Contacting the Maker

guitar

A few weeks ago a piece fell off my guitar that I really needed in order to play, so I started doing some research to find what was the easiest and cheapest way to replace it.

 

First I looked online and found good prices, but then thought, “What if it’s the wrong size? I’ll spend 5 dollars on a piece that doesn’t fit, and can’t be returned”.

 

So then I started going to local guitar stores. Sure enough, every place I went to either didn’t have it, or said it would cost too much to order. However, every store I went to did make the same recommendation; “Why don’t you just contact that maker?”, which in this case, was Ovation.

 

I couldn’t explain it, but for some reason, my human instinct was to avoid calling Ovation. I still can’t tell you exactly why I didn’t want to do it. Maybe it was the embarrassment of contacting such a big, busy company? Maybe it was stubbornness? Maybe it was pride? Who knows! Probably all three.

 

For some reason, I just insisted that it would be better for me to find a replacement on my own with my own money, but after two straight days of searching, no one had a reasonable solution to my problem.

 

Finally, I caved in, swallowed my pride, and called Ovation. Surprisingly, they weren’t as busy as I thought. They sent me to a direct line, and I spoke directly to the head of customer service. He asked me what the problem was, what my name and address was, then told me he was going to send the piece over the mail the next day, free of charge. I was amazed how easy it was.

 

What’s the lesson here? Well, what problems are you going through in your life that you’re having a hard time trying to find the solutions to? How many places have you gone to searching for answers, but have just let you down?

 

Isn’t it funny how we as humans have such a hard time just contacting the maker. He has a direct line, and He’s definitely not too busy for you. Instead of insisting on finding your own solutions, just swallow your pride, and give it to Jesus. You’ll be amazed how much easier He can make things.

 

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

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Follow Up of “Praise of Worship”/ Sermon Transcript: “Jesus Loves Me, This I Know!”

I’m back! I know it’s been a long time, so I’ll be completely honest to everyone. After my last rant on “How I feel about Praise and Worship”, I genuinely didn’t want to post anything on this website ever again.

I’ve always tried to be a people person, and I guess I’ve never gotten used to he idea of receiving hate mail and having angry Christians attacking me (which seemed a little strange, but to each their own), so when it started to happen, I wasn’t sure if I had the guts to keep going.

Now, I do apologize. I admit, I did go a little too far in some of the things I said (ex. Praise and Worship is just for backslidden, blah, blah, so on and so forth), but if I can quickly defend myself, there’s a reason why I’m labeling these articles “Random Rants”.

I’m not a professional writer (obviously), nor do I consider myself an exemplary theologian. I’m a young, ignorant, and at times, very naive youth pastor from San Diego that’s still trying to figure the ministry out, and learning from my mistakes every day.

When I rant, that’s honestly all it is; a rant. Not a researched article of my unchanging convictions. Simply a rant of how I feel about a topic at the moment, and posted with the intentions that they might help someone else figure out what where they stand on certain issues or topics, and make slightly better sense of how they feel about something.

Nevertheless, I did go to far last time with some of the things I said, and I’m sorry if my words were a stumbling block to anyone, but I do hold to my primary conviction. Despite all the good I see in praise and worship, I still feel like the church house is not the appropriate place for it, but I don’t think less towards any Christians who do.

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s go ahead and move on. Well, kind of. I haven’t felt led to write anything new quite yet, but I am posting a sermon I wrote in 2012.

Now I must preface by saying, I was only 2 months into my ministry at this point, and like I said last time, I don’t consider myself a great sermon writer right now, much less two years ago.

I’m not posting these to try and show off any God given talent (which I don’t think I have). I’m posting these with hopes and prayers that there’s just a chance these old sermons just might encourage or challenge someone. Anyone. Anyone that just might need it. Not sure it will, but a man can hope can’t he?

So here it is, a sermon I wrote over 2 years ago about the amazing love we have in Christ. Hope this can be a blessing to someone out there!


Jesus Loves Me, This I Know
Romans 8:35-39

If you have your Bible with you today, please open it to Romans chapter 8, and if you can, please stand with me as we read Romans chapter 8, beginning at verse 35.

Romans 8:35-39 (KJV) 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Today I would like to preach a message I have simply entitled, “Jesus Loves Me, This I Know”.

According to Abraham Maslow, an American physiologist who specialized in the study of the basic needs of human beings, right behind the rudimentary needs of air, water, food, and shelter, man kind’s greatest need for survival, is and always has been, the need for love.

According to his hierarchy of human needs, the only thing we need just as bad as protection, is affection.
I believe on this point, we can agree with popular science, and say that love is something everyone needs. Mankind has always desired compassion, and has tried many different ways to find it.

Unfortunately, with the fall and corruption of the traditional family, our children are experiencing and witnessing less and less true love on a regular basis.

Too many children do not know how it feels to have both a mother and father love them
Too many children do not know how it feels to have a mother and father love each other
Too many children do not know how feel loved by the people around them, so they search elsewhere.

As a result, we see more and more young ladies, becoming pregnant in their adolescence, being raped, infected with STD’s, throwing away their purity, not looking to have a child, not looking for an STD, not looking for a lifetime of depression, but all in a desperate search for love.

We find young boys, dropping out of school, running away from home, turning to drugs, turning to alcohol, turning to gangs, not looking for crime, not looking for violence, but simply looking for a source of love.
We can’t help but scratch our heads and wonder, “Where has all the love gone?”
Thankfully, the Bible tells us, it never left.

1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
1 John 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

You see, God not only gives love, but God is love. According to His Word, God is the author and creator of love. Man has corrupted and defiled the word and its definition, but God provides the perfect example of what love truly is, and thankfully, He loves us too.

Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.

1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
How much does God love us?
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Can I say today, brothers and sister in Christ, that we have the honor and privilege of serving a truly loving God! The best part about God’s love is that is goes out to each and every one of us. According to His Word, it says Go so the loved, the World!

This means it doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, what you’ve done, or what you do. It doesn’t matter how good or bad you think you might be, or how alone you might feel. If you believe that God is real, and that His words are true, then let me tell you today, that you are God’s greatest creation, above every bird, every plant, every creature on land and sea, every sun, star and planet in the universe, and every angel in the heavens, God loves you more!

If you believe the Bible, than you also believe that Jesus Christ is not merely a man, but the son of God, and as a result, I can say that Jesus Christ loves you too.

1 John 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us:

Understand this; right next to obedience to God the father and fulfilling prophecy, Jesus Christ’s primary motivation for coming down to earth, and dying on a cross, was out of love for you and I.

The Apostle Paul understood this very well when he wrote Romans chapter 8, but wanted the people in the Church of Rome to understand exactly how far the love of Christ goes.

We know the book of Romans is popular for being the book which best summarizes the road to salvation, hence the term, the Romans Road.

We know Romans says, “All have sinned and come short to the glory of God”, and “the wages of sin is death”. The book of Romans told us that because of our sin condition, we all deserve to spend eternity in hell, but it also tells us “but God commendeth his LOVE toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” and “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ”.

These are just a few of the many passages where see that getting to heaven is as simple as accepting Christ as our savior.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

However, in our passage today, Paul is not only saying that the love of Christ has the power to save us, but by the grace of God, the love of Christ has the power to keep us too.

Ladies and gentlemen, today, for the rest of time we have here together, I would like to share 3 important qualities of Jesus Christ’s love for us.

First of all, we see in our passage, that Christ gives us.

  1. Enduring Love

In verse 35, Paul asks, what shall separate us from the love of Christ? Then he goes on to list a few things, which cannot separate us from the love of Christ, including tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, or the sword. What Paul is saying, is that none of these things, are greater than the love of Christ! First let us look at

  1. The power of the trials

When we look at this list of things in our life that try to separate us from the love of Christ, it’s a little overwhelming when you think about them; Tribulation, distress, persecution, and famine.

I understand there may even be something in this audience today that are experience some of these trials in our life.

Perhaps you sitting here and saying to yourself, “Preacher! Tribulation, distress, persecution… I got all of that!” “Pastor, I’m going through something in my life, my family, my marriage, that you will never understand” and you know what, you might be right, but God says it doesn’t matter how big your problems are, because His love is bigger!

1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

A famous preacher once said, Christians need to stop telling God how big their problems are, but instead turn around, and start telling their problems how big our God is!

We serve a big God, Amen?! If that’s true, then we should learn to trust in his love to endure the trials He allows in our live, but secondly, let us look at

  1. The Purpose of our trials

It is easy wonder, if God is so much bigger than these trials that enter our lives, then why does God allow these problems in our lives in the first place?

You see, when God sends us through trials, God’s Word promises us that if we put our trust in Him, we will always come through the storm, better than we were when we went in.

1Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

1 Peter 4:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

One of the most popular quoted verses in the entire scripture when dealing with trials is Romans 8:28. I believe many of us can recite it from memory.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose

Always remember, God allows these trials in our lives, not to attack us, and not to bring us down, but to force us to trust in Him and His love alone.

So next time we start to feel as if not everything in life is going our way, before we start to become upset and complain at how unfair we feel our life is, may we stop and ask ourselves, “Where is God in this?”, and I promise that if you look hard enough, you will find Him, because His love endures!

His love will get you through your trials. His love will get you through your tribulation. His love will get you through your distress and persecution, and anything the world might throw our way, because that is kind of savior we have.

Not only does Jesus love us with an enduring love, but secondly, He loves us with an

  1. Empowering Love

The love of Christ isn’t just enough to get you through, the love of Christ is meant to make us great!

There is power to be found in the love of Jesus! First let’s look at

  1. Truth of Man’s Condition

Paul says in verse 36, “For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Meaning to say, without Christ, alone we are helpless! Paul compares us to sheep, but why sheep you ask? You see, in studying nature and the animal kingdom, it is easy to notice that sheep are possibly the most helpless creature in the entire animal kingdom.

According to “selfgrowth magazine”, Sheep have limited vision, and even more limited attention spans. This is why without a shepherd, they constantly get lost and left behind from the herd.

Also, sheep are helpless against predators. If a wolf gets in a sheep pen, sheep cannot fight back. They don’t try to get away. They don’t spread out. They huddle together, as if to give the wolf an easier, more cohesive target.

If sheep fall into moving water without a shepherd, they drown. Their coats, heavy to begin with, absorb water rapidly, adding poundage by the second, result in sheep having an inability to swim.

Paul says, without a shepherd, like the sheep, we too are helpless against the trials of life. Tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, all of these things, have the ability to overcome us as they often do, if we do not have a shepherd, but does anybody remember what David says in Psalm 23?

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. “

You see, although without Christ we are helpless, with Christ, we are protected.

2 Samuel 22:3 The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.

2 Samuel 22:4 I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.

Psalms 5:11 But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.

2 Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.

Paul says alone we are like sheep for the slaughter, but through the love of Christ, what does Paul say we are in verse 37?

  1. Turned into More than Conquerors

In verse 37, Paul writes, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us”.

Paul says that through Christ’s love, we are not only capable of getting by, but we are empowered, as more than conquerors!

Listen, the next time the devil tries to get you to think there’s anything you cannot do, you just remember the love of our savior, Jesus Christ!

Mark 9:23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

Never for one second let the devil or the rest of the world try and tell you that you’re not good enough, or that you’re not smart enough, or that you’re not capable of something, because you know what, all those things are true, but we serve a God who is bigger than all our challenges.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

You see, alone we are sheep, helpless, lost, and without any ability to do anything for ourselves, but through the empowering love of Jesus Christ, we are more than conquerors, and there is nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing we cannot do through Him.

Lastly, not only does our savior Jesus Christ love us with an enduring love, and an empowering love, but finally, Christ loves us with an

  1. Eternal Love

Paul ends this passage by saying, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Essentially Paul is telling the believers in Jesus Christ, that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Once you’re His child, His love for you, is absolutely inseparable.

I understand that at some churches, this is a very debatable, hot button issue, but here at First Baptist Church of Spring Valley, there is no debate. We are unashamed to say that we believe strongly in the doctrine of eternal security. First allow me to explain

  1. The Premise of Eternal Security

What exactly does eternal security mean? Basically, the definition of eternal security, is “Once saved, Always saved”. Meaning to say, if you are here today, and you remember any time in your life when you realized you were a sinner, and asked Jesus Christ into your heart to be your Lord and personal savior, than according to the word of God, you have eternal life.

John 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

This means that no matter what happens after you are saved, you will always be saved. Does that include falling back into sin? Yes! Does that include murder? Yes! Does that include no longer believing in Jesus Christ?

2 Timothy 2:13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

The premise of Eternal security, is that once you are saved, no matter what happens during or after your life time, you will always be saved and always have a place in heaven. Secondly,

 

  1. The Process of Eternal Security

Eternal security comes about from a process the Bible describes as the sealing of the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Now, allow me to explain this principle for just a second. Many confuse this term, “Seal”, as being like a tight bottle cap, or a lid over a bottle, but this is incorrect. When the Bible says that the Holy Spirit seals us unto the day of redemption, it is referring more to the seal a farmer would use to mark his life stock.

If you could imagine the large metal marker the farmers use to heat up, and brand an animal, sealing it, marking it as belonging to the farmer. That same way, Christ, through the Holy Spirit, brands us as His, His children, His bride, His property, until he returns to take us back.

Lastly, now that we see what eternal security means, and how it occurs, I would like to show from the scriptures,

  1. The Promise of Eternal Security

This idea of eternal security is not simply something we hope for and expect from God because we THINK He should give it to us. Eternal security is a promise directly from God and His Word.

First, we see the Bible promise us that God has the ability to security us in Jude verse 24, a popular verse we use here for our benediction, remember the author writes about God and says, “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy”

It says God is able to keep us from falling, and that no one can take that away from us!

John 10:29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

Once we are saved, we are them secured firmly within the hands of the father. Now, you may wonder, what’s so special about a father’s hand?

I read a story about a German botanist, who was traveling in Turkey when he saw a rare flower that he believed could possibly be worth millions of dollars, hanging from a ledge near a local village. The only way anyone could reach that flower is they were to repel down the ledge on a rope. Fearing that he was too heavy to go down himself, he asked for help from a small child, and explained to him the situation.

He said, “Young man, if you go let me tie you up this rope, and grab that flower for me, I will offer you a thousand American dollars”, but for some reason, the boy was too afraid.

The botanist then asked, “how about if I offered you 2 thousand American dollars?”

This would have been more money than that boy had ever seen in his life, but yet, he was still afraid.

The botanist then asked, “I will give you anything you want, just please, go down and grab that rare flower for me” but still the boy was afraid. The botanist then asked, “What will it take to get you to let me hold onto the rope, and help you go down to grab that flower?”

The boy thought for a second and said, “Hold on! Let me grab my father. I’ll promise I’ll go down the ledge if you let him hold the rope instead”.

You see, that man could have tied that rope onto anything, but still the boy couldn’t trust anything the same way he trusted his father. There is something special about the hands of a father.

God Word promises us, that once we are saved, we are in the father’s hands, and our God is no ordinary father. He is the Lord of Lords, King of Kings, Alpha and Omega, beginning and the end, and he promises us that His love for us is unconditional, so if He promises that He will hold us in His hands, then who are we to doubt him?

His love is enduring, His love is empowering, and thankfully, His love is eternal.

In conclusion, God’s love is unlike any other. No man, no women, no club, no brotherhood, no gang, no fraternity can ever come close to matching the love that our God has for us! No love can endure as much as Christ’s, or empower us the same way Christ’s can, and no love of man could ever last for an eternity like Christ’s can, but the question we must ask ourselves now, is what are we doing with it?

What does God expect us to do with His amazing, unconditional love? I’d like to end with three last suggestions. First

i.          Sanctify unto it

1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

1 Peter 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

The first way we can honor God for loving us, is sanctifying ourselves unto his holiness. Secondly,

ii.          Show it

Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

Paul is saying here, just because we have eternal security, does not mean that we ought to take advantage of it! Too many Christians are taking advantage of Christ eternal unconditional love towards us, by loving as if they were never saved, and simply waiting, knowing that either way they are on their way to heaven.

Paul says “use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh”, but instead, with this amazing, unconditional love that Christ has shown us, demonstrates it towards others!

Love your families. Husbands love your wives like Christ loved the church. Wives love your husbands like the church should love Christ. Parents love your children everyday like it could be their last. Children love your parents as the Bible commands you to.

Don’t just love your family; love the people around you without judgment or prejudice. You want to know how to convince the world that Christ truly loves us? It’s simple. We must love them! Not until we begin to reflect the love Christ shows towards us, will the world know what love is.

The people you might see as unlovely, or unlovable; love them! As our church continues to reach out deeper and deeper into the community, were going to start seeing more and more families and children around here, that don’t come from Christian backgrounds.

They might curse, and fight, and smoke, and not know how to love others, so why can’t we be the ones to finally show them?

People ask, “Pastor Joemel, Spring Valley, National City, all these areas are filled with such crime, and it seems they all have so many gangs and so much gang violence? What are we going to do about these gangs? How are we going to reach these people? What tricks or gimmicks do we need to reach these hard to reach kids?”

Let me tell you, there are no tricks and no gimmicks. The answer is simple. We just keep loving them, and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Most importantly, love God. 1 John 4:19 “We love him, because he first loved us.”

Never stop loving God, as He never stops loving us. To finish, not only should we sanctify unto it, and show it, but lastly, we should not be ashamed to

iii.          Share it

1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

Let’s all ask ourselves, “Who do we know, that needs to hear about the love of Christ?”

Maybe you’re thinking of a classmate, a coworker, a relative, or maybe a loved one.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

Christ love for us is unlike any other. It endures every trial, empowers us to do any task, and is promised to be present for all eternity, so why can’t we do our parts in return? Have we sanctified ourselves to the love of Christ and repented of unconfessed sin today?

For the others around us, have we done everything we can do to show and share the love of Jesus Christ to our lost and dying world?

Or perhaps you’re sitting here, and you realize that you don’t remember ever accepting Jesus Christ gift of eternal life, and asking Him to be you’re savior. Perhaps you are not yet sure 100% you’re on your way to heaven.

If not, can we all get these things settled today; right here, and right now, before it’s too late?

Let’s pray.