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  
info(at)onalaskachurchofgod(dot)com

 

 

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JANUARY’S SERMONS

JANUARY 4, 2009

 “CULTIVATING A LOVING HEART”

 SCRIPTURE READING: Mark 4:1-20

 SCRIPTURE TEXT: 1 John 4:8

    He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

 INTRO: There are many different ways people think their spirituality is shown, but the only Biblical way is through the love we have for others.

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

    There are those who want to limit this love to only fellow believers and some for only those within their own church.

    We are to love, even as God loved us.

 1 John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

    God loves the whole world.

 John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

   God loved us before we loved Him.

 1 John 4:10 (NIV) This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

    God revealed His love for us while we were still unworthy.

 Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

    We do not have that kind of love within us, how do we cultivate the love of God within us?

   In our Scripture reading there are four types of ground but only one produces the result that glorifies God.

    These four types of ground are a symbol of the heart of a believer at different stages in their Christian life.

I. THE HARDENED PATHWAY.

 NOTE: This heart that has become hardened until the Word of God is unable to penetrate.

   How can this happen in a heart of a believer?

·         Sin is the biggest cause of a hardened heart.

·         Unfulfilled expectations

o    Of the Christian life itself

o    Of prayers

o    Of people

    A hardened heart cannot truly love because of the lack of trust.

 Jeremiah 4:3-4 For thus saith the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.  Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.

 Hosea 10:12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.

 II. THE STONY HEART

 NOTE: This heart allows stones and rocks to keep it from maturing into the loving heart that God wants.

·         Doubt (Is this what God really wants from me?)

NOTE: Doubt is not the same us unbelief but if not addressed it will turn into Unbelief.

·         Unbelief (This is not the will of God for my life.)

 NOTE: Unbelief is refusing to believe what God has said or promised. 

·         Disobedience (I am not going to do this.)

NOTE: Disobedience is a direct result of unbelief. 

·         Rebellion

NOTE: Rebellion is doing the opposite of what we are called to do. 

   Rebellion always wants others to join. 

III. THE WEED FILLED HEART 

NOTE: This heart allows other things and people to crowd in and choke out the love for God and the love of God.

    The more of the things of this world we keep in our hearts and lives the less room there is for God.

 1 John 2:15-16 (NIV) Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world.

 NOTE: The way we spend our time, talent and treasurer reveals which we love the most.

 IV. THE LOVING HEART

 Ezekiel 11:19-20 (NIV) I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.  Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.

 Ezekiel 36:26-27 (NIV) I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

 NOTE: Just as successful farming does not happen overnight, so a loving heart takes time to mature. 

·         We must allow our hardened heart to be plowed up with conviction and repentance.

John 16:7-8 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.  And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

 Joel 2:12-13 Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.

 Joel 2:17 Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?  

·         We must remove the rocks and stones of doubt, unbelief, disobedience and rebellion from our hearts.

·         We must place God first in our hearts and lives.

 NOTE: This will only happen when we allow God to have complete control. 

CONCLUSION: This is a personal decision we all must make. 

   Do we want a heart that pleases God? 

   We must ask God to help us cultivate a loving heart. 

 

JANUARY 11, 2009

“TO PRAY OR NOT TO PRAY THAT IS THE QUESTION”

 SCRIPTURE READING: LUKE 18:1-8

SCRIPTURE TEXT: Luke 18:1 (NIV) Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.

 INTRO: Prayer is one of the Christians greatest tools but it is often one of the most difficult to use.

   One of the reasons people fail to truly pray is that they lack faith.

    Prayer takes Faith and Faith is something we cannot see, feel or touch until it is fulfilled.

 Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

    It must come from a heart that is not discouraged or controlled by the things we do see, feel or touch.

    The key to victorious faith is the object of our faith.

    The more we know of God the strong our faith.

    The stronger our faith the more we will rely on prayer.

   Remember, prayer involves at least five different aspects.

1.      Praise

2.      Thanksgiving

3.      Repentance

4.      Petition

5.      Adoration

    The aspect of prayer we want to address is PETITION.

    PETITION is the aspect of prayer that is most often used and the one most often missed used.

    In this parable, Jesus teaches us three important rules in being successful in our prayers.

1.      We are to be in a constant attitude of prayer.

2.      We are to persevere in prayer.

3.      We are not to give up but have faith in God’s faithfulness.

I. WE ARE TO BE IN A CONSENT ATTITUDE OF PRAYER. 

1.      We need to set aside a specific time for prayer everyday.

Psalm 63:1 O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;

    The word early says three things to me about prayer.

·         Develop a time of prayer early in life.

·         Develop a time of prayer early in the day.

 “A day hemmed in by prayer never unravels”

 ·         Develop a time of prayer early in the need. 

2.      We are to pray on all occasions.

NOTE: Many people only pray when they want something or are in need. 

   We need to develop the habit of prayer in times of: 

·         Blessings (Praise & Thanksgiving)

·         In times of sin (Repentance)

·         In times of reflection (Adoration) 

II. WE ARE TO PERSEVERE IN PRAYER. 

NOTE: This story has three parts: 

1.    The judge 

·         Did not fear God

   He was not religious and most likely sinful and wicked.

 ·         Had no regard to man

    He was not concerned with rights of man and most likely accepted bribes in making his decisions.

 ·         He was unjust

   He failed to honor his responsibilities as a judge.

Deuteronomy 1:16-17 And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him.  Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God's: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it.

Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

 Jeremiah 22:3 Thus saith the Lord; Execute ye judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place.

James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

2.    The widow

 ·         She had no husband to be her protection.

·         She had no man to represent her.

·         She was most likely poor.

·         She had a legitimate need.

·         She was persistent in her plea.

 NOTE: Luke 18:5 lest by her continual coming she weary me.

 The word weary means give me a black eye.

 3.    The lesson

 ·         God is not like the unjust judge.

·         God will come to the aid of His people.

 Psalm 91:15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

Isaiah 65:24 And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

 Jeremiah 33:3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

Zechariah 13:9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God.

 ·         To us it may seem a long time in coming.

 NOTE: God will at times leave us in our trials so that we might be a positive witness to the unbelievers around us.

 2 Corinthians 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

 James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

 1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

 1 Peter 4:12-13 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

·         But in God’s time it is speedily.

Isaiah 46:4 And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.

 Jeremiah 1:8 Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord.

 2 Corinthians 1:10-11 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us; ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.

 2 Tim. 4:18 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

 

III. WE ARE NOT TO GIVE UP BUT HAVE FAITH IN GOD’S FAITHFULNESS.

 Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

 2 Thessalonians 3:13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.

NOTE: The great tragedy in this parable is found in the question that Jesus end with.

Luke 18:8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

  

JANUARY 18, 2009

 “A STORY OF REDEMPTION

 SCRIPTURE READING: JOHN 4:27-29

 SCRIPTURE TEXT: Matthew 9:37-38

      Then saith he unto his disciples, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”

 INTRO: “REDEMPTION” What a beautiful world.

   The Bible is filled with stories of redemption; in fact the Bible it self is the story of redemption.

    Each one of has our own story of redemption.

    Every story of redemption involves those who are in need of redemption and those who lead them to redemption.

    We as individuals and as a church must desire to see redemption brought into our community.

    We must all get involved in reaching our community for Christ.

    Prayer is the key to reaching our community for Christ.

    Intercessory prayer does three things:

1.      It invites God into the picture.

2.      It motivates and empowers the intercessor.

3.      It prepares the heart of the one being prayed for.

 NOTE: We are like instruments in an orchestra, we are not all used in the same way but our purpose is the same, to make music.

   Every one of us can pray for the harvest field and that God would send in workers to work the harvest field.

 Matthew 9:37-38 Then saith he unto his disciples, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”

   When we prayer we must be willing to be sent.

   Many people have a misconception about witnessing for Christ.

 John 4:34-38 (NLT) Then Jesus explained: "My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.  Do you think the work of harvesting will not begin until the summer ends four months from now? Look around you! Vast fields are ripening all around us and are ready now for the harvest.  The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike!  You know the saying, 'One person plants and someone else harvests.' And it's true.  I sent you to harvest where you didn't plant; others had already done the work, and you will gather the harvest."

1 Corinthians 3:4-9 (NLT) When one of you says, "I am a follower of Paul," and another says, "I prefer Apollos," aren't you acting like those who are not Christians?

    Who is Apollos, and who is Paul, that we should be the cause of such quarrels? Why, we're only servants. Through us God caused you to believe. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. My job was to plant the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God, not we, who made it grow.  The ones who do the planting or watering aren't important, but God is important because he is the one who makes the seed grow.  The one who plants and the one who waters work as a team with the same purpose. Yet they will be rewarded individually, according to their own hard work.  We work together as partners who belong to God. You are God's field, God's building—not ours.  

   We have been empowered by the Holy Ghost to be witnesses for Christ.

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

    We are all without excuse.

 I. JESUS GAVE TO US THE EXAMPLE OF PERSONAL  WITNESSING.

 A. HE MUST GO THROUGH SAMARIA.  (He came to seek and save that which are lost)

 NOTE: The word MUST means: Necessity brought on by circumstances or by the conduct of others towards us.

 Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

    We must catch the urgency of reaching the lost with the message of redemption.

    It must be the driving force in our hearts and in the purpose of the Church.

    The purpose of our church can not be for our comfort, but rather for the redemption of the lost of the Onalaska area.

B. HE WAS WAITING FOR HER.  (Jesus was prepared for her coming.)

 1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

 NOTE: Intercessory prayer will prepare our hearts for the opportunity God gives us to share His Gospel.

 Matthew 10:19-20 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.  For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.

    In our intercessory prayer we ask God to prepare their hearts for the time the redemption story is presented to them.

 C. HE MET HER WHERE SHE WAS. (Jesus met her in her own environment) 

·         He met Zacchaeus up a tree.

·         He met the prodigal son in a pig pen.

·         He met some of the disciples while they were fishing.

·         He met Saul on the road to Damascus.

NOTE: We must be willing to meet people where they are instead of expecting them to come to us.

 D. IT WAS HER NEED THAT JESUS ADDRESSED.

NOTE: What is the purpose of our inviting others to God?

    Is it for self-serving reasons? 

·         So we can have a bigger church.

·         So we can get more money.

·         For how they can be a blessing to the church.

    If these are the reasons we invite others, we will be careful who we invite.

    Or is it that they need redemption?

    If this is the reason we will not care what kind of person they are, only that they are in need of redemption.

 James 2:9 (GW) If you favor one person over another, you're sinning, and this law convicts you of being disobedient.

Matthew 22:9-10 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.  So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.

 Luke 14:21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.

 CONCLUSION: It is our responsibility to share the story of redemption to all who will listen, it is God’s task to clean them up.

 Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

 

 

JANUARY 25, 2009

 SATISFYING THE THIRSTY SOUL

 SCRIPTURE READING: JOHN 1:1-14

 SCRIPTURE TEXT: John 4:14

     But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

 INTRO: There are many people who spend countless hours, exhausting a tremendous amount of energy, and most of their money trying to find satisfaction in life.

    Finding satisfaction in this world is like trying to catch a feather that is blowing in the wind.

    We will never find complete satisfaction in the things of this world.

    Three things found in Jesus that will help satisfy a thirsty soul.

    We find these three things in the story of the woman at the well.

 I. WE NEED TO FEEL LOVED. 

John 4:6-7a Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.  There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water:

 NOTE: This woman was all alone.

   She had sought to find love in all the wrong places.

    She sought to satisfy spiritual loneliness with physical love.

 John 4:17-18 (NLT) "I don't have a husband," the woman replied.

Jesus said, "You're right! You don't have a husband— for you have had five husbands, and you aren't even married to the man you're living with now."

    Without God in our lives we always have spiritual loneliness.

    Jesus knew this woman’s need before He came to the well.

    A. HE MUST GO THROUGH SAMARIA.  (He came to seek and save that which are lost)

NOTE: The word MUST means: Necessity brought on by circumstances or by the conduct of others towards us.

 Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

     Are we aware that there are those around us who are lonely and need to experience the love of Christ?

 Proverbs 24:11-12 Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to death; don't stand back and let them die.  Don't try to avoid responsibility by saying you didn't know about it. For God knows all hearts, and he sees you. He keeps watch over your soul, and he knows you knew! And he will judge all people according to what they have done.

   We must catch the urgency of reaching the lost with the message of God’s love for them.

    It must be the driving force in our hearts and in the purpose of the Church.

    The purpose of our church can not be for our comfort, but rather for the redemption of the lost of the Onalaska area.

 II. WE NEED TO FEEL NEEDED.  

 John 4:7b (NLT) Jesus said to her, "Please give me a drink."

 NOTE: When this woman came to the well she felt unneeded.

    Those who feel unneeded cannot find a purpose in life.

    There are those within our community who feel unloved and unneeded.

    Jesus took the first step.

    He went beyond societies barriers.

      Jesus made Himself violable by asking for her help.

    Are we willing to reach out to the outcast of our community and let them know they are loved and needed at the Onalaska First Church of God?  

    Many fail to come to church because they feel unloved and unneeded.

    What is the purpose of our inviting others to church?

    Is it for self-serving reasons? 

·         So we can have a bigger church.

·         So we can get more money.

·         For how they can be a blessing to the church.

    If these are the reasons we invite others, we will be careful who we invite.

   Or is it that they need redemption?

    If this is the reason we will not care what kind of person they are, only that they are in need of redemption.

 James 2:9 (GW) If you favor one person over another, you're sinning, and this law convicts you of being disobedient.

 Matthew 22:9-10 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.  So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.

 Luke 14:21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.

 III. WE MUST FEEL THAT WE HAVE ACCOMPLISHED SOMETHING.

 NOTE: When she realized who Jesus was, she went to share the news with others.

 John 4:28-30 The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?”  Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.

   There is no great feeling of satisfaction than knowing you have had a part of leading someone to Christ.

 Psalm 126:6 He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

    There may be many things we cannot do in the harvest field, but the one thing we all can do, is pray for the lost souls of Onalaska.

   The one who prays is just as important as the one who goes.

    We may not realize the part we have played in the redemption of others until we reach Heaven.

CONCLUSION: We must let the people of Onalaska know: 

·         That they are loved.

·         That they are needed.

·         That they can find satisfaction in serving Christ.


See more Sermons in the Archive

 

See more Sermons in the Archive