September 2009


A Peace worth Preserving

Galatians 1:3 – 10

Galatians series # 3

Peace exists not in the absence of danger or conflict,  but in the presence of God.   – Unknown

I rest beneath the Almighty’s shade, My griefs expire, my troubles cease; Thou, Lord, on whom my soul is stayed, Wilt keep me still in perfect peace.

– Charles Wesley.

  1. Peace is available to all.
  2. Would You:
    1. Trade a billion dollars for 47 cents?
    2. Trade in your new vehicle for a ten year old “clunker” and pay $20,000?
    3. Give up heaven to gain a friend?
    4. Run from the Gospel toward a man made religion?
  3. Billions do just this every single day!
  4. Millions and Missions of CHRISTIANS are doing this RIGHT NOW!
  5. True Peace is only found by those who embrace Jesus Christ
  6. Why would anyone who found total peace ever stray away from it?
    1. Peer Pressure
      1. i.     You cannot please everyone
      2. ii.     You do not have to please everyone
      3. iii.     People will reject you/hurt you/banish you
      4. iv.     There is only One you need to please – GOD!
    2. False teachers/preachers
      1. i.     Always confirm what you are taught with the Word of God.
      2. ii.     Never assume that a preacher, teacher or evangelist is correct just because of their title, age or smooth talk
      3. iii.     Sometimes it is easier to go with the lie than the truth
        1. The lie is generally accepted by the world
        2. The Truth is generally rejected by the world
        3. Believing the right thing is not always popular but it is always the right thing to believe!
        4. iv.     Truth is a Person. Truth is Jesus
          1. Make sure you are walking in truth
    3. Choosing humanity instead of Christianity
      1. i.     The world tempts us with human logic and reasoning
      2. ii.     The world tempts our flesh
        1. Hunger for acceptance
        2. Desire to “be fair”
        3. Need for power
        4. Greed
    4. Satan is still about his business to steal, kill and destroy people.
  7. Salvation is available to everyone by Grace alone through Faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.
    1. There is no other Gospel
    2. John 3:16, Romans 3:21 – 25, Ephesians 2:8_10 and a host of other scripture will remain true regardless of what the world says about them
    3. Trust God and never stray away from His Divine Truth.

Galatians 1:3

Peace:

  • More than a word
  • More than the absence of conflict or war
  • More than commitment

The Peace that Paul speaks of here is a peace that lets you KNOW that, regardless of the trouble or circumstances you are in, life will be OK!  You do NOT have to worry about it.

Give it to God.

v We think peace is a feeling

v We think peace is an experience

v We think peace is simple quietness and beauty

v We think peace is contentment

v We think peace is having everything we need or want

v We thing peace is something we fight for

v We think peace is something we deserve because of our goodness

We are wrong.

Peace is a gift of God.

  • What is the difference between a rose bush and a thorn bush?
  • Some would say marketing.
  • Both have thorns that are sharp and painful
  • Both have to be handled with gloves
  • BUT..The rose bush has found a way to be beautiful despite its thorns.

Jesus gave us His peace..John 14:27

  • Jesus knew His Father
  • Jesus knew His Mission
  • Jesus knows the outcome – the “rest of the story”
  • Jesus focused on loving God and loving us and everything worked out just right, even to Calvary’s cruel cross.  Even there Jesus had peace.
  • We can know God
  • We can know our purpose
  • We can know the final outcome
  • We just need to focus on loving God and loving others and trust that life here will all work out Ok and that life everlasting will turn out better than we expect….no matter what “in the world” happens.
  • We can have peace
  • We can have Jesus!

Peace is a gift from God the Fathers given through God the Son and confirmed in us daily through God the Holy Spirit.

Peace is the God given gift that allows us to be serene, calm, content, happy, joyful and even hopeful at all times, even in our darkest and most painful hour.

Peace is being able to walk boldly into the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego with faith and not fear.

Peace is being with Daniel as he is labeled “Lion Food” and tossed into the dark and dingy den of death and having no fear about the outcome.

Peace is being persecuted with Steven because of your faith and praying for the ones who are murdering you as they throw the heavy stones that are striking you.

Peace is not allowing your circumstances to govern your life.

Peace is allowing Jesus to carry you through life’s storms.

True peace comes from being delivered from all evil by Grace alone through Faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.

This is a peace that withstands anything the world, the enemy or we can throw at it.

This is a peace that is totally dependant on Jesus and NOT on our strength, our wisdom, our situation, our abilities, our families, our employers, our bank accounts, our neighbors, our government, our weapons, or any thing else in this world.

“My peace I give you”  – Jesus

Focusing thoughts

Galatians 1:1   “Paul, an apostle— not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—“ ESV

This letter is from Paul and all the brothers with him

    1. Paul rarely traveled alone
    2. Paul knew the value of others
      1. i.     Help him do the work
      2. ii.     Encourage him
      3. iii.     Counsel him
        1. We all need counsel from time to time
          1. a. Help me with this
          2. b. What do you think?
          3. c. Bounce this off of you
          4. d. Is this the right thing to do
    3. We need Christian brothers and sisters to travel life’s road with us – lest we may be easily pulled off course by life, the world or satan
      1. i. We need each other
    4. We need a Paul to travel with us to build into our lives
      1. i.     A wise elder, strong person of faith, bold witness and disciple maker
    5. We need a Barnabas to travel with us – a wise contemporary who understand us
      1. i.     A spouse, a coworker, a friend,
      2. ii.     Someone who will tell us when we are doing well
      3. iii.     Someone who is friend enough to tell us when we are not doing so well
    6. We need a Timothy to travel with us – someone whose life we are building into
      1. i.     A child, a friend, a intern of sorts
  1. Paul is an Apostle…but he often has to defend his apostleship.
    1. A special messenger of Jesus Christ; a person to whom Jesus delegated authority for certain tasks.
  2. Paul was not one for small talk – right to the Gospel of Jesus Christ
    1. This is the part of a letter where we usually write “small talk”…”how are you”  “What are you up to these days”
    2. Not Paul – his heart was the Gospel
    3. Paul shared the Gospel at every opportunity
    4. Never lose a chance to share the Love of God that is found through Christ Jesus
  3. Paul took every opportunity to lift up the Name of Jesus Christ and point people to Him and away from Paul,
  4. Paul was called by God to his work
    1. Paul was not a hired hand
    2. Paul was not an employee
    3. Paul did not answer to any human supervisor
    4. d. Paul served God
    5. To many leaders today are self called or appointed
    6. Many more are in the positions they have because they cater to the nature of man
      1. i.     Their focus is making a person, or a committee happy
    7. Too many pastors or denominational leaders are in their job for the power, prestige or paycheck
    8. Too many Deacons, Elders, or Pastors think they are the BOSS!  When they are actually SERVANTS!
    9. Not Paul – His only goal was to please God
  5. Christians today serve our Living God
    1. Supervisors may change, minds may change, goals may change, men change
    2. God never changes
  6. Are you walking God’s road God’s way?
    1. Are you traveling the right way?
    2. Are you traveling with the right people?
    3. Are you carrying the right message?

Galatians 1:1   “Paul, an apostle— not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—“ ESV

1.           This letter is from Paul and all the brothers with him

a.                Paul rarely traveled alone

b.               Paul knew the value of others

i.               Help him do the work

ii.               Encourage him

iii.               Counsel him

1.               We all need counsel from time to time

a. Help me with this

b. What do you think?

c. Bounce this off of you

d. Is this the right thing to do

c.                We need Christian brothers and sisters to travel life’s road with us – lest we may be easily pulled off course by life, the world or satan

i. We need each other

d.               We need a Paul to travel with us to build into our lives

i.               A wise elder, strong person of faith, bold witness and disciple maker

e.                We need a Barnabas to travel with us – a wise contemporary who understand us

i.               A spouse, a coworker, a friend,

ii.               Someone who will tell us when we are doing well

iii.               Someone who is friend enough to tell us when we are not doing so well

f.                We need a Timothy to travel with us – someone whose life we are building into

i.               A child, a friend, a intern of sorts

2.           Paul is an Apostle…but he often has to defend his apostleship.

a.                A special messenger of Jesus Christ; a person to whom Jesus delegated authority for certain tasks.

3.           Paul was not one for small talk – right to the Gospel of Jesus Christ

a.                This is the part of a letter where we usually write “small talk”…”how are you”  “What are you up to these days”

b.               Not Paul – his heart was the Gospel

c.                Paul shared the Gospel at every opportunity

d.               Never lose a chance to share the Love of God that is found through Christ Jesus

4.           Paul took every opportunity to lift up the Name of Jesus Christ and point people to Him and away from Paul,

5.           Paul was called by God to his work

a.                Paul was not a hired hand

b.               Paul was not an employee

c.                Paul did not answer to any human supervisor

d. Paul served God

e.                To many leaders today are self called or appointed

f.                Many more are in the positions they have because they cater to the nature of man

i.               Their focus is making a person, or a committee happy

g.               Too many pastors or denominational leaders are in their job for the power, prestige or paycheck

h.               Too many Deacons, Elders, or Pastors think they are the BOSS!  When they are actually SERVANTS!

i.                 Not Paul – His only goal was to please God

6.           Christians today serve our Living God

a.                Supervisors may change, minds may change, goals may change, men change

b.               God never changes

7.           Are you walking God’s road God’s way?

a.                Are you traveling the right way?

b.               Are you traveling with the right people?

c.                Are you carrying the right message?

Pastor Bob Alderman

First Baptist Church

 

     I grew up in the hills of West Virginia and often heard people call us hillbillies, rednecks or backwards. I really didn’t understand why since we had floors, indoor plumbing, running water, telephones (party line of course) and even television.  Why, we even had sunlight pumped in on even numbered days! I came to see that their view was based on stereotypes and prejudice and began to ignore them. 
     There are many things that Christians have backwards. Backwards, not because of preconceptions, stereotypes or prejudices, but based on the Word of God.
     We go out of our way to please other people, spend billions on cosmetics, clothing and cars to impress people who really don’t care about us.

     We will not even read a scripture, spend 5 minutes praying or give 1%, much less 10%, to impress or even obey God. We are indeed a backwards people.

     Even the religious are often backwards. We worship a building, a person or a religious system/denomination instead of worshipping the Lord of all creation and religion.

     We point fingers at or laugh at someone in a bad situation, or even chastise them for their problems saying, “It’s their own fault.”  We are so quick to condemn and dismiss them instead of encouraging, loving and helping them.  Backwards.

     We expect to be forgiven for every mistake we make but find it almost impossible to forgive others. We should sin less and forgive more.
    

When life takes a downward plummet, we turn to our cash reserves, the government, our wisdom or abilities, self help books or motivational speakers, drugs, alcohol, medications or any other of the hundreds of ways the world offers us instead of turning to God: The One who created us, knows our needs, has a plan for our lives and loves us completely. Backwards.

Wondering just how much we have backwards. We will go deep into debt for a vehicle, home or toy, but run away from giving God a penny.

     We are living life backwards when we date like we’re married and keep our wedding vows like we’re dating. Something backwards here?

      Why are we so quick to condemn, yet slow to try to understand. 

     Perhaps the reason we have so much stuff backwards is that we are trying to think about stuff from a human perspective and not from God’s.

     Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  ESV

     We are backwards when we put the ways of man above the ways of God.

     We are backwards when we do what we want and give no thought to God’s perfect plan for our life.

     The really amazing part is that doing things our way rarely works out!  We end up hurting or broken, alienated from others and, unfortunately, very sad.

     That is backwards from the life God wants you to have.

     God desires that you have a life of joy, happiness, laughter and hope.  God wants you to have the life you have always wanted!  Allow Him to “straighten out” the path you are traveling and find what you have been looking for all along!

     A very wise person once told me that it is not the speed that we travel, it is the direction that is important!  Going the wrong way fast is still wrong.

     Going God’s way is not going the wrong way! Stop heading backward and turn towards God.

     Remember that God loves you!…and so do I.

Pastor Bob Alderman

First Baptist Church

      Today I was doing laundry and came to a great epiphany: One never gets through doing laundry! If only we could have self cleaning clothing that never needed washing! But, NO! We are addicted to our clothing! We need our clothes, closets full of them! If we have clothes and wear clothes then we must, someday, wash our clothes.

     Adam and Eve didn’t need a washing machine until after they blew it with God, so blame them if you must blame someone for our dirty laundry. Their original sin has been passed down genetically through the ages and affects us to this day. I guess you could say that sin is in our “jeans!”

     Sin in our lives is kinda like laundry, it always seems to be around and if it is not dealt with, sin can pile up pretty high in our lives and make us smell pretty bad.

     We cannot simply ignore sin in our life and expect everything to be “springtime fresh.” First, you must realize that you do sin. Simply stated, sin means that you get in trouble with God. The Bible says that we have all messed up and fall way short of the path God planned for us. We sin.    

     Then, you must understand that your sin carries a terrible cost. Usually we think of this cost as judgments or plagues. While, sometimes we are punished for our sins, just like our parents may spank us or sit us in time out; the worst consequence of our sin is that sin separates us from God.

     The more we sin the further we get from God. The truth is that the more we sin the more separated we become from faith, hope and love. Many, many people are so far from God that they have become cold and hard; there is no love or compassion left in them. But there is hope! God, in His grace and mercy, provided us One Path back to His love, back to His protection; back to Him!

      God sent His Son Jesus Christ to take the punishment that you deserve and that old rugged cross that He died on becomes a bridge for us to travel back to God’s Love. When we turn to God and, by faith, believe in the gift that His Son is for us, God does our dirty laundry. He makes all things clean. We are forgiven. We are cleansed. We are restored to newness of life.

     I would love it if someone would do all of the Alderman’s laundry for us! I think we all would! We do not like to do the hard things of life! Unfortunately, we are the only ones who can deal with the dirty laundry of our souls. No one else can.

     John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” ESV

     Faith is a personal decision! I cannot believe for you and you cannot believe for me. We cannot be saved by the faith of our priest or pastor; nor can we be saved by the faith of a family member or friend. You must believe! Hear the Words of Jesus Himself, “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26 ESV

     You have dirty laundry in your life that needs to be dealt with before it completely overwhelms you. The question for you is the same one Jesus asked, “Do you believe this?” Remember that Jesus loves you! And so do I.