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Sermon from July 2, 2017
Brother Joseph Barr
Matthew 23:11-12 “But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
This morning, I want to talk about some Bible principles. When we read the Bible, we get direct commands, Biblical examples or necessary inference. The inferences are equally as binding as a direct command or Biblical example. But the Bible teaches us in other ways. I am going to use the Master Teacher’s (Jesus Christ) examples of Biblical truths that are important in our living. Today I will be mainly in the book of Matthew, mostly chapter 23. As far as I can tell, there are no other places in the Bible where these principles are taught but don’t hold me to that.
The first principle is the principle of “lesser is greater.” You may think that’s kind of strange but that’s what the Bible says. It doesn’t work out that way, say, in terms of your paycheck! Think of it as in your attitude. Here is something Jesus had to teach the disciples about the Pharisees. Starting in Matthew 23:1:
“Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, 2 saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. ” They were thinking of themselves as being self-important. They are so self-important that you can’t tell them anything to help them. Sometimes in marital relationships, you can think of yourself as so important that your wife can’t give you constructive criticism. But if anybody has the right, your spouse has the right to constructively criticize with the intent of helping, not harming. “3 Therefore whatever they tell you to observe,that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.” So Jesus is saying, “These men are self-important. You can’t tell them anything but they can tell you what to do.” “6 They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, 7 greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’ 8 But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ,[b] and you are all brethren. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. 11 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. So Jesus says, if you want to be considered greater, you must think of yourself as lesser. So if you want to be great, you must be a servant. There is a story about when Saul was told to kill the Amalekites, he did what he wanted to do but not everything God told him. So Samuel came and said, “You think of yourself more than what you think of God.” But God says, “When you lift yourself up, don’t you worry, I’m going to take you down.” But if you humble yourself, I’ll exhalt you. 1 Peter says “whoever humbles themselves God will lift up.” James says, “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord…”
There’s a 2nd principle in Matthew 23. It’s the principle of weightier matters. There are some things more important in the scriptures than other things. Matt. 23:23 “ Jesus says, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.” There’s such a thing as weightier matters, even in the Gospels. And you and I have to be careful not be put the lesser things ahead of the greater things. Because there are some things more important than other things. For example, we love to get dressed up on Sunday and wear our nice clothes and come to worship on Sunday morning. Do you realize there’s things more important? Going back to 1 Samuel, Samuel said to Saul, “When you were humble God was able to work with you, but not when you thought so much of yourself.” Saul said, “I did do what God told me, but I brought back these nice sheep to use to worship God.” But God said, “When you go to the Amalekites, utterly kill everything, animals, people, everything. I don’t want nothing.” Now, some of our liberal friends say, “What kind of God is that?” Well, God is our maker and can do what He wants with us, but that’s not the point of this lesson. Samuel told Saul, “To obey is better than sacrifice.” And for us, obedience is more important than worship.
Look at vs. 24, following: “Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!. 25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.” 27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Now remember I said there are some things more important than worship. Oh, we get dressed up on Sundays to come to worship, but there’s something that needs to happen before we come to worship: Are we cleansed on the inside before we come to worship. Oh, we look good on the outside but we are decaying on the inside. For example, in our marriages, we have got to take care of our own mind, heart and conscious. I can’t mistreat Cynthia , treat her with disrespect, talk down to her and belittle and degrade her, and then come up in her on Sunday to preach the word (which is my job but you have your own responsibilities.) I can’t do that if I’ve done all kind of evil things to my wife, then expect to worship God in spirit and in truth. And I’m saying to you wives, when you don’t respect and speak kindly to your husband, and then you want to come up in here and sing and take the Lord’s supper, that’s not right. If something is wrong between me and Brother George, how in the world can I come here and worship with him? My response is to settle things with him first before coming to worship God. How do I expect God to accept my worship when my heart is not right?
God made us so different. Cats and dogs will be up fighting all night. Get up the next morning and never have to apologize to each other. But we human beings, we carry that. We know something is not right and we carry it in our consciousness. There’s no way we can lie to ourselves and know something’s wrong. You know you need to apologize. And if your brother hurts you, you don’t have to wait for an apology, you can go to your brother and say, “Something’s wrong between us. You’ve hurt me and we need to get it right.” Hosea 6:6 says, “For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” God says there’s some things more important. Mercy is more important than sacrifice. Don’t misunderstand God. Was sacrifice necessary in the Old Covenant? Yes it was.
We human beings know all about mercy. Mercy is all about not giving somebody something they deserve. If the jury finds you guilty and you get 20 years, the judge might give you mercy and have you serve 10. We should have that same attitude with our brothers and sisters in Christ. “Yes, she didn’t treat me right. But that’s alright. I’ll love her anyway because God showed me mercy and I didn’t deserve it.”
There’s a 3rd principle. It’s the principle of “straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel.” We sometimes get bothered by the littlest things and it causes us to fall into the greatest of sins. In Matt 23:23-24, the Bible says, “Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!” There are some things that are worth fighting for and there are somethings that are not. The scriptures teach us in Prov. 6:19 that he that soweth discord is one of the 7 things that God hates. (In Matthew 15:8-9 Jesus mentions this because they had added all these extra laws through tradition that weren’t even in God’s law! “‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.”)
We expect people to treat us so precisely that we don’t allow any error or mistake. We don’t allow any shortcomings in other people. What we end up doing is swallowing a whole camel.
Last one, 4th example, is the principle of “increase or decrease.” There’s no middle ground. You’re either increasing or decreasing in the faith, spiritually. Matthew 25:29, “‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.” Now, the question is, which one am I? Here’s what Jesus says in Mark 4:25, “For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.” If you’re not in the process of building, you’ve become stagnant. And when you’re stagnant, even that which you had will be taken away. That’s a bad one. I’ve seen it in the church. Brethren grow stagnant and they dissipate. When they hear the word of God and it falls on rocky ground because they have no root, as soon as the sun rises, they wither away.
So if you have it, use it, increase it, work on it so you’ll have more. Even if you have it and you don’t use it, God says He’s going to take away what you have. If you don’t love the truth and hunger and thirst after righteousness, He’s going to take it from you. In 2nd Peter 3:18 the scripture says, “but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” The Bible tells us to grow, grow, grow, grow! You’ve got to always be growing in faith, knowledge, trust, strength! When you stop growing you start dying.
Hebrews 2:1 says, “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time, we should let them slip.” Why do you think there are some people in the world who cannot be saved? Is there anyone if the world who cannot be saved? How can you say that Bro. Barr? Some people have reached a point in their mind of no return. There is no saving them. Why? Because God done gave them over to a reprobate mind. God turned them loose!
Where are you today?
Sermon from January 29, 2017
Brother Joseph Barr
Matthew 24:31-33 “And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. 32 “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!"
Today’s lesson is not a very popular lesson but it needs to be preached. Nobody I know likes to talk about hell but that’s the subject that we’re dealing with this morning. I’m dealing with this subject as a reminder to all of us as to what’s at stake. In this life, this life is not about this life only. Despite what you see on television and regardless of the attitudes of your friends & family, this is something you need to understand for yourself. I want to present to you what the Bible teaches about hell.
Here’s why it’s important. #1: It’s something that God did when He created us. We human beings are very unique creatures. When you read in the book of Revelation how God made the angels….angels, you and I can’t see….that’s the invisible part. But that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Hebrews said “man was made a little lower than the angels.” What does that mean? We are very unique beings in that we were made in the image of God. The Bible tells us in John 4 that God is a spirit. God said, “Let us make man in our image according to our likeness.” So man is made in the likeness of God. That makes us very special. We’re not like, despite what our knowledgeable scientists say, one chromosome away from gorillas. In Matthew 10:24, Jesus said, “Fear not….” So he’s saying the soul cannot be killed. But it can be destroyed. Our Jehovah’s Witness friends say when you die you can’t feel, you’re just dead. Don’t believe that. There’s a part of us that can never die, once given life. Once God blew into man’s nostrils (metaphorically speaking), once we’ve got life, we’ve got it….eternal life. Now that we have these lives that we have, not that we’ll never go out of existence, we will exist somewhere else in another life after this one, for all eternity. It will either be heaven or hell.
Jesus gave us a sample of what He was saying in Luke 16, the rich man & Lazarus. The rich man fed sumptuously every day. Lazarus was poor and sat at his gate every day, desiring the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. The Bible said they both died. The rich man opened up his eyes in torment and Lazarus, who obviously died in faith with the Law and the prophets, he ended up in Abraham’s bosom. Jesus was telling us that death is not it. It’s not over when you die. We are here on this planet and it’s our temporary home. The world is perfect for the purpose for which God created it. He didn’t create it for us to stay here forever. Peter says we’re pilgrims just traveling through. And the reason I’m preaching this lesson because I need you to think about where you’re going to spend eternity. You can say you don’t care but it’s not what you say….it’s how you act.
Let me tell you about hell. The reason Jesus came here was to save us from hell. He came to seek and to save that which is lost. All of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 6:23 says, “the wages of sin is death.” It’s not describing physical death. It’s describing the 2nd death that you read about in Revelations 20. Death is separation. When my mom died in 2011, her spirit separated from her body. That’s physical death. But when God makes Himself absent from man, that’s spiritual death. That’s hell.
I need you to know that hell is a terrible, terrible, terrible place. Hell is everlasting. Matthew 18 is going to tell us 2 things: 7 “Woe unto the world because of offences for it must needs be that offences come.” He’s saying, you’ve got to get rid of sin at great cost. “8 “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.” Everlasting fire is the 2nd thing we need to know. Hebrews 9:27 said that it’s appointed unto men once to die and then after this the judgment. You and I have one opportunity to get this right. You’re not going to get a second chance, no matter what the Jehovah’s Witnesses say. If you’re alive and breathing, you have an opportunity to get it right. If you don’t get it right this time, you won’t have another chance.
There are some of you looking at me right now knowing you’re not right. And you’ll leave here today after hearing this sermon and you’re still not right. God is letting you hear this sermon today because He loves you.
Don’t you know there’s got to be a hell. There are people who are living dirty and getting all the spoils of this earth and people heaping praise on them and no retribution here at all. They need to go to hell! And some of you sitting up in here are living wrong and thinking you aren’t going to hell because you’re a nice person. Hell is for nice people too. You need to get right. The only way to get right is with Jesus Christ. You’ve got to follow His plan.
Look at 2nd Thessalonians 1:7, “and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 10 when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe,[a] because our testimony among you was believed.” Jesus is coming back in vengeance. The savior is up in heaven at the right hand of God waiting for us to get right. The Gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. You’ve got to obey the true Gospel. There ain’t but one true church. (I told you you wouldn’t like this sermon.) Don’t get upset with me….I’m just brave enough to say it. The only way to escape hell is in the church Jesus built. Now, you need to find that church. Christ said “upon this rock I will build my church.” And when you find this church, you won’t ‘join’ it. That’s man’s work there. The Bible said, “and the Lord added to the church daily, such as would be saved.” You have to be baptized for the remission of your sins (Acts 2:38.) Some people think they are going to heaven but I don’t have to think….I know. All those television evangelists say “just pray and ask the Lord to come into your heart.” That is not in the Bible! And they reject water baptism, saying it’s unnecessary when the Bible clearly says it is necessary. You’ve got to be in a hell-proof church. How do you know? Jesus said “the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” Look at Revelation 20:11, “I saw a great white throne. (John is describing the judgment scene)….” (There’s a day coming when heaven & earth are going to pass away. ) ……Now notice, the 2 books are The Law and the Prophets & the New Testament. You and I live under the New Testament prophets. You go to judgment day and God is going to open the New Testament. What are you going to say when you’re in a church you can’t read about in the Bible? What if you’re Presbyterian? God is going to open that book & say “it doesn’t say Presbyterian in here.” How about women preachers? Let’s read it in the Bible. 1st Cor. 14:32 “The way you avoid confusion is for all churches to follow the same rule and preach the same gospel. “34 Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. They didn’t do it in the Old Testament and they don’t do it in the New Testament. Look at 1st Timothy 2:9, “9 in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing,” Now, why Lord, are you prejudice? Remember when Adam & Eve were in the Garden of Eden and Eve ate the fruit? God pronounced a judgment on her and her progeny that she would be hereafter subject to her husband. So don’t get mad at me. If you get to heaven & you see Eve, talk to her! Do women have work to do in the church? There is abundant work in the church. Can she be saved? Yes. She can be saved in child bearing and keeping a good home and following the plan of salvation. Now, this is in the Lord’s church. This isn’t my church. This is the Lord’s church. There are some nice lady preachers out there. But it’s got to be written. It’s got to be WRITTEN in the book.
Our sign is down right now but when it’s up it says “Church of Christ.” No man’s name is on it. Let’s go back to Revelation. Is your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life? Whoever is not is going to be cast into the Lake of fire?
You may not be the best Christian starting out. I wasn’t! I still wanted my friends to like me. And I’m sad to say I participated in some of the things they did. But He let me keep drawing breath and I got stronger and stronger. I wish I could tell you I was perfect now but that’s not true. But when I make mistakes, I repent.
Sermon from Oct. 30, 2016
Ecclesiastes 11:5 “5 As you do not know what is the way of the wind, Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, So you do not know the works of God who makes everything.”
This morning, I want to talk on a subject that bothers me greatly, and it bothers me because I’m a little older now and I have grandchildren, and I love all of my grandchildren, so very, very much. Cynthia & I together have 6 grandchildren and they are very precious. When I first hold these babies in my arms, it gives me such a wonderful feeling. And it would have been so terrible to hear of one of our daughters having a miscarriage before they were born. But when you hear of a conscious decision of having an abortion, it is a terrible crime and a terrible sin. So I want to address abortions in America. I have quite a list of statistics that I would like to share with you this morning. There is a bit of good news in the statistics. The fact that abortions since 2012 are declining in America and I imagine that’s due to the drugs that are available, like the morning after pill. There were 954,000 abortions that took place in 2014. That’s down from 983,000 that took place in 2012, and in 2013 1.02 million (backwards) 21 % of all US pregnancies end in abortions. In 2013 181,730 occurred in California. The fewest occurred in Wyoming: 120. Mississippi had the lowest abortion rate in 2011. Legal abortions doubled in America between 1973 and 1979. In 2012, unmarried women accounted for 85.3% of all abortions. Women living with a partner account for 25%. In 2012, adolescent under 15 years obtained.04% of all abortions. 75% of women having abortions say having a baby would interfere with school or work. Only 1% were survivors of rape.
So you see that the majority of women that decide to have an abortion decide to do so because it’s inconvenient. What does the Bible say on this subject? I can tell you that, to begin with, the Bible does not speak specifically on the subject of abortion but it certainly gives us enough information to conclude how God feels. We are delving into areas that belong to God. God says that all souls are mine. All life comes from God. It doesn’t matter whether that life came into existence because 2 people were having a good time on a Saturday night and it’s inconvenient. God gives us life.
Every hour of every day, at least 110 children in America are aborted: unborn, defenseless babies. In Exodus 21, this is the case of an accidental premature birth. Vs. 22 – 26: “22 “If men fight, and hurt a woman with child, so that she gives birth prematurely, yet no harm follows, he shall surely be punished accordingly as the woman’s husband imposes on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. 23 But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. 26 “If a man strikes the eye of his male or female servant, and destroys it, he shall let him go free for the sake of his eye.” If men fight and hurt a woman with child, yet no harm follows…..life for life.
This seems to me to give every indication that God counts this premature child as equal with an adult. And this is accidental by the way. What do you think He feels about someone that deliberately takes the life of an unborn child. (Eye for eye…)
Not only that but the Bible teaches us that the work in the womb is the work of God. In Job 10:11 & 12, Job said, “11 Clothe me with skin and flesh, And knit me together with bones and sinews? 12 You have granted me life and favor, And Your care has preserved my spirit.”
David claimed that his personhood in Psalms 139:13 was an act of God. “13 For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.” David says that it was God who knew his substance. It was God who placed him in the secret of his mother’s matrix.
You see, when we get so smart and we think because we have the medical ability to do a thing, it gives us the right to do it. In America, you can do anything you want to do if it’s not against the law. And if it is against the law, you can still do it. If you want to rob banks for a living and you don’t mind jail, you can do it. I believe that America will answer for this sin; for the shedding of this blood. In Prov. 6, the Bible tells us 7 things that God hates, and one of them is the shedding of innocent blood. 16 These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren. (“Now you tell me, what is more innocent than an unborn child.”)
I saw pictures online but it was too horrible to share with you. I want to know what doctor….something has to be wrong with a man or woman who does that for a living. When they pull that baby out, they can see the fingers and parts of a formed child. And this goes on every single day, day in and day out. Here’s what Jeremiah 1:4 & 5 says, “5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”.” Isaiah 49:1, ““Listen, O coastlands, to Me, And take heed, you peoples from afar! The Lord has called Me from the womb; From the matrix of My mother He has made mention of My name.”
Somehow, as we develop, all of us have gifts that come from our parents. Some kids have the ability to master Math at a very early age and you wonder where does this come from? Some 6 year-olds have mastered music! When Jesus was preaching, He said, concerning the talents, the master called his men and gave them talents (money) according to their gifts. That’s why Jeremiah, Isaiah & Paul can say that God knew them from the womb. I think the same thing about myself. I believe I was born to preach. I came from a long line of preachers.
Imagine if Henry Ford’s mother had aborted him? What about Luis Pasteur? What about Martin Luther King? What if Barak Obama’s mother had aborted him? All children are precious.
In Romans 12:3-8 it says all our inborn gifts came from God. “3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.These are representative of the gifts we come with.”
Everything we have is given to us. It’s given to us by God. James 1: “All good gifts come from above, from the father of lights.” Of all the millions of children that have been aborted since 1979, how many of them had the cure for Cancer? Or Parkinsons? Or Leukemia? How many times has God sent us the answer?
Young people, when you have sexual relations outside of marriage, you fornicate, which is a sin and as a result, children can come from your good time. That’s how serious it is. He’s not ready, you’re not ready, somebody gets pregnant and you want to get an abortion because you were doing something you had no right to be doing that in the first place. Don’t commit another sin to correct the first sin. Keep yourselves pure. Flee fornication. “Marriage is honorable and the marriage bed is undefiled but whoremongers and adulterers, God will judge.” We may think we can do a thing and be big enough to do it but there’s a God looking down from above and if I understand my bible, there is no sin going unpunished.
Sermon from July 3, 2016
Brother Joseph Barr
John 4:23 “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.”
We’re going to be looking at New Testament worship this morning. We are now under the New Testament and following New Testament law. In John 4, Jesus is crossing through Samaria. He went to a place called Jacob’s Well. Jesus met a Samaratin woman at the well. He asked her for some water and she was amazed and said, “How do you, being a Jew, ask me for water?” Jesus said if she would ask Him for water, he would give her living water and would never thirst again. She was surprised that he, being a Jew, would even talk with her! But Jesus came to save her. He met her for the very first time but he said “Go get your husband” and she said, “I have no husband.” He said, “You’ve had 5 husbands! And the man you’re with now is not your husband.” She then realizes he must be a prophet to know this which he is. He is THE prophet. She then says “You Jews say we must go to Jerusalem to worship but can we worship here in the mountains of Samaria where our ancestors worshipped?” If it was us today we would probably say, “Lord, what church should we worship in?” Jesus says “We Jews know what we worship because we are Jews. God spoke to the Israelites and said “Jerusalem is where to worship for salvation is of the Jews but the hour is coming and now is when true worshipers will worship in spirit and in truth.” Our God is good! By the mere fact that there is such a thing as a true worshipper, then there must be false worshippers. I don’t know about youbut I want to be a true worshipper. Look at John 4:24, “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” That’s an imperative statement. It must be this way and it cannot be any other way. How do we worship God in spirit and in truth? Spirit means we come to God with the right attitude. Worship is not for the pleasing of man. Worship is not designed to please people. It is designed to adore God. That’s what the word ‘worship’ means…to adore, to recognize God.
Jesus says in Matthew 23 “God requires mercy and not sacrifice.” When you do this, before you can bring your offering to God and you don’t have mercy in your heart, it doesn’t do you any good. Jesus says “if you have aught against your brother, go get that settled first, then bring your offering.”
The second part of that is: it has to be according to truth. The problem is, we think truth is subjective. “What’s true for me.” The truth has to be according to God. “Thy word is truth.” In order to worship as a true worshiper, 2 things have to happen. 1: You have to be in the right place and that’s not necessarily a location. 2: You have to worship according to the right pattern.
Look at Acts 2:36-41: 36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. (This is where the church first started in AD 33.) The reason those Jews were pricked in their hearts is because they knew what Peter was preaching was true. Some of those standing here were there when Pontias Pilate asked who to release and they said, “Give us Barabas to set free and crucify Jesus.” They crucified the innocent man and let the guilty man go free.
42: Whose doctrine? The apostles’ doctrine. Where did they get it from? They got it from Jesus (John 16:13 “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”) Here we find the church being mentioned for the first time. What church was it? It was the church Jesus said He was going to build. It was the church those people were added to when they were baptized. You know what that makes them? True worshipers. They can now worship in spirit and in truth. God is calling you. 2 Thess. 2:14, “He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” God is calling people. Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel. He who believeth and is baptized will be saved.” So when you believe and are baptized you will be saved. But look at what the devil came along and did. Acts 20:28 says, “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. ” Then the devil says, “Well I’m going to build me some churches too.” And that’s what we’ve got in the world today. And I know there’s some disappointed people out there, hearing this news, but the only way is to be in the church Jesus said He would build. And if you ‘join’ there’s something wrong. The only way in is to obey the Gospel call. Go to 1 Corinthians 15:1-4: “ 15 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” Don’t get upset with me when I say there’s only one church….it’s what the scriptures say!
Romans 6:3, “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?”
We’ve got all this stuff going on. Billy Graham vehemently denies that baptism is essential. He says to “ask Jesus to come into your heart.” Some say, “Pray the sinner’s prayer and you’ll be saved.” Pentecostal folks say you have to speak in tongues. Where is that in your Bible!?! I dare you to find it! It’s not in there! And then when I show people the Bible the people think I’m strange!
Acts 20:7 “On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight.” There’s a pattern here. We have preaching and the Lord’s supper on the first day of the week. It’s a pattern. That went on the same way for centuries until the Catholics got ahold of it and changed the pattern.
1 Cor. 16:1 & 2 “16 Now about the collection for the Lord’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. 2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.” This is imperative. It’s not optional. Paul could have said, “I requested”….but he didn’t. He said “I’ve given orders.” So when the church gathered on the first day of the week for preaching and the Lord’s supper, they were told to take up a collection.
Now prayer. It’s all over your New Testament. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.”
The last one is music. Look at Ephesians 5:19 “speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.” It is a collective effort. We speak to each other in songs and hymns and spiritual songs. Col. 3:16: “16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” That’s all we’ve got. And if you put anything else in there you’re adding to it. 2 Chronicles 29:25 “and said: “Listen to me, Levites! Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of the Lord, the God of your ancestors. Remove all defilement from the sanctuary.” You see, those instruments in the house of the Lord were commanded by God Himself. Now my point is this, when you read Psalm 150 , that was commanded by David which was commanded by God. Where is it in the New Testament? It’s not there. In the New Testament it tells us to sing. That’s all it says.
In the Old Testament, it was written. Not now. Rev. 22:18-19: “18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.” Hebrews 13:15 “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.” You and I are to praise God continually how? By the fruit of our lips. Acts 17:24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands.” God is not worshiped with men’s hands. He is worshiped with our lips. When we come plucking and playing that’s not worshiping God.
Here’s what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to be saved. Got to hear the Gospel, believe it, repent of your sins, confess Jesus Christ as Lord and be baptized. Then you can rise up and worship in the church that Jesus’ died on the cross for. Obey this gospel before it’s too late. You don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. This is too serious to play.
Sermon from March 27, 2016
Brother Joseph Barr
Hebrews 10:24-25: "24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching."
I know the world looks at today as Easter Sunday but to those of us in the church, every Sunday is Easter Sunday. We celebrate the Lord’s Day, the resurrection of His son Jesus Christ every day we draw breath. So don’t expect any sermon along those lines today.
I want to remind us of something very important today. I want to say this in a delicate manner because I don’t want you to misunderstand it. We make the assembling of ourselves very important. But we have to be careful and not make the church assembling the focus of our Christian existence. We don’t want to make this the only requirement of our faith…the only good thing we do. If we rely only on this aspect of our Christianity, we’re going to be lost.
I want to call to your attention that you and I, those of us that are Christians, we have a divine purpose given to us by God. Why in the world would God give such miserable creatures as this such a responsibility, I don’t know…but He did. The Apostle Paul wondered the same thing. Why would God place such a responsibility as the gospel call on him when he had been persecuting Christians. In 2nd Cor. 4, the Bible said that But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.“
You and I have a purpose and that purpose is not just to go to church on Sunday. We have a purpose to bring forth fruit () Jesus says in order to be my disciples, you have to bring forth fruit. The only you and I are alive is to win souls to Christ. That is our responsibility. We’ve seen this demonstrated throughout Acts, throughout the New Testament. And it’s hard, hard, hard so some of us make the church service the best thing we can do, hoping that will save us. In Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” If you want to know the truth about it, I really would rather not knock doors but I do it. That’s just one way of outreach. It’s not my favorite way. But I do it because I don’t know what’s going to happen when I do it. Philippians tells me it’s God that works in us. I don’t know what’s going to happen because the Bible says “you may entertain angels unawares.” That person you meet may end up accepting the gospel call, and going on to save hundreds of souls. And all you did was bake them an apple pie. Paul said, “I’m trying to persuade men.” We are servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. His day of resurrection is why we’re all here.
Since you’ve been in this church, how many have accepted the call because of you. You can sit there a woman and think you’re exempt but don’t think like that. That’s not true. Is this going to guilt you down? Are you going to leave here today feeling worthless? Well, join the club. I’m worthless too. If you feel like this lesson put weight on you? Well, you put it on yourself when you accepted Christ. It’s on all of us. Christianity is not pie in the sky. The Lord tells us, except a man is willing to take up our cross daily and follow after Him, we cannot be His disciples. He tells us very tenderly that in order to find your life, you have to lose your life. In John 12:24, the Bible says, “ Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much
grain.” Herein is God glorified, that we bring forth fruit. We have to be concerned about people. We have to be concerned about our lost family, our lost friends. We can never quit trying. I do know when I do nothing God can do nothing because He’s got to work through me! If we don’t do it, it won’t get done. “I planted, Apollos watered and God gave the increase.” The planting & watering is our responsibility. You can’t just sit around and watch your friends go to hell. We’ve got this thing about being liked. Being liked? We’re not in high school! I tell you this, you might not be liked but you’ll be respected. They might want us to shut up and go away but I’m sure glad someone didn’t leave me alone! Jesus said, “They hated me and they’re going to hate you.” It’s not our goal in life to be liked. The only way we can glorify God is if we bear fruit.
Every work day we all have our own world that we influence and affect. We’ve all been out in the world and we can’t wait to come and assemble with folks with like mind and like spirits who understand the same thing and believe the same thing. I’ve been dealing with knuckleheads all week but when I come here on Sunday, I’m not dealing with knuckleheads anymore. I wouldn’t miss coming to worship to save my life because it IS my life! And I want to come and get edified with love from God’s people.
You know what love about the church of Christ? It’s so simple. I don’t have to have a new suit every Easter. And all these ladies out there with these big ol’ hats! And the other ladies say, “Oooh! Look at so and so’s new hat!” All that foolishness! All you’ll find here is love.
We’ve just got to keep teaching and baptizing and teaching and baptizing. Go until we’re too old and feeble to go out and then we help teach the younger group. The assembling is important. It’s a God-appointed day. He decided the day. This is the day that God chose for worship. The only way you should miss the assembly is if you’re dying. I think God is going to hold us accountable for all these silly excuses for missing worship services. You’ve got a stomach ache, you’ve got a head ache…but yet you can go in on Monday morning to collect your check? Well God writes your check. The point is, don’t miss the assembly. There’s no excuse. There may be reasons but there’s no excuses.
Sermon from February 21, 2016
Brother Joseph Barr
Jeremiah 17:9 "“The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?"
First of all I want to give thanks for Bro. Dick Fulton being back with us! I remind you also to keep Sister Alice in your prayers. Pete and Faye can’t leave her side. They’re constantly caring for her. Pray for them. One thing that’s true about us Christians is that we know that death is part of life and the whole point of church is to prepare us for the next life. None of this in this building are going to be here forever. As long as we have life in Christ, everything is going to be alright.
Last Sunday we talked about some fundamental things. The blood of Christ and the church (the body of Christ.) They are inseparable. Whenever the blood goes out of the church then the Body of Christ is dead and that’s an impossibility. Jesus rose from the dead never to die again. So if you and I are part of his spiritual body, then you and I will never know death.
This morning, I want to go a little further in this discussion. “Once I have obeyed the death, burial & resurrection of Jesus Christ (Romans 6:3,4), now what?”
The first thing I need us to understand is that you no longer belong to yourself. None of us belong to ourselves. We have been bought with a price and that price that was paid was a bill you and I can never, ever pay. No man on earth can pay that bill. The price we’ve been bought with was the only begotten Son of God. That’s the blood price which was paid. Christ purchased the church with His own blood. It cost Him everything.
In Jeremiah 17:9 the Bible talks about the heart (mind) is deceitful and desperately wicked. What God is telling us is that you can’t trust your own mind. Along with that, look in the Bible at Jeremiah 10:23 “O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself;
It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps..” So He’s saying to us, “You don’t know how to run your own life.” Now, I challenge you to tell Donald Trump that! A lot of people will say, like Donald, when they go out and get a good education, then an executive income and drive a BMW, they’d laugh at you when you tell them they can’t run their own life. Here’s what He’s talking about. You might be able to run your life according to this world’s wisdom but can you run your life in such a way that it’ll bring you success in this life AND your next life? No man on earth has the power to run their lives because you don’t know the way. And you ask Donald Trump how many times he’s been married. I think this is his 3rd wife. And those movie stars making $20 million a picture…how many times have they been married? You know one of my favorite, favorite entertainers was Michael Jackson and he was just as nuts as he could be! You know why? He didn’t know how to run his life. So you can’t run your own life. Just turn it over to the Lord. Exchange your thoughts for God’s thoughts. Now you might be thinking that sounds crazy. Yeah, it would be crazy if I took Darren’s thoughts for my thoughts. That’s how some people do when they follow preachers. They try to take their mind. Remember Jim Jones down there in Guyana? How did that go? I’m not talking about that. Change your thoughts for the thoughts of Almighty God. He cannot tell a lie. If you don’t believe in Jesus you are going to be lost. Because you’re human you want to believe in something. Are you going to believe in Barack Obama? Your mama? Your preacher? Yourself? A man’s mind is so deceitful they can believe their own lies.
When Paul was preaching in Athens in Acts 17, “When the time of this ignorance, God winked at.” There were things in the Old Testament that God overlooked. Things like a man having 6 wives. So there a lot of things God overlooked. But now, since the Gospel age has come in, God doesn’t overlook things in the time of ignorance. We live in the time of light. God brought light into the world through his son Jesus Christ and He is no longer accepting foolishness. Now He commands all men, everywhere, to repent.
Before you became a Christian, you had to repent and start doing what’s right. There are a lot of sins in the world to repent of: lying, stealing, fornicating, adultery, homosexuality, pedophilia, drunkenness, drug addiction, extortioners. We’ve done done some of everything we’re big enough to do. We’ve lived how we want to live. And some of us are prideful. Some of us are jealous. We need to repent from jealously. Some of us have a lot of anger in us. Some of us are prejudice. Some of us just want to have a good time. For some folks, the weekend is every day. Living to yourself. Doing your own thing. You’ve thought you did all this on your own but God was there all the time. All your accomplishments you think are yours…God was there.
I want to share some scripture with you. Look in Colossians 3:1-10 “3 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.
8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him .” In Galatians 2:20 Paul says this, “20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me..” What is faith? Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. I let God run my life because He’s the only one that can successfully run my life so that I can be successful here and make it to heaven in the end. I don’t need to shop at Neiman-Marcus! I know clothes from Walmart are just as good. And God don’t care! I don’t need a BMW when I can be just as happy in my KIA! God helps us learn to manage our money successfully. If you’re not willing to subject yourself to the command of God, then you go ahead and do your thing. Church ain’t for you. It’s for the people who want to go to heaven.