ONALASKA FIRST CHURCH OF GOD

"Where Your Experience In Christ, Makes You A Member"

133 3rd Avenue,  P.O. Box 245,  Onalaska,  Washington  98570     (360) 978-4161      FAX (360) 978-6941  
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DECEMBER SERMONS

 DECEMBER 14, 2008

GIFTS LEFT UNOPENED

SCRIPTURE READING: Luke 2:8-20 

SCRIPTURE TEXT: Luke 2:10  

    And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

 INTRO: One of the ways we celebrate Christmas is the giving and receiving of Gifts.

    The gift left unopened today is the gift of Joy.

    People today are searching for true joy in many things that will not produce the joy they desire and need.

    Sometimes gifts get left unopened.

    Sometimes the gifts are left unopened because of carelessness.

 ILL. My birthday gift left on my desk.

    God has provided the Joy that they long for but too often it is left unopened.

       There are four things we must do to enjoy the gift of Joy that God provided that first Christmas.

I. WE MUST HEAR THE MESSAGE.

 NOTE: The shepherds listened to what the angel had to say.

 Luke 2:10-12 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

    We must listen to what the Word of God has to say.

    “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”

    The Word of God is filled with many precious promises.

 Psalm 19:8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.

    How can the promises of God help those who are not aware of them?

 Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

    There are those who refuse to hear the Word of the Lord.

 Zechariah 7:11 But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear.

 2 Timothy 4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

    There are those who listen but do not hear.

 NOTE: Jesus asked His disciples when they had forgotten to take bread, and He spoke of the leaven of the Pharisees.

 Mark 8:18 Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?

     Hearing the Word of God is not enough, we must take the second step.

 II. WE MUST BELIEVE THE MESSAGE.

 NOTE: The shepherds believe what the angels said to them.

 Luke 2:15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

    It is one thing to hear the message it is another thing to believe the message.

 Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

 Proverbs 8:34 Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.

 NOTE: The more often we hear the Word of God and believe its message, the greater our joy.

 Nehemiah 8:10 (KJV)  Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

 III. WE MUST OBEY THE MESSAGE.

 Luke 2:16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

NOTE: They responded immediately.

    The sooner we respond to God’s message the quicker we will experience His Joy.

    God wants His people to be joyful.

 John 16:24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.

    It is only when we properly respond to the Word of God that we begin to experience the Joy He gives.

 Matthew 7:24-25 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

 Luke 8:15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

 IV. WE MUST SHARE THE MESSAGE.

 LUKE 2:17-18, 20 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.  And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds…And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

    Sometimes they are left unopened because of ignorance.

 ILL: A Christmas Story.  (Red Ryder BB Gun)

 NOTE: We who have experience the gift of Joy must share it with those who are unaware of it.

 Psalm 145:4 One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.

   It is a very ungrateful person who has experienced the gift of Joy and has no desire to share it with others.

    If you put a cap on joy it will sour overnight.

    What have you done with the gift of Joy that God has provided for you?

 CONCLUSION: Chocolate Cake.

 

DECEMBER 21, 2008

THE GIFTS OF CHRISTMAS

 SCRIPTURE READING:  LUKE 2:8-20

 SCRIPTURE TEXT:  2 CORINTHIANS 9:15

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

 INTRO:  It has become a tradition to exchange gifts during the Christmas season but how often do we consider the gifts that God has given to us?

    Often times we receive gifts that we never use or use very seldom, so it is with the gifts that God has given to us.

    When God sent His Son, He sent Him with many Gifts for those who would accept Him.

 John 1:12-14 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

    There are two parts of a gift:  The giving and the receiving.

    God had done the giving; it is up to us the choice of receiving the gift He give or rejecting His gift.

    Jesus is the gift of God and in Him there are too many gifts to mention them all.

    The more we allow Jesus in our lives the more we have access to the gifts that He brings with Him.

 I. THE GIFT OF LIGHT TO A DARKENED WORLD

 NOTE:  To be physically blind is a horrible handicap but to spiritually blind is deadly.

     There is no reason for anyone to walk in spiritual darkness.

 John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

   Yet there are many who reject the gift of light that Jesus brings.

 John 3:19-21 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.  But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

 II. THE GIFT OF PEACE TO A WORLD IN TURMOIL

 NOTE:  Our world is on the brink of war and there seems to be no place where peace can be found.

 John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

    True peace is found only in Jesus who is the Prince of Peace.

    Our peace in Jesus causes us to be at peace with God.

 Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

 Ephesians 2:14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

 As long as we look to man for peace we will be in turmoil.

 Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

 III. THE GIFT OF HOPE TO THOSE IN DESPAIR

 Hebrews 6:19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;

 NOTE: We have hope during times of testing and trials.

 Hebrews 4:14-16  Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

    We have hope in the time of death.

Proverbs 14:32 The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death.

 Acts 24:15 And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.

 IV. THE GIFT OF JOY TO THE BROKEN HEARTED

 NOTE: The world is filled with broken people who are seeking to find joy in the things and pleasures of this world only to find they are filled with emptiness and more heartache.

    Until we make Jesus our source of joy, true joy will always elude us.

 Psalm 16:11 Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

 Isaiah 12:3 Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.

 Isaiah 35:10 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

 John 16:24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.

 Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

 V. THE GIFT OF LOVE TO THOSE FILLED WITH HATE

 NOTE:  The world reeks of hatred towards one another.

 1 John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelled in love dwelled in God, and God in him.

   Until we accept the gift of God’s Love, His Son Jesus Christ, we are incapable of loving outside the physical realm.

 Matthew 22:37-38 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.

 NOTE:  The gift of God’s love is not only that Jesus becomes the center of our attention and affections, but also that He becomes the way we express our love towards one another.

 John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

    When we truly love Jesus will our whole being, there is no room for hatred towards anyone.

 VI. THE GIFT OF SALVATION TO THOSE LOST IN SIN

 NOTE:  Of all the gifts given to us by God, wrapped up in His Son Jesus Christ, the greatest is that of Salvation.

1.      It has been fully paid for.

 1 Peter 1:18-19 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

2.      It is available to all who would receive it.

 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

3.      It will never wear out.

 Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 CONCLUSION:  God has provided all these gifts and many more; it is up to us to accept that which He has given.

    The amount of use we receive from these gifts is in direct preposition to the amount we allow Christ into our lives.

 

DECEMBER 28, 2008

“ACCEPTING THE UNACCEPTABLE”

 SCRIPTURE READING: Matthew 1:18-25

 SCRIPTURE TEXT: Matthew 1:24

     Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:

INTRO: Chuck Fry (When God Doesn’t Make Sense). 

·         Why after much prayer was Chuck admitted to medical school if he was not to finish?

·         Where did his call to the mission field come from?

·         Why did he have so much talent if it was not to be used?

·         Why did he die when so many others who are a burden to society live to a ripe old age?

    Have you ever faced in your life a situation that seemed to be totally unacceptable? 

·         The lost of a job.

·         The death of a loved one.

·         A divorce unwanted.

·         Financial ruin.

·         A life-threatening illness.

    God never said we wouldn’t face these types of situations.

    But He did promise to go with us through the dark valleys of life.

   How do we respond in these kinds of situation?

    Do we hang in and accept what seems to be so unacceptable, do we say I am going to keep on going regardless, or do we give up and turn away?

    How many have heard of Ted Geisel?

    Ted Geisel accepted the unacceptable.  He accepted rejection over and over again, yet refusing to give up.

    Ted Geisel wrote a story that was rejected by as many as forty-three publishers, but he didn’t give up.  In 1937 he sent it to one more publisher and the rest is history.  Dr. Seuss was born.

 ILL: Horton Hatches the Egg.  “I meant what I said and I said what I meant, an elephant’s faithful one hundred per cent.”

    I want to share with you several who were faced with unacceptable circumstances and yet they accepted the challenge these circumstances brought and came through in victory.

 I. ABRAHAM & ISAAC.

 Genesis 22:1-2 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.  And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

 NOTE: Abraham was faced with the unacceptable task of offering his son, Isaac, as an offering to God.

    Most of us have never been asked to give up the life of our child or loved one, yet some have.

   When we are faced with the death of a child or other loved one we often think that God is totally unfair and if we are not careful we can become very resentful towards God.

    Abraham put his trust in the promises of God and even though he didn’t understand he was willing to trust God’s promises.

    When we are faced with the pains of death, can we trust God to do what is best?

    Trust through sorrow brings triumph over sadness.[1] 

 II. JOSEPH, REJECTION, SLAVERY AND PRISON.

NOTE: In a span of thirteen years Joseph faced, rejection, hatred, slavery, false accusation and imprisonment.

    How do we react when unacceptable things just seem to pile up on us?

    Anyone can serve God when the sun is shinning but how well do we serve God when the storms of life break around us?

 Genesis 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

 III. THREE HEBREW CHILDREN AND THE FIERY FURNACE.

 NOTE: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had to choose between remaining faithful to God or yielded to persecution.

    There are millions who today face persecution and must chose between being faithful or surrendering to the god of this world.

    We in America, who have been saved from persecution on the most part, will be facing it in the near future.

 Jeremiah 12:5 If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?

    If we have problems remaining faithful to God during the time of no persecution, how will we react when faced with real persecution?

    Can we trust God to deliver us or allow us to suffer for His sake?

Daniel 3:16-18 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.  If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.  But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

 IV. DANIEL AND THE LION’S DEN.

 Daniel 6:10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.

 NOTE: Are we willing to remain faithful in the face of opposition and the temptation of compromise?

    As time gets shorter we are going to be faced with more times of being tempted to compromise our faith so that we will be accepted by others.

 Mark 8:38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

 V.  ESTHER AND HAMAN.

 Esther 4:15-16 Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer, Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.

NOTE: When we face times of uncertainty can we still trust God to do what is best for us.

    We are living in unsettling times, how has this affect our faith and our walk with God?

 V. JOSEPH WITH MARY’S PREGNANCY.

 Matthew 1:24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:

 NOTE: On the most part, Joseph is the forgotten person in the story of Jesus’ birth.

   We fail to understand what he must been willing to face by taking Mary as his wife.

 ·         Lost of reputation

·         Lost of respect

 NOTE: Are we willing to remain faithful in the face of shame and ridicule?

 ·         A responsibility that wasn’t his.

    When faced with a task that isn’t our responsibility do we quietly accept it or do we resist and say, “That’s not my job”?

 CONCLUSION: When we are faced with unacceptable circumstances will we still trust God?

[1] Our Daily Bread Dec. 16, 2008


See more Sermons in the Archive

 

See more Sermons in the Archive