Category Archives: Sermon Notes

The Image of God and the Sanctity of Human Life

SERMON NOTES: Pastor Milton Vincent
January 20, 2013: Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church

As Christians, how should we think about abortion? Why are we pro-life? These points make up one aspect of our perspective and how to bring our worldview to bear upon this issue.

NewBorn Baby | Imaan | Just 30 days

NewBorn Baby | Imaan | Just 30 days (Photo credit: en-shahdi)

“To come into the womb and do violence is to do violence to the handiwork of God.”
-Milton Vincent

5 TRUTHS THAT SERVE TO SHAPE OUR APPROACH TO THE ABORTION ISSUE

1. Human beings were created in the image of God.
-James 3:9; Gen. 1:27; 9:6
-We are not mere products of time plus chance.
-Human beings are unique in that Scripture does not speak of any other part of God’s creation as being made in His image.

2. Even after the Fall, human beings still bear the image of God.
-1 Cor. 11:7; James 3:9
-The fall did not obliterate God’s image in us.
-We bear His image, but it is marred.
-For Christians, God’s image is being restored day by day.
-Non-Christians also bear the image of God.

3. Because humans bear God’s image, it is wrong to murder or mistreat a fellow human-being.
-Gen. 9:6
-To murder is to do violence to the image of God.
-James 3:9 takes this idea even further by teaching us that because others bear God’s image we should allow that to shape the way we talk to and talk about other people.
-Recognize that the image of God is in all of our fellow humans and let it influence how we treat them.
-We should not treat those who are pro-abortion or those who have had an abortion as scum because they too are image bearers.

“James 3:9 says that you don’t disdain, you don’t demonize, you don’t curse, but you offer grace…” –Tim Keller

4. Because pre-born human beings are created by God in the image of God, they are entitled to the full rights of personhood.
-Ps. 139:13-16; Lit in Hebrew v 14: On account of [Your] awe-inspiring deeds [in fashioning me] I am wonderful!
-This is healthy self-esteem coming from a Biblical Worldview. To God be the Glory!
-We are a distinguished and wonderful product of God’s creative handiwork!
-In the womb, the child is created and fashioned by God, therefore, that child is wonderful.
-To come into the womb and do violence is to do violence to the handiwork of God.
-Look at the language those who are pro-abortion use to describe the child in a mother’s womb:
blob of tissue
tissue mass
fetal infestation
non-viable tissue mass
-Eileen McDonagh says this: [The fetus is] “a massive intrusion on a woman’s body expropriating her liberty…” She goes on to say that the woman has every right to meet that intrusion with violence.
-With the passage of Roe v. Wade, a baby could be considered human, but could not claim personhood.

“A fertilized ovum evidently is human life, but is not a person.” Hansking
“The life of a human organism begins at conception. The life of a person…does not begin so early.” Peter Singer
“What is critical is personal status, not merely human status.” Joseph Fletcher
John Watson says that even 3 days after birth (after genetic testing for example) the baby can be “terminated.”

-Peter Singer says that personhood is uncertain until up to 3 years of age. (!)
-A person (according to the pro-abortion view) is a human being +
must exhibit neural activity
able to feel pain
possess cognitive function
have wants and desires for the future
be valued
have a desire to live
be capable of valuing your own existence
have a mother who has the resources to raise a baby
not be viewed as a threat to mental health

5. As Christians, we know from experience that there is forgiveness for killing an innocent human being who bears the image of God.
-2 Cor. 4:4
-In Christ, there is healing and grace for those who have taken life.
-We know this because we have participated in the murder of the only truly innocent human who perfectly displayed the image of God! Christ.
-It’s important for us to be knocked off our “high-horse” and relate to fellow sinners.

“Wither is God? I will tell you, we have killed him–you and I. All of us are his murderers.” Nietzsche (In this case, he is right).

-Is. 53:5 (lit) He was pierced from our transgressions; He was crushed from our iniquities…
-If we could remove the “DNA” of every sin we commit, big or small, it would spell out “murderer of God.”

“Sin is deicide. Every sinner, if he could, would kill God…sin in its essence is the murder of Immanuel, God with us.”
Spurgeon

-Acts 2:33; 2:36
-Luther said, don’t try to deny that you killed the Son of God. You have the nails in your pocket.

At the very spot where we committed the sin of the murder of God, the cross, God moves toward us and offers salvation.


FINDING GOD IN THE WILDERNESS

Note from Terrie: A new year begins! No real resolutions this year (I have a hard time keeping them). Well, maybe just one: Read more. That’s a general enough resolution that I may find a bit of success in it. As far as Gospel Apprentice goes, I will continue to try to post 3 times a week, sermon notes, something I’ve written, and the internet mixer on Fridays. God bless your 2013. Hope to hear from you this year on Gospel Apprentice!

"The Wilderness" - Israel

“The Wilderness” – Israel (Photo credit: wmrice)

SERMON NOTES: Pastor Carlos Cuellar
January 6, 2013: Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church

FIVE TRUTHS GOD REVEALS ABOUT HIMSELF THAT WILL ENCOURAGE US WHEN WE ARE IN THE WILDERNESS OF LIFE

Psalm 63

1. In the wilderness God reveals Himself as God so that we desire and behold Him. Ps. 63:1-2
-God takes us into the wilderness so that we can learn that He is all we need.
-In the wilderness, God strips away all other gods so that we can see Him alone as God.
-v. 1: Oh God, you are MY God…
-God awakens our desire for Him and then reveals Himself to us.
-David could’ve looked to other things besides God (David’s own sin, Absalom, his circumstances). But David looks to God.
-In our wilderness of life, we can look to the Cross.

2. In the wilderness God reveals steadfast love toward us so that we worship Him. Ps. 63:3-4
-God takes us into the wilderness to show us how much He loves us.
-There we see God’s covenantal, relentless love.
-David learns that nothing can separate Him from the love of God.
-We don’t have to wait until we are out of the wilderness to worship God. We can worship Him, as David did, in the midst of pain and suffering.

3. In the wilderness God reveals His sufficiency so that we are satisfied in Him. Ps. 63:5-6
-We realize that God is all we need.
-We often want God plus something else. God wants us to know that He is enough.
-Psalm 23: The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…(no lack).

4. In the wilderness God reveals His helping presence so that we trust in Him. Ps. 63:7-8
-He has been our help (past) and will be our help (future).
-We can be comforted by His presence in the wilderness.
-Ps. 23: Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…you are with me; your rod and staff, they comfort me.
-When we can’t hold on any longer, He upholds us.
-Even in our darkest hour, we are in God’s hands.

5. In the wilderness God reveals His perfect sovereignty so that we hope in Him. Ps. 63:9-11
-When things go wrong, sometimes our first impulse is to scramble to control the situation.
-David knew that God is sovereign and takes comfort in that.
-God’s sovereign hand acts upon David’s enemies.
-David waits on and trusts God for future deliverance.

This Psalm (song) was written during one of the lowest points of David’s life. Let us also find Him in the wilderness and sing.


Making Disciples Together

SERMON NOTES: Pastor Carlos Cuellar
December 16, 20112: Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church

This sermon is part of our Winter Seminar: Together for the Gospel.

FOUR TRUTHS FOR MAKING DISCIPLES THAT WILL HELP US FULFILL OUR MISSION AND GREATEST CALLING

Matthew 28:16-20

We are all disciples of someone or something. We are all making disciples for someone or something.

1. Making disciples is our mission and greatest calling.
-Matt. 28:16-19a
-Jesus answered his disciples’ doubts by alluding to Daniel 7:13-14, All authority…has been given to me.
-Jesus’ response encouraged and emboldened his disciples to fulfill their mission and calling.
-God’s mission cannot fail.
-Misconceptions about the Great Commission:
that is is just for missionaries (it is for every disciple of Jesus)
that it is just for some people groups (it is global, not just local)
that it is just for unbelievers to be evangelized (it is for making and maturing disciples).

2. Making disciples involves making people followers of Jesus.
-Matt. 28:19
-Baptizing and teaching.
-Baptism is not just immersion into water (although that is important!). But immersion into a new reality, new identity, new relationship, new community, new purpose, new life, etc.
-Teach the Gospel.
-Teaching others about Christ because people who love Christ desire to obey Him.
-If you love me, you will keep my commandments. John 14:15
-Not about behavioral changes.
-Obedience being a means to the ultimate end of glorifying God.
-Luke 6:40

3. Making disciples requires evangelizing people with the transforming power of the Gospel.
-Matt. 28:10-20a: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…
-The Gospel is our greatest tool for making disciples.
-Without the Gospel, evangelizing is dangerous and does not transform people.
-Discipleship is a fight of faith to live inside of the Gospel (not performance based).
-Only the Gospel can continue to transform both new believers and more mature believers to be more like Christ.

4. Making disciples occurs in the relational context of community.
-In relationships as ordinary people living ordinary lives with Gospel intentionality.
-Making disciples:
Intentionality-We do.
Association-We pursue. (Pursuing relationships with other people, to know them.)
Impartation-We give our lives away. “Jesus’s followers do not kill to extend His kingdom, they die.” -John Piper
Demonstration-We show others how to live, not as perfect people but by humbly opening our lives to others.
-We are not only to make disciples individually, but together as a community with our varied gifts.

Our mission and greatest calling is to be disciples of Jesus and make disciples. We fulfill our mission and greatest calling with Jesus, and His mission will succeed.

And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matt. 28:20b


Together For Preaching

St. Peter Preaching 06.jpg

St. Peter Preaching 06.jpg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SERMON NOTES–Pastor Mike Berry
December 9, 2012–Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church

The following notes were taken from a sermon that was part of our CFBC Winter Seminar: Together for the Gospel.

THE VALUE OF GATHERING TOGETHER FOR THE PREACHED WORD OF GOD

Preaching is the pinnacle of worship.

Preliminaries:
-preaching is a positive thing (the word “preach” often has a negative connotation)
-preaching is a heralding of Scripture, lifting up of God and the Gospel

We need to hear God’s Word preached, together.
-This is an irreducibly complex proposition. You cannot remove any part of it and still have it be true.
-This is a need, not an option.

1. We need God.
-We have been made to have a relationship with God.
-Ps. 42:1-2 (like the Psalmist, my soul pants for God, my soul thirsts for God).

2. We need God’s Word.
-If it were not for God revealing Himself to us through His Word, we would be lost.
-He reveals Himself in love through His Word.
-John 6:68, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

3. We need to hear God’s Word.
-Hear=Listen with the attitude that it will impact our wills.
-Rom. 10:17, So faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

4. We need to hear God’s Word preached.
-Not just by ordained ministers.
-The preaching of God’s Word is sacramental, a means of Grace.
-Rom. 1:15-16, for I am not ashamed of the Gospel…
-The preaching of the Gospel is even for saved people.
-Eph. 4:11; 2:20
-If the Gospel is being preached, we are to be thankful.
-1 Tim. 5:17-18
-Preaching is not just something that happens after worship. Preaching is worship.

5. We need to hear God’s Word preached together.
-Something special happens when God’s people gather together.
-In the New Testament, we are the temple of God and He is pleased to manifest His presence when God’s people gather to hear the preached Word.
-Acts 2:41-44
-The body grows together under the preaching of God’s Word.
-The preaching of God’s Word is not mere giving and receiving of information. It is worship.
-If we don’t gather=modern Protestant Monasticism

Questions:

What if we don’t gather together to hear God’s Word preached?
-We are despising a gift of Jesus.
-We grow at different rates.

How can we take advantage of the preacher?
-Like physical exercise:
Stretch out before the preaching: prepare beforehand.
Exercise yourself during the sermon: active listening, fight to pay attention, understanding this is a spiritual activity.
Warm down after the sermon: process the sermon and talk about the message with others, i.e. Care Group.
Continue the burn: take whatever you learn and work with it.

What if the preacher isn’t Milton Vincent (or your favorite pastor, or well-known preacher, etc.).
-If the Gospel is being faithfully preached, it should not matter.

What if the preacher is wrong?
-Understand that humans have frailties.
-Compare what the preacher says to Scripture.
-Get further clarification/feedback from preacher.
-Talk to your pastor if need be.

“The mature worshiper is easily edified.”


Covenantal Commitments Underlying Our Togetherness

SERMON NOTES–PASTOR MILTON VINCENT
December 2, 2012–Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church

The following notes were taken during our 2012 Winter Seminar: Together for the Gospel.

The emphasis on community (togetherness) is a return to an ancient reality of the first century church. The matrix of togetherness is the matrix in which the Church was born.

See Acts 1:4, 6, 14; Acts 2:1, 44, 46-47

3 Types of relationships:

A. Casual relationships.
-No obligation.

B. Consumer relationships.
-Some degree of obligation, expectation.
-In a consumer relationship if you aren’t having your expectations met, you feel you don’t owe the other person anything and so you just leave the relationship.
-We often bring a consumer mentality with us to church.
-You can’t be “real” in a consumer relationship because you fear that if you are and the other person does not like it, they will leave.
-There is no covenantal commitment in a consumer relationship.

C. Covenant Relationships.
-i.e., marriage.
-In God’s mind, covenant gives freedom and security to a relationship.
-Covenant is the matrix in which true intimacy can flourish.

3 COMMITMENTS THAT UNDERLIE OUR TOGETHERNESS HERE AT CORNERSTONE:

1. God the Father’s covenantal commitment to us in Christ.
-The nature of the New Covenant. (Eph. 2:12-13; Jer. 31:31-34)
-We as Christians enter into a covenant relationship with God.
-The Gospel is not just the story of God doing saving acts, but also the promises of doing saving acts and then fulfilling those promises.
-For example, God promised to send His Son, and He did. God promised to raise His Son, and He did. God promised that He would send His Spirit, and He did. etc.
-The Holy Spirit is a pledge of God’s faithfulness to us. (Eph 2:13-14)
-God also promises that He will love us forever, will never leave nor forsake us, and that nothing will ever separate us from His love.

Because of the covenantal relationship we have with God (neither casual nor consumer based relationship), we have a safe place to relate to God, be transparent with Him with our sins, and enjoy intimacy with Him.

2. Christ’s covenantal commitment to us, His Church.
-Eph. 5:31-32
-Human marriage is a picture of Christ’s covenantal commitment to the church.
-Our relationship with Christ is based on covenant promises:
that He would build His Church
that nothing can destroy His Church
that He would die
that He would rise again
that He would ask the Father to send a Comforter
that those who look to Him for salvation would receive forgiveness, justification, adoption, sanctification, glorification etc.
that He would go to prepare a place for us
that He will come again
-Christ made a covenant and sealed it with His blood.
-See 1 Cor. 11:25; Matt. 26:28; Ex. 24:5-8; Jer. 31:31-34.

Jesus died to be the Senior Pastor and a member of our body here at Cornerstone (1 Peter 5). Jesus seals the promises he makes with His blood. He is covenantally committed to us. We can go to Him without fear that He will abandon us.

3. Our covenantal commitment to each other.
-Acts 5:12-13 (…none of the rest dared to join (cleave to) them…
-“Cleave” is a covenantal term.
-Those inside the church continually cleave to each other, those outside are not brave enough to do so.
-If God the Father and God the Son deemed our brothers and sisters to be recipients of His covenantal promises, we can too.

We struggle and hurt each other at times, but we covenantally commit to one another without fear of abandonment.


Grieving With Those Who Grieve

SERMON NOTES – PASTOR MILTON VINCENT
November 25, 2012 – Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church

Rejoice with those who rejoice, grieve with those who grieve. Romans 12:15

This verse is a description of how to love one another. Love expresses itself by rejoicing with those who rejoice and grieving with those who grieve. This is a call to relationship with one another. In this way, we render ourselves vulnerable to the joys and griefs of others.

FIVE THINGS YOU WILL WANT TO DO IN ORDER TO LIVE OUT THE ETHIC OF ROMANS 12:15 AND GRIEVE WITH THOSE WHO GRIEVE:

1. Appreciate the fact that the capacity to grieve with those who grieve is a precious gift.
A. An inability to grieve with those who grieve is one key characteristic of a psychopath.
-Even the unsaved have the capacity through God’s common Grace to grieve with those who grieve.
B. The capacity to grieve with those who grieve protects us from many evils.
-The ability to empathize with others and thought of the grief we would bring loved ones if we were to sin against them can keep us from sin.
-Grieving with those who grieve is a key to relationship, friendship, ministry, counseling, and the overall health of the church.

If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 1 Cor. 12:26

2. Realize all that you are being called to inside of this instruction to grieve with those who grieve.

Includes:
A. Grieving with a person who is grieving over a sorrow that God has allowed in both of your lives. Grieving together.
B. Grieving with a person who is grieving where God has allowed  a sorrow into their life and not yours.
-Paul calls us here to step outside of ourselves and make ourselves vulnerable to the grief of others.
C. Grieving with a person who is grieving during a season in which you find yourself rejoicing (or grieving).
-Setting aside your own grief (or joy) to grieve (or rejoice) with others.
D. Grieving with a person who is grieving over a sorrow not as great as the sorrow that you yourself are grieving over.
-Humbling yourself to enter into the lesser grief of others.
E. Grieving with a person who is grieving over a sorrow they have brought on themselves.
-Luke 15:20 (story of prodigal son).
-Not rejoicing over “what they had coming to them”.
-We can look at them and their sin and say, “That’s me and Jesus came to me!”
-No “I told you so” attitude.
F. Grieving with a person who is grieving over a sorrow that you know will be short-lived.
-John 11:33-35 (the resurrection of Lazarus).
-Jesus was moved with compassion and wept with them even though He knew that Lazarus would be raised from the dead.
G. Grieving with a person who is grieving over hurts that you have caused.
-When you sin against someone, make a true apology which includes grieving with the person you have hurt and sinned against.
-Owning and entering into the hurt you have caused.

Apologies are moral events that have real power to heal. -Susannah Meadows

H. Grieving with a person who is grieving before you impart wisdom to them.
-Paul does not say preach or lecture with those who are grieving.
-You may really have wise words for the person who is grieving but if you skip grieving with them your wise words will only be an irritant.
-Don’t stay safely outside the other’s circle of grief and try to lob truths into it. Enter into their pain first.
-Words of wisdom are more effective when we first enter into the other person’s circle of pain.
I. Grieving with a person who is grieving even though they are grieving in a way you think is inappropriate.
-i.e. longer, more intensely, hurtfully than you deem appropriate.
-Especially when it is grief over a hurt you have caused.
-Sometimes people may even grieve in ways that hurt you–i.e. acting out, etc.
J. Grieving with a person who is grieving even though they are grieving in a way that is different than how you express your grief.
-People are different and grieve in different ways.

3. Let the compassion of God revealed in the Gospel shape and move you to grieve with those who grieve.
-Romans 12:1; “by the mercies of God”.
-God has great compassion for us.
-God sent Jesus to save us because He was moved to do so.
-Rather than moving away from us, God moves toward us in the Gospel.
-The Gospel radically changes us into compassionate people.
-Isaiah 53:3; Jesus despised, a man of sorrows…
-Emmanuel = God with us. Jesus entered into our griefs and sorrows.
-In the Gospel we have the ultimate empathetic friend.

4. Let the ongoing sympathy of God revealed in the Gospel shape and move you to grieve with those who grieve.
-Romans 8:22-23
-The Spirit helps us in our weakness (Romans 8:26).
-God groans with us in our brokenness.
-We always have the Spirit to express our griefs and groaning to God when we don’t know how.
-Hebrews 4:15; …we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses…
-Grieving with those who grieve reveals the heart of God to others.

5. Let the hope of the Gospel shape and free you to grieve with those who grieve.
-Romans 8:28; Knowing that for those who love God all things work together for good.
-When we grieve with others, we guarantee that joy, when it does come, will be our joy too.
-When we go through our own grief, God is deepening our ability and capacity to grieve with others.

Paul calls us here into something rich and deep–the essence of our community with one another. In this we display the heart of God to others. Rejoice with those who rejoice and grieve with those who grieve.


Rejoicing With Those Who Rejoice

SERMON NOTES-Pastor Milton Vincent
November 11, 2012-Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church

Rejoice with those who rejoice… Romans 12:15a

A failure to rejoice with those who rejoice will ruin you and reduce you to a spiritual invalid. You will never be a consistently happy person until you learn to rejoice with those who rejoice.

“Rejoicing with others (even if we are deprived of their joy)…requires a selflessness which only the power of the Gospel can bestow.”  -James Edwards

FOUR THINGS YOU WILL WANT TO DO IN ORDER TO LIVE OUT THE ETHIC OF ROMANS 12:15 AND REJOICE WITH THOSE WHO REJOICE:

1. Understand that there are limits as to what you are to rejoice in.
-1 Cor. 13:6; Rom. 12:9
-Agape love knows what is good and what is evil and hates evil.
-In our world there is rejoicing in evil, calling evil good.
-The path of love is not to rejoice in evil. In fact, the most loving thing you can do is not rejoice in evil.
-Includes rejoicing when someone is rejoicing over any genuine good that God has brought into their life. (James 1:17)

2. Rejoice with others when it is natural and easy to do so.
-Many times it is natural and easy to do so.
-Rejoice when you share in whatever it is that they are rejoicing about.
-We don’t even need to ponder what to do in these kinds of situations. Rejoicing comes easy.

3. Rejoice with others when it is difficult or seemingly impossible to do so.
-Sometimes it is costly to rejoice with others.
-At times, rejoicing with others takes a denial of self.
-Maybe the person has received something that you have wanted.
-Includes rejoicing over a blessing that God has given to another and not to you.
-Includes when someone who (in your mind) is less deserving than you has received some blessing greater than you or even equal to you. (See Matt. 20:1-15)
-Includes when someone is rejoicing in the achievements or ministry of another person instead of you. (See 1 Cor. 12:26)
-Includes when someone is rejoicing in something that does not interest or affect you at all.
-Includes when someone is rejoicing during a season in which you find yourself grieving, even if the area they are rejoicing in is the very area in which you are grieving.
-Includes when someone is rejoicing in some blessing that you think is not as impressive as what you are rejoicing in.

“Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next person.” -C.S. Lewis

-Includes when someone is granted an opportunity beyond what has been given to you. (Phil. 1:17-18)
-Includes when someone is rejoicing in God’s forgiveness of their sins which they have committed against you. It’s easy for the wounded person to begrudge the joy of forgiveness given to the one who has wounded them.

Sometimes it takes a heroic Gospel effort to step out and rejoice with other people. We see that Paul’s call to rejoice with those who rejoice is humanly impossible. Therefore:

4. Let the Gospel motivate and shape your rejoicing with those who rejoice.
-Reason from the Gospel. (Romans 12:1-15)
-If you want to rejoice with those who rejoice, you must plumb the depths of the Gospel to do so.
-Remember the judgment you deserve. Not to stay there, but to use as a backdrop to see clearly the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (Romans 1-3)
-Think what God has done for you in Christ! (Rom. 3:20-11:36)
-Understand God gives you everything needful. (Rom. 8:32)
-Even what we lack is a gift from God and He is working toward our good through what we lack.
-Understand that God works everything out for good. (Rom. 8:28)
-Remember that you are destined for glory. (Rom. 8:30)
-Make use of the privilege of prayer. (Rom. 8:26) Prayer is a Gospel blessing. Even when we don’t know what to pray the Spirit is interceding.

When you are challenged to rejoice with those who rejoice, know that such moments are tailored for you by God to bring us to the foot of the cross. Go there!

Note from Terrie: I have glossed over this Bible verse many times and never thought too much about what rejoicing with those who rejoice really means. Pastor Milton was correct when he announced at the beginning of his sermon that this verse would give us a good scrubbing on the inside. Point 3 was very convicting for me. But, thanks be to God for the Gospel and for our pastor who never fails to bring the good news to bear on the many ways God’s word makes us aware of our failings and sins against God. Without point 4, we would be hopeless, indeed!  What hope we have in the Gospel!

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie


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