realize they exist all around us, and perhaps even are us, as we journey through life. Jesus realized that people were seeking Him and some, like Zacchaeus, were having great difficulty. We love the overlooked when we become more like Jesus and look to where they are rather than being like the crowd whose very presence made it impossible for Jesus to be seen. We live with a loving realization when we see everyone we encounter as a person who Jesus would notice.
A Loving Request. Luke 19:5-7
I always find it interesting that Jesus invited Himself to the home of Zacchaeus. While I suspect it would be rather strange, and perhaps not very appropriate, to invite ourselves to have dinner in the homes of strangers, we can make a loving request to enter their life in ways that would be helpful. When we ask a person how we can pray for them, we invite ourselves into their life as a representative of Jesus. When we invite conversation and are willing to listen, we make a loving request that can help people see Jesus in us. We live with a loving request when we ask God and the people we encounter how we can help them see Jesus more clearly.
A Loving Result. Luke 19:8-10
I suspect the easy thing to do is to consider the giving of half his wealth and the promise to repay four times over anyone he had cheated to be the loving result of this encounter Zacchaeus had with Jesus. I don’t think that is the real result, rather that is part of the fruit of the real result. The loving result of being loved by Jesus is found in the statement of Jesus that salvation had come to the house today! When we are willing to humble our self and let go of every selfish and ulterior motive, we find God’s desire is still to seek and save the lost. We live with a loving result when we carry a message of salvation to all, and especially to those who are overlooked.
Today, how will you love those who are overlooked?
This is the audio from the September 11, 2022 sermon, “The Courage to Finish Well!”, shared by Tom Lemler at the Deer Run Church of Christ.
Text: Joshua 23 & 24, 2 Timothy 3:10 – 4:8
When it comes to living out a time for courage, how you finish is of utmost importance. God promises the crown of life to those who persevere and are faithful to the end. When we examine the life of Joshua, we learn to live with the courage to finish . . .
Wisely. Joshua 23:1-5, 2 Timothy 3:10-11
Finishing well requires a recognition of both how we got to where we are and how we will get to where we are going. Joshua showed great wisdom in making God the hero of the story of the nation of Israel and their entrance to the promised land. When we accept the fear of the Lord being the beginning of wisdom, we are able to submit to His ways and plans regardless of how comfortable or uncomfortable they make us feel. Living with the courage to finish wisely means that we will consistently give God the credit for His faithfulness and for anything good in our life.
Enlisting. Joshua 23:6-8, 2 Timothy 3:14-17
Finishing well requires that we are actively involved in enlisting others to be full participants in the kingdom of God. Just as our learning and equipping should be never-ending, our teaching and training of others should continue all of our life. As Joshua advanced in years, he understood the need to enlist others to not just belong to a nation but to be a people of God. Living with the courage to finish enlisting means that we will always seek to make God known and lift up Jesus in ways that He can draw others to Himself.
Loving. Joshua 23:9-11, 2 Timothy 4:2-5
Finishing well requires that we are loving God and loving others to the very end. Just as God’s love for us calls us into full obedience, our love for others should direct them to a life lived in obedience to God. Joshua’s love for God and for the people of Israel directed that he be honest with the people in regard to what would happen if they obeyed God and what would happen if they disobeyed. Living with the courage to finish loving means that we will love people enough to be honest about their real need for Jesus.
a Legacy. Joshua 24:15-16, 2 Timothy 4:6-8
Finishing well not only requires that we leave a godly legacy for others to follow, it creates that legacy. The Bible tells us that the people of Israel obeyed God throughout the lifetime of Joshua and throughout the lifetime of those who had been taught by Joshua. The legacy of instruction and of life left by Joshua was incredible. Living with the courage to finish a legacy means that we pass along to others all that we have received from God.
This is the audio from the September 4, 2022 sermon, “What Do You SAY?”, shared by Tom Lemler at the North Wayne Mennonite Church.
Text: Mark 8:22-37
When we encounter Jesus, our life ought to not only be different but it should also speak of Him to the world. As you consider your relationship with Jesus, what does your life . . .
See. Mark 8:22-26
What do you see God doing in your life? How clear is it to you and to others? As Jesus brought sight to a blind man in the text, it seemed to have required a further connection with Jesus to bring complete clarity. Sometimes we are living life with a somewhat clouded view of spiritual things simply because we have not maintained the necessary connection with Jesus. We can easily become satisfied with a casual relationship that doesn’t produce what God desires for us to see. We have something real to say to the world when we use our connection with Jesus to help us see His work in our life.
Acknowledge. Mark 8:27-30
Many people during the days Jesus was on earth thought good things about Him but failed to acknowledge who He really was. When we talk about Jesus in generic terms that may be positive but fall short of Him being the Son of God, we create confusion and uncertainty in our own mind as well as in the sight of others. We have something real to say to the world when we faithfully acknowledge Jesus as the Christ who came to save people from their sins.
Yield. Mark 8:31-37
When I think of the work yield, I think of both the idea of submitting to someone else and of producing a good crop. God makes it clear that we must deny our self in a way that fully yields to Him if we want to be His disciple. It is only through this type of yielding that he produces within us a crop of faithfulness which yields a harvest of righteousness. We have something real to say to the world when our life is fully yielded to Christ and is yielding a bountiful crop of the fruit of the Spirit.
Today, what will you SAY with your word and with your life?
This is the audio from the August 28, 2022 sermon, “A Place For Everyone Is A Place For ME!”, shared by Tom Lemler at the Deer Run Church of Christ.
Text: Joshua 20 & 21, Ephesians 4:1-13
I suspect that every person has times when it feels like everyone belongs except them. After Israel had the courage to claim God’s promises and all the promised land had been divided among the tribes, there was still the matter of having the courage to make a place for everyone. As God’s children, and as His church, we are called to live with the courage to proclaim that there exists a place for everyone in God’s kingdom. That place is for . . .
Mercy. Joshua 20:1-5, Ephesians 4:1-6
As Joshua continued following God’s instructions in providing a place in the promised land for everyone, he made certain that mercy would be shown to those who needed it. We have a place to belong in God’s kingdom because of His mercy extended to us. It’s because of God’s great mercy that we ought to present ourselves to Him as a living sacrifice. It is also our awareness of God’s mercy that calls us to extend mercy to others. Mercy received and mercy given are key elements that are foundational to making every effort when it comes to pursuing unity through making peace with God and with one another. We help help create a place for everyone when we establish our life as a place for mercy.
As God made sure there was a place for everyone in the promised land, He allotted various towns and pasture lands to those who would be His representatives to the people — the priests and Levites. While those who would be these special servants of God had no territory of land given to them as a tribe of Israel, God Himself was to be there inheritance, He gave them places to live throughout each of the territories of Israel. God wanted those who would speak on His behalf to be available to everyone so that each person could be encouraged and equipped by God. As God’s children, we are called a royal priesthood and He as placed each of us in the midst of communities that need the presence of God to be visible. We help create a place for everyone when we establish our life as a place of encouraging and equipping.
Today, will you live as one who knows God’s kingdom is for ME?
This is the audio from the August 21, 2022 sermon, “The Courage To Claim God’s Promises: The Time Is NOW!”, shared by Tom Lemler at the Deer Run Church of Christ.
Text: Joshua 13 – 19, 2 Peter 1:3-8
Even when enemies are defeated through the power of Christ in us, there is still a time for us to claim the promises of God. That time is . . .
Necessary. Joshua 18:1-3, 2 Peter 1:3-4
Even after the enemies of Israel were defeated, there was still a need, a necessity, for the people to go out and claim the land God had promised them. In a similar fashion, while the spiritual enemy has been defeated by Jesus, we still must claim His eternal promises as our own. He has given us everything we need for a life of godliness through His great promises but we are still left with a choice regarding how we respond to those promises. We live with the courage to claim God’s promises when we realize how necessary He is to all that is good in life.
Obedient. Joshua 18:8-9, 2 Peter 1:5-7
When Joshua addresses the people of Israel after the battles had been won, it appears to me that the people were sitting back and waiting for God to simply hand them what He had promised without any effort of obedience on their part. It is through obedience to God and the instructions He gave through Joshua that the people find there is still work to be done by them in receiving what God had promised. When it comes to us, God says that His precious promises produce their work in us when our obedience causes the spiritual growth in increasing measure. We live with the courage to claim God’s promises when we respond in obedience to all of His instructions.
Worth It. Joshua 19:51, 2 Peter 1:8
After the lengthy battles and the understanding of what it looks like to claim God’s promises, the people of Israel eventually received what they had longed for and each tribe had a place of their own within the promised land. I suspect that they, like us, had times when they wondered if all they were doing was worth it . . . and they finally received the answer that yes, it was. When we claim the promises that are actually of God from His Word rather than the ones we make up on our own, we can be confident that the result will be worth it. We live with the courage to claim God’s promises when we look to the future and know it is worth it.
This is the audio from the August 14, 2022 sermon, “The Courage To Defeat Enemies”, shared by Tom Lemler at the Deer Run Church of Christ.
Text: Joshua 11 & 12, 1 Peter 1:13-16
I suspect that most of us have times in life when the opposition we face seems great and it appears the enemies around us are more numerous and powerful than what we can handle. It is in the midst of such opposition that it is far too easy to attack one another as we lose sight of the real enemy that seeks to destroy us. When we go to God and seek the courage needed to defeat our enemies, He reminds us that our battle is not against flesh and blood and therefore our enemies are not the people around us. When we look to God’s Word, we find help to defeat enemies in the following ways.
Courageous Preparation. Joshua 11:6-8, 1 Peter 1:13
Part of the courageous preparation that helps us defeat enemies involves understanding just who the enemy really is. When we notice the strength of the enemy, we ought to quickly realize how vital it is for us to be obedient to God’s instructions in everything. We prepare our minds for the battle by taking every thought captive and making them obedient to Christ. When our preparation includes an accurate understanding of what we’re up against, we should quickly realize just how much we need the power of Christ dwelling in us in order to obtain victory. We can “attack suddenly” only when we are fully prepared.
Courageous Perseverance. Joshua 11:18, 1 Peter 1:14
Sometimes when we read the Bible and see how God brings about victory for His people it can be easy to miss the timeline of the battle. Victory may not be quick or easy all of the time but in Christ it can always be obtained. The old story of the tortoise and the hare has a Biblical foundation to its meaning as God says the crown of life will be given to those who persevere. Christ came to break us free from the power of sin and to remind us that we don’t have to live the way we once did. Many times the enemy we face seems too big or too powerful or too appealing or knows us too well or too whatever but even when we stumble and fall, God calls us to a courageous perseverance as He picks us back up and sets our feet firmly on the path that walks with Him.
Courageous Protection. Joshua 11:23, 1 Peter 1:15-16
Perhaps the most courageous part of protection is coming to the realization that you need it. Many times we do battle on our own because we don’t want to admit that we can be tempted, or that we are struggling, or that we need help. When God calls us to be holy just as He is holy, it ought to make us quickly realize we can’t live in that way without Him. The end of Joshua 11 tells us that Joshua followed the instructions given to Moses by God and the result was that their enemies were defeated and the land had rest from war. When we choose to daily put on the full armor of God, He tells us that doing so will help us to stand when the day of evil comes and when it is all said and done and the battle is over, to still be standing.
Will you seek God’s help today to defeat the enemies which try to destroy you?
This is the audio from the July 31, 2022 sermon, “The Courage To Overcome Sin”, shared by Tom Lemler at the Deer Run Church of Christ.
Text: Joshua 7 & 8
Life is full of high points and low points regardless of how we live, so having the courage to overcome is a valuable trait for everyone at all times. Sometimes, however, we face defeat because of sin and we must be courageous enough to overcome the sin in order to overcome the struggle. So, what does it look like for you and I to overcome . . .
Selfishness. Joshua 7:20-21, James 4:3
Often at the heart of sin in our life is an element of selfishness. It was the selfish nature of a man named Achan that brought about the need for Israel to overcome sin before victory could again be obtained. As those who have been bought with the blood of Jesus, we should live a life devoted to Him in such a way that selfishness has no place to take root. When we daily decide that God is in charge and that we are not, we begin to live with the courage to overcome selfishness.
Injury. Joshua 7:4-5, James 4:1-2
Sin has a way of causing injury not only to the person who sins, but often to many others as well. Israel’s army suffered defeat and the loss of lives because of sin in the camp. Whether we are the one injured or the one causing injury, God expects us to look deep within His Word to see how He can bring forgiveness and healing. When we allow God’s Spirit to convict us of sin and bring about a transformation in our life, we begin to live with the courage to overcome the injury sin has caused.
Neglect. Joshua 8:1, James 4:17
While many people would not set out to intentionally sin, we find ourselves caught up in the sin of neglect by choosing not to do the things we know God has said we ought to do. It appears to me that after the resounding victory over Jericho, Israel decided to forgo getting God’s direction on how to proceed and came up with their own plan for conquering the city of Ai. At the very least, the plan implemented at the beginning of Joshua 7 was very different than the plan God directed at the beginning of chapter 8. When we decide that everything is important enough for us to seek God’s counsel, we begin to live with the courage to overcome neglect.