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I had the privilege of preaching on 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 this morning. A one-sentence summary of my sermon is: God’s design for gender and sexuality is being restored in those whom He has graciously saved and who are in the process of being sanctified.

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I had the privilege this morning of preaching the fourth sermon in a short series on God’s Design for Gender and Sexuality. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: As Christians, we must respond to transgenderism and transgender people (and everyone else for that matter) with clarity, conviction, and compassion.

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Ge2

This morning, I had the privilege of preaching on Genesis 2:18-25 (“God’s Design for Marriage” in a series called “God’s Design for Gender and Sexuality”). Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: God designed marriage to be a blessing, with a specific pattern, sequence, and order – all for His glory and our good.

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SoThat

Small words, which are sometimes called “the fine print,” can be extremely important. That’s especially true when it comes to the Bible – God’s Word.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

We learn first of the attributes of God. He is merciful and “the God of all comfort.” That’s who He is by nature.

Next, we learn of the action of God. He “comforts us in all our affliction.” Because of who He is, He gives aid and comfort to those of His children who are afflicted, or experiencing trials and tribulations (and who of us can say we haven’t been there ourselves?). Whatever the affliction may be, whether internal or external, God strengthens, encourages, soothes, and quiets us. Just about everyone of us  has “been there, done that, got the t-shirt.”

But if we’ve been on the receiving end of God’s comfort -and here’s where the “fine print” of small, but significant words come into play – we’re obligated to give it to others. God comforts us in all our affliction so that (don’t skip over those two small words!) we would give comfort to our brothers and sisters in Christ who are afflicted. “So that” is a “purpose clause,” which means what comes after is the reason, or purpose, of what came before. God comforts us in our afflictions (that’s the action that came before), in order that “we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction” (that’s what comes after).

God’s comfort is an incredible blessing, but it’s never meant to be hoarded. It’s meant to be shared and passed on. It’s like the infomercials we see on television – after telling us what the product is and asking us to buy it, they add the line, “But wait, there’s more!” In the same way, don’t read the first half of the sentence and then stop. Wait! There’s more! We’ve been comforted by the God of all comfort to give it to others who are suffering.

Don’t waste your affliction or the comfort you’ve received from God.

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As I read Psalm 31 yesterday in my read-through-the Bible-in-a-year program, verse 15 jumped out at me. In the midst of his psalm, David writes, “My times are in Your hands.” 

As I meditated on that phrase, the following thoughts came to my mind.

“My times are in Your hands” teaches us, as does the rest of the psalm, God’s sovereign care and control of the lives of His people. It can be seen even more clearly when each word is considered in turn.

My times are in Your hands. God’s care and control are personal and individual, not just for “first class” Christians or special Christians or especially holy believers. “My” includes me and all of God’s other children individually, too.

My times are in Your hands. God’s care and control are inclusive. Everything I am and have are in God’s hands. It isn’t simply physical time, though that’s included. The Lord determines the day of my birth, my death, and everything in between.

My times are in Your hands. God’s care and control are present – not past (not “were”) or future (not “will be”) or potential (“might be”); it’s actual. His control and care are current and constant.

My times are in Your hands. God’s care and control is active. My times are in His hands, not outside of them. To be “in” is to possess something and have it under control.

My times are in Your hands. God’s care and control are His possession – something He does and doesn’t share with anyone. I’m in God’s hands, not my own (which is a very good thing, for which I’m incredible thankful!).

My times are in Your handsHands are representative of what God id doing – His work on our behalf in this case. Nothing slips through God’s hands – nothing in our life or the lives of God’s people.

Because our times are in God’s hands, He does with us whatever He chooses. Knowing that should be a soft pillow, and not a hard rock, on which to lay our heads.

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Psalm 56:3 is good medicine for the soul.

In context, David writes, “Be gracious to me, O God, for man has trampled upon me; fighting all day long he oppresses me. My foes have trampled upon me all day long, for they are many who fight proudly against me. When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise; in God i have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?” (Ps. 56:1-4)

When David wrote this psalm, King Saul was in hot pursuit of him, trying to kill him. David, the man after God’s own heart, admitted the nature of the battle and the effect it had upon him, but he was convinced of a deeper truth that was even more real then the personal effects of the battle.

He states it in verse 3: “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.” When we are afraid, even as a precious child of God, we know our Father can be trusted. We may be trampled upon, oppressed, and fought against, but it never has to be simply endured, stoically accepted, or even raged against. David’s prescription is medicine for the soul – when I am afraid, I will trust God.

The deeper truth is that God is worthy of our trust. He knows what He’s doing. He’s causing all things to work together for our good and His glory. Our sovereign God (sovereign over everything) sees to it.

This truth, which is also a command, has an application that is far wider than being on the run from a king! It applies to everything! We can say:

When I am discouraged, I will put my trust in You.

When I am worried, I will put my trust in You.

When I am angry, I will put my trust in You.

When I am confused, I will put my trust in You.

When I am discontent, I will put my trust in You.

When I am impatient, I will put my trust in You.

When I am irritated, I will put my trust in You.

When I am tempted, I will put my trust in You.

When I am “out of my comfort zone,” I will put my trust in You.

When I am proud, I will put my trust in You.

When I am nervous, I will put my trust in You.

When I am joyful, I will put my trust in You.

And finally,when I am afraid, I will trust in You. That’s good medicine for the soul!

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Vince Lombardi, legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers in their early years, is said to have begun training camp by gathering all of the players around him and, while holding up a football, said, “Gentlemen, this is a football.”

There wasn’t one of those men who didn’t know what a football was, but that wasn’t Lombardi’s point. He wanted all of his players and coaches to know that the fundamentals of the game were important and would be stressed. If you forget the fundamentals, you’ll lose games – lots of them.

In the epistle he wrote to Titus, the apostle Paul laid down fundamental truth. He said,

Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men. (Titus 3:1-8)

Two bedrock truths are emphasized in this paragraph:

First, sinners are saved by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. We can never be right with God through our own efforts or good deeds. The only hope we have is God’s grace extended to us through the finished work of Jesus Christ. That’s the gospel we preach.

Second, salvation by grace alone through faith alone produces good works or deeds. When God justifies us by His grace, the inevitable result will be good deeds. One of the evidences of true faith in Christ is the presence of good works. As the Reformers put it, we’re saved by faith alone, but never by a faith that is alone.

Both faith and works have a part to play in the life of Christian. We aren’t saved by works, but they are part of the proof that we are saved. In other words, we don’t do good works in order to get saved, we do them because we are saved.

Gentlemen, this is a football.

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