Inspiring Words Based Upon The Love of God The topic of the sermon is so so timely. Having retired from a public high school where I served for 20 years, I lived with the persecution of indifference. The other teachers -- leftist and atheists for the most part -- never asked me one question about my faith. At the same time, I was elected on numerous occasions to represent those teachers on various policy making committees. I wrote numerous columns for the union newsletter with ideas to improve education in the school, and to improve the treatment of the teachers. Once I referred to our "sick and sinful world," and a lady biology teacher (with a PhD in bio-chemistry) came to my office to complain about my use of the word "sin." On another occasion when I had written my concern about sex education failing to advance the idea that sex, love, and marriage all go together, a lady teacher who had been there 40 years condemned my words. "Who are you to say what morality should be taught in the school?" she asked in a rebuttal to my column. "What you believe in church does not apply to the public school," she insisted. Did these responses or the indifference to my born again faith express persecution, or was it merely negative and not rising to the level of persecution. I cannot say. But this sermon has encouraged my heart.
True Worship Is Explained This is not a sermon about how to structure a worship service. His focus is on the purpose and meaning of worshiping the Lord Our God in spirit and truth. He stresses that God is not just a bigger and greater version of ourselves. Thus, although he does not use my term -- anthropomorphic -- God is not to be understood anthropomorphically. He is eternal and unchanging. He is spirit. He is not identified with a specific time and place. That seems to me to be a wonderful starting point for considering the nature of true worship. Further, he stresses that our sincerity or zeal for the worship does not define the meaningfulness of the worship. In saying this, Pastor Doug reminds me of similar passages in Jonathan Edwards' book The Religious Affections, where Edwards tries to disconnect the authenticity and meaning of true worship from the issue of the degree of emotionality exhibited by the congregation. Ptr. Doug gives a marvelous example of the worshippers of the Golden Calf which, although dedicated to the great I AM, was nonetheless wrong, i.e., not prescribed. It was sincere and to the correct God, but it was still WRONG worship. Lastly, Sunday worship, assuming it to be true, affords the worshippers a little taste of eternity as God breaks into time and space.
Inspiring Sermon! Tonight, again, I had a deep sense of my sinfulness. Again, for the hundredth time, I failed to apply Godly wisdom to a situation that occurs time and again. The Lord in his faithfulness gave me two thoughts: (1) to listen to a sermon by Pastor Doug, and (2) to begin preaching regularly again (I had stopped preaching every Sunday after 8 years about 11 years ago -- just doing occasional guest preaching and 6-8 week series on specific topics). My wife has repeatedly told me that I don't have the patience with other people to pastor. At any rate, I listened to this sermon, and it encouraged me that in spite of my sinfulness and weaknesses, I could still deliver the precious word of God and the delivering sacrifice and love of Jesus Christ to a lost and fallen world. Isn't there a great need for the Word of God today? Aren't we flooded with false teachers? Aren't we drowning in atheism and hypocrisy in our society? I live in New York City. Do you think the dominating life principle of this city is "Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and all thy mind and all thy strength?" There are a lot of social workers in this city, but while they are helping the bodies and sometimes the emotions of the people, are they dealing with the souls of their clients? Thank you Pastor Doug.
We Are All Sinners I visited a Filipino church today (my wife is Filipino) called Brooklyn Evangelical Church. The pastor proclaimed or delivered a wonderful message on Romans 9:30-33. It was more than unusual in New York City to hear a message that not only preached salvation through faith as opposed to works, but included divine election, justification, sanctification, and the doctrine of Christ being 100% human and 100% divine in one personality. I was so surprised, encouraged, and rejoicing the entire day since the service. Fast forward to tonight when I listened to this sermon by Pastor Doug whose sermons have enlightened me and encouraged me for many years. He preached on the contrast between the prayer of the Pharisee and the prayer of the publican, not running away from, but rubbing our noses into, the sinful tendency towards hypocrisy that may and does lie in our hearts. This very same contrast was in the sermon I heard this morning, but it was only a small part of that sermon. Don't you think the Lord is saying something to me that I need to hear? Am I more like the Pharisee or the publican? I better find out, and soon. It seems I already know the answer, and I will repent. Thank you for being so strongly used by the Lord Pastor Doug.
A Mighty Sermon! I went to this sermon specifically because I wanted to hear about "the angel of the Lord." It was gratifying to hear that this "angel" actually is the pre-incarnate Christ. But that is only one aspect of this sermon. Pastor Semel reveals throughout the hard core wickedness and self-affirmation over and against Almighty God that is shown by the various OT kings, in particular Ahab and his son Ahaziah. Don't we see this ungodliness at the centers of power in this country and throughout the world today?! But the preacher brings out that with Christ, we are in a new day. The Almighty does not bring down fire immediately to destroy the unrepentant ones. Rather, we are under a rule of mercy. Thank you for this powerful and enduring sermon, and for bringing my mind and spirit into deeper realms of assurance in my walk with Christ.
Real Reasons For Hope In This Evil Age This sermon should encourage every born again believer who hears it, and should draw every unbeliever to repentance for his or her sins. But the sermon by Pastor Doug is mainly aimed, I believe, for born again believers like myself who sometimes are overwhelmed and discouraged by the ungodly, unjust, and downright depraved and unconscionable actions of our present period of history. Pastor Doug warns us not to expect these wrongdoings to just go away. He tells us that good and evil will exist side by side, possibly for a long time. However, Almighty God, the Ultimate Fisher of Men, is casting out a net drawing all of his creation ("fishes") to himself, and once the net is full, there will be an emptying of the "net". Some will go to glory to worship him forever, and (based on Matthew XXV) others will go to "eternal fire" to experience the fire that cannot be quenched. We who are in the Lord have the privilege of access to the throne of grace, as well as the promise and substance of eternal life with Him. We pray with thanksgiving for the gift of eternal life with the Lamb that has been freely given us through no merit of our own. Jesus will return to take the Church into the presence of the Father. The sermon ends with a passionate crescendo of encouragement.
Gratitude Should be Our Daily Diet Pastor Doug's sermon focuses on gratitude as the sina qua non of growing in faith. This sermon also shares that the Bible does not make a distinction between believing 'based on facts' and faith based on nothing that is provable. Rather the Hebrew, Greek and Latin do not have a sharp dichotomy between faith and belief the way the atheists in our universities do, or the way Webster's dictionary does. Rather, we have faith in a person, the person of Jesus Christ who has been revealed to us through the Word of God. Although Ptr. Doug does not add this point, I will: namely, our language itself is skewed towards atheism by allowing that distinction between belief and faith. I was encouraged by these points and many others in this sermon. We are sinners saved by grace. Do you realize, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, that we are still sinners, that we can and do experience "drift" away from the things of God, and that we need to be vigilant for this...otherwise, we will be "led" into temptation and not be delivered from evil thoughts and acts. Blessings to all.
We Are Challenged to Live By Faith This sermon is based on Genesis 3:20-21. In 27 years, I have never heard a sermon based on these verses. Pastor Murphy provides exposition showing that faith is trusting in God Almighty's promises and provisions, and we are challenged to reflect if we are living by faith. Adam and Eve had a "fig leaf faith" (they sewed together fig leaves to cover themselves), but the Lord provided them with garments made of animal skins. Yes, they did need to be covered after they sinned, but God provided the proper covering for them, not the coverings they pieced together by themselves with their own fallen minds. The wonderful faith involved in Adam naming his wife "Eve" is also explained in the sermon. For the first time, Eve has a name. And the Lord promises she will be the mother of generations. Adam already "knew" her, but she had not yet conceived. Nevertheless she was named Eve based on faith in God's promise that she would be mother of generations and that the Messiah (Christ) would come forth from those generations. Dear Reader, what else do you want from a preacher than to proclaim the eternal value abiding in God's promises and provision. I exhort you: listen to this sermon.
1812 Overture in Words Have you heard Tchaikovsky's wonderful 1812 Overture? It ends with a crescendo of percussion instruments and the bellowing, resounding sounds of a fusillade of cannons. What a passionate and encouraging piece of music. This sermon tells us that we can overcome temptation, but not in our own strength, rather by and through Christ who lives in us. There is an urgency of tone in the sermon that is gripping, and in the final "crescendo" Pastor Murphy refers us to Hebrews 4: 15-16 where we are reassured "Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Throughout the sermon we are called to prayer, and finally are assured of the promise of Jesus Christ that those prayers against succumbing to temptation will be answered by Him. Anyone struggling with any temptation, anyone needing a deep encouragement for his or her faith should listen to this sermon.
Our Bodies Are Not Our Own Over the past 25 years since I have been a born again believer in Jesus Christ, I do not recall hearing a sermon about the "body as a temple of the Holy Spirit." Imagine, we are living in a sexualized society where lust is given a top priority and the fulfilling of our sexual lusts is typically deemed normal, appropriate, and, in fact, healthy. As Pastor Doug puts it, "all of life is about me expressing myself." Or, at another point, "It's all about me...." Yet, we should FLEE from sexual immorality. We should be making God attractive in our bodies and our souls. This sermon tells us why we must cleave to sexual morality. If we don't we are tearing up the body of Jesus Christ to whom and with whom we are united. Please listen to this strengthened to become strengthened in your purity, and to live in such a way that you have no master in your life except Jesus Christ.
Gratitude for Christ Who Speaks Through the Spirit Who does not need to hear this sermon? The preacher is preaching the revelation of the Trinity through the Son Jesus Christ and in the Spirit. One important point that really grabbed hold of me is that we do not ascend to God through the Word, but He descends to us. Yes, we become more godly and righteous through the Word, but at bottom the Word of God is not first and foremost a manual for righteous living, but a revelation of God to our hearts and minds, a redeeming and transforming revelation. He descends to us that we may be made conformable that that which is the acceptable, good, and perfect will of God. It's not like a Gnostic initiation into the mysteries of God, but a revelation of God's love that is available to all, but especially to the elect of God who gather together in overflowing gratitude. Please recommend this sermon to your unsaved friends and associates so they may hear and believe and be saved. And recommend this sermon, as I will, to your Christian friends and relatives so they will be humbled or encouraged or more grateful for all that Jesus has accomplished and is continuing to accomplish in their lives.
Great Sermon! To continue the first part of my comment.... the Islamacists my prove to be the False Prophet as I am perceiving more and more the identity between the interests of the Leftist Statists and the Islamacists, both inspired Satanic enemies of the Living God. A good discussion of this weird alliance between the Left and the Islamacists can be found in a book by Jamie Glazov entitled United In Hate, and this view is supported by many articles on the website www.FrontPageMag.com. However, it should be noted that this website nor the book brings in the Biblical dimension of the Satanic enmity against Christ that is so important to our understanding of this subject. Also, I wanted to say that I was quite heartened to hear Pastor Doug state that we are sealed against the days of evil. Those days he notes are upon us as we live in an "evil age," but more terrible events may be ahead. The very fact that Pastor Doug is preaching on Revelation recently is, I find, very sobering in itself.
And I want to express my deep sadness at the advances of the Statists in our own beloved USA, and am disturbed at the Leftist bilge that is being pushed with such great zeal in our country.
We Are Called To Tremendous Maturity in Our Faith At one time I enjoyed spending my time trying to figure out who was the Beast, who was the False Prophet, etc. etc. During that period I learned that many reformation prelates identified the Antichrist as the Papacy itself. Pastor Doug suggests, if I understand him correctly, that government that to one degree or another places itself before Christ and projects itself as "Savior", with this or that "leader" or "messiah" in charge of that government is the Beast or the Antichrist. Our challenge as Christians is to continue to respect our governments and leaders, but never to allow that respect to supplant our fundamental TRUST in our dear Christ. We are, then, called to walk a pretty fine line. So, to go back -- what about this view contrasted with the view that the Popes are antichrists and the False Prophet is Muhammed, which identities appear in a lot of the literature on this subject? However, right now, for various reasons I don't have space to go into, I would scrap the idea of the papacy as the Beast or Antichrist, and would replace that with the State and its various self-appointed Messiah's as the antichrists (perhaps leading, as Doug suggests, to "the mother of all Antichrists"), but it seems that the Islamacists may turn out to provide us with the False Prophet, working
We Are All Sinners There are many wonderful things to say about this message. First of all it discusses the role of sin in our lives. In many churches today the word "sin" is never heard or downplayed. Here, it is the central theme of the sermon. He asks the question: to what extent are those of us who are converted to Christ still sinners. We are told, based on Corinthians and other passages that we continue to be sinners, and we need to struggle against sin until the time we are called home. Once we are saved, we are equipped by the Lord with the "tools" to fight this good fight against sin. We are to live in constant repentance, and the knowledge that our sins are forgiven. But at the same time, we are not to whitewash our sins, but should call our sins by their real names instead of using euphemisms. Further, we do not have to be ashamed about being admonished for our sins. In fact, we want to know our sins so we may defeat them. The sermon really presents our concern to mortify our sins; yet within the context of love and forgiveness. I hope every person who reads this little blurb will listen to this sermon. It renews us because it defines our basic constitution and m.o. as Christians.
Christ Gets the Victory This sermon does not fall into the trap of trying to equate every symbol in Revelation with a place, event, or time specified in current events. Rather, Pastor Doug shows that while every form of immorality and power grabbing and ungodliness may seem to be ascendant for a period of time, in fact, these ungodly actions and the persons who promote those actions will only be ascendant for a season. Christ wins. We will eventually come to a new heaven and earth. In our troubled times, everyone needs to hear these words to strengthen the inner man or inner woman.
Yes Jesus Loves Me! Part II I listened Pastor Doug's sermon. It became so clear to me: I am a mere man. I am nothing. Christ is everything. It seemed so much clearer. It is "thy rod and thy staff" that comfort me. It is "thou" who prepares a table before me. It is YOU who anoint my head with oil. It is YOUR goodness and mercy that follow me. It is Christ who is working in and through my mundane life with its necessary but frequently petty interests. I am flesh, but He is spirit. I am weak, but He is strong.
Yes, Jesus Loves Me! Part I I returned from teaching today disturbed about certain developments in the family. At the same time, I had received an observation report from a professor assigned to evaluate me once a term, and it was highly complimentary. When I arrived home, my wife with whom I had argued before I left was placing a tree in the front yard, with lights, and was posting a sign that said "Jesus Is The Reason for the Season." We had already had our sign with the Five Solas stolen. Three years before our American flag was stolen. My wife was quietly going ahead with the project to bring a little Christmas joy to our godless block in our godless neighborhood in our godless borough of our godless city, New York. I felt sorry for my pique after breakfast. My daughter was upstairs doing her homework. She had stayed home from high school because of a sore throat and a headache. The doctor said it was a viral infection, not strep. "Just fatigue," my wife said. I went upstairs to say hi when I came in the house, and to see how she was doing. Then I went to my HP - G7 Notebook to listen to this sermon. I needed to hear from the Lord, needed AGAIN to try to make sense of my sadness, my satisfaction at the compliments of men, my worries and impatience, my compacency, my disappointment that Obama won.
Great Sermon! This sermon really brings home seven types of sins men commit in their covenantal relationship with their wife. Man is the head, and Pastor Doug calls on men who are married or who anticipate being married to begin to research and try to understand what it means to be a "head." He encourages the listener to read some of the writings of Doug Wilson on this topic. Certainly, reading Doug Wilson helped me better understand my role, but I still have many shortcomings in this area.
Pastor Doug refers to I Corinthians 16-17 as giving the father a veto over his daughter's choice of a spouse. In going back to the verses, it seemed to me that they refer to a man's choice about whether or not to marry a virgin,i.e., that it is not a sin to marry even though the man knows that he will be taken away from serving the Lord to some degree. It is difficult for me to understand where the father comes into this....
You will be strengthened in your role as husband and head by listening to this sermon, and the other sermons in this series. As Pastor Doug states, women will find the sermon useful as well because it will show them areas where they can be of help to their husbands. Blessings to all.
Passionate and Moving Sermon! The listener will be brought closer to an understanding of the glorious sacrifice that is Christ's ignominious death on the Cross. You cannot listen to this sermon without overflowing with gratitude for a loving God who saved those of us who have repented and received Salvation through Christ. We do not have to spend an eternity in hell. Pastor Doug says this straight out in the sermon, and it is a reality that has to be faced by American Christians who do not want to mention this truth in order not to offend.
Is God really 'in control?' Are we still giving God the praise and the glory even when disaster or extreme difficulties come? So, when I heard a testimony two years ago by a Christian woman that had one son go away to college and returned as a gay, and a daughter who went away to college and came home an atheist, I was inspired by the woman's faith. She was still praying for her kids and still seeing them as works in progress. I appreciated her testimony, but honestly it is not a testimony l want to have. I don't want my daughter to grow up to be a lesbian or an atheist. But Pastor Doug lays down the gauntlet to all of us. We don't know how we'll react when painful experiences occur, but if our God is truly a providential God, then we shall give Him the praise and glory in all circumstances. Amen.