Sermon: A God-Centered Life

Mike HinrichsA God-Centered Life – Mike Hinrichs

Deuteronomy 8:1-2 NASB

“All the commandments that I am commanding you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the Lord   swore  to give  to your forefathers.  “You shall remember all the way which the Lord   your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.

Romans 2:28-29 NASB

For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh.  But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.

Luke 8:11-15 NASB

“Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God.  “Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved.  “Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away.  “The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity.  “But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.

Romans 10:8-10 NASB

But what does it say? “The word is near you  , in your mouth and in your heart  ”–that is, the word of faith which we are preaching,  that if you confess with your mouth Jesus  as  Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;  for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

Ephesians 1:1

Romans 2:1-5 NASB

Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.  And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things.  But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same  yourself,  that you will escape the judgment of God?  Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?  But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,

2 Chronicles 36:11-13 NASB

Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem.  He did evil in the sight of the Lord   his God; he did not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet who spoke for the Lord  .  He also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar who had made him swear  allegiance  by God. But he stiffened his neck and hardened his heart against turning to the Lord   God of Israel.

Acts 8:34-37 NASB

The eunuch answered Philip and said, “Please  tell me,  of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself or of someone else?”  Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him.  As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?”  [And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”]

Colossians 2:9-12 NASB

For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,  and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;  and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ;  having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

Deuteronomy 30:6 NASB

“Moreover the Lord   your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord   your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live.

1 John 5:3 NASB

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

Romans 6

Lifelines:

There is an ancient proverb which says that the person who returns from a journey is not the same as the one who left. That is certainly true in the case of Peter, James and John when they trudged up that mountain with Jesus (Matthew 17:1-8). They saw and heard things that no one else ever has. A vision of the Lord opened their eyes and ears in a whole new way.

Jesus changed right before them. His face took on the radiance of the sun. His clothes matched it, bright as a hundred watt bulb. He was in conversation with Moses and Elijah. What a scene! It so impressed Peter that he wanted to do something to commemorate the moment. His idea? Tabernacles. How about three of them? God’s thoughts? Very different: listen and learn.

Do you have any idea who this is? Moses was a man of significance. How many other people has God conversed with from a flaming shrub? He had been the man to lead the Israelites out of slavery. He was entrusted with the Ten Commandments. Quite a guy was this Moses, but he was not in the category with this one. And Elijah’s resume ends with a journey to heaven in a whirlwind (2 Kings 2). Impressive, but nothing like the one beside him. “This is My beloved Son.”

Jesus knew no missteps. It was always His plan to please His Father (John 8:29). He surrendered His life for the greater good. He swapped His place in glory for the servant’s quarters. He washed feet and sweat blood. He lived and died so that we might die and live. Moses was admirable. Elijah was noteworthy. But this one, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased…” He is in a whole other class.

His words change destinies. They alter the course of human events. They raise the dead. No one has words that can compare. They came from the Father (John 12:49). Jesus spoke them and passed them on to the Holy Spirit (John 16:12-15) who in turn revealed them to humans who wrote them down. Now they are in our hands. God created and shaped the world by means of speaking (Genesis 1). Now His message has come to us. Every time we open the Bible it is a trip up that mountain. Don’t forget the voice from the cloud. “Listen to Him.”

Call to Praise scripture: Deuteronomy 6:4-9

His word on it: 1 John 5:3

Sermon: “A God-Centered Life”

Sermon: The Infinite Love of God

Mike HinrichsThe Infinite Love of God

Romans 8:31-32 NASB
What then shall we say to these things? If God  is  for us, who  is  against us?  He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

1 Timothy 2:1-6 NASB
First of all, then, I urge that entreaties  and  prayers, petitions  and  thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men,  for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.  This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,  who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  For there is one God,  and  one mediator also between God and men,  the  man Christ Jesus,  who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony  given  at the proper time.

Titus 2:11-13 NASB
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,  instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,  looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,

1 John 2:1-2 NASB
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;  and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for  those of  the whole world.

Psalm 34:8-14 NASB
O taste and see that the Lord   is good;
How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! 
O fear the Lord  , you His saints;
For to those who fear Him there is no want. 
The young lions do lack and suffer hunger;
But they who seek the Lord   shall not be in want of any good thing. 
Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord  . 
Who is the man who desires life
And loves  length of  days that he may see good? 
Keep your tongue from evil
And your lips from speaking deceit. 
Depart from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.

Philippians 4:19 NASB
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 7:7-11 NASB
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.  “Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone?  “Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he?  “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!

Romans 8:35-39 NASB
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  Just as it is written,
“For   Your sake we are being put to death all day long  ;
We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered  .”
  But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

John 10:27-28 NASB
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;  and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.

Galatians 3:27 NASB
For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Lifelines:

There is extraordinary power in the gospel, so much that it can save a soul (Romans 1:16).  Regardless of history or heritage, anyone who has the faith to embrace that eternal message will be saved.  There is little wonder that Jesus sent the disciples into the entire world with it and its remarkable capacity to transform sinners into saints.

Sinners find themselves in a dilemma that they cannot solve.  At least, from the human side it is a problem without a solution.  People choose to sin, and as soon as they do the consequences begin to pile up.  Alienation from God.  Spiritual suicide.  Guilt.  Hopelessness.  Sin promised all and delivered nothing.  We want to escape the all-seeing eyes of God.  We cannot.  We try to hide and fail.  The conscience drives us away from what we need most, the Lord.  Only He can resolve this.

Jesus came in search of lost folks (Luke 19:10).  As unappealing as they may be, that is who He was seeking.  What a mission!  To leave the glory of heaven and plunge into this old sinful world is a task that defies description.  He relinquished equality with God (Philippians 2:6-7) to take on an assignment that would lead Him through humiliation, degradation and a brutal execution.  In so doing, He extended to all humanity for all time the possibility of forgiveness.  Sin’s devastation met its match.

It is a way back into the family.  The guilty verdict that we deserve is no longer inevitable.  The wrath of God has been quenched.  Adoption is an option.  Reconciliation is an alternative.  A spiritual resurrection awaits anyone who chooses to place himself in the hands of the only one who can perform such a miracle.  Many can take a life, but only one can raise the dead.  He did.  He can.  He will.  Now, that is good news.

And that is what the gospel is all about.  It is the best possible news and we have it in ours hands.  Sin-smashed people need it, and they do not even know it.  Most will reject it.  The god of this world is a master of deceit, and he has blurred their vision (2 Corinthians 4:4).  In some cases, he has poked their eyes out.  Our sight should be crystal-clear, though.  The lost need the gospel, and we have it.  Pray for workers.  Then, be one.     

Call to Praise scripture:  Romans 8:35-39

His word on it:  1 John 4:19

Sermon:  “The Infinite Love of God”

Lifelines:

Their problems ran far deeper than eyes could see.  They talked a good game.  To the casual observer they presented a suitable picture.  In fact, gamblers would have bet that they were righteous.  They did everything to indicate as much, and they made sure that everyone noticed.  A superficial look would never have detected how deeply they were infected.

The probing eyes of the Lord saw right through their actions.  It was clear in their misuse of Scriptures.  They had rigid rules and regulations that were not determined by the word of God.  They clung tenaciously to their traditions but held the principles of the Lord with a loose grip.  If ever one came in conflict with the other, theirs won out.  This was a clear indication that something much more fundamental was amiss.

There were vertical and horizontal consequences.  It tainted their family relations and rendered their worship null and void.  Their teaching was all wrong which leads us to the root of the problem.  They had a heart condition.  As religious as they may have looked and sounded, they were far removed from God at their core (Matthew 15:1-9).  They were strict but wrong, and that had far-reaching implications.

It is a common thread that runs throughout Scripture.  The heart must be a top priority.  God and His word are both scrutinizing ours.  The Pharisees and scribes made a bad miscalculation when they focused on the externals without paying attention to the internals.  Hypocrite is the word that Jesus repeatedly used to describe them (Matt.23).  Good show.  Bad heart.  It is a problem at the depths.

The Jews on Pentecost asked a question that altered everything (Acts 2:37).  They were told what to do and why (:38).  It all started when they heard about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ which set off a chain reaction that began at their ears, pierced their hearts and changed their lives.  The seed will do that when it lands on good soil (Luke8:15).

When we allow the word of God to do its work, it will reveal what is inside of us (Hebrews 4:12-13).  That is neither easy nor comfortable.  When it dissects us, we will see whatever is within whether it is good or bad.  Our intentions are unmasked and our thoughts are judged.  As agonizing as that can be, it is crucial that we take a good long look through the lens of Scripture.  Only then will we see us as God does, and He is looking.    
       

Call to Praise Scripture:  Luke 10:25-28

His Word on it:  1 Corinthians 13:13

Sermon:  “A Matter of Life and Death”

Lifelines:

The classroom was unconventional, the student body was small, but the education was priceless. It all took place in the span of a few hours in a boat (Matt. 14:22-33), not exactly where we might expect to advance our higher education. For those who pay attention to such things, this is not unusual. The Lord always surprises us. He certainly used terrible circumstances to educate His men in the early morning hours that day. The lessons came fast and furious.

Jesus sent the crowds home and the disciples into a boat while He went off to pray. Lucky crowds! A bad storm was brewing that night, and they were in the comfort and security of their homes. No wind. No rain. No fear. And No schooling. His little band of followers was ordered into discomfort and insecurity, a couple of great educators.

They quickly saw that obeying the master teacher did not insulate them from storms. It did not guarantee that they would not be battered by the forces of life. Before their life’s journey would be completed they would encounter every imaginable dilemma. No, being a disciple does not make the skies clear or the world change. Clouds will gather. Weather happens to Christian and atheist alike. Discipleship does not change that.

In the midst of all that stormy mess they saw something that those safe and sound at home would never see. Jesus walked on water. They did not hear it second hand or read it in a book. Their very eyes watched as He strolled across the sea. Words are one thing, but this was a demonstration of power and authority that they would never forget. And it emboldened at least one of them.

Peter challenged the Lord to challenge him. He wanted to duplicate the feat of Jesus…and he did! It was a short lived walk on the water, but he did it. Jesus commanded and he obeyed. It did not take too many gusts of winds to get his attention, to scare and sink him, but he would surely never forget what he did. Would you forget walking on water? Doubtful, even it was just a step or two. Those who insist on being comfy and cozy at home will never know anything like that. The hesitant who linger in safety far removed from combat will never find out what those on the battlefield know. Walking on water does not happen at home.

The conclusion of this whole episode is seen in the response of the little group of disciples. They found out what those who never got in the boat would never know in the way that they did. They learned about themselves and the One who stands atop the sea and commands storms into submission. They learned about the Son of God, and they worshiped. Impossible situations created by unconditional discipleship teach us lessons that the timid and cautious will never know. For those who dare, their concept of Jesus and their worship will never be the same.

Call to Praise Scripture: Revelation 21:1-5

His Word on it: Philippians 1:23

Sermon: “A Half Hour in Heaven”

Sermon: A Heartbeat From Hell

Mike HinrichsA Heartbeat From Hell

by Mike Hinrichs
Nvember 7, 2010
 

Matthew 7:21-23

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’
23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

Scriptures used in the sermon

Matthew 7:23
Matthew 13:36-43
Matthew 24:48-51
Matthew 25:30
Matthew 25:31-46
Revelation 20:10
Luke 16:19-37
Matthew 7:14
1 Timothy 1:15
1 Timothy 2:4
Acts 2:37
2 Corinthians 5:10

All scripture is from the New American Standard Bible (NASB).

Lifelines

The word of God pulls back the curtain on a dimension that we have never experienced. It exposes us to thoughts and ways that are radically different from ours (Isaiah 55:8). It both shocks and soothes. It pushes us out of the familiar and into the unknown. If that were not so, there would have been no need for it. It probes us to our very depths and reveals what is there.

The word passes from eyes and ears into our hearts and discloses what we are really made of. It takes a bit of effort to put it all together, and some will never accomplish that. It remains incomprehensible to them, and that places them in jeopardy. The devil preys on them, standing ready to pounce on the vulnerable. Quickly, he snatches the word and flees (Matt. 13:19), leaving them untouched by the hands of God.

For some it is a joyous occasion when they first hear the message. The ideas of forgiveness and fellowship thrill their soul. They immediately embrace the newness of it all, but then reality begins to crash in. They are superficial and that never makes for longevity. Times will get hard. Challenges will come. It is not all sunshine and rainbows. There are cloudy, rainy days. Ridicule and hateful words test their substance, and their inadequate root system cannot take it. A promising disciple becomes a footnote in the church’s history. As quickly as they came they are gone, unmasking just how shallow their hearts are (Matt. 13:20-21).

The world is a serious competitor for space within our hearts. Repentance is tough. We are consistently faced with the culture of our times. Jesus said not to worry, but we do. The world says we must meet their standards. The Lord says we must not. Material things entice us. We are seduced into a system at odds with God’s. Determination withers. The word becomes useless (Matt.13:22). So do we. Divided loyalties are impossible. Too much stuff chokes our souls to death.

Good hearts are rare. If the parable-of-the-sower statistics hold absolutely, they indicate that one of four will qualify. That makes them a minority. The battle rages within us all for control. From misunderstanding to superficiality to misplaced values; we each have our individual struggle. Good hearts do not happen by accident. They are the result of intention, education and application. The end result is a life that is what the Lord wants it to be, having been molded by the eternal principles that only the word of God can give us.

Call to Praise Scripture: Revelation 20:11-15

His Word on it: Revelation 20:10

Sermon: “A Heartbeat From Hell”