Bibliography for Sermons

Dethmer, J. (1990). Three things god loves. Leisure, July,

Dunker, M. P. (1984). Days of glory, seasons of night. Grand Rapids, Mich: Ministry Resources Library, Zondervan Pub. House.

Elwell, W. A. (1989). Evangelical commentary on the Bible. Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Book House.

Green, M. (1970). Evangelism in the early Church. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

Hayford, J. (2003, Sept 09). In the presence of praise. Retrieved from

Ratzlaff, D. (1991, April 23). God is good. The Christian Leader,

Rieland, D. (1996, Sept). Interview by DR Williamson [Personal Interview]. Pleasant Valley Baptist Church. Joy, Private Files.

Ryken, L. (1989). Work and leisure in Christian perspective. Inter-Varsity.

Rowley, H. H. (1945). The rediscovery of the Old Testament. London.

Sanders, J. O. (1970). The Holy Spirit and His gifts. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Pub. House.

Sheldon, C. M. (1990). In His steps. Uhrichville, OH: Barbour and Co.

Swartz, D. (1987). Dancing with broken bones: Blessed are the broken in spirit, for God can make them whole. Colorado Springs, Colo: NavPress.

Swindoll, C. R. (1992). Laugh again. Dallas: Word Pub.

Trueblood, E. (1961). The company of the committed. New York: Harper.

Wells, D. (1989). While churches play games, america dies!. Pulpit Helps, (April), 1.


March 28, 2012 Sermon by DRW Passage Revelation 2.15

What would you do if your dog sat down next to you and started talking to you? Would it seem weird? I hope it would. Sometimes, when we are in the heat of sin or frustrated, when we are not thinking clearly, a dog talking to us wouldn’t phase us. We might even talk back to our dog. I do realize many of you actually do this already, we will pray for you.

What does a talking dog have to do with Christianity? Absolutely nothing. It actually is a donkey not a dog. Over the past few months I have spent an overwhelming amount of time in the Old Testament. It has been wonderful. Some of the stories are outrageous, strange, and perplexing. Today I would like to highlight one of those perplexing stories and I pray it will have you rethinking your life.

Turn to Numbers 22.

Pray-for the Holy Spirit to convince and convict of our need to evaluate what we think and how we live

As you look at the titles in your Bible for this chapter, you find it is about two guys, one named Balak and the other named Balaam. The first one is a king and the second one is a prophet that God would speak to from time to time.

Numbers 22

Balak sends for Balaam asking him to curse the Israelites. If he does, Balak will give him riches and honor. Balaam answered Balak wisely. God told him no, so Balaam told Balak no.

Balak sends more people, more money, more everything to lure Balaam to Moab to curse the Israelites. Balaam’s answer changes a bit. He still will not go if God tells him not to ([Read] 19). I want you to notice something, God already told him not to in verse 12 [Read] . Why did he need to ask again. Sometimes when we want something so badly, even if it is wrong, we hope the person we are asking will change their mind. God allows him to go but he must only do what God tells him to do ([Read] 20).

Balaam rides out early. I think he saw the riches that could be his and was excited to get them. On his way there he is thwarted by a donkey (Numbers 22.21ff). The donkey leaves the road, the donkey pushes Balaam into the cliff, the donkey refuses to move. The donkey saved Balaam’s life. What I find funny is that Balaam doesn’t seem to notice what he is doing. His plans have been frustrated, he is not getting what he wants, and the donkey talks to him (28). And, Balaam talks back! They have a conversation (28-30).

The donkey was more aware of the spiritual dilemma Balaam was getting into than Balaam was. God stood before Balaam (31-35). He was told his path was reckless ([Read] 32). Pause to consider that thought. Would God state you are on a reckless path? Whom has he placed in your life right now to tell you to pay attention to where you are going and what you are doing? Maybe it is me, right now. Think about it, if God could use a donkey, don’t you think He could use me?

Balaam continues his journey to Moab.

In Numbers 23-24 Balak asks Balaam to curse the Israelites promising him great riches and honor if he did. Four times he tried and four times Balaam blessed the Israelites. Balak is upset. He demands an answer from Balaam as to why he is blessing the Israelites when he was paid to curse them. Balaam tells Balak why, “How can I curse what God does not curse” (Numbers 23.8 [Read] )?

That is a great story with a great ending. Balaam does what God has commanded, Balak goes away to his home (24.25 [Read] ).

Before we go further in the message, I would like to pause on that last point. “How can I curse what God does not curse?” Turn in your Bibles to Zechariah 3. Look at verse one. What is Satan doing? He is attempting to accuse Joshua the High Priest. What does God say to Satan? Basically, you cannot curse what is not yours. He also tells Satan that he cannot touch Joshua because Joshua is not his. We see this in 1 John 5.18-20 [Read] . Take note of verse 21, and remember it.

Isn’t this what God states in Romans 8? The only one who can bring a case against us is Jesus ([Read] 33-39) and He won’t because He has already made us righteous and He is on our side ([Read] 1 John 2.1).

With all this being said, why did I tell this story about Balaam to you today? I like stories, sometimes I tell them just to tell them. However, there is more here than meets the eye. Just like life. Connor, here is your shout out, what has become my or your or our favorite word? Syncretism.

In Numbers 22-24 Balaam is asked to and attempts to curse the Israelites. God would not allow it. God will not allow Balaam to curse them. He tries four times, all to no avail. But Balak and Balaam go home. It seems odd to include that verse if things did not work out. It doesn’t say they went home sad or mad or empty handed. It just states they went home.

Numbers 25.1, right after the final blessing, the people are engaged in sexual immorality and the worship of a local god (fornication [non-marital sex] and idolatry, activities God specifically condemns). This local god is from Moab, remember where Balak is from.

Read 1-9.

The people bring a curse on themselves, 24,000 people died. This seems like an odd passage after such a powerful three chapters before with Balaam apparently following the will of God and Balak going home, apparently dejected. At least that is how it seems we should read it. Something more must be going on here. Did Balaam actually please Balak with something, other than a curse on the Israelites?

When studying the Bible, it is always important to not create in our imagination what we think should be there. It is prudent, taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, that we examine Scripture in light of Scripture. Is Balaam mentioned elsewhere?

Turn to Revelation 2.14 [Read]. This passage informs us that the way of Balaam is condemned. What is that way? According to Revelation, Balaam continually told Balak to place stumbling blocks in front of the Israelites. Balaam couldn’t curse the Israelites but he knew they would fall if stumbling blocks were placed in front of them. When that occurred, Balaam also knew that God would judge them because He cannot allow sin to continue in His people.

A stumbling block is anything that will get us to slowly change our mind about our beliefs. Hebrew 12.1-3 tells us to get rid of them by focusing on Jesus. Doesn’t it seem that every message comes back to this? If we focus on Jesus, the stumbling blocks are gone; if we focus on the stumbling block, Jesus is gone [not really but in our thoughts He is].

In Numbers 31 Balaam is blamed for Numbers 25. Balaam informed the king that the only way to bring a curse upon God’s people was to get them to compromise what they knew about God’s Word, God’s will, and God’s way. To set up for themselves idols, remember the warning of 1 John 5.21. And, we see in Numbers 25, that is what happened. They saw what others did and joined in with them. They intermingled with others who did not believe in God, and they eventually became like them. This is syncretism. My children were walking with me yesterday and said they wanted to watch a new movie that just came out. I was perplexed. I asked them why. They stated it was a cool movie. I asked them what it was about, and they had no idea. However, their friends watched it, so they wanted to. This is what happened with the Israelites. And, what happens with us.

The moral of the story: the only time a curse can be placed on us is when we walk away from God’s Word either by deliberately choosing to be like the world (Numbers 25), choosing to not do what we know we are to do (James 4.17 and 2 Samuel 11-David’s sin with Bathsheba was due to his neglect of going to war as he should have), when we refuse to discipline those in sin (Matthew 18.15-17 [cf. 1 Corinthians 5.1ff and 2 Corinthians 2.1ff]), and when we don’t know the truth to discern if what we are hearing is from God or not (David’s Census in 1 Chronicles 21 because of which many died).

In each case mentioned with David and other historical events, there is a corresponding judgment by God for the sin as a consequence of the sin and as God’s discipline. Remember, God will judge us because He cannot allow sin to continue in His people. Every time we allow other things to dilute what we believe and how we live we are inviting God’s discipline on us along with the natural consequences of the sin/syncretism.

We are to be our brother’s keeper. We are to hold him or her accountable to follow God’s Word, His will, and His way. It all seemed good with Balaam at the end of chapter 24, but it wasn’t. It may all seem good with your friend, and it may not be. Think about the people on your left and on your right, to the front and to the back of your seat. Do you know how they are doing spiritually. You should (Galatians 6.1-3). Take time to consider your friend’s walk with God and yours. How are each of you doing? Who holds you accountable to walk in God’s truth? Be in prayer for them today.

A closing point I made to the staff in devotions a week ago: We so much desire to walk in the will of God, to follow His purpose for our life, but we refuse to know His Word. Take time to read through the Scriptures to know this God of whom I am asking you to give your all to. You will find that He is worth it.

Romans 12.1-2: I urge you brothers (accountability), in view of God’s mercies (Bible Study–do we know it), to present your bodies as living sacrifices which is holy because this is what we are called to do. Do not conform any longer to the patterns this world offers you (syncretism), but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (take thoughts captive) in order for you to prove (by the way you think, live, and talk) that the will of God is perfect for our everyday life.

Let’s pray. Have them pray for themselves and those around them if time allows.

©2012 Teach for God Ministries. Used by Permission.

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Teach for God Ministries.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By David R Williamson. ©2012 Teach for God Ministries. Website:

Purity and a Changed Mind

Purity and a Changed Mind
February 20, 2012 Sermon by DRW Passage 1 John 3.1-3

Kobe is getting old. Sorry to say it, but he is. People have asked who the next Kobe will be. When I was interested in basketball people asked who the next Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson would be. Nobody that I can recall said Kobe Bryant. That aside, I have read articles that stated OJ Mayo would be, lakersnation states it is Kevin Durant and others have suggested Jeremy Lin. Whoever your pick, think of the pressure that will be on him. When he plays he needs to reflect the persona of Kobe.

The same is true in any sport. I have seen many baseball players career ruined because one person labeled them “the next Nolan Ryan” or “the next Bonds.” The players get into mind that they have to live up to that persons ability and name. After awhile of failing they will either learn that they are never going to live up to that standard and redirect their abilities to be themselves or they continue failing and eventually quit.

Christians have that same pressure if you think about it. They have a standard to live up to, a standard that far exceeds a Bryant or Bonds. It is the standard of the Lord God Almighty. Christians do not compare themselves with mere men. God has asked us to be like Him. If the standard set by man is difficult to live up to, the standard God sets up is impossible to live up to and yet, He commands us to be pure, holy, and perfect as He is. Frightening.

God never compares us to others. He only compares us to Himself and the sad news is that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3.23). The good news of the Gospel is that “but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness–for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead” (Romans 4.24). He keep us pure by continually cleansing us and empowering us to do His will. We will look at what purity isn’t, what it is, and how to maintain it.

1. Purity isn’t Legalism (not trying to push the ball under the water).

a. When Jesus came, Israel was in bondage to the Pharisaical rules and regulations.

i.  do this but not that type of rules

ii. a system that was impossible to keep

(1)    even the ten commandments show it is impossible to keep, unless you are God.

b. These led to frustrations with God, man, and themselves

i.  with God because these men represented God

ii. with men because they failed to keep the law they espoused

iii.    with themselves for they knew what evil was in their lives

c. They were looking for the coming Saviour. Someone who would deliver them from the bondage of legalism and bring them to the purity that Ezekiel spoke of:

“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws” (Ezekiel 36.25-27).

i.  they flocked to John the Baptist with the question: How can I enter the Kingdom of God? (Matthew 3.5-6)

ii. They flocked to Jesus with the same questions (Luke 10.25; 18.18; John 3.3).

d. Purity, focus, devotion is not legally following a list of do’s and don’ts; the people of Jesus day were steeped in this type of life and were dying miserably from it. No wonder the people sought Him: Come unto Me all you who are heavy burden . . .

e. It is not being religious

f. It is not going to church, carrying a Bible and memorizing verses

2. Purity is a changed mind

a. God is concerned with how we think

i.  Romans 12.1-2 (verse one is devotion)

ii. Philippians 4.8, focus on Jesus

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

iii.    2 Corinthians 10.5

5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,

b. The word “heart” in Matthew 5.8 is related primarily to the intellect.

i.  Matthew 15.19

ii. Proverbs 4.23

c. God wants to purify our thinking

i.  He wants us to think purely

ii. this means to think on Him (Philippians 4.8) not on ourselves

d. The word “pure” means “to cleanse”

i.  morally: being free of filth

(1)    unmixed, unalloyed

(2)    unadulterated (not inviting things in that don’t belong)

(3)    without syncretism

ii. spiritually: having integrity, being of one mind (Phil 2)

(1)    being above reproach

(2)    having sincere motives

e. pure thoughts and pure motives produce holy living, that is purity

3. How to maintain purity that God has granted us? Read 1 John 3.2-3

a. First of all realize that purifying the heart is the work of the spirit as we read earlier in Ezekiel 36.

Proverbs 20.9 Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin”?

b. Secondly, we must also do our part by putting our faith in Jesus

Acts 15.9 He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith.

c. Finally, we must study the Bible and pray.

Psalm 119.9-11 How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart [notice the focus]; do not let me stray from your commands [notice it is God working as we rely on Him]. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you [notice Bible study and prayer].

d. When this is said and done, we shall see God and be like Him (1 John 3.2-3)

When I was younger all the kids used to say they wished they were a little taller or faster or, something else, that way they could play basketball better or run track quicker. I used to say the same thing: If only I were taller, I could be a better basketball player. I am six foot and I kept saying I need five more inches. If I were six five I would be good. I did this because I saw Magic and Michael and they were all that tall or around that height. Then I looked and see Spud Webb and Muggsy Bogues. These people are five to seven inches shorter than me and still played in the NBA. I felt deflated. All my excuses seemed to go out the window. I kept saying height would make the difference. It’s not true. Height would make it easier. I needed to practice and train more. I didn’t want to so I chose to blame my non-ability on something I couldn’t change. If I really wanted to be better at basketball I would have to change my view of discipline and training. I would need to change my focus. This is purity, a single commitment to a single object for a single goal. In terms of Christianity, it is a commitment to God to be like Him. This is purity.

What then should we do in light of the need for discipline and focus, this purity? May I challenge you to think differently about God and His requirements? Turn to Isaiah 40.10-31 (p ). We read part of this passage every time we enter the gym. Far too often we turn to ourselves for strength and direction in overcoming our troubles in our attempt to have a pure focus on God. Yet, as we read through this passage, we find the focus is on who God is. Notice the pronouns are He, Him, His not me, my, or I. It is He who is in focus. He is the focus of the passage and should be the focus of our life. Read verse 28. Just as Philippians 4.8 reminds us. As we go through this passage, we come to the familiar portion in verses 29-31. This is what each of us seek for as we set our lives apart for Him. As we seek to live pure lives, we want to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might (Ephesians 6.10). We want to be like those who wait on the Lord, as it states in verse 31. So, let’s do what it says. Let’s wait.

Turn to Psalm 103 (p. ). What is the focus of this chapter? You can tell by reading the first verse. Has the focus changed from 1 John 3 (it is about purity that is ours because we are seeing Christ as He truly is) or Isaiah 40? Or, is it still God? The focus is Him, our awesome God. As you read this chapter do you get a sense of the wonder of God and His work in our life. Look: He blesses us (v. 2), forgives us (v. 3), satisfies us (v 5), works righteously (v 6), makes His way known to us (v 7), shows compassion and justice (v 8-9), shows grace (v 10), removed our sins (10-12), treats us as His children (13), knows our abilities (v 14), never fails in keeping His Word (15-18), He is sovereign (19), and the list goes on. This is the God with whom we have to do. This is the God who came down to save us from our sins. This is our awesome God. This is the God who calls us to purity, to wait.

Did you notice verse 5? David tells us that God will renew us like the eagle. Does that sound familiar to you? Isaiah 40.31. The picture of an eagle during times of trouble or distress is a picture of one overcoming trouble not by running from it but by going over it. An eagle’s focus is not to get away from the coming storm but to overcome the storm. When an eagle faces a hurricane, he rides the wind to fly over the storm in order to come out the other side of it unharmed.

Psalm 103.5 and Isaiah 40.31 informs us that we can be like the eagle. We can live a life of purity, of hope, of wonderment, of focus, we can live the life that we were created to live. How? By waiting. How do we wait? Here is the simplicity of the last few messages we have had–we remember who God is and what He has done for us.

So, wait on the Lord. Look for God in your life. Understand who He is through reading your Bible. Know Him better by talking to others about Him. As He works in your life, praise Him. As you struggle through your day, trust the simplicity of His Word, and ride over the storm as you focus on Him, not the sin. He is God, as a Christian, you are forgiven. Tell others who He is and what He has done for you.

©2012 Teach for God Ministries. Used by Permission.

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Teach for God Ministries.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By David R Williamson. ©2012 Teach for God Ministries. Website:

That’s Worship!

That’s Worship
Novermber 10, 2009 Sermon by DRW Passage Psalm 96

No music or introductions just me.

I have been wondering what to speak with each of you about today. It has been haunting me for a few weeks. I then asked myself “What would you say to them if this was your last chapel, last opportunity to speak?” The answer came quickly. It is a hard topic to cover because I always feel inadequate before, during, and after I present it. The topic is worship.


Its not what you are thinking. I am not going to ask you to raise your hands or sing louder. I will present worship to you in the best way I know how. But first, I have a question for you. Feel free to respond if you would like: Do you think that far too much of worship these days is irreverent? I don’t think it is purposefully, but I think it has become so for many people in America.

This is how I see people worship. It is us going before our God and asking Him to be blessed because we decided to show up. It is us going before God and expecting Him to pour out His blessings on us because we thought it good to acknowledge Him today. It is a moment in life that happens when we choose, where we choose, and how we choose. Worship today is irreverent because we see it as irrelevant. The Old Testament is full of characters that were removed from authority or killed because of these attitudes in worship. If you want three groups: the sons of Aaron, the sons of Eli, and Saul.

One of the problems associated with this is that many people don’t see their worship is irreverent or irrelevant. We see that we are giving our time to be in a Christian school or go to a church to sing to God. And that for us is hard, it is worship according to how we define worship which is singing to God. But, I think most of the problem we have in understand how worship has become irreverent and irrelevant is from our misunderstanding of what worship is.

So today I would like to answer the question of what worship is from my perspective. In short, worship is ascribing worth to something and acknowledging it. We do this quite often. We ascribe worth to our friends and give them time, express our talents before them and for them as we play a pickup game of basketball, attempt bowling [for some of you this is acting foolish], or play music with them [and sometimes for them], give them monies to accomplish something, even as trivial as helping them buy a burger to satiate their cravings, give them praise when they need it. There is much more, but do you see how we ascribe to our friends worth and in a sense worship them?

If we have chosen our friends well, we feel able to come before them because we know they will accept us, not laugh at us most of the time, not berate us for missing a shot but encourage us in how to shoot better, they won’t look at us contemptuously for the small amount of money or food we supply. We can go on, can’t we; that is why they are our friends. That is one of the problems we have because we don’t see these as true with God.

The Psalmist tells us in 29.1-2:

Ascribe to the LORD, O mighty ones, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.

In other words, give Him the glory that is due His name by doing the same thing we do for our friends. Give Him His worth by giving our time, our talents, our monies, our praise, our daily life.

Psalm 96 expresses this same truth in greater detail:

1 Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth.

2 Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.

3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

4 For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.

5 For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens.

6 Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary.

7 Ascribe to the LORD, O families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.

8 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts.

9 Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth.

10 Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns.” The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.

11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it;

12 let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy;

13 they will sing before the LORD, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his truth.

[Kevin: “Holy Is The Lord”]

So, what is worship? How can we see it played out in our daily lives? If we think of it in light of some of the things we do for our friends, I think we have a good start. Only, remember, they are not truly worthy of that worship only God is.

In order for us to see how worship permeates all of life, I have a few quick descriptive words for you to ponder in light of worship this morning.

[Kevin: “When the Music Fades”??????????????]

Worship is . . .

Honesty and Purity, Present Yourself by Integrating Repentance, Truth, Holiness, Diligence, and Yearning, Marveling, Revering, Seeking, Creating Love and Relationships Knowledgeably

Honesty and Purity

John 4:23

“It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.”

As we open today, let’s pray:

When was the last time you sat before God and honestly spoke to Him about your life? Think about that. As you sit in these pews today, tell God something you think He doesn’t know. He is sovereign and does know, He would like you to acknowledge it to yourself. This enables your worship to be honest and pure. The language doesn’t have to be perfect or polished, just honest. I remember going before God awhile back angry with Him. I yelled at Him, blamed Him for the grief I was experiencing. After a few hours and a stream of tears, I remember confessing my sins before Him because He made me realize the truth of my grief was in my choices not in Him. It was at this point of confession, that I was able to come to Him in purity. But it started with being honest with God about my feelings and honest with myself about my sin.

Continue in a state of prayer for a moment, bring yourself honestly before God today. Kevin will lead us in a rewrite of a song we sing in chapel.

[Kevin “Holiness” with the Honesty and purity in its place]

Our honesty displays our character. Honesty before God promotes honesty and purity before people. As we come transparent before Him, He allows us to be transparent before others and they see our good works (not mere words) and glorify God themselves because of us. Our honesty before Him and others displays acts of reverence and respect, dignity and majesty, to our holy God.

Our honesty and ensuing purity before God in our daily life is the basis for our receiving blessing from His hand (Psalm 125.4).

I also see worship as the act of presenting ourselves before God on a daily basis.

Presenting Yourself by

We all now the quote from Romans 12.1: I urge brothers to present yourselves as living sacrifices before God. The Message states it this way:

Romans 12.1-2 (Message)

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

How is your daily life? Are you presenting to God on a daily basis all that you are? God doesn’t want part of your life because that is an unacceptable form of worship. He wants all of your life. He doesn’t want to be first on a list of things that need attention during the day. He wants to be at the center of all the activity, the thought, the words, the all of the day (Colossians 1.18). Are you presenting yourself before Him daily?

How is this done? How do we present ourselves?

It is done by integrating His requirements for drawing close to Him:



Psalm 51 (particularly 16-17) 16-17

Going through the motions doesn’t please you, a flawless performance is nothing to you. I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.


John 4 reminds us that God desires people to worship Him in spirit and in Truth. This would be the truth of who He is. Jesus claimed to be the Truth. He stands before us as Judge as the holder of Truth. He demands that we live a life that reflects that truth and that is worship. It is different than honesty. Honesty can express a lie. We can honestly say we are sad and disappointed with God because we feel He has abandoned us. However, this is not a truth. The truth is that He will never forsake us and never leave us. He is ever present.

2 Corinthians 2.11 informs us of the truth that Satan is out to destroy us and we must be aware of his lies. He stands in direct opposition to Jesus who is the Truth. We must destroy these strongholds of Satan according to 2 Corinthians 10. We must represent the truth. We need to acknowledge God for who He is and obey in that truth and then we are worshiping God. We need to stay away from worshiping that which the devil presents because it isn’t God, it is more like us. We need to stay away from the half-truths the devil presents each day, much like Jesus did in the wilderness temptations, by quoting the Word of God. We need to be aware of what God’s Word says so we can know the truth and be free to live the life that God created for us to live; that is a life with Him as the focus, a life of worship.


God is most worshiped and glorified when we follow His will. His will, for one example, is found in 1 Thessalonians 4:3 is for moral purity both sexually and otherwise. We are to consider the ramifications of all we do in light of how it reflects His call to make us holy even as He is holy. Leviticus 10.10:

You must distinguish between the holy and the common, between the unclean and the clean,

Worship is quiet a bit of hard work. This is why I think it has become irrelevant and irreverent in our day. We are a people who love to worship and to be worshiped. It is far easier to worship our friends or possessions than it is to worship God. True worship requires diligence.

Diligence, and

even to the point of suffering as Peter reminds us (1 Peter 3:17 and 1 Peter 4:19)

Yearning, [Kevin: “The Time Has Come” ]

Psalm 42.1 describes a deer desiring the pure waters after a long and tiresome drought. Korah, the writer, describes the state of yearning for water as the state of the soul in worship. Do you desire God more than life’s basic sustenance? Ponder that as we sing “The Time Has Come”

Marvel, [Kevin: “Awesome Is The Lord Most High” ]

Much of the awesomeness of God is lost on us. We don’t see His glory because we never look up at the stars. He is Awesome. We never ponder the sunset. He is awesome. Marvel at the works of His hands, look inside you-the intrinsic parts of your body are so complex (Psalm 139). Marvel. Ponder these things as Kevin leads us in “Awesome is the Lord Most High”.


Hebrews 12:28 (NIV)

. . . let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,

Deuteronomy 4:10 (NIV)

“Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.”

This means we are to get to know Him so well that we honor Him, we speak His words, fulfill His commands, as we stand in awe of Him, our life reflects it.


Seek first Him and then He will grant you the desires of your heart. Matthew 6.33.

Creating Love and Relationships

As we attempt to accomplish this passionate pursuit of worship, we will be creating relationships with God and others based on true self-sacrificing love–love as God intended it to be (other focused, empowered by His presence).

1 John 1.1-4

From the very first day, we were there, taking it all in—we heard it with our own ears, saw it with our own eyes, verified it with our own hands. The Word of Life appeared right before our eyes; we saw it happen! And now we’re telling you in most sober prose that what we witnessed was, incredibly, this: The infinite Life of God himself took shape before us. We saw it, we heard it, and now we’re telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy!

That’s worship!


All this is done as we grow deeper in the knowledge of the Holy One who will become more and more the object of our desire, our passion. (John 6.68-69).

I do realize this was a bit different. But do you see how worship is irrelevant and irreverent when we limit its scope and focus. Again, look at the words used:

Honesty and purity, presenting yourself by integrating repentance, truth, holiness, diligence, and yearning, Marveling, revering, seeking, Creating love and relationships knowledgeably

If this is you, you are finally getting to the heart of worship where it is no longer about you but about the one who made you, the One worthy of your worship.

Let’s pray.

Part of worship, as we have learned is honoring those who are worthy of honor. This means we are worshiping God as we give honor to those who He has created because they are living their lives in worship of Him. We have one more song that we would like to sing. I invite Mrs. Clark to join us in this song. It is found in the acronym of the words we studied today [choir]:

Happy Birthday Mrs. Clark!

©2012 Teach for God Ministries. Used by Permission.

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Teach for God Ministries.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By David R Williamson. ©2012 Teach for God Ministries. Website:

Christian Growth

Christian Growth
June 27, 2004 Sermon by DRW Passage Philippians 1.1-11


I pray that you would allow us to see our growth in You. Be blessed as we come to understand better our identity, our growth, and our goal as Christians. Enable us this day to be changed by Your Spirit to reflect in a greater way Your Son that our lives may glorify, praise, and honor You. Teach us this day the wonderful truths contained in Your Word. Amen.

Would you please turn to Philippians 1.1-11.

Before we begin, let’s recall a little background to the passage we are about to study. By the way, when I first began at EFCC, this is the book the high school went through in our Wednesday Bible studies. Paul is writing to a church that owed its very existence to his ministry. It was his preaching that had opened the heart of Lydia to respond to the gospel. He had gone through flogging and imprisonment. His testimony had converted the jailer and his family. It was Paul who had strengthened and encouraged the young, new church. You can read about it in Acts 16.

And now Paul is is basically on death row. He is “in chains for Christ” as he says in v 13. He doesn’t know whether he will be released or executed.

As for the Philippians, they face the pressure of persecution. There are those among them who are distorting the gospel by their teaching, and leading the others away from a sound faith. There is some tension and hostility within the fellowship.

Paul’s eyes are wide open to the problems actual and potential. But for all that, this is an overwhelmingly positive letter. Why? Because it is full of God. In these first eleven verses that are thirteen direct references to God and Christ. It is saturated with Jesus, and full of excitement about what God is doing in the lives of those Christians in Philippi.

Paul is torn between the prospect of being executed and the prospect of being released from prison. For his own sake he would prefer to die and go to Christ. But for the sake of the church he knows that he still has work to do. He says in 25:

Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith.

How would you react if someone took you aside and asked you about how you are progressing and finding joy in the faith? If you are anything like me there would be a twinge of guilt. I would prefer that people didn’t ask how my progress in the faith was progressing. The reason is that my progress seems to be too little and taking way too much time. The effort I put in, at times, is so half-hearted. Steps forward seem to be accompanied by just as many steps back. As one writer quipped: “Three steps forward and two steps back.” Better to draw a discreet veil over the whole thing, I thought as I pondered my title for this morning: Christian Growth. It is too shaming. Too depressing.

But then I began to study this passage. And I made a tremendously encouraging rediscovery. You see, that twinge of guilt at the thought of what I consider my lack of progress is quite telling. It reveals who I think is primarily responsible for my progress in the faith. Me. It is basically down to me, so I should be feeling guilty. I was saved by grace. But the quality of my Christian life is up to me. Wrong. That is precisely what Paul preached against in the book of Galatians. Now of course there is a right balance to be struck here. I must not abdicate all responsibility for my growth as a Christian.

The chief characteristic of someone living their life the way God created them to live it, who have confidence in God’s work in their life will be the characteristic of joy.

Joy comes from being centered in God. It comes from the liberation of knowing that every aspect of our Christian lives is lived by grace. Not only have I been saved by grace, but I am being saved by grace and I will be saved by grace, through faith – that is, through depending on the person and work of Christ to accomplish what needs to be accomplished, rather than by depending on what I can do. The truth is, Christ is taking us to heaven. We are not making our own way there. What a relief. What freedom. If it is up to me, I’m in trouble. Thank God it is not.

Let’s see how that works out in these verses. We can see three aspects of what it is to be a Christian here. Verses 1-2 focus on THE CHRISTIAN’S IDENTITY; verses 3-8 on THE CHRISTIAN’S PROGRESS; verses 9-11 on THE CHRISTIAN’S GOAL.


Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,

To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul calls himself and his co-worker Timothy “servants”. Why? Far from exalting himself, he is drawing attention to the fact that he is not a free agent. He is not in control of his own life. It is not up to Paul what he does. It is up to Christ. Christ calls the shots. And what was true for Paul and Timothy was true also for the Philippians and it is true for every Christian. As Christians, like Paul, we are servants of the Lord of Lords. He deploys us. He commands. We are not our own.

Then not only are we servants of Christ Jesus, we are also “saints in Christ Jesus”. Paul certainly recognizes the particular leadership role of some of the Philippian Christians. There are the overseers and the deacons. Appropriate leadership structures are needed in any church. But the significance of those leaders does not lie in such roles. It lies in their relationship to God through Christ, as with everybody else. They are all “saints”. They have all been chosen and set apart by God to belong to him. They have been rescued from a life of rebellion and now they are the possession of Christ Jesus. They are holy. They are sanctified.

It is vital for us to grasp this. It is right that as Christians we struggle for holiness of living. But we must understand where we are starting from. It is not that holiness is an unattainable goal on the far horizon that seems to move farther and farther away the more we move towards it.

Holiness is something that we have been given in Christ. We have been taken into his possession. So it is not primarily in order to be holy that we should live lives of holiness. It is because we are holy. We are saints.

1.27 : “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” That is, live in the light of what Jesus has already done for you. Not to prove your worth or to earn your keep. But because of who you are, and what Jesus has made you. A saint.

A Christian is a servant of Christ. A Christian is a saint in Christ. A Christian is a sibling with Christ. A Christian is a subject of Christ.

“Grace and peace to you from God our Father… ” The Christian belongs in the family of God not only in the sense that all mankind is the creation of God and dependent on him. This is much more personal, much more intimate. The miracle of grace is this: that God is our Father as he is the Father of Jesus. By grace we are adopted into the nuclear family of God our Father, our “Abba”, our Dad. And in this sense Jesus is our brother.

It is not just that he shares our humanity (which he does, totally). It is that he has brought us into the inner circle of his relationship with the Father. We have open access to the Father through the Son. We share his Sonship. We are siblings with Jesus.

If that does not create a deep, inexhaustible, subterranean reservoir of joy in your life, then either you are not yet a Christian, or you have failed to grasp the immensity of the privilege that is yours. Jesus is your brother. Because you deserve it? No. No more than the fact that you are your parents child because you worked for it. God has done it for you.

Servant of Christ. Saint in Christ. Sibling with Christ. And subject of Christ. “Grace and peace to you from … the Lord Jesus Christ.” Not only are we on his staff, and in his possession, and in his family. We have a place in his kingdom.

Jesus is our King. He reigns at the right hand of God. There are no elections for him, and there is no legitimate or loyal opposition to his government, for he is eternally and rightfully King. He has supreme power. And he is in the process of returning not only for his people but to give the whole universe back to its rightful owner. No other authority has a claim on our lives that can override his claim. “Our citizenship” says Paul in 3.20, “is in heaven”. And the Lord Jesus Christ has power that enables him “to bring everything under his control.”

Such is our identity as Christians. Servants. Saints. Siblings. and Subjects. And we haven’t even got beyond the greeting yet! But that is OK because when we have begun to understand who we are as Christians, then the nature of Christian growth begins to fall into place. The notion of progress is put into a proper perspective.

The Christian has already been given everything in Christ. We have already been transformed by grace through faith. We are a new creation. And now God is growing us, like a master gardener. And that is what you can see in vv 3-8.

So secondly: THE CHRISTIAN’S PROGRESS (vv 3-8)

“I thank my God every time I remember you” Paul says in v 3. Why? Because it is the Lord who is responsible for the progress that they have made in their faith. He it was who brought them to faith. He it is who is nurturing them and caring for them, and ensuring that their faith develops.

He doesn’t say to them “Well done, you guys. I know it’s been hard but you’ve stuck at it. Great job! Pat yourselves on the back, and keep going.” He looks at them, sees their progress, and turns to God with gratitude in his heart for what God is doing among them.

Now of course that is encouraging for the Philippians. After all, he is telling them what he is praying. This is not just between him and God. He is making it public, because he wants them to draw strength from the fact that he can see God at work in their lives. But he leaves no room for pride. The credit goes to God and not them.

Perhaps we should be more alert to similar opportunities around us. What do you do if you see someone growing in faith? Do you do nothing? That is a missed opportunity. Do you tell them they are doing well? If you are not careful, that may encourage a misplaced pride. Do you give thanks to God and say nothing? Surely better, but still a missed opportunity. Or do you do what Paul is doing here, and give thanks to God, but tell them that you are praying for them?

When someone does that for us it can be a powerful spur. It helps us to see what progress we are making, and encourages us, and at the same time turns our minds towards God, and ensures that we give him the glory. Then we can have a growing heart without a growing head, swollen with pride.

Thanks to God is followed by joy in gospel partnership. Vv 4-5:

In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now…

Let’s not fail to notice the extent of Paul’s praying that is revealed here. Paul’s praying for his fellow Christians is not an occasional thought, an arrow prayer now and then. There are two “all’s” and an “always” just in v 4.

Paul is continually in prayer for those who are on his heart. And he rejoices in the fellowship that he shares with them. What is this fellowship? Not just a chat and a joke and cup of coffee. It is working with them in their common task of gospel ministry. This is what has brought me great joy over the years I have ministered here. There have been many faithful followers of Christ in fellowship with me in the ministry here over the years. I think of Eddie, Brian, Ben, to those you see here today, Christine, Cindy, and Erik. I can almost say that each one of you have played an integral part in the work of this church.

Such ministry is the work not just of some, but of the whole church. Paul singles no one out here. Evangelism is a task for all of us, not for specialists alone. It is a task undertaken not alone but together. It requires the whole range of gifts that are present in the church. And it rejoices Paul’s heart when he sees everybody pulling together consistently to further the cause of the gospel, as had been happening in Philippi right from the time when the first Philippians had become Christians. There is a strong bond of love between him and his brothers and sisters in Christ. V 8:

God can testify how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.

But he goes on, v 6:

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Lest they miss the point, he spells it out in such a way that they cannot fail to get his meaning. The progress of the gospel among them, and the progress that they have been making in the faith, is not their work. It is God’s.

God began it. God is carrying it on. And for all the obstacles and hardships and detours that they may make, God will ensure that it gets finished. Because what he begins he finishes. He doesn’t forget. He doesn’t get distracted. He cannot be overcome by a higher power because there isn’t one. Paul knows that. No wonder then that he is confident. Not that there aren’t problems to be sorted out. That’s why he is writing to them. But the final outcome is not in doubt.

God’s grace wins through, and, as he says in v 7: “all of you share in God’s grace with me.”. There is no question then that they will reach the goal that God is leading them towards. That is a truth that needs to be engraved on that the heart of every Christian. It frees us from fear. It fills us with just the kind of assurance that God wants for us: an assurance based on confidence in him and his power to keep us safe in him to the end.

Our own goals for our lives are often very fragile and uncertain. It is as well to recognize that, so that we are not too devastated when they crumble before our eyes. But we need to know that God’s goals will be accomplished. Then we can have the freedom and boldness to follow Christ however risky the path looks, because we know that our lives are secure in his loving and powerful hands.

So let’s ask ourselves whether we share Paul’s attitudes in relation to his fellow believers and partners in the work of the gospel. What are his feelings towards them? They are these: thanks to God; joy in gospel partnership; confidence in good work; and affection through grace shared. These are my feelings toward each one of you too.

But what exactly is the good work that God is doing among them? What are God’s goals for our lives? Paul expands on that in the last three verses of this passage: vv 9-11.

So to my third and last heading: THE CHRISTIAN’S GOAL (vv 9-11)

V 9: “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more…”

Paul doesn’t specify the object of this love. But love for God and love for others cannot in the end be separated. That is we worship God and fellowship with others. No doubt he wants to see both kinds of love grow. And it is to be abundant growth.

And love depends on an understanding of the truth. So Paul continues:

that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best…

We grow in proportion as we know. This can be seen in the area of discipleship. Ignorance stunts growth. And knowledge of God comes through Christ.

Jesus said:

No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

Knowledge of God is a gift of God. It comes through Jesus by revelation. Paul talks in 1Timothy 4.3 about Christians as “those who believe and know the truth.”

Truth is an essential ingredient in Christian experience. But with it must come the discernment to apply it to our lives. In Colossians 1.9 Paul says:

…we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.

Knowing God, knowing the truth, and knowing how to please God all belong together. So in Philemon v 6 Paul says:

I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding [that is, knowledge] of every good thing we have in Christ.

We cannot begin to live lives that please God unless we have a knowledge of the blessings that are to be found in Jesus, and at the same time it is as we live for Christ – in this example by being active in sharing our faith – that our grasp on the blessings that Jesus brings gets tighter, and our understanding grows. This is through evangelism.

So Paul prays, too, for growth in holiness (v 10):

so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ.

Purity is what you might call “inner holiness” – a profound Christ-centeredness of mind and heart. Blamelessness you could call “outer holiness”. It is the outworking in life and example of that inner quality of obedience to God’s will.

Then finally Paul prays that they will be …

…filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ.

This is a picture of a full crop ready for harvest; effective service flowing from a loving, willing and mature obedience. And once again this is not something we can produce in ourselves apart from Jesus. It is the result of the work of Jesus. It is through him alone that such fruit can grow. This is ministry.

What is the harvest that Paul is looking towards? It is “the day of Christ” (v 10); the Second Coming; the Day of Judgement. And what is this harvest for? What is the purpose of it all? What is all this abundant growth in aid of? It is all “to the glory and praise of God” (v 11).

Paul’s praying always heads like an arrow for the glory of God. And there is nothing that glorifies God more than the spiritual growth of his people. Why? Because that growth is not in the end up to us. When it happens, we can take no credit for it. It is an answer to prayer. It is a work of grace in the lives of those who are servants of Christ, saints in Christ, siblings with Christ, and subjects of Christ. What a relief. What freedom.

So when we are challenged about our spiritual growth, let’s learn not to wince with guilt, but to rejoice. God is growing his people, as the master gardener.

Let’s with Paul be grateful to God for all he is doing amongst us and in us – rejoicing in our gospel partnership; full of affection for one another through the grace that we share; and confident that he who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus – to his glory and praise. Let us fulfill his purposes in our lives by trusting him to do this great work in us, as he has been doing, and going out and allowing him to work through us, as you have been doing.

Let’s pray:

Father, I pray for each person in this room. Grant us knowledge of Your Word that will transform us. Grant us knowledge of You that will transform others because of the work You have been doing in our lives. Let us live to glorify You, to bring others to praise and honor You as our lives are lived in praise and honor of You. Amen.

©2012 Teach for God Ministries. Used by Permission.

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Teach for God Ministries.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By David R Williamson. ©2012 Teach for God Ministries. Website:


June 20, 2004 Sermon by DRW Passage 2 Peter 1.1-15


As each of us enter your throne, let us glorify You by seeking Your Truth and by doing it. Help us to walk out of this room as changed people.


I am not too sure how many people in this room remember Karen’s grandmother. She was a wonderful woman who, in the waning years of her life, was plagued with a disease called Parkinson’s Disease. She found it difficult to remember much. She had glimpses of her old self, periodically; but, overall, she couldn’t remember who she was, what she had done in life, nor who the people were that were taking care of her. She had it difficult. She was unable to understand what to do and couldn’t recognize what was happening nor who it was that loved her. I see this in out passage before us today. We have been called to remember certain things, but find it difficult to do so at times. We have been called to know who it is that loves us and to follow him, but forget who it is that loves us. We are plagued by a disease that keeps us from recognizing who we are, what has happened in our lives, and that keeps us from seeing the Lover of our souls. This disease is called sin.

Our passage sets before us great truths for us to overcome this terrible disease. There is only one cure and that is a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. Let’s read verses 1-15, making comment on the way.

1   “Simon Peter” is the Apostle Peter. The one who couldn’t say that his overwhelming passion in life was Jesus when asked in John 21. By this time in his life, he could answer the question Jesus asked with a “yes”. Yes, You are more than a friend, You are my overwhelming passion in life. I realize that at the ages most of us are at, we desire to love Jesus with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength. But, it is difficult. Be of good cheer, keep on seeking Him and you will be consumed by Him as the years go by. Be warned, forsake His Word, forsake prayer, and you will be consumed by this world as the years go by.

“To those . . . as ours.” He is writing this letter to Christians. He makes mention that their faith is as precious as the apostles faith. That is, they have the same faith, the same Lord, the same Holy Spirit, the same Father, they each have all that is necessary for living the life that God created for them to live.

2   “Grace and peace . . . Jesus our Lord” Peter is letting us know the only way for us to have growing favor before God and a relationship with God as He intended us to have it (this is encapsulated in the word “peace” or the Hebrew equivalent “shalom”). That is salvation leading to a life lived according to His plan. The only way for this to happen is we are growing in our understanding of who God is, of what Christ has done. This is the truth that James 1.22-25 presents to us as-well-as 1 John 2.3-5.

3   “His divine power” God has the ability to provide everything for us to live the life that He created for us to live. It comes only through our knowledge of Him. We need to understand that our lives need to be lived for His glory. We also need to see that whatsoever happens to us, as we seek His face, as we seek after His righteousness, according to Romans 8.28, will become good. We need to understand that all of our life’s circumstances pass through the loving hands of our God. All that we need is found in Him. We need to remember this. We need to understand this. We need to know this.

Karen and I, as-well-as Mike and Jamie, have experienced the need for this knowledge. I believe that God is a sovereign God. Which means God is in control of all things. If He is in control of all things, and, I know from Romans 8.28 and other verses, He is seeking to receive glory from my life and that only good would come, no matter the circumstance, because He is good and because evil doesn’t glorify Him, then I know that I can trust Him no matter what befalls me. I become troubled and in disrepair only when I do not focus my life on Him. When I see the circumstances: my house isn’t selling, I have no job, I won’t be able to pay the mortgage next month, and the like, I can be overwhelmed by them. When I focus on God, I see that He has a purpose for each of these things, although I may not see nor understand what it is—I still trust Him. As Job of old said: “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” I say all this to illustrate what the knowledge of God can produce.

4   read As we are growing in Christ, we begin to see the advantages that salvation bring to us. Each time we turn from sin to God we have escaped the corruption of this world. Positively, we have grown in fellowship with God that is what participate means. We will receive great promises from God. For a sampling of these promises read Ephesians 1-3, realize that these only come to us as we grow in Christ.

Before we go much further, I would like to comment on what a promise is and peruse some of the promises found in 2 Peter. A promise, according to American Heritage Dictionary, is a declaration assuring that one will or will not do something. A promise can be characterized by these three things:

1   What is promised is in the power of the one who promised

2   The one who promised can make a promise as it pleases him

3   The promise is received only from him, through no effort on our part

As we read through this book, we find a variety of promises:

1   What we need to live a godly life, the one God created us for (1.3)

2   Christians seeking after God will be fruitful in our life (1.8)

3   We have forgiveness of all sins (1.9)

4   We will receive rewards in eternity for what was done here, mostly a “well done” my good and faithful servant because you lived the life I had created for you to live (1.11)

5   Deliverance from trials or protection through trials (2.9)

6   The return of Christ to make all things right (3.4)

This is, by no means, an exhaustive list. We know there are thousands of others through Scripture.

5-7     This is a list of characteristics that each of us need to study in a way that we recognize what we are growing in and where we are lacking. We each need to read this list before God, asking Him to show us where we need Him. He asks us to work, to make an effort in our lives so this fruit will grow. Each of these characteristics must be found in our lives, must be growing. We need goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. We know from Galatians 5, these come only through the Holy Spirit. It is as we relinquish our desires and seek Him, that these things will be produced in our lives. We need to speak as John the Baptist spoke: “He must increase, I must decrease.” And as Jesus Himself spoke: “Nevertheless, not what I want but what You want.”

9   What happens to those who do not seek God, who do not live the life God created for them to live? What happens to those who fail to work to develop these qualities in their life by turning to God and His Word, and live by it? Read They become nearsighted. They become spiritually blind. They cannot see the things of God because they can only see what is in front of them, which is the world. They see only the circumstances and not the Savior. They live a life that doesn’t see God. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5.8 that only the pure in heart see God. We know from John 17 that the Word of God purifies us and from 1 Peter 1.22, that obeying that truth purifies us. Our only remedy from shortsightedness is to seek after God. This is the advice Jesus gave the church at Ephesus in Revelation 2 when He reminded them to remember and do what they know to be truth.

This person also forgets that all his sins have been forgiven the moment they became a Christian. They go forth living life as if they have not escaped the corruption of this world and are then overcome by it.

8, 10-11  What happens for those who seek after God? What happens to those who desire to live the life He created them for and then diligently seek to do His Word? Verse 8 tells us “you will not be ineffective nor unproductive”. Jesus promises us that we will bear much fruit as we abide in Him (John 15). Verse 10 lets us know that we can be sure of our salvation, that is we will not doubt if God has saved us. Verse 10 tells us that we will not fall if we are walking in His will as seen in His Word. This is the truth Jesus presents in the parable of the man building his house on the rock in Matthew 7.24-25. We have already mentioned verse 11.

In the passage before us, Peter is aware of his circumstances. He wants to remind those he has been ministering to about their privileges and duties in Christ. He so much wants to remind them, that in the four verses before us, he uses the word “remember” three times. He is actually pleading with them from a personal standpoint. He uses the word “I” over and over again. These are brothers and sisters that he loves and believes it is his obligation to tell them truths they should already know. We have seen what Peter wanted to remind his friends of Salvation (1.1-4), Growth (1.5-7), and Assurance (1.8-11).

12 I will always remind you

of these things-the things listed from verse 1 to verse 11.

even though you know them-do they know them in their head or in their heart? The actions they display will show where the Word of God is held. If they have them in their heart, this will lead them to do them.

and are firmly established in the truth-this solid foundation, the one upon the rock.

you now have-this is very keen. Philippians 3.12-16.

13 I think it is right

to refresh

your memory

as long as I live-Colossians 4.17 reminds us to do what God has equipped us to do, and to complete it.

in the tent of this body-for me it is EFCC

14 because I know that I will soon put it aside-for me it is next week

as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me-I believe that God has called me to a different, a new stage in my life.

15 And I will make every effort-I was going over the list of almost four hundred messages, three hundred CEs, and two-hundred fifty FNFs I have taught. Wow, we have come a long way haven’t we. It has been a good work, I pray that it is also a fruitful work. As I look out across this room, I see that it has been. More on that next week.

to see that after my departure

you will always be able to remember these things

I believe many of us are at the point where we do not need to know new things, we are at the point where we need to remember what we know. It is when we begin to do what we know that God will bless us with greater understanding of His Word and His purpose in our lives. The was a missionary to the Philippines who was trying to help a young convert grow. He encouraged him to memorize the Sermon on the Mount, particularly Matthew 5.3-10, what we call the Beatitudes. The young man became upset after trying to memorize these great truths after two weeks. He was unable to do so. He went back to the missionary who encouraged him to continue to memorize those 8 verses. The young man left. The missionary didn’t see him for a few months. When he did, the young man was overjoyed to quote all of Matthew 5-7 to the missionary. The man was impressed with the memory work. He asked the young man how he did it. He told him that he couldn’t memorize the passage and was getting ready to quit trying. One day, he decided to memorize it in a different way. He would do what it said. He figured if you did one verse a day he could memorize the 8 verses. His life was changed, the verses memorized, and many people were blessed.

This is where we stand today. We are trying so much to memorize the Bible or know about the Bible that we forget to do it. We want the Word of God to be so much a part of our lives that we read, listen, and memorize, but forget to do it. The CYA’s CHAT group has been studying the purposes God has created us for. In each lesson, Rick Warren reminds us that Jesus promised us that we would be blessed if we did what the Word of God said, not merely heard it. That is so important, we need to do whatever the Word of God tells us in order to be changed by it.

Turn with me to James 1.22-25. Read

My question for you today is, “What is God wanting you to do in your life?” It could be something as simple as reading His Word, being baptized, joining the prayer meeting, going on a mission trip to something as difficult as surrendering your heart, soul, mind, or strength to Him. We all have that one thing that God calls us to do. What is it that God is calling you to do? Let’s go back over that list in verses 5-7 and prayerfully choose one we know we lack and ask God to develop it in us this week. Remember, as you ask God to do this, He will but only as we seek the opportunities that He will provide for us.

For instance, if I ask God for knowledge or a way to express my knowledge, I need to be seeking those opportunities to express the knowledge He has given me in a loving and godly manner. I was listening to the radio last night on the way home for our fellowship night. The man basically said that people give up their intellect when they become Christian. I was fuming, I wanted to call in and give the announcer a piece of my mind. That wouldn’t have been

Let’s say that God has called me to self-control. What would this mean? In the area of our lifestyle, we would need to ask God to show us areas that we are doing things on our own power and then seek the Holy Spirit during those times. Do we dress appropriately, are our hobbies godly, is our entertainment pure, what bad habits do I possess, is my speech proper, how do I present myself to people? The list can go on, but you get the picture.

Each of us need to ask God what area we need to work on, to ask God for the strength to overcome that sin, and then go out and do it in His strength.


As we go from here to CE and beyond, help us to remember our salvation and how great it is, help us to remember the growth You have brought about in our lives already and the life You have called for us to live and let us grow in it, and by the fruit we see, let us gain assurance that we are following the Truth that sets us free.


©2012 Teach for God Ministries. Used by Permission.

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Teach for God Ministries.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By David R Williamson. ©2012 Teach for God Ministries. Website:

Praise, Glory, and Honor

Praise, Glory, and Honor
June 13, 2004 Sermon by DRW Passage 1 Peter 1.3-9

Many, if not all, of us have read or are aware of the Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. As you know, it presents forty days of readings, questioning, and studies to encourage us toward the habit of living out the five purposes God has for our life. The purposes are worship, evangelism, fellowship, discipleship, and ministry. There is now even a CHAT Bible study that covers, so far, the first seven days of the book. CHAT is an acronym standing for Check-up, Hear the Word, Act on it, Talk to others about it. All this is exciting and beneficial for the individual and the church. Today, what I would like to do is remind us of the why. Why did God present us with all things? Why did God give us His Son? Why did God give us His Word? Why did God . . . ? The questions are endless; the answer is always the same: He gives us all things for His praise, His glory, and His honor. Thus, the title for today’s message.

If you have your Bible, turn with me to 1 Peter 1. We will be looking at verses 3-9. We will be looking at three causes of joy in our lives. We will look at our inheritance, our Savior, and our challenges or trials.

Let’s pray:

Father, thank You so much for Your Word. Thank You for the opportunity given to each one of us to open this life changing book and seeing Your work in our lives. Today was ask as we open the Words that bring life, that our relationship with You would grow, our reason for living would be altered, that we would be changed people. Speak to each of us today for Your glory, honor, and praise. Amen.

1.  Rejoice in Our Inheritance

3    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has cause us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Our inheritance as we see from verse 3 is the most life changing experience anyone will encounter. It is our salvation. Through Jesus Christ we are born again, we become part of God’s family. If you haven’t experienced this wonderful relationship with Jesus Christ, and you would like to talk about it, see one of the church leaders or you can e-mail me if you would like to do that. My wife will have that information for you if you would like to talk with her after the service.

a.  Hope

Salvation brings to us a hope that is not known apart from God. The word hope doesn’t mean wishful thinking, that someday this might happen. In the Bible it means the assurance that it will come to pass. Such as the hope mentioned in Hebrews 11.1: faith is the assurance (proof if you would) of things hoped for, the conviction that things unseen will come to pass. This tells us that what we read in God’s Word, the Bible, will come to pass. All the promises of God are going to be fulfilled. We can see the marvelous examples of His Word being fulfilled throughout the Bible, from a coming Savior in Genesis 3 to the very day that Savior will enter Jerusalem in Daniel 9 to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. The most telling evidence of the promises of God being fulfilled is in our own lives. I remember when I was in Junior High School. I was small and an easy target for gangs to take their troubles out on. I would go to school every day in the seventh grade only to go home with a little less money or a project that I had worked on so hard in shop classes taken away from me. All this happened to by the hand of the black gangs called the Crips and the Bloods. I was a white guy walking through the dividing line of both gangs. I had become a Christian in 1972 in Germany. I walked into a church on a Sunday evening, tired from a long walk, not even knowing it was a church because I had never been in one before. The pastor was giving the salvation message. I went forward to receive Christ as my Savior. The pastor there didn’t tell me to go home and read the Bible or to go to church. He just welcomed me into God’s family. Shortly after this, we moved to California when all this turmoil at school began. I dropped out of Junior High School. When it came time for High School, we had moved. I went to a safer school, graduated with high honors. The reason I bring this story up is what God did in that time. Remember, I still loved God, but didn’t know anything about Him. I didn’t pray regularly. But God was doing a work in my life that I would begin to see evidence of in High School but come to fully realize later in life. When I read Galatians 5.24-25, I can’t help but praise God for fulfilling His promises in my life. My family is from Iowa and North Carolina. Their beliefs about people who are not white are less than godly. When my family heard what was happening to me in school, they were angry at black people. When they hear my story, they are amazed that I have pastored Taiwanese churches all my life, over 22 years now. They marvel that my best friends are black, Filipino, Chinese, Taiwanese, Hispanic, and the list goes on. They wonder how it could be so when my Junior High years were so tumultuous. This is why I marvel at Galatians 5.24-25. You see, God promises that His Holy Spirit will work in our lives producing love, not bitterness, joy, not anger, peace, not turmoil, patience, not frustration, kindness, not vengeance, goodness, not hatred, and so the list goes on. God was doing what He promised in my life without me realizing it was happening. The hope that is within me, is that God will accomplish His work in me and through me. We all have this hope. God is at work in the world, we just need to see it.

Let’s read verse 4:

4      to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,

b.      Eternal Life

As we read through these verses, we see that inheritance, that salvation, provides us with something imperishable, pure, and eternal. This lets me know that my salvation is never going to be taken away from me. This fantastic gift, this inheritance, is mine because of the new birth that has caused me to become God’s child. This is my faith, my hope. If you want to read on your inheritance, read through Ephesians 1-3. You will marvel at all that God has done for us and will do through us.

Let’s read verse 5:

5      who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

c.  Protection

The third aspect of our inheritance is protection. We have a hope, we have eternal life, and we have protection during this life. It is God’s work to protect you and to bring you through this life.

Let’s look at the second cause for our rejoicing and that is our Savior.

2.  Rejoice in Our Savior

6      In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,

7      so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

8      and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,

9      obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.

I would like to read verse 8 at this point

8      and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,

When we come to a greater realization of what God has done for us in Christ, we cannot help but rejoice. Peter was talking to people who were close to Christ’s era but were not alive when Christ walked the earth. Peter did. They didn’t. I figure the argument he was hearing went like this: “It is easy for you to believe that God will help you through this life. You used to walk with Him and talk with Him. We never did. How can we have such faith?” His response: “You don’t need to see Him to love Him. You don’t need to see Him to believe in Him. You have the opportunity to experience what I had experience and it will produce great joy in your life. That opportunity comes through the work of the Holy Spirit in your life as He reveals Jesus Christ to you.”

For the sake of time, let us look at the third point for today:

3.  Rejoice in Our Challenges

To this point, I have been talking about good things: salvation, inheritance, hope, eternal life, Jesus. What about the hard things in this life. More and more, we are seeing that life is difficult and not always bringing us into circumstances in which it is easy to rejoice. In order for us to understand that joy doesn’t come in circumstances but in our Savior, even through trials, I would like to closely examine verses 6-9. Please walk with me through a dissection of verses 6-9.

6      In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,

7      so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

8      and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,

9      obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.

What does all this mean? Our lives are to bring glory to God by the way we live our lives, even in the dark times. We are to bring praise to God in our lives, as often as possible, despite the circumstances we find ourselves in because of His promises and His Son. We are to bring other people to praise God because of our lives too. We are to honor God in our daily decisions based upon the promises of His Word and the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

©2012 Teach for God Ministries. Used by Permission.

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Teach for God Ministries.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By David R Williamson. ©2012 Teach for God Ministries. Website: