Sunday Morning Sermons by Dr. Matt Miles
On several occasions Jesus talked about the fact that God had given Him work to accomplish. John, in His gospel account, uses the word work far more often than any other biblical writers. The work God assigned Jesus to do involved suffering. Jesus knows all about suffering. He was no stranger to suffering. He suffered for you and me. With very simple language, I am going to relate to you what this text tells us about the suffering Jesus endured.
In our noisy world there is no shortage of voices clamoring for our attention. We somehow need to learn to block out those competing voices and train ourselves to listen for the voice of God. In Isaiah 40, God and others come speaking words of wisdom and comfort. As we examine this chapter, listen for those voices.
In his children's series The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis says that in the land of Narnia it is always winter but never Christmas. Are we living in Narnia? We are living in dark, cold days. Click the link and find out what two strategies Isaiah gives us to survive and thrive in the bleak days we presently face.
In Isaiah 25, I believe the prophet is talking about more than victory over the Assyrians. We have before us an instance when a prophet of God is heralding the Good News that our great God is going to do great things on our behalf. Because of that, as we read at the end of v. 9, we can be glad and rejoice in His salvation. But we will have to wait for Him. In this message, I want to let you know three things that we are waiting for our saving God to do.
We know the Hebrew prophets occasionally foretold certain things that would happen in days far removed from their day. They didn’t, however, give specific dates, but they did engage in some specific prophecies. Isaiah had a certain phrase he liked to use. In fact, he employed it 42 times in the book that bears his name. It is the phrase “in that day.” The prophecies of this book encompass both the first and the second coming of Jesus. His people, while they have undergone a severe pruning and appear to be no more than a stump, there is still life there, and from the stump of Jesse, there will come a Ruler. That brings us to the first of four truths I want you to catch.
Our God is with us. He is with us in joyful times. He is with us in frightening times. He is with us even when we are threatened, and foes assemble against us. Based on the promises of God and the presence of God, I am going to give you five blessings you can count and on which you can count. Read on and be blessed.
Can people fundamentally change? The prophet Jeremiah asked rhetorically, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots?” Isaiah records for us a transformational change he underwent as a result of a personal encounter he had with the Lord. As we look at today's passage. we will discover there are three things that were true of Isaiah's transformation that will be true of yours.
This morning we are going to focus on the four-letter word, call, as we begin our study of Isaiah. It is found almost 200 times in the Bible. When you include its related words, such as calling and called, the number balloons to over 800 times. Isaiah has been called the 5th gospel. There is much good news to be found in
the pages of Isaiah. Although we won’t find His name, we will find Jesus in this prophetic book. The fact that God calls rebellious people to Himself is itself good news. If God didn’t call rebellious people to Himself, none of us would make it because all of us were born with rebellious hearts and rebellious wills. Click the link and notice three truths from Isaiah.
Life teaches us that when one thing ends, something else invariably begins. The author of Hebrews ends his letter with a series of concluding prayers. As we look at these ending prayers, we find a template for what we need to begin.
Today, I am going to tell you from God's word how you can get a better pastor. If you will do two things that God through our text is telling you to do, you will get a much-improved pastor. Click the link and find out how.
We are getting close to the end of Hebrews. The author knows those Jewish believers to whom he is writing have experienced persecution, and he knows that more is on the way. He wants to steel them for the dark days that are sure to come. Like the Jewish believers of the first century, we, too, are going to face difficult times. The time to get ready for those trying times is not when we find ourselves in them. The time to get ready is today. Click the link to find out what four training steps the author of Hebrews gives us to get ready for tomorrow today.
Today, we come to chapter 13. This is where the rubber meets the road. It is clear that the author has gone from doctrine to duty, from belief to behavior, from creed to conduct, from exposition to exhortation, from vertical to horizontal. Click the link to discover two things—how our Christian faith affects our choices and informs our ethics.
I have come to believe that the strength and vitality of a person’s spiritual life is in direct proportion to how big his or her God is. If your God is small and limited, your spiritual life will be weak and fragile, but if your God is big and strong, you will be durable and resilient. As we look at today’s passage, I want you to “Behold Your God.” We are going to examine three truths about who God is, and I am going to follow up each of those truths with a single question that I want you to answer for yourself.
The last several Sundays we have been in Hebrews 13. The author of this letter opens this chapter by comparing the Christian life to a race, a long-distance race in which endurance is our great need. We come today to vv. 18-24. In this passage we get a glimpse of the destination to which we are running. We are not just running to a finish line. We are running to a particular place, a desirable destination. We are running home, our real home, our eternal home. Read on to discover seven things that our home is.
As children of God, we can never rightly accuse God of doing a poor job of parenting us. Since we believe that God is all-loving and all-wise, we must believe that what He is doing as our heavenly Father is for our best. We must maintain this belief even when we experience God's discipline. Today's text helps us know how to respond rightly to God's disciplining activity.
The Christian life is an ultramarathon. The goal isn’t to finish first. The goal is to finish. It is going to take endurance to keeping running until either Jesus comes back or we go to be with Him. The author of Hebrews, in 12:1-3, teaches us “How to Run with Endurance.” Let’s read our text. In our passage, I find three things we are to do that will help us to run and keep running.
In Hebrews 11 we find the story of those OT saints—those heroes and heroines—who took God at His word. Because they did, they were victorious in His eyes. There are three truths that emerge from our text about those with winning faith.
We used to only read about them in comic books. Now, we see them on the big screen, our TV screen, and on our mobile devices. I am talking about super heroes. Of course, what makes them super heroes is that they possess super-powers. In Hebrews 11 we have a list of super heroes, and we are told of the super heroic things they did. Interestingly, each of those super heroes in Hebrews 11 possessed the same super-power - faith. Today, we are going to look at what happens when faith becomes our superpower
Living by faith is the opposite of living by sight. When we live by faith, we make decisions based on what we don't see. Scripture portrays Abraham as the supreme example of the life of faith. Using Abraham as our model, we are going to explore what an uncommon faith looks like and why we need such faith.
True faith is a faith that enables us to say “yes” to God. It has been said that there are two words that simply do not go together. Those words are “no” and “Lord.” If Jesus is the Lord of your life and my life, we have no right to ever say, “No,” to Him when He calls us to serve Him in a particular way. When Jesus speaks to us, we are to say, “Yes, Lord,” and do whatever He tells us to do. We are going to examine four truths related to a faith that says, “Yes.”
In the Hollywood "Taken" trilogy, the word taken refers to something bad that happens—an
abduction, a kidnapping. In Hebrews 11:5 the author uses the word taken three times. In each instance, it refers to something remarkably good that happened to a man named Enoch. We are going to look at Hebrews 11:5-6 this morning. The title for the message is Taken: The Life and Legacy of Enoch.
Today, as we focus on just one verse in Hebrews 11, we find ourselves in a hall of fame of sorts. This chapter of Scripture is often referred to as the Hall of Faith. It presents to us men and women of the OT who distinguished themselves by their faith. Today, our focus is on faith, and the first person that is held up to us is a man named Abel. We would do well to have a faith like Abel’s. We are shown three things that will happen if you and I have a faith like Abel’s.
We are going to learn three benefits that become ours when we live by faith. I want you to notice that there is a significant difference between having faith and living by faith. We often tell people, “You just need to have faith.” That is not the message here. Faith is not a product that we acquire and hold on to as if the mere possession of faith will solve all our problems. The text does not say, “The just shall have faith.” No. It says, “The one who is righteous shall live by faith.” We are to live our lives by faith. If we will do that, today’s text assures us of three benefits that will be ours.
All my life, I’ve heard that you go to school in order to learn the three R’s. You know that the three R’s are: reading, writing, and arithmetic. Of course, only one of those words actually starts with the letter “R,” but you only know that because you went to school. As we look at today’s text, we are going to focus on the three R’s of following Jesus, and the three words we will examine actually do start with an “R.” These words are among the most sober in the NT. The author of this letter offers a clear warning of what we can expect if we turn away from Christ. Click the link to discover the three R's of following Jesus.
Have you ever read a formal resolution? Resolutions have a certain format. They began with the word Whereas: “Whereas (blah, blah, blah), let it therefore be resolved that (blah, blah, blah).” That is somewhat how this passage is put together. The author uses the word since twice in vv. 19-21. He is marshaling together the grounds for what he is going to call the Hebrew believers to do.
- Because Jesus shed His blood for us . . .
- Because Jesus is our Great High Priest . . .
- Because Jesus is far superior to the priests of the Old Covenant . . .
- Because we have confidence to go into God’s presence since Jesus is our Mediator with the Father . . .
“These are the things we need to do,” and then he states them (bam, bam, bam). He calls upon them to do three things. In answer to the question, “How Shall We Then Life?” I am going to say to you, these are the things we are to do.
You and I are familiar with “just enough.” While our common experience is to have just enough, our perpetual fear is that what we have and who we are, are not enough. Today’s text tells us about something that we adhere to, that we rely on, that in the end, is just not enough. That thing is religion. Religion is not enough. The problem is not that we aren’t religious enough; the problem is that religion itself is not enough. Religion is imperfect. Jesus commanded, “You must be perfect as your Father is perfect.” Even Paul realized that the old religion was not good enough. Read on to find out why.
People routinely use the word prodigal to describe someone who is wayward, rebellious, or far from God. The word actually means “to spend lavishly, wastefully, or extravagantly.” I want to submit to you, that there was someone else in the story of the prodigal son who was prodigal. It was the father. He was extravagant with something other than money. He was extravagant with his love. In addition to being a parable, this story is somewhat of an allegory. The younger son likely stands for you and me while the father in the story is really our heavenly Father. He keeps loving us despite our waywardness and rebellion. I want you to notice three truths about The Extravagant Love of Our Prodigal God.
Whenever you examine a passage, you need to ascertain who the text is talking about and what action is being discussed, encouraged, forbidden, or commanded. As we read through this passage, we will come to three key verbs that describe what Jesus has done, is doing, and will do. The three verbs are entered, offered, and appeared. Those three verbs frame the action and form the outline of this message.
The small word must appears 111 times in the OT and 125 times in the NT. In the Bible we find numerous things that we must do and those things that we must not do. We are going to look at three things that fit the category of being a must; all three things are necessary. We will see why that is the case.
We are all familiar with before and after photos. Today's text provides for us a before and after picture of Christ coming into this world. I want you to notice three wonderful things that happened when Christ appeared.
When FDR won the 1932 presidential election in a landslide, he hit the ground running with his "New Deal," a slew of new legislation and changes aimed at turning the country around and getting people back to work. In Hebrews 8, God offers us a New Deal with Himself. Find out three reasons why the New Deal with God is better than the old one.
A nameless woman whom Jesus met received one of the greatest compliments to be found in the Scriptures. Jesus said she had great faith. Read on to learn five truths concerning one mother's mega faith.
It is an odd thing. We have never known and experienced anything that was absolutely perfect, and yet perfection is what we seek. Hear this: The only time perfection and reality meet is in the person of Jesus Christ. That means the search for perfection should lead us on a search for Jesus.
We are going to examine Hebrews 7:11-28 as we consider “The Coming of Jesus and Our Perfection.” I want to you to notice three truths that highlight the person and work of Jesus.
What does it mean to be great? How do we know whether or not someone is great according to God's standard of greatness? According to our text, Melchizedek was a great man. I want to point out five qualities that belong to those who are truly great.
I can only find one verse in the entirety of Hebrews that clearly, openly, and obviously mentions the resurrection of Jesus. It is found in the last chapter of the letter (13:20). While it is true that Hebrews doesn’t clearly deal with the resurrection, it is also true that the reality of the resurrection is central to one of the most important teachings in the entire letter. That teaching is that Jesus is our Priest. In this message, I want to show you how the reality of the resurrection undergirds and supports three truths concerning the priesthood of Jesus.
The late Paul Powell said that when difficulty and trouble find us, we will choose one of four ways to deal with it. We can grope, mope, dope, or do what God wants us to do-hope our way through. But in what are we to place our hope? Our text today tells us we are to fix our hope on God's promises. When we do, we are assured that hope serves as an anchor for our souls. In this message, we will learn why the anchor holds, for whom it holds, and where it holds.
Wise King Solomon wrote in Proverbs 25:11, "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver." In today's passage, we find both words of warning and words of encouragement. Sometimes we need to hear them; sometimes we need to speak them. Find out the importance of timely words.
You remember The Jeffersons TV show. They came into some money, and were able to move up financially. The author of Hebrews encourages us to move up spiritually. Based on our text, I challenge you to do two things.
Long ago, I was taught that the best commentary on the Bible is the Bible. That being the case, I want to read to you Philippians 4:19 because I believe that one verse summarizes well today’s sermon text. “And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” In this message, we are going to examine how God meets our need and just what those needs are.
It is estimated that 70 million people in the U.S. suffer from insomnia or some other kind of sleep disorder. Insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic. We are a nation of tired people who are badly in need of rest. The Bible has much to say about rest. In the NT, it appears most often in the Book of Hebrews where it shows up 10 times in today’s text. Read on and find God's rest for yourself.
Personal responsibility doesn't seem to be in vogue today. But, we ARE responsible for the decisions we make, and the actions we take. Read on to learn what the author of Hebrews says about how we are empowered when we accept personal responsibility.
There have been numerous occasions in our county’s past when the Spirit of God has orchestrated times of awakening and revival, and they came at a time when they were sorely needed. You and I are living in such a time. I ask you to join me in praying that God would so move in our land that a great number would become Jesus people. Read on to learn "What Jesus People Need to Know."
In last week's message we sought to uncover the mission of Jesus. Today we will uncover the person of Jesus - who He became, and how we are to respond to Him because of who He became.
Like the show Undercover Boss, it occurs to me that Jesus was the first undercover boss. His humanity hid his deity. Read on to discover and uncover the mission of the One who came to us undercover.
That word see shows up a couple of times in our text—Hebrews 2:5-9. Our text tells us what we don’t see, what we do see, and makes clear what we will see. It is those three things that we will look at today.
Bad things happen when you and I fail to pay attention. In Hebrews 2:1, the author calls upon his reader to pay attention. Verses 1-4 are a warning. We are warned as to what will happen if we fail to pay attention to the message of salvation. We are going to look at three bad things that will happen if we fail to pay attention to the message of salvation.
Have you ever been underestimated? It hurts to be written off, rejected, passed over because you were underestimated. But something far worse, is when we underestimate Jesus. Read on to discover how to "Right-size" Jesus.
Through the Christmas event, the coming of His Son, God is saying to us, "I love you, and I'm glad to be here." Turn to Hebrews 1:1-3. We are going to focus on four truths about the God who speaks.
While part of being human in experiencing the continual growth and decline of certain abilities, what it means to be God is exactly the opposite. God is able to do all things and do them all well. Read on to find three truths about the God who is able.
Today, I am going to preach from just one verse. Charles Spurgeon preached from it a number of times, and entitled one of those sermons, "The Whole Gospel in a Single Verse." To understand the gospel, we have to catch what Christmas was all about. Click the link to read more.
Today, we are going to look at a passage that carries a hint of the Christmas story. It involves the birth of a Child, and that Child is clearly Jesus. Because of how I read Revelation, I’m not looking for the coming of the antichrist. I’m looking for the coming of Jesus Christ, and this last book of the Bible was written for the purpose of revealing Him and showing us His glory. Click the link to find out what Revelation 12 says about God's people.
I am afraid many church members view the Bible as being full of good stories, that it teaches good lessons, that it puts forth fine ideals, but were you to press them, they might hold that much of what the Bible says happened didn’t really happen. The question you and I need to ask and answer is this: “Is the story told of Jesus in the Bible true?” If it is true, then He deserves our total allegiance. From this passage, I want to focus on three truths as to who this Jesus really is and corresponding implications related to those three truths.
In the next to last verse of his letter, Jude gives us a hint of his original intention. He writes to us about one important aspect of our salvation, and then in the last verse of the letter, he praises God. The title of today’s message is: “Salvation: From Theology to Doxology.” There are three things that I want you to catch.
In this passage, Jude is returning to his initial call that his readers fight for the faith. You fight for the faith when you live by truth. First, you are to remember that we are in a war. Second, you need to remain in the love of God. Today, we come to the third thing we are to in order to live by truth and to fight the false teachers. We are to rescue (vv. 22-23). We will learn three things that we as rescuers are to do.
We have been going through the little letter of Jude, the next to last book of the NT. It is one chapter in length—25 verses long. In v. 3, Jude tells his readers that they are to contend, they are to fight for the truth. We are not to fight over the truth. We are to fight for the truth. Jude shows them what fighting for the truth looks like. Read on to learn more.
Last week, Jude urged us to contend, to fight for the faith. There are parallels between today’s text and v. 3 of Jude. While v. 3 calls upon us to contend for the faith, the verses in today’s text shows us what that looks like. We contend for the faith when we live by truth. Our text shows us three ways in which we live by truth. There is too much here to cover in one sermon; so, I am going to break this into three messages. We are going to confine today’s message to vv. 17-19 which tell us to remember.
In today’s passage, Jude tells us to contend for the faith, and then he contends for it by taking on the false teachers. Jude pulls no punches. He lets them have it with full force. Let’s look at vv. 3-16. I want to point out four ways that we can ensure that we are fighting faithfully for the faith.
While God created light in the beginning, in this world there are still places and times of darkness. It is only in the new heaven and the new earth that the night will be no more. We come today to the last three chapters of Judges. The darkness of this story is both surprising and terribly disturbing. Read on to discover three truths about the darkness of evil days.
There is no shortage of dummies in our world, and sometimes we qualify for that designation. One of the dumb things that has become popular is making up your own religion and fashioning your own view of who God is or who you want Him to be. This isn’t anything new.
In today’s text, we will see how those who were supposed to be God’s people were engaging in do-it-yourself religion. As we look at Judges 17-18, we are going to consider, “DIY Religion in a Make-It-Yourself Culture.”
Looking at the life of Samson, it is easy to see that Samson has a sin problem. His sin is fueled by his lust, his anger, and his pride. Our focus today is Judges 16 and in this chapter the writer uses the word night and darkness repeatedly in regard to Samson. Scripture often uses night and darkness as a symbol for sin. As we look at Samson and Judges 16:1-22 we will consider, “The Night of Sin.” I want you to notice three truths.
In this chapter we have several interesting episodes from the life of Samson. He was the supreme example of what it means to be a selfish pig. If you desire to attain the heights of piggishness, Samson is the perfect guide. Using him as our model, I want to teach you in four easy lessons how you, too, can became a selfish pig.
Secret things have a way of becoming known. Jesus said in Luke 8:17, “For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.”
In today’s text, there were things that Samson did not tell his parents and sought to keep from his fiancé. As we inspect this passage, we also discover there were some things that God was doing that was not openly known. Our goal this morning is to uncover three unspoken secrets.
Have you ever lived in fear that God might pull your coverage because you just don’t measure up? A lack of assurance is a very real thing. Many believers live with the fear that they haven’t done enough, that they don’t know enough, that they aren’t good enough. God does not want you to live with that kind of doubt and uncertainty. As a parent, you know that when your child hurts, you hurt. It is no different with God because God so loves His children. When we truly know that depth of God’s love for us, we will be able to overcome four things. Keep reading to learn more.
The Bible teaches that God has created three institutions—the family, the church, and the state. As to the family, we know that marriage is God’s idea. The Church was founded by Jesus. He is the Head of the Church, and the Church is His body in this world. God created a third institution—the State. The Bible teaches the responsibilities of civil government and the responsibilities of the individual to the state, but the Bible teaches our allegiance to the state is not absolute. We come to Judges 9. Abimelech was chosen to be a leader, a ruler over his people in Shechem. Today, we are going to look at what happens, “When Bad Men Rule.”
Do you ever feel inferior, insufficient, not up to the task, not enough—not pretty enough, not smart enough, not strong enough, not talented enough, not successful enough? We are going to meet a man today who was familiar with that feeling. Gideon is both a heroic and tragic character. He rightly knew that he didn’t have what it takes, but God called him a mighty man of valor because he looked beyond who Gideon was and saw what he could become through God’s help. What can you become with God's help?
Conflict. It’s everywhere. You can’t escape it. It is found within churches, between churches, and it ravages entire denominations. Disagreements, clashes, and skirmishes are common between political parties and even within a party. You find the same battles and fights in marriages and in families, businesses and corporations. You will find such problems plague our schools, and neighborhoods, and cities. Conflict is rife within our culture, and it escalates between people’s and countries.
What’s even worse, is we find conflict within our own heart. We have competing loyalties, and at times, a divided mind. Where can we go to find rest and peace in our turbulent, troubled world? In the midst of this war, however, you can be at peace with God, at peace with yourself, and at peace with those who follow God. What can we do to help that happen? As we look at Judges 4-5, we are going to find there are four things we can do to obtain an uncommon peace.
When you see something surprising, what kind of reaction do you have? When I see something unexpected, out of the ordinary, or rather astonishing, I am apt to point at it and say, “Well, looky there!” In Judges 3:24-25, there is a single Hebrew word that is used three times. The KJV and the NASB translate the word as behold. Its whole purpose is to let the reader know, what’s happening is surprising. We said last week that there are 12 judges who arise in this book—11 men and 1 woman. These judges served as deliverers or liberators. Three of them emerge in this one chapter—Othniel, Ehud, and Shamgar. From them and the events that surrounded their emergence, we are afforded a view of three surprising truths. Read on to find out what they are.
Today we are going to look at a group of people, an entire generation, actually, who suffered from spiritual amnesia. They forgot what God had done on their behalf. This same group qualified for another condition called apostasy. An apostate is one who abandons, forsakes, or walks away from his or her religion, faith, or commitment to God. We are going to learn that spiritual amnesia leads to spiritual apostasy. This type of amnesia precedes and produces apostasy. When we forget what God has done on our behalf, when we forget who He is and who we are in Him, we place ourselves in danger of turning away from Him. This is what an entire generation of Jews did after entering the land God had promised to them. Look with me at Judges 2:6-12a. We are going to learn three lessons from this wayward generation.
It has been said that failure is being successful at the things that don't matter. Based on that definition, are you a success or a failure? Judges 1 begins with a string of successes for God's people. But when Israel grew strong, they disobeyed God, which led to failure. They were successful failures. Read on to learn how you can avoid being a successful failure.
Series of Sunday Morning Sermons on Paul's Letter to the Philippians by Dr. Matt Miles
Today we close out our study of Philippians. We will look at the last four verses. These are more than a dry conclusion to an ancient letter. They are seed, and when they are planted, the Holy Spirit will cause them to grow into a succulent, sweet fruit called joy. We are going to look at three ways we can do or plant God's word which will result in joy.
A patient who is being treated for a memory related illness is often assessed to determine the severity of his or her impairment. They are said to be Oriented x 1, 2, 3, or 4. If you are Oriented x1, you know your name and the others close to you. If you are Oriented x2, you know where you are. Those who are Oriented x3 know what time it is—the year, the season, the day of the week. In addition to those things, if someone is Oriented x4, they also know why they are where they are. In a spiritual sense, as God’s people, we need to know who we are in Christ, where God has placed us, what time it is, and why we are here. Based on today’s text, I want to emphasize that there is another kind of orientation. It is not an orientation around self. Instead, we need to be other-oriented. Look with me at Philippians 4:14-19. We are going to examine, “The Other-Oriented Church.”
The words learn, learned, and learning show up 81 times in the Bible—40 times in the Old Testament and 41 times in the NT. The church is meant to be a learning community. We have been called by Jesus to be His disciples. As disciples, we are students. We are learners. Today’s text bears out the truth that we are to be life-long learners, and from the text, I want to emphasize three things that we need to learn and in which we are to grow.
Today, we are going to look at four verses in Philippians 4. We are going to consider, “Finding the Bridge Over Our Troubled Water.” Just like the generation of 1970, we, too, are looking for peace. Peace, my friend, is a Person, and Jesus is that Person. He is our peace. There are three things you and I need to do to find that peace God has for us.
From today’s text, I want to talk about a corporate testimony, about what God can say to others through the lives we live after coming to Christ. Let’s look at Philippians 4:1-5. Three times in these five verses, Paul uses the phrase “in the Lord.” The Church at Philippi, and I believe the Church of Liberty Southern, and the entire Church of God everywhere and at every time are called upon to stand firm in the Lord, and to agree in the Lord, and to rejoice in the Lord. I am convinced that when we do those very things, we offer a strong and powerful testimony to our world concerning the truth and reality of Jesus Christ.
In the pages of the Bible, we meet the successive empires of Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Macedonia, and Rome. Living as we do in 2021, we really don’t think in terms of empire, but those living in Paul’s day were confronted with the reality of empire every day. In 42 B.C. the city of Philippi was declared to be a Roman colony. As citizens of Rome living away from Rome, they were to reproduce in Philippi the customs and culture of Rome. Likewise, God has sprinkled this world with little colonies of heaven. Our job is to reproduce the values and culture of heaven. From today’s text, we are going to look at “What Citizens of Heaven Do.” We are to going to examine four things we are to do.
In this third chapter, Paul moves from an accounting metaphor to an athletic one. He had been talking about assets and liabilities, but now he is concerned with both running and winning a race. What is this prize that Paul wants to win? I believe the prize Paul sought to seize, and the one for which we are to run after is Christlikeness. I am going to offer you five keys that will help us to become more like Christ.
If you are a Christian, you are a disciple. A disciple longs to be like his Master. Paul wrote that his first goal was to gain Christ (3:8). That is not where the Christian life ends. That is only where it begins. From that starting point we go on to an even greater goal. Paul expresses his second and superior goal in the first five words of v. 10: that I may know Him. To know Christ is to experience Christ.
It is quite likely that somewhere along the way you have heard the phrase value added. It's been said that there is only one reason to be a leader, and that is to add value to people, to make them more valuable. God is the ultimate leader. Read on to find out how God, as our Leader, adds value to us.
God is in the sending business. The word send shows up 80-plus times in the NT, and the word sent appears approximately 190 times, and four of those occurrences are in today’s text. This matter of sending necessarily involves three audiences. First, there is the Sender. Next, there are the ones who are sent. Finally, there are those who are supposed to receive the ones who have been sent. Click the link to read more.
It appears to me that most Americans have, what I would call, a love/hate relationship with work. For some people, work is a four-letter word. Other people, instead of working to live, they live to work. Work is so central to our existence that we shouldn’t be surprised that the Bible has much to say about work. Click the link to read what Paul says about how salvation works.
We often refer to people’s lives as a story. Depending on the person, it may be a rags-to-riches story, or a hard luck story, or a Cinderella story, or a success story. Turn with me to Philippians 2:5-11. Here, we have an invitation to enter into the Jesus story. Jesus’ life beautifully illustrated what He taught. Jesus humbled Himself, and God exalted Him.
In today's passage, Paul argues that as Christians, we are not just individuals, we are part of something far larger than ourselves. We are part of God’s Kingdom. Together, we make up His Church. Now, we need to live lives that are worthy of the gospel, the good news about Jesus. There are certain expectations that God has of those who are His. We are going to look at three ways we are to live gospel-worthy lives and be a gospelworthy church.
Philippians is, without any doubt, the most joyful letter Paul wrote. The letter drips with joy despite the fact that he wrote it while being incarcerated in Rome. Paul made a choice to rejoice, and I intend to give you three reasons why you and I can rejoice.
As I look at our culture and the kinds of things that we are dedicating our time to—spending excessive amounts of time on social media, watching news programs that run 24/7, playing games on our smart phones or tablets—it occurs to me that our lives have become a trivial pursuit. We are pursuing the trivial. The definition of trivial is “of very little importance or value; insignificant.”
Several years back pastor and author John Piper wrote a book called, Don’t Waste Your Life. Wasting our lives is exactly what we will do if we continue chasing after the trivial. Instead, we need to give ourselves to knowing and doing big things, things that are far bigger than us and will long outlive us. That is why Jesus told His disciples, “Seek first the kingdom of God.” We need to become Kingdom people—people who live kingdom lives and who pursue kingdom priorities. Turn to Philippians 1:12-18. Paul begins this passage with the words: “I want you to know.” Here, Paul communicates some truths that need to capture us. They are “Truths Worth Knowing.”
A discerning shopper picked up a bottle of juice and turned it around to read the ingredients list. In the bottom corner of the front label, in small, easy-to-miss type, she found the telltale words: “Flavored juice blend with other natural ingredients.” She concluded that the enticing pictures and clever labeling were simply decoys to sell a diluted, blueberrypomegranate flavored product, disguised to look like something it wasn’t. What if I had an ingredients list printed on me? Would Jesus be the main ingredient? If not, how far down the list would He be?
And what about you? Would Jesus be at the top of your ingredient list or would He be far down the list as simply an additive? Is your life Jesus-flavored, or is it Jesus-filled?
Many believers experience a remarkable lack of joy. For them, the Christian life is about duty, responsibility, and adherence to a set of rules, most of which are man-made. If you insist on being a rule follower, God did command us to "Rejoice always." If you're not experiencing joy as a believer, you are being disobedient, and living contradictory to what God wants for you. While most Christians view prayer as a chore, it is actually an avenue by which joy comes into our lives. Read on to discover how to find joy in prayer.
The Christian faith is not primarily about doctrine and theological positions; it is about relationships. In today’s passage, Paul employs seven prepositions in a span of two verses. A preposition shows relationship, how one thing is related to another. And the New Testament was written, in large part, to govern how we act in those relationships. Let’s turn to Philippians and discover Five Important Relationships.
Sunday Morning Sermons on the Gospel of Matthew by Dr. Matt Miles
For some years, the hope and prayer of this church has been that we be a lighthouse for those in our community. I share those same dreams. A strong case, however, can be made that a church is better off if it views itself as a ship rather than a lighthouse. A lighthouse lacks mobility while a ship can move to wherever it is most needed. Max Lucado has compared the Church to a battleship rather than a cruise ship. Sometimes, the greatest threat to the harmony of the crew comes from the sailors themselves. I we are to enjoy harmony, there is one indispensable ingredient that has to be present among us. Read on to find out what The Grand Essential is, and how it works.
In America, graduation exercises are called "commencement." It means to start. As we come to the end of the book of Matthew, it seems to me that Jesus’ disciples are ready to graduate. Their course of formal instruction is complete. Their time with their Rabbi has come to an end. They are about to enter the most uncertain and thrilling period of their lives. It was time to own the mission Jesus had for them. Just like in our graduations, there was someone who delivered a commencement address to those disciples. That someone was Jesus. We call His address, “the Great Commission.” Let’s look at Matthew 28:16-20. I want you to notice three things.
I have a question for us to consider today. It is prompted by today’s text, and it is a question of supreme importance. My question is simply, “Did He or Didn’t He?” Did Jesus rise from the dead or did He not? The answer to that question is not only life altering, it also determines our eternal destiny. I want to sharpen the focus by asking and answering just two questions: If Jesus Rose from the Dead, What Are We to Do? And If Jesus Didn’t Rise from the Dead, What Does That Mean? Interested? click the title to read more.
The more I read my Bible, the more I am confronted with the fact that to live the Christian life is to live a counter-cultural life. Christian living goes against the grain of what our culture expects and routinely experiences. With that in mind, I want you to turn to today’s text. In this passage, we are presented with two distinct and very different groups of people. From our text, we are going to contrast what is involved in being either a quiet supporter or a vocal opponent.
In the gospel of John, Jesus says, "When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to Myself." By His death on the cross, the Spirit of God draws people to Christ. We are going to look at three ways He does that.
You and I live in a world full of irony. Many of the truths of the Christian life are clearly ironic. We are strong when we are weak. We must lose our life to find it. Today, we're going to examine four ironic truths about Jesus that are highlighted by the mocking He endured during His trial and crucifixion.
Every day, you and I face the task of answering questions, and some questions are hard to answer. Whether they realized it or not, when the Wise Men arrived in Jerusalem and started asking, “Where is he who has born King of the Jews?” they were asking, “Where is God?” This morning, we are going to return to our journey through gospel of Matthew. As we do, we are going to concern ourselves with, “Answering Life’s Most Important Question.” He didn’t realize it, but Pilate, the Governor of Judea asked life’s MIQ in v. 22. There is no more important question than that. I want you to notice four truths.
I have borrowed the title of that movie for the title of today’s sermon. Our text is Matthew 2:1-12. The Bible calls them the Wise Men or the Magi, but I’m going to call them "The Searchers." These searchers were seeking someone, and they went to great effort and great expense to find Him.
What do you find yourself searching after? It is food? Is it money? Is it love? The truth of the matter is that we are usually successful in finding whatever it is that we are searching for if we are willing to look hard enough to find it. That means, if we don’t look for anything, we will find that, too. What are you willing to search for with all your heart?
You may feel there is a considerable distance between you and joy, real joy, but I am here to say that it may be closer than you think. This season, we have been looking at Christmas Surprises. I am borrowing the title of C.S. Lewis’ autobiography as the title for this message: “Surprised by Joy.” Let’s look at Luke 2:8-20.
What was God doing before He created the heavens and the earth? I think He was planning. He planned everything that we would one day see with our Hubble telescope before He created it. He planned everything we would eventually study under our electron microscope before He created it. Before He created life, He planned the double helix structure of DNA. Before He created man, He knew man would sin, and He planned how He would redeem fallen man. (And as we know from Psalms 33:11, "the Lord's plans stand firm forever.") Read on to see how four people were surprised by God's plan.
Do you like surprises? For good of bad, surprises are a way of life because none of us knows what a day will bring. There were quite a few surprises that very, first Christmas. But even before that, God sent out a birth announcement in the book of Isaiah. Read on to discover the promises of the Child-King.
Where do you go and to whom do you turn when you need advice? When you are unsure as to the next step to take, how do you get direction and sound guidance? The Bible has a lot to say about wise counsel. King Solomon, for instance, wrote: “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22). The last two times those words, took counsel, show up in the Bible happens to be in today’s text. I submit for your consideration two questions: 1.) From Which Source Will You Take Counsel? 2.) On What Subjects Will You Take Counsel?
When we put all four gospel accounts together, we see that all but two of the disciples scattered when Jesus was taken away. Peter and one other disciple, very likely John, followed the mob. They hung back to see where Jesus was taken. Let’s read our verse: “Peter was following Him at a distance.” This verse is not about discipleship, but I want you to think about distant discipleship. Have you ever attempted to follow Jesus but from a distance? Read on to learn how following at a distance can be dangerous.
You've probably heard about the mild-mannered chemistry teacher who decided to start cooking crystal meth, but did you know that cultures, countries and even religion can 'break bad'? But this is nothing new. It has happened repeatedly through the centuries, as in today's text. Let's look at what happens when religion breaks bad.
Has God ever gotten your attention? How did He do it? He has unlimited ways. The question before us here is, how does Jesus get your attention. When the mob came to arrest Jesus in the garden, it's clear that He was the one in charge. Before they ever took Him into custody, He arrested their attention. Find out how Jesus wants to arrest your attention and devotion.
You and I live in anxious times. How do we deal with our fears and worries? Some may turn to the bottle, or they throw themselves into their work, or they develop an eating disorder, or they rely on something else that they think will numb the pain and soothe their nerves. All the while, we fail to remember what Jesus promised: “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Find out what Jesus did in His own time of fear, and how you can emerge from these times better and stronger.
In today's passage, Jesus and His disciples are observing the Passover meal. This commemorative meal was instituted to celebrate the deliverance that God brought to the Jewish people through Moses. But that event serves to point forward to a greater deliverance of a greater number from a far greater Moses who was yet to come. Read on to discover three truths about how the Gospel is all about Jesus.
When you choose for yourself a meaning for life that does not match with the real meaning of life, there will be disappointment, disillusionment, and the the consequences may be fatal. What makes life worth living? When you have a stable, growing relationship with Jesus, you have a reason to get up in the morning. Read on to discover three truths from this passage that show what gives meaning to life.
With the beginning of this chapter in Matthew's gospel, it seems that the speed of Jesus' journey to the cross increases. Let's not fall behind as we accompany Jesus on this final journey, and take note of three things that we will encounter along the way.
Today's passage serves as the climax to what is known as the Olivet Discourse. Jesus ends His message by dealing with the judgment that is coming after His return. This passage makes it quite clear that Jesus is the Judge. You and I and everyone who has ever lived are the judged. Are you a sheep or a goat? Read on and consider, "Jesus and His work of Judgment."
Jesus often contrasted the wise and the foolish in His teaching. In today's passage, Jesus introduces us to two servants who showed themselves to be wise, and to a third servant who by his actions showed himself to be terribly foolish. Read on to discover "How the Wise Live."
In the Bible, there is a lot of partying that goes on. Jesus talked about parties, went to parties, and sometimes, parties or dinners were held in His honor. As Jesus tells of His coming, He uses marriage language, and He portrays His return as a party. Read on to find out some important information about this coming Marriage Feast of the Lamb.
Previously, in the book of Matthew, Jesus refers to "those days" as the siege of Jerusalem along with its destruction. But then he changes it to "that day," meaning the day of His return. Here are two central truths we can learn from Jesus on the day of His coming.
What Jesus says in vv. 29-30 sure sounds like the end of the world and the Second Coming of Christ. We know, however, that the world has not ended, and Jesus has not come back triumphantly. I am going to show you that those words of Jesus are referring to the events surrounding and immediately after the destruction of the temple in AD 70. We do not think like a 1st Century Jewish person who was steeped in Hebrew Scripture thought. We think like 21st Century Americans think, and because we do, we often miss what Jesus meant by what He said.
Today we'll be examining a passage that is hotly debated - Matthew 24:15-18. Unlike many of today's preachers, I do not think Jesus was prophesying of events that are still to take place. I believe they were fulfilled in AD 70. So, what does this mean for us? Read on to learn three things about Jesus, and how we are to live in light of those things.
The first part of Matthew 24 involves Jesus describing what will happen before his second coming. We could say this time is the "Interim" between time and eternity, between this evil world and the glory of Heaven come down to earth. Read on to discover how we should live in the interim.
Today's message centers around an indictment Jesus leveled against the Jewish leaders. He said, "You were not willing." Read on to examine three questions Jesus might ask us today.
Matthew 23 contains a stern message from Jesus. It contains some of the harshest things Jesus ever said. Today, instead of automatically assuming that it is meant for someone else, let's look in the mirror and examine our own hearts in light of what He says about hypocrites, blind guides, and venomous snakes..
Have you ever had food poisoning? It is not a pleasant experience and one you would never want to experience again. It is never a good thing when food goes bad. Other things in this world can go bad, even religion. In today's lesson, Jesus shows us three ways religion goes bad. Read on to find out if your religion has gone bad.
Today, we come to the last six verses of Matthew 22. Now, it is Jesus’ turn to go on the offensive. Like the Pharisees and Sadducees, he asks questions. The most important questions are the first two: “What do you think about the Christ?” and “Whose son is He?” We are going to consider each and learn from them three key lessons about “Life’s Most Important Question.”
Businesses have them. Churches have them. Even some individuals have them. More than once, in the gospels, Jesus declares His mission. He also offers us instruction as to what we are to be about in this life. Let's look at, "Our Jesus-Given Mission Statement."
In today's passage, Jesus is asked and answers questions from various religious and political groups who came to him trying to set a trap for him and entangle him in his words. In an effort to trap Jesus, however, they ended up trapping themselves by what they didn't know. Read on to discover three ways we trap ourselves by what we don't know.
There are numerous metaphors in the Jesus' parables, especially when describing the Kingdom of God. From being compared to seed, to yeast, to hidden treasure, this story tells us that God's Kingdom will be like a party. Find out what He has done, is doing, and will do for the attendees.
(Watch the Morning Service from April 5, 2020 on our Facebook page, or go to our Home page and click the link.)
Upon hearing the parables of Jesus, it's easy to look for ourselves in the stories. But how much we can learn from them if we keep our eyes on God. From our text today, I want to identify 6 specific attributes that belong to our God. Jesus uses words to paint a picture of what our God is like. We are going to gaze at this portrait. You and I are in the background, but we are going to focus on the foreground in an effort to behold our God.
(Watch the Morning Service from March 29, 2020 on our Facebook page, or go to our Home page and click the link.)
Sometimes, we don't know who or what we can trust. We are in an unprecedented time. Can we trust what the government and the media are telling us about COVID-19? Beyond that, regarding your relationship with God, can YOU be trusted? Find out what being Honest to God really means.
When Jesus cursed the fig tree because it had no fruit, was he throwing a temper tantrum? On the contrary. Read on to discover what he was saying about Israel, and us.
I have heard it said that truth is more often caught than taught. Jesus was a master teacher, but his actions spoke volumes to his disciples. Here, we will "catch" 5 important truths to live by.
This chapter begins with Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. While many misunderstood exactly who Jesus was and why He had come, they were correct in praising Him. We know that our King is coming back, and this text teaches us what He deserves.
On any given Sunday, three categories of church attendees can be found: believers, unbelievers, and make-believers. Which one are you? Today's passage shows us three truths that are shared by those who have real faith.
It is generally accepted that the first is first, and the last is last. However, Jesus employed a type of new math to help- us understand three important truths.
Remember the rich young man whose possessions kept him from pursuing a close relationship with Jesus? Read on to learn what our Savior taught about wealth and entering the Kingdom of Heaven.
Do you ever miscalculate? I think we all do in ways that go far beyond our math homework. Sometimes when you miscalculate, the result is a bit of inconvenience. Some miscalculations are deadly. Today, we are going to look at a different kind of miscalculation. It is a spiritual one. One that can lead to spiritual destruction.
There's nothing quite like the power of a good example. Jesus' teachings were full of examples for us to follow. In today's short passage, discover three such lessons regarding children.
Do you know what matters to God? According to Jesus, marriage matters, people matter, and God's will matters. Keep reading to find out what our savior said about marriage.
The story of the prodigal son has as much dramatic power as when Jesus first told it. Pastor Matt's fresh perspective on this timeless tale will surprise you, and enlighten you. Find out what we can learn today from this family of prodigals. x
The name Malachi means “my messenger.” God had something to say to His people, and He used the prophet Malachi to deliver His message. In the 55 verses that make up this short four-chapter book, I counted 25 times that we find the phrase, “says the LORD.” Malachi tells us what God said.
I want you to notice the last time God we find the word says because there is another important word in the verse that comes before the word says. Look at 4:3. In addition to being a God who tells, our God is also a God who acts. He does. By His action, God shows us His power, His love, His purposes, and His plan. Our God is a God who shows and tells.
How are we to respond to this show and tell God? That is what we are going to look at today. We are going to highlight several passages within this book that teaches us what we are to do in response to our show and tell God.
With so many competing religions in our world, each with different truth claims, how do others know that our religion is authentic, that it is genuine? Zechariah helps us to answer this question in three ways.
Have you ever noticed that success in many fields depends on a good sense of timing? It's even true in our ability to serve the Lord. The minor prophet Haggai had to tell the people of Jerusalem what time it was. Find out from this small book what time it IS, and what time it's NOT.
Shakespeare's famous quote, "What's in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet," doesn't quite work with our God. He has many names, and each one is pregnant with meaning. Read on to learn three names of God found in Zephaniah which describe the God in our midst.
Though Habakkuk is a small book, only 56 verses long, its influence is huge. One verse in particular, "the righteous shall live by his faith" (Habakkuk 2:4) is quoted three times in the NT. Read on to find out how you can live the life of faith.
We often overlook the fact that the Bible sometimes uses feminine language to describe God. Read on to discover how God "Mothers" us with his concern, comfort, and counsel.
Most people long for a sense of security, one that gives you peace at the core of your soul. Where can we get that kind of security? Read on find the answer to that, and to meet the One who knows those who take refuge in Him.
The name Micah literally means, Who is like Yahweh? About a dozen times in the OT we read a statement to the effect, “There is no god like our God—none like Him.” Read on to discover four ways our God is unmatched.
In recent days, many people have been filled by fear or anxiety or worry. When an emotion exerts control over how you think and how you act, it can cause you to do irrational things, like horde toilet paper. A person who is filled with the Holy Spirit is controlled by the Spirit’s guidance. The filling of the Spirit is a matter of control. So, ask yourself, what or who is controlling your life?
Special Easter Message
Easter is more than a holiday to be celebrated; it is a life to be lived. In this message, we take a look at what it means to live the Easter life.