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Sermon in a Sentence

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I had the privilege this morning of preaching on Philippians 1:3-5. What follows is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: Paul thanked God for the Christians in Philippi and prayed for them, especially because of their partnership in spreading the gospel – and he made sure to let them know it!

No, It’s Not Easy

To paraphrase G.K. Chesterton, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it’s been tried and found difficult.”

He’s right – being a disciple of Jesus Christ is hard. It isn’t easy to follow Christ. Perhaps that’s why Paul told Timothy, “discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness” (1 Tim. 4:7). The word “discipline” has the meaning of agonizing – working to the point of agony – in order to pursue the goal of godliness (which should be the goal of everyone who believes in Jesus Christ).

It’s hard to study God’s Word and properly interpret it in it’s context. It takes work and too often we’re tempted to wait until God “whispers the answer in our ear.” It’s easier to rely on a study Bible or our favorite teacher (or church) to tell us what it means, or even go so far as to say, “There are so many different interpretations; nobody reals knows what it means.”

It’s hard to pray. Our prayer should be fervent and continual, but that’s not easy. Our minds wander and it’s not hard to forget. It’s easier to neglect it and tell ourselves that “God knows what’s in my heart.”

It’s hard to apply God’s Word to our life – to actually try to do what it says. Success in obeying and putting into practice what the Lord has told us involves agonizing work  with a lot of starts and stops. Hearing the Word is easier than hearing it and then doing it.

It’s hard to evangelize. We find it easier to remain quiet and “let our life do the witnessing,” as if that were even possible. It’s easier to leave it to “the professionals.”

It’s hard to have real fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and I mean the kind of fellowship that goes beyond “Hi! How are you?” over coffee and doughnuts. It’s easier to keep to ourselves and not mix too much with those who don’t always think like we do, don’t have the same life experiences that we do, and are just, well, different.

It’s hard to minister to and serve other people. It’s easier to say we don’t have the time or the talent to lend a hand where and when it’s needed, then it is too actually help. It’s easier to see it as an interruption rather than as a divinely given opportunity.

It’s hard to “mortify the flesh” (Rom. 8:13) – to put to death the deeds of our sinful nature. We have to work at it every day, and the truth is that we won’t complete the task in this lifetime. It’s easier to give up and say, “That’s just the way I am; I’ll never change,” or “God understands; He’ll forgive me.”

It’s hard to stand for and defend biblical doctrine and values in a society that denies (and ridicules) all of them. It’s easier to give in and compromise for the sake of “love,” “unity,” and “compassion.”

The list could go on and on, but the point is simple: being a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ is hard – not easy. I’m persuaded that this is a reason some people leave the church (in may cases joining the Roman Catholic church, Eastern Orthodoxy, or some form of Protestant leftism): they get tired of the fight. Sure, they want to identify as a Christian, but the don’t want the fight, the hard work that goes along with it.

The good news is that God gives us the strength and ability to discipline ourselves for the purpose of godliness through His Holy Spirit! Hard doesn’t mean impossible when the Spirit of God is involved.

Don’t be deceived into thinking that being a disciple of Jesus is easy – it isn’t. It’s hard, but it’s what God has called us to as His people.

Sermon in a Sentence

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I had the privilege of preaching on Philippians 1:1-2 this morning. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: Our identity as Christians is that we are slaves and saints who have been blessed by God with grace and peace.

Sermon in a Sentence

Acts16-31_FrankDetrick-web

I had the privilege this morning of preaching on Acts 16:6-40 as I begin a new series in the book of Philippians. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: In the beginning of the church in Philippi, the sovereignty of God is pervasive and undeniable.

A Prayer

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“Almighty God and Father, grant unto us, because we have to go through much strife on this earth, the strength of Thy Holy Spirit, in order that we may courageously go through the fire, and through the water, and that we may put ourselves under thy rule that we may go to meet death in full confidence of thy assistance and without fear.

Grant us also that we may bear all hatred and enmity of mankind, until we have gained the last victory, and that we may at last come to that blessed rest which thy only begotten Son has acquired for us through his blood. Amen”

John Calvin

Sermon in a Sentence

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This morning I had the privilege of preaching on Romans 4:25. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: Both the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are necessary for our sins to be forgiven and for us to be declared righteous by God, with repentance and belief in Christ being absolutely necessary to experience those benefits.

Sermon in a Sentence

Psalm-2

This morning I had the privilege of preaching on the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem from Psalm 2. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: God responded to the rebellion of fallen humanity by installing His Son as King – submit to Him while there’s still time.