Tag Archives: Christ

The Wedding

On June 29, our oldest son will be getting married.

That’s only a week away!

Bridal bouquet of roses and Stephanotis flowers

Bridal bouquet of roses and Stephanotis flowers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We are at the point where lots of things not directly related to the wedding are being postponed until after the big day. We are busy preparing for an after rehearsal party here at our home, the arrival of lots of family the night before and day of the wedding, and all the other little things that have to happen before June 29.

We put time and thought (and money!) into our wedding preparations here on earth. It’s a big deal, as well it should be! But I’ve been thinking about the church (that’s you and me as believers in Christ) and her role as the Bride of Christ.

My son and his bride-to-be chose June 29 as their wedding day, which is fast approaching! We do not know the hour and day our Bridegroom will return for His church, but we know that day will come. And what a joyous occasion that will be!

My prayer is that our response to the beauty of the Gospel of Christ be a readiness to wait in rapt anticipation, putting aside things that lack eternal significance to focus on our future marriage celebration to our beloved Bridegroom.

Let the Bride of Christ remain faithful and true, boldly declaring with a holy expectation:

“Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20)

Probably won’t be posting again until July. After all, we’ve got a wedding to prepare for!

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


Responding To Christ’s Love

Sermon Notes-Pastor Carlos Cuellar
April 1, 2012-Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church

This morning’s text: John 15:9-12

FIVE WAYS JESUS WANTS YOU TO RESPOND TO HIS LOVE

1. Know how greatly you are loved. (v.9)
-Jesus had already been loving His disciples, and now He was just hours away from demonstrating His love to the fullest (the cross).
-Love: strong and intimate feelings that drive intense actions.
-The same love that Jesus experienced in the Godhead is the same love we receive from Him.
-We are invited into this divine, Triune love, greater than all other loves.
-Jeremiah 1:5
-Despite our sin, He has set His love on us. It is unconditional. Nothing can change it.
-His love for us is purposeful: for our good and His glory.
-So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us…(1 John 4:16). Know it and believe it!

"ὁ θεòς ἀγάπη ἐστίν" ó theòs agape e...

"ὁ θεòς ἀγάπη ἐστίν" ó theòs agape estín (Greek; trans. "God is love") on a stele in Mount Nebo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2. Abide in Christ and His love. (v. 9)
-Abide: live inside of, remain in, locate yourself in.
-This is union with Christ, never being independent or apart from Him.
-Abiding, continual, life-long, moment by moment.
-Abiding requires a certain posture:
dependence-We are nothing without Him. We need Him or we wither and die.
trust-Trust in His love, the greatest love of all.
submission-This is a dying that leads to life.
-We are transformed and His love is perfected in us. We begin to love Christ and other people. (See 1 John 4:16-19.)

3. Let the love of  Christ motivate you to live for Him. (v. 10)
-John is NOT saying:
If  we don’t obey perfectly He removes His love.
We must earn His love through obedience.
-But, John is saying:
Love for Christ is motivation to obedience and a life lived for Him. (2 Cor. 5:14-15)
His commands are an expression of His love toward us. We experience His love inside of His commands.
-1 John 5:3

4. Find your greatest joy in Christ’s love. (v. 11)
-Knowing and abiding in His love brings joy.
-Obedience brings joy.
-A complete joy that transcends all other joys.
-Ps. 16:11
-Joy that is tethered to Christ’s love, so it can never be taken away.

5. Love Others like Christ has loved you. (v. 12)
-Just as you have been loved by Christ, love others.
-A summary of Christ’s law and His heart.
-His love does not stop with us, but flows through us and outward to others.
-This kind of love (loving other sinful people) is impossible without Christ.
-How did Jesus love us?
Selfless love
Sacrificial love
Unconditional love
Committed love

Love others how Jesus loves us. Selflessly, sacrificially, unconditionally, committed.


Indications That God Is For Us, Part 2

Sermon Notes, Pastor Milton Vincent
Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church-2/12/12

Romans 8:28-31

In this passage we observe not just that God is for us but to the degree He is for us.

Most Bible scholars agree that Jesus and His disciples sang at least Psalm 118, but probably Psalm 115-118. Jesus sang and prayed the words to these psalms knowing He was soon to suffer crucifixion.

Note the words of Psalm 118:6-7
Jehovah is on my side; I will not fear: What can man do to me? (v.6)
Jehovah is on my side…(v.7)

Let us embrace this truth as Jesus did; God is for us!

FOUR INDICATIONS THAT GOD IS FOR US WHO ARE HIS PEOPLE
(pts. 1 & 2, review from last Sunday’s sermon)

1. God works all things together for our good.
-There are no circumstances we can face where God is not actively manifesting His genius of purpose to work good unto us.
-We can give thanks in all circumstances because God is always doing a million things for our good.

2. God intentionally knew us long before we knew Him.
-Foreknow: to determine in advance to know a person relationally.
-Before the world was created.
-Even your free choice of the cross grew out of and was nurtured in the rich matrix of God’s foreknowing us.

3. God predestined us to be transformed into Christ’s image.
-The English word “conformed” in English is kind of weak word (as if it means only conformed on the outside).
-The meaning of “conformed” is deeper, more like a metamorphosis.
-Conforming means to change from the inside to the outside.
-Predestine: to mark out, to determine in advance.
-When God predestines something, it WILL happen.

Be encouraged! You will look like Jesus. God is working toward that end.
-See 1 John 3:2 and 2 Cor 3:18
-Although our transformation will not be complete until we are in glory, He is working in our lives little by little, now!
-Behold the picture of what you will look like! Jesus is unique, but in our “after” picture we will be like Him:
Holy
Loving His Father completely
Obedient
Truthful
Intimate relationship with Father
Selfless serving
Forgiving and gracious
-God loves you just the way you are, but He loves you so much He won’t let you stay that way.
-Christianity tells us we need forgiveness, we are dead and Jesus is the only One who can change us.
-Rom. 12:2 says to continually be being transformed.
-A lifestyle of ongoing, constant transformation.
-See your brothers and sisters as not only who they are now, but what they will be as they are being transformed.
-We do need to deal with sin issues in the here and now, but keep your eyes open for what we are destined for…being like Jesus!

4. God predestined us into a Christ exalting community.
-v. 29 …in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
-Not only has God saved us, but we are predestined to be brothers and sisters of Jesus.
-See Heb. 2:11

There is a man seated at the right hand of God who represents us. The One who sits at the right hand of God, with all authority, who rules the nations, the Sovereign King of the universe, that’s my big brother!

-first born=preeminent one
-Not only are we predestined in community with Jesus, but our predestination has something to do with His preeminence being displayed.
-Our transformation displays His preeminence.
-The more like Him we become, the more manifest and visible His preeminence becomes.
-The best way we can serve God is to allow Him to increasingly change us to be more like Christ.

God’s “for-ness” of us turns out to be God being for His Son. It’s not about us, it’s about Jesus!


God Speaks

“He is not silent. The reason we have the answer is because the infinite-personal God, the full Trinitarian God, has not been silent. He has told us who He is.”   -Francis A. Schaeffer, He Is There and He Is Not Silent (Ch. 1)

The conversation begins with creation. Majestic redwoods, lofty mountain-tops, ocean deeps, the nightly dance of stars and planets choreographed across the Milky Way; these natural events attest to the existence of God. From the vastness of the created universe to the minute intricacies of the human body, the miracles of creation unfold around us, advertising the glories of God. Their declaration is bold and relentless, but man suppresses the truth and finds himself without excuse.

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. (Rom 1:19-20)  

Man, for all intents and purposes, tells God to shut-up.

How does God respond to this? Surely He has not responded according to what we deserve. We deserve silence. The close-lipped silence of the grave, and certainly not the words of a gracious, life-giving God who sends His Son to die for the sins of the world.

What we deserve and what we get are two very different things. In the Garden of Eden, the Creator of the Universe uses words. He speaks to Adam and Eve. He gives them boundaries and defines their world. But Adam and Eve choose not to believe God’s words and give credence to Satan’s words instead. The consequences are catastrophic. God would have been completely within His rights to turn His back on Adam and cut off all communication. But instead, God seeks Adam out, calling to him in the cool of the day, “Where are you?”

Yes, we deserve silence…

…but in these last days he has spoken to us by His Son…(Heb 1:2)

Consider the words of the Word of Life:

Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matt 11:28)

…I came not to call the righteous, but sinners. (Mark 2:17)

…I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6)

I am the bread of life. (John 6:48)

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. (John 3:14)

God speaks the Gospel through His Son. Will you believe His words today? 

Listen to the words of Jesus. Believe His words and be saved.

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


Looking for the Perfect King

The Magi Journeying

Image via Wikipedia

Sermon Notes
Pastor Milton Vincent
December 25, 2011-Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church

Matthew 2:1-12
The theme in this section of Scripture is “searching.”
v. 2; “Where is He?”
v. 4; “inquired”
v. 8; “search”
v. 8; “found”

What we know about the Magi:
-Magi is plural for Magis (magician)
-Not a stage magician (i.e. David Copperfield, etc.)
-They were from Babylon or Persia
-Speaks of the wisest of men
-Tutors of kings, appointers of kings, advisors to kings
-Knew something of the coming King of Israel

SIX OBSERVATIONS REGARDING THE MAGI’S SEARCH FOR CHRIST, THE PERFECT KING

1. They travelled a great distance to find Christ.
-approx 900 miles from Babylon to Jerusalem, at least 4 month journey one way
-Imagine the conviction they had concerning the Messiah having been born for them to travel a total of 8 months to find Him.
-The Star was some sort of supernatural light.
-See Daniel 9; Numbers 24:17
-How far are you willing to travel to find Him?

2. They were persistent, bold and public in their efforts to find Christ.
-They came to Jerusalem saying; the word, saying, here is in present tense=continually saying
-They kept asking person to person, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?”
-They are bold, persistent and public in announcing their intent to worship this King.
-How persistent are you?
-See Heb. 11:6

3. They stirred up trouble in their quest to find Christ.
-Herod was troubled by their arrival-Bad news!
-Herod was suspicious and paranoid that someone would take away his power.
-History tells us that Herod was suspicious of his wife’s brother, mother and eventually his wife. He killed them all.
-History tells us that Herod also killed all 3 of his sons.
-The wise men arrived (not necessarily 3 of them) with a large entourage.
-Herod assumes a miraculous event has taken place but refuses to believe in Christ as King. He wants to kill Christ.
-(Note: Later in chapter 2, Herod orders killed all male children in Bethelem under the age of two! Such was his evil suspicion and paranoia!)

4. They received help from Scripture in their quest to find Christ.
-See Micah 5:2
-Look for Christ of the Scripture
-Go to the Bible; it will point you to Christ.

5. They rejoiced greatly in the star which led them to Christ.
-They rejoiced because they knew the star would direct them to Christ.
-If you value Christ, you will rejoice in people or things that direct you to Him.

6. When they finally found Christ, they worshipped Him.
-Jesus was probably between the ages of 4 1/2 months and 1 1/2 years old at this time.
-Note that they worshipped the child, not His mother (Mary).
-They fell to the ground; a posture that says “I am at your mercy and at your service.”
-Their worship was an act of respect and surrender to the King.
-They gave valuable gifts.

We do well to be seekers of Jesus like the Magi. Do you see what the Magi saw? Worship Him.

Note from Terrie to all my Cornerstone Family:
I try to give a faithful representation in my weekly Sermon Notes post of what is presented to us on Sunday mornings. Sometimes, though, I have to “fill in the blanks” by memory. I would be very thankful if you would leave a comment if ever there are any needed corrections. Blessings to you all!

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie


Happy Holidays!

Happy Christmas, painted by Johansen Viggo

Image via Wikipedia

Happy Holidays!
Do these words offend you?

There are lots of reasons why people may use the more generic “Happy Holidays” during the Christmas season. Perhaps the speaker means no offense and repeats the phrase without even thinking about it. It could be that the Happy Holidays wisher is just trying to be polite and truly doesn’t want to offend people who do not celebrate Christmas. Maybe the cashier at your local grocery store has been instructed by his boss to give a more inclusive greeting. Maybe he is just trying to keep his job!

Of course, there are those who purposely and consciously refuse to acknowledge the true meaning of Christmas, and some are zealous enemies of the cross, indeed! However, do we really think that the words “Merry Christmas” coming from the mouths of such people will in any way please God?

Whether the Merry Christmas naysayers’ motive be a premeditated denial of all that is Christian or merely ignorance of the weight and beauty of Christmas in the hearts and minds of believers, as followers of Christ what should our response be?

Five Ways Believers Can Show the Love of Christ to the Happy Holidays Crowd:

1. Have compassion.
If you are a Christian, you are a recipient of the great compassion of God. Consider the compassion of Christ toward unbelievers:
When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. (Mark 6:34)

2. Show mercy.
Remember your helpless state before God had mercy on you.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved–(Eph 2:4-5).

3. Exhibit understanding. 
Were you not in the same predicament before God graciously saved you?
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us…(Rom 5:6,8)

4. Communicate Grace.
Consider Paul’s instruction to the Colossians about how to behave toward unbelievers:
Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. (Col. 4:6)
And, Paul’s instruction to the church at Ephesus:
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Eph 4:29)

5. Convey Love.
The reason behind the season is Love.
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Phil 2:8)
Jesus suffered and died for the very ones who would crucify Him. That’s you and that’s me.

His motivation was love. Radical, life-changing, Gospel saturated love.

Listen to the words of Christ:

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. (Matt 5:44)

So, when you are out and about this holiday season and someone wishes you “Happy Holidays!”, how should you respond? How about a heartfelt, “Merry Christmas!”? Who knows, you may get an opportunity to give a more thorough explanation of the true meaning of Christmas.

…for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord [!]…(Luke 2:10-11)

Merry Christmas!
By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


A Matter of Life and Death

Sermon notes 8-21-11: Pastor Milton Vincent, Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church

So then brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  Romans 8:12-14

FIVE TRUTHS THAT SPIRIT-INDWELT CHRISTIANS OUGHT TO TAKE TO HEART

1. We are indebted to the Spirit, to live our lives according to the Spirit (v. 12). 
We are under obligation not to the flesh, but to the Spirit (inferred).
Walk in love and freedom. Love, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through His Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5). Freedom, because we have been set free from sin and works (Rom 8:2).

2. We are no longer indebted to the flesh, to live our lives according to the flesh (v. 12).
We owe the flesh NOTHING! We are under no obligation to give heed to the flesh. Don’t measure how much you have grown spiritually by the temptations you face, but measure spiritual growth by how you respond to temptation.

3. If we are living our lives according to the flesh, we are heading straight toward death (v. 13).
Literally in Greek: you are about to die. The mind set on the flesh is death (Rom 8:7). Death is separation, hostility, insubordination and powerlessness. There are many layers of death.

-Inward separation (between you and what you know is right).
-Separation from the enjoyment of fellowship with God.
-Separation from others (deceiving others, hiding your true self, dying in relationship to others).
-Powerlessness. Powerless to see God. Powerless to hear and understand His Word. (Matt. 5:8)
-Eternal separation from God. Those who continually live their lives according to the flesh show themselves to be lost having never really enjoyed a true conversion/salvation.

A true believer will not want to experience death on any level!

4. If we are killing personal sin through the Spirit, we will truly live (v. 13; also see Col. 3:5).
How to kill sin:
-Don’t let sin be born. Kill it at first though. (James 1:14-15)
-If you have given birth to sin, mortify it through confession and repentance. RUN to Christ. God is delighted to forgive.
-When tempted to sin, don’t think compromise, toleration, or coddling…think MURDER (of sin).
-Cut sin at the root. Remove stumbling blocks.
-Don’t think that to kill sin means to kill the desire for it.
-Set your mind on things of the Spirit and feast on Christ. Don’t obsess on what we can’t do, but turn from sin and feast on the goodness of God’s Grace.

Sin may be pleasant at first and make you think you are its best friend. But, sin’s goal is nothing less than your complete destruction.

5. If we are allowing ourselves to be led by the Spirit, we show thereby that we are sons of God (v. 14).
Because this is what sons of God do! (More on this next week?)


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