Christ’s Answer to Every Problem

Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so I would not exalt myself. 8 Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away from me. 9 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. 10 So because of Christ, I am pleased in weaknesses, in insults, in catastrophes, in persecutions, and in pressures. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

One of the difficulties of being a pastor is to help people through difficult seasons of their life. Usually, there is no advice to give or anything to say that will really change the circumstances. At the same time, saying something like, “Just trust God,” seems so hollow and void of real compassion. And yet, is there any better answer to all of our problems than the answer that Christ gives? Jesus said to Paul and He says to us, “My grace is sufficient for you.”

The focus here is on the power of God. There is …

1. The Power of the Cross of Christ

1 Corinthians 1:18

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (NKJV)

2. The Power of the Resurrection of Christ

Philippians 3:10
10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death (NKJV)

Ephesians 1:19-20
19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, (NKJV)

3. The Power of the Intercession of Christ

Romans 8:26-27

26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (NKJV)

Rom 8:34
34It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. (NKJV)

4. The Power of the Love of Christ

Romans 8:35-39
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?36 As it is written:

“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NKJV)

5. The Power of the Holy Spirit

Acts 1:8
8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (NKJV)

6. The Power of the Promises of God

2 Corinthians 1:20-21
20 For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. (NKJV)

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Holy Living in an Unholy World

Corinth was by all historical accounts a very wicked place. When Paul established a church there, he was establishing a church in the midst of one of the most difficult cities of his day. When we move to the letters called 1 and 2 Corinthians, we realize that the struggle in Corinth continued. Paul confronts them in the first letter and defends that confrontation in the second letter even as he commends them for hanging tough in the midst of an unholy world.

In 2 Corinthians 6-7, I note some principles for living holy in an unholy world.

1. You cannot be holy and walk with unholy people. (6:14-16)

Paul raised five rhetorical questions. People like to apply this passage to marriage. That is a good application, but note that this is not found in the context of this passage. As such, this issue of being unequally yoked should be a principle of every relationship in life.

2. You cannot walk with God and participate in unholy activity. (6:16-7:1)

You do want God to walk with you don’t you? So do I. There is a requirement. We must walk in holiness.

3. Holiness must be pursued in the life of the believer in the fear of God. (7:1)

Fearing God is a good thing when fearing Him rightly leads to godliness.

4. Your holiness might not come without confrontation from another believer. (7:2-12)

This is a tough principle, but when people genuinely love you, they will seek the best for you.

5. Holiness always brings joy in the ones around you.

The Apostle John said there was no greater joy. I agree!

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What’s Happening this Week at FBC?

saviour rose fbadSunday, we continue to focus our attention toward Easter. Easter is on Sunday, April 16, this year. On the Thursday and Friday of Holy Week, our Sanctuary Choir and Orchestra along with Ballet Magnificat will present a musical oratorio titled, Saviour. Ballet Magnificat is a professional Christian ballet company that has been described as the premiere Christian dance company in the United States. Their professional touring companies have performed both nationally and internationally.

To prepare us for own reflection and celebration of Easter, I want to explore the same theme of Saviour for our preaching times as we approach Easter. Sunday, we turn to the Gospel of Matthew and the birth of Jesus as we remind ourselves that we could not have Easter if we did not first have Christmas. Jesus was Saviour in His Coming!

Remember to walk through the Main Street area Sunday and sign-up to be on one of our “Here for You, Acadiana” Teams. This is the local missions day that we have formerly called “First Baptist Church Loves Lafayette.” The reason for the change is that the other Southern Baptist churches of our four parish Evangeline Baptist association are going to do the same thing as us all on one day. The day is set for Saturday, April 8. Be a part of this exciting plan to impact Acadiana in the name of Jesus.

Let me appeal to you to be in your place in both Sunday School and worship this week. Consistent worship habits not only strengthen your own walk with Christ, but also have a way of setting an example for those around you.

I will be looking for you Sunday!

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Abram’s Faith—Exemplary and Exposed

Genesis 12 marks a new reference point in Genesis. Though briefly introduced at the end of chapter 11, we meet Abram (soon to be named Abraham) in the beginning of chapter 12.

Abram’s story is an amazing story of faith. Abram, in the midst of uncertain circumstances, separates from the known, sacrifices to the uncomfortable, and surrenders to the unknown.

His story of faith is exemplary. As I have often remarked about Abram’s faith, “When God said ‘Get up and go,’ Abram got up and went.”

However, Abram’s story is a reminder to us that faith is a constant battle between depending upon God and depending upon ourselves.

Abram’s story is exemplary, but his story also shows us what happens when our faith gets exposed. At the end of chapter 12, Abram, now not completely trusting in God, begins to trust in himself. In essence, Abram says, “God, I will take this one.”

Notice what is missing in the latter part of chapter 12. Twice in verses 1-9, Abram built an altar. In verses 10-20, no altar is built. When we cease to worship, we are always vulnerable to trusting in ourselves instead of God.

Abram eventually built that altar. We read that in the beginning of chapter 13. He went back to the site where he had built the altar and worshipped there.

Do we need to do the same?

This year on Wednesday nights, I am leading a Bible Study on the book of Genesis. You can join us at 6:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of First Baptist Church, Lafayette. We have a dinner ($6) beginning at 4:45 p.m. This week (March 22) we will take a look at Genesis 13. Come walk with us this year through this book of beginnings.

(This post is based on the message from Genesis Chapter 12, which you can listen to at fbclaf.org/genesis)

Saviour through Constant Rebellion

Psalm 78 is a summary of some of the historical rebellious moments of Old Testament Israel. The Psalmist, inspired by God of course, wrote this hymn as a teaching hymn. The Psalmist begins with an introductory statement to listen to the instruction that would prevent the ongoing rebellion of Israel. He is imploring his generation to not make the same mistakes of the past. He moves from an opening plea (verses 1-8) to a rather long commentary of some of the major illustrations of Israel’s historic rebellion.

Though the Psalmist does not always move in chronological order, Psalm 78 is based around three illustrations of ancient Israel’s rebellion.

· The Exit from Egypt

· The Experience in the Wilderness

· The Entry into the Promised Land

What do we learn about our own rebellion from Israel’s rebellion?

1. They forgot to remember.
Old Testament Israel forgot the many miraculous provisions of God. They did not acknowledge how God had split the Sea on their way out of Egypt and how He gave them water to drink and food to eat. They forgot how God had dealt with their enemies.

2. They faked their repentance.
Like so many of us, Israel had a way of worshipping God with their lips, but their actions did not line up with their words. God saw then, and He sees now the truth of our repentance.

3. They failed to remove sin.
When Israel entered the Promised Land, God gave clear instructions to deal immediately and decisively with the pagan gods they would find in Israel. Their failure to do that led to rebellion against God.

But even through all this rebellion, God pursued Israel. He sent Israel and us His one and only Son, Jesus, to be sin on our behalf. Thanks be to God that He is Saviour even in our rebellion. But, this mercy doesn’t’ justify our continued rebellion. God still calls us to the Gospel, which is a Gospel of His grace, but also a Gospel of repentance.

Today is a day that He calls us to both preach and practice the Gospel!

(This post is based on the message “Saviour through Constant Rebellion” which you can watch at fbclaf.org/video)

What’s Happening this Week at FBC?

In preparation for Easter, we are considering the theme of Saviour from Creation to Resurrection. Last Sunday, in looking at the Great Fall, we said, “Sin is the constant central conflict of History.” Sunday, we will consider this ongoing rebellion through the historical example of Old Testament Israel. Thankfully, we learn again that Jesus is Saviour even through our constant rebellion.” Let me encourage you to read Psalm 78 before you come Sunday.

5bb9697817654e068e10c28dc507c48d-2As we have been announcing for weeks, seven time Dove-award winning artist Steve Green will be with us this Sunday. He will sing in both morning worship services and share a free concert Sunday evening at 6 p.m. Steve has presented the gospel through song in over 50 countries, but Sunday he will be with us in Lafayette. I am excited. I sure hope you will join us.

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Saviour in the Fall

Easter is on Sunday, April 16, this year. On the Thursday and Friday of Holy Week, our Sanctuary Choir and Orchestra along with Ballet Magnificat will present a musical oratorio titled, Saviour. Ballet Magnificat is a professional Christian ballet company that has been described as the premiere Christian dance company in the United States. Their professional touring companies have performed both nationally and internationally.

I have been listening to this music in preparation for preaching now through Easter. It is stirring and worshipful. This work is about God’s passion for His people. The story, which takes us from creation through resurrection, is a picture of God pursuing His people.

To prepare us for own reflection and celebration of Easter, I am exploring the themes of Saviour for our preaching times between now and Easter.

Yesterday, I preached from portions of Genesis 3, 6, and 11. Collectively, these chapters tell us of the Fall and aftermath of the Fall.

All of this points us to the ongoing story of God’s redemption that comes through Christ. Because of that, we see the Gospel even in the fall.

Notice these Gospel truths even in Genesis.

The Fall establishes that sin is a problem.

This is the constant central conflict of History.

The Fall establishes that sin has a penalty.

Here is the truth of sin—Sin separates us from God both now and forever.

The Fall establishes that God desires to pardon.

Where sin abounds, grace abounds. Here is the reason for the cross!

Follow the story. God wanted the people of Babel to scatter and fill the earth. This is also what God told Adam and Eve upon creation. The people of Babel wanted to stay to make a name for themselves. God scattered them.

God always has a plan. God has a plan to deal with the sins of the world. That plan was Jesus coming to live among us so that He might pay the penalty for sin on the cross.

The Fall establishes that we still have a point of choice.

God’s extension of grace provides a choice for us to receive His grace. He will not make you receive His grace. He will not make you receive His forgiveness. This is our choice. The cross does not mean universalism. The cross does not mean that all are saved. But, it does mean that God has made provision for the problem of your sin.

(This post is based on the message “Saviour in the Fall” which you can watch at fbclaf.org/video)

What’s Happening this Week at FBC?

zydeco200Give yourself extra time to arrive at church Sunday morning! The Zydeco marathon is going on Sunday morning. Several streets and intersections will be closed making your trip to church a little longer Sunday morning. We have a map to view at www.fbclaf.org/zydeco to plan your route.

In addition, this Sunday is the dreaded time change Sunday as we “spring forward.” Don’t forget to set those clocks up one hour before going to bed.

In preparation for Easter, we are considering the theme of Saviour from Creation to Resurrection. This Sunday, we will explore together the first sin and its fall-out. Many times, we just simply refer to this part of the story as the Fall. As we will learn together, the same mindset that tripped Adam and Eve is the same mindset that leads to our sin.

On Sunday night this week, in addition to our continued study through 2 Corinthians, we will hear from the Heavenbound Quartet and hear a testimony from Kathy McKenzie.

Finally, Friday, you have the opportunity to help our school. We are having a Dinner/Auction Friday night beginning at 6:30 p.m. Call the school office today at 237-1546 and get your tickets! The tickets are $25/person for a steak dinner.

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God, Keeper of Promises

The story of Noah ends in Genesis 9 with a promise. This is the end of Noah’s story, but not our story. God keeps his promises. You say well that’s just one story. No, it’s the ongoing story. To Abraham, “I’ll make you the father of many nations. To Moses, “I AM will be with you.” To Mary and Joseph, To Zacharias and Elizabeth… Then perhaps best of all Jesus prophesying His own death. But better than that, His prophesy of resurrection in three days. See, it’s a pattern. And He has promised His return.

What has he promised to you personally?

1. His Presence
2. His Power
3. To answer our prayer
4. Salvation
5. Heaven
6. Return
7. The list is infinite.

And He will keep them all.

This year on Wednesday nights, I am leading a Bible Study on the book of Genesis. You can join us at 6:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of First Baptist Church, Lafayette. We have a dinner ($6) beginning at 4:45 p.m. This week (March 8) we will take a look at Genesis 10-11. Come walk with us this year through this book of beginnings.

(This post is based on the message from Genesis Chapter 9, which you can listen to at fbclaf.org/genesis)

Saviour from the Beginning

saviour rose fbadEaster is on Sunday, April 16, this year. On the Thursday and Friday of Holy Week, our Sanctuary Choir and Orchestra along with Ballet Magnificat will present a musical oratorio titled, Saviour. Ballet Magnificat is a professional Christian ballet company that has been described as the premiere Christian dance company in the United States. Their professional touring companies have performed both nationally and internationally.

I have been listening to this music in preparation for preaching now through Easter. It is stirring and worshipful. This work is about God’s passion for His people. The story, which takes us from creation through resurrection, is a picture of God pursuing His people.

To prepare us for own reflection and celebration of Easter, I am exploring the themes of Saviour for our preaching times between now and Easter.

Somebody might ask, “Can a person be a Christian—a Christ follower and not believe that God is creator?” That’s a good question and seeing history as God’s story from beginning to end as we mark history actually answers the question. If God is not God from the beginning, that is in control, what makes you think that He is control when History one day will come to an end? The Bible shows us what God did to reconcile us to Himself. This is why the story of God begins at the beginning.

God is the central character of the creation story.

All throughout chapter 1, God is central. God says what He is going to do. God does what He says He is going to do. In this case, God creates. And by the way, a very special Hebrew word is used for creation. When this word is used in the Bible, God is always the subject. And third, God names what He has created. And, finally, God calls what He made good.

God’s creative activity ought to give us reassurance. We can be reassured that…

1. If He is creator, He cares for what He creates.

2. If He is author, then He has authority over what He creates.

3. If He started it all, He sustains it all.

4. If He is alpha, then He is Omega. That is, He is bringing everything to its appropriate end.

He is Saviour from the beginning!

(This post is based on the message “Saviour from the Beginning” which you can watch at fbclaf.org/video)