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1 Peter 1:13-1:25
A Nation of Bible Illiterates
George Barna wrote The State of the Church in 2002. Barna conducted a survey of self-pronounced Christians and here’s what he found about their knowledge of the Bible. These are Christians.
• 48% could not name the four Gospels.
• 52% cannot identify more than two or three of Jesus’ disciples.
• 60% of American Christians can’t name even five of the 10 Commandments.
• 61% of American Christians think the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham.
• 71% of American Christians think “God helps those who help themselves” is a Bible verse.
George Barna said, "Americans revere the Bible, but by and large they don’t know what it says. And because they don’t know it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates."
Just as the people in this Barna poll are woefully biblical illiterate, Christians are far too ignorant of the Word of God. No wonder 21st century Christians are failing to finish their marathon race. No wonder Christians by the thousands are falling prey to the false teachers of our day. They are being feed junk food and don’t feed themselves on the Word of God. They are desperately in need of a solid diet of good food, Scripture. We need to get into "spiritual shape"!
1 Peter 4:10-4:10
1 Peter 4:1-4:11
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DO YOU KNOW HOW TO PRAY
I heard a story of a ship that was sinking in the middle of a storm, and the captain called out to the crew and said, "Does anyone here know how to pray?"
One man stepped forward and said, "Yes sir, I know how to pray."
The captain said, "Wonderful, you pray while the rest of us put on life jackets--we're one short."
Author unknown. Taken from pastorlife.com.
ILL. A preacher recalls one such instance during the Sunday evening service. When he finished speaking, he asked, "Is there anyone else who would like to say something?"
At that, a rather dignified visitor stood up & said, "Yes, sir, I’d like to say something. This is the first time I’ve been back in this church in 35 years. I attended Sunday School in my grade school days, & I see here tonight my old Sunday School teacher, Mr. Alton." And he turned to face him.
Mr. Alton’s eyes opened wide as he looked at the stranger, who asked, "Mr. Alton, do you remember me? I’m Hurley." After a moment or two, a smile came over Mr. Alton’s face & he said, "It’s been a long time & I’m getting kind of old & my eyesight is not so good."
The visitor continued, "Mr. Alton, I want to tell you something that I think will make you happy. I traveled a long way to talk to you & ask your forgiveness. We were the meanest boys that ever were in Sunday School, & we gave you all kinds of trouble. I guess I was the ringleader in the mischief & meanness that went on.
"On the Sunday before my family moved away, I was particularly obnoxious. After leaving class I remembered something I had left in the room & decided I’d better get it since it was my last day. So I went back, & as I looked in the door I saw you seated up front with your head bowed, & it sounded like you were crying. I heard you pray, ‘O Lord, please help me.’ Mr. Alton, I stayed very still for a long time, & then slipped away.
"For 5 years, I hurt inside whenever I thought of you praying there. One day it suddenly occurred to me that I was on the opposite side of the Lord, & I’d been there ever since I was a boy. I’d upset the class & I’d upset the Sunday School & I’d upset everything. It made me pretty miserable.
"Finally I gave my heart to God. I’m an elder in my church now, thanks to the prayer you prayed that day. I’ve been thanking God for you for many years now, & tonight I’ve come to thank you & to let you know."
A man flew into Chicago & hired a taxi to take him downtown. As he was riding along they came to a red light & the driver went right on through the red light.
The man said, "Hey, the light was red. You’re supposed to stop." The driver said, "Yeah, I know, but my brother does it all the time."
Soon they came to a second red light & again he went right straight through. The passenger said, "You’re going to get us killed. That light was red. Why didn’t you stop?"
The driver said, "Don’t worry about it. My brother does it all the time."
Then they came to a green light & he stopped. The man said, "The light is green. Now is the time to go. Why don’t you go on through?"
The driver answered, "I know it’s g...
For instance, if someone confronts us about something we have said and we did not have a reason to say what we said neither did we know what we were talking about, we tell “little white lies” as if it is acceptable. Lying is not acceptable by man or God because a lie is a lie no matter whom tells it or why they told it. So even when we tell what we think are small harmless lies we are not only lying to man but to God as well.
NO TRUE FREEDOM WITHOUT GOD
According to Mark Parsec, Independence Day "celebrates America’s Declaration of Independence from the tyranny of England under King George." The Declaration of Independence of 1776, he says, was not intended to declare war with England, nor did it actually establish our country’s independence. The Revolutionary War which was fought for our country’s freedom did not end "until a treaty was signed seven years later on September 3, 1783."
Parsec says the purpose of the Declaration of Independence for the colonists was to declare "to the world their belief in a personal, infinite God - their Creator - who endowed them with certain ’inalienable’ or absolute rights...To the men of that time it was self-evident...that if the inalienable rights they were urging were not seen in the context of Christianity, then they were without content - illusions, and nothing but dreams. To have absolute rights our forefathers had to acknowledge the Absolute Authority of God."
You see, there is no true freedom without God and His authority to determine the morality upon which the laws of our land are based. In God we find the basis for physical freedom; however we also find in the Lord the basis for our spiritual freedom. God’s provision for our spiritual freedom is found in His one and only Son, Jesus Christ. Therefore, on this Independence Day Sunday we are going to view the freedom we have in Christ.
(From a sermon by Damian Phillips, "Freedom in Christ" 7/1/2009)
From Reader’s Digest:
It’s time to pay my income tax
And, brother, that’s no joke.
For after paying IRS
I find that I R broke!
—Jerry Henderson in Lubbock, Texas, Avalanche-Journal
As April 15 draweth nigh,
My spirits start to droop.
A poor, downtrodden slave am I,
In short, an income poop.
—Fred Meyers, quoted by Jack Rosenbaum in San Francisco Examiner
Income tax is almost due
And this makes me today
Another shaking member of
—Martin Buxbaum in Table Talk
“Mercy Resting Upon Wrath!” John 8: 12-20 Key verse(s): 16: “‘But if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me.’”
The young man sat before the bench, head held low, hands hanging loosely at his side. His crime had been serious and parents, family and all who knew him had been shocked by what he had done. The jury had found him guilty on all charges and now all that remained to be done was for the judge to pass sentence. As the judge entered the courtroom and order was called, those present, including the young man, arose. As everyone returned to their seats, the young man heard the words that he had been dreading: “The defendant will rise and face the court.” The moment had come and he knew that his entire future now rested in the hands of the man he was now facing.
The judge repeated the charges and reiterated the finding of guilty by the jury on each charge. The young man winced as each charge and finding was repeated. “On the charge of aiding and abetting a criminal act involving the transportation of stolen goods, the defendant has been found guilty. On the charge of evading an officer, the defendant has been found guilty. On the charge of possession of a fireman, the defendant has been found guilty. On the charge of . . .” The charges, six in all, echoed throughout the young man’s mind. How would he ever be able to face his parents, his friends, and especially his girl friend again? Would the judge be lenient since he had never been in trouble before? Would he receive prison time and, if so, how much? What would prison be like? As the judge rattled on, the scene in the courtroom became surreal, almost like a bad dream. He lifted his face toward the bench as the judge finished his recitation “ . . . you have been found guilty” and paused.
The judge brought his eyes directly into focus on the defendant as he began his sentencing. “I hope that you know the seriousness of what you have done. James Rogers, you have affected the lives of your parents and everyone who loves you. The law is very specific in demonstrating how serious your offenses are. The penalties it calls for in these circumstances are not lenient. However, this is your first offense and I believe that you are sorry for what you have done. You have shown great remorse in the course of this trial. The character witnesses that were called in your defense spoke highly of you. I have spoken with your parents and have come to the conclusion that there will be no repeat of this behavior. Therefore, I sentence you to one year of probation and two hundred hours of community service.” With those words the young man suddenly felt a cooling sense of relief filter down from his head to his toes. His knees wobbled and he grabbed for his attorney’s coat sleeve feeling that in a moment he might collapse under the strain of the situation.
Following these comforting words, the judge’s merciful countenance slowly began to change. With a stern look toward the young man he added, “It is my job to protect society from those who seek to harm her. It is also my job to uphold the law and punish those who disobey that law.” He then asked the young man to approach the bench. James wondered if there would be additional punishment since the judge was deliberately writing something down on a piece of paper. He folded it and placed it within an envelope. “James, within this envelope are the penalties that I could have brought to bear on you today. I want you to go home and read them over with your parents. And, remember, even though it is my job to show mercy when I feel that it is warranted, if you disregard that mercy I will be forced to do exactly what is written on this sheet of paper....
SPEAK AND SPELL GOD
Mary Farwell of Green Castle, Missouri, told of the time she was listening to her 5-year-old son, Matthew, as he worked on his Speak and Spell™ computer. He was concentrating intensely, typing in words for the computer to say back to him.
Matthew punched in the word "God." To his surprise, the computer said, "Word not found." He tried again with the same reply. Staring at the computer in disgust, he declared, "Jesus is not going to like this!"
(From a sermon by Sheila Crowe, "Don’t be Surprised by God" 7/28/2009)
Sermon Central Staff
TRUTH IN CHEMISTRY
Theologian, writer, speaker R. C. Sproul: "Truth is that which accurately describes reality." Hold with reality; hold with the truth.
Let me give you a couple of examples. Jesus often took something that was material to explain something spiritual. He took the ordinary to explain the extraordinary.
He took something temporal to explain the eternal. He took the familiar to explain the unfamiliar.
Let’s look at two elements in nature. Sodium is an essential element for all animal life (including human) and for some plant species. It is also used in industrial processes.
It is a soft, silvery-white metal that is highly reactive. At room temperature, sodium metal is soft enough that it can be cut with a knife. In air, the bright silvery luster of freshly exposed sodium will rapidly tarnish.
Sodium reacts violently with water, so in our high school chemistry lab, it was stored in a jar of oil. Small pea-sized pieces will bounce across the surface of the water until they are consumed by it, whereas large pieces will explode. Some in my chemistry class stole a chunk of sodium from the lab one day. That night they took it to a pond across the road from the school and threw it in to watch the fireworks.
Chlorine is a gas. The German Army first used chlorine gas cylinders in April 1915 against the French Army at Ypres, Belgium. Chlorine gas destroyed the respiratory organs of its victims and this led to a slow death by asphyxiation – the lack of oxygen.
Yet when chlorine picks up one other molecule, it becomes chloride, which is a chemical the human body needs for metabolism (the process of turning food into energy). The amount of chloride in the blood is carefully controlled by the kidneys
So how do we take those two essential elements – sodium and chloride - into our bodies? We do it every day, because sodium and chloride combined become table salt.
Isn’t that strange? When you get to spiritual things, hold with the truth, even though it seems strange to others.
Here’s another. Ordinarily a liquid is heavier than a gas, and a solid heavier than a liquid. When I was a boy, I watched a plumber using melted lead to seal a pipe. He had a little crucible atop a vertical flame similar to a blowtorch. A piece of lead placed into what was already melted would sink to the bottom.
A solid is heavier than a liquid, which is heavier than a gas. You spill gasoline at the pump and it will lie on the concrete. But as it becomes a gas instead of a liquid, it will evaporate into the air.
Moisture in the air (a gas) that is cooled and condensed into a liquid will fall as rain. But cool it farther until it freezes and the ice will not go to the bottom of the water. It will float on the top. So the solid is lighter than the liquid. It doesn’t follow the rules.
Why? Because God needs it to be that way and made it that way. Otherwise in winter the ice on the pond would freeze and sink to the bottom. When that happened enough times, there would be no water left where the fish could live. So with water, both the solid and the gas are lighter than the liquid form.
When you get to spiritual things, hold with the truth even though it seems strange to others.
(From a sermon by Bobby Scobey, If the Church Became Unchristian # 5 - Questions Greater Than Answers 6/22/2010)