Updates from April, 2009 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Pastor Ryan 10:25 pm on April 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , eternity, , heaven, , stand   

    Philippians 3:15-4:1 – Stand Firm in the Lord 

    Stand FirmWhen was the last time you took a stand for something?  I’m not talking about yelling at the TV when you see something you don’t agree with.  I’m talking about standing up for what was right even though you knew it was going to cost you something.  For some of us, it’s been a very long time since we’ve taken a stand for anything.

    Philippians 4:1 gives us a command to “stand firm in the Lord.”  No matter our circumstances, we must remain true to the gospel and not fall prey to those who would add to or take away from it.  Paul was teaching against the Judiazers who sought to add works to the gospel by teaching that believers must not only trust Christ for salvation, but also keep the law to be saved.  This is a heresy (false teaching) that Paul constantly rebukes in the New Testament and we must constantly beware of it and rebuke it when found in the church today.

    We see in 3:15-21 that we should stand firm in the Lord by striving for unity though humility for the sake of the gospel.  We must understand that our citizenship is in heaven and that we should eagerly wait for the Lord Jesus to come and take us there.  This world is not our home.  We are just pilgrims passing through, so don’t get so comfortable here that you don’t long for heaven.  Don’t be content with eating the pods thrown to the swine while the feast awaits you in the dining hall.

    So brothers and sisters, let us look to heaven and stand firm in the Lord while we still have time on this side of eternity.  Share the good news of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  Teach it to your children, proclaim it to your neighbors and co-workers.  Stand firm in it even in the midst of trial and persecution, the whole time keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus.  He is the prize that awaits us in our heavenly home.

    Blessings to you and your family,

    Pastor Ryan

  • Pastor Ryan 10:57 pm on April 25, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , race,   

    Philippians 3:4-14 – Press on toward the goal! 

    Press On!

    Think with me for a moment about your greatest accomplishments in life.  Think about the things you’ve done in your life for good that you are most proud of.  Perhaps you participate in all the ministries the church has to offer.  Perhaps you have given up your job so that you can homeschool your children so that they learn a biblical worldview.  Perhaps you serve as a Deacon or an Elder/Pastor in the church.   You may think:  “What is there in this world that can be better than these things?”  The answer:  Jesus!

    Philippians 3:4-14 gives us great encouragement to press on in the race of the faith so that we may gain the prize — the power of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and eternal life with Him.

    If anyone had reason to boast in past religious accomplishments it was the Apostle Paul.  He lists his fantastic spiritual resume in Philippians 3:5-6.  There was likely none better than Paul with regard to human religious perfection, but compared to knowing Jesus and being saved in Him he considered his heritage and accomplishments dung.  He humbly admits his own imperfection and his need for salvation in Christ (Philippians 3:12).

    What about you?  Are you trusting in your heritage, good works, or both to give you a right standing before the Holy God?  I pray you, like the Apostle Paul, will turn from your works and consider them dung.  That you will turn to Jesus Christ and trust in Him alone for your salvation by grace through faith.

    You will never be disappointed in Jesus.

    Blessings in Christ,

    Pastor Ryan

  • Pastor Ryan 11:28 pm on April 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    Philippians 3:2-3 – Beware of dogs! 

    Beware of dogs!This is a striking text of Scripture:   “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh…” (Philippians 3:2-3 NKJ).

    It begs the question:  “Who are these evil people the Apostle Paul is talking about?” and “What are they doing that is so evil?”

    The people are the Judiazers and the thing that they are doing that is so evil is boasting of and trusting in their own religious works to earn them merit and justify them before God.

    This is a common warning throughout Scripture.  From Genesis – Revelation Scripture teaches that we are justified by faith, not by works (Genesis 15:6; John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9, etc…).  But in Philippi and the other New Testament churches there were false teachers, the Judiazers, that were teaching justification by faith + works.

    We must be diligent to guard ourselves against this false teaching and to expose and correct it when we hear it.  Galatians 2:21 sums this up well:  “I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”  If works are required for salvation, then the cross was not necessary.

    The good news is that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2).  His work on the cross was sufficient to pay for the penalty I deserve for my sins (Romans 6:23).  I beg you to trust in Christ alone today for your salvation, and reject the common heresy of salvation through being a “good person.”

    Blessings in Christ,

    Pastor Ryan

  • Pastor Ryan 12:40 am on April 22, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , rejoice, Spirit   

    Philippians 3:1 – Rejoice in the Lord! 

    Rejoice in the Lord!

    This Sunday’s sermon will come from Philippians 3:1-14.  Verse 1 says “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe.”   The Apostle Paul repeats this instruction in Philippians multiple times and builds on his theme of Christian joy.

    What about you?  Where do you find your joy?  Is it in your circumstances?  In your bank account?  In your comforts or health?

    I pray each of us will find our joy in the Lord.  I pray as individuals, families, and a congregation we will be filled with the Holy Spirit and have the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.  The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control (Galatians 5:22).

    If you find yourself lacking joy in your life, pray and ask the Lord to fill you with His Spirit.  Cry out to Jesus and trust in Him.  “Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” (Psa 37:4 NKJ)

    As we put our faith in Jesus and show the fruit of His Spirit in our lives the world will see and give God the glory.

    “Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous; And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!” (Psa 32:11 NKJ)

    Blessings in Christ,

    Pastor Ryan

  • Pastor Ryan 9:15 pm on April 19, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bible, , ,   

    Reflections on Philippians 2… 

    Jesus Served Others

    Philippians 2 is likely my favorite chapter of the Bible.  The core teaching is in the first 4 verses and the remainder of the chapter is full of beautiful illustrations of how others lived this teaching.

    The core teaching is this:  love your neighbor as yourself.

    You do this by considering others as better than you.  You do this by looking out for the interests of others over your own.

    Jesus is the supreme example of one who lived this teaching.  Verses 5-11 tell us how he humbled himself and gave his life to save us from our sins.  Because of his finished work on the cross, all who trust in Jesus will have their sins forgiven and have everlasting life.

    The Son of God laid aside His glory, became a baby, lived a sinless life, laid down His life and died the death we deserve for our sins.  No one can top that as a demonstration of living verses 1-4.

    Next we see that the Apostle Paul was poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith (vs. 17).  Paul was the “Super Apostle” who poured out his life in service to our Lord and the churches he planted.  Now I’m not Jesus, and I’m certainly not anywhere near the Apostle Paul in my walk with the Lord.  Paul saw the Lord himself and heard the gospel straight from His mouth (Acts 9). You may ask: “Can I possibly live out the teaching in vss. 1-4?  The bar is set so high.”

    So in case you think you can’t, we’re given another example in Timothy, Paul’s faithful disciple and spiritual son in the Lord.  Timothy proved over-and-again to be faithful in his walk with the Lord and his service to Christ.  But Timothy was discipled by Paul himself.  I haven’t had anyone disciple me like that.

    Then there is good ole’ Epaphroditus.  Now here’s a guy I can identify with.  A Gentile with no “Super Apostle” discipleship.  Just a man who loved Jesus and was devoted to loving God and loving his neighbor.  By faith he considered others better than himself, and nearly died in his service to Paul and our Lord Jesus.  I am so thankful that God’s word meets each of us right where we are.  And that by His grace through faith we can obey it.

    It is my prayer that you and I and the congregation of Living Hope Community Church will live the words of Philippians 2:1-4 and that by doing so the world will see and give glory to our Lord Jesus Christ.  Let’s look for ways we can reach out to others ( family members, neighbors, co-workers, etc….) and help them with their needs.  Let’s serve others from a motivation of love and worship to our Lord.

    Blessings in Christ,

    Pastor Ryan

  • Pastor Ryan 11:20 pm on April 18, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    Welcome to my blog… 

    Hi there,

    I’ve often desired a way to share what the Lord has laid on my heart with our congregation and the community, but found it difficult to do using traditional means.  This blog is my attempt to share my heart with you and build a deeper level of communication with both the Living Hope Community Church congregation and others in the world who are interested.

    I’ve been reading through the Psalms and praying through our hymn selection for tomorrow’s worship service.  I found the hymn “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” and discovered that it is based on Psalm 103.

    I love the first stanza of this hymn:  “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!  O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!”

    I love the first verses of Psalm 103:  “Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psa 103:1-5 NKJ)

    I’m eager to share and sing these truths in worship together this Lord’s day.

    Blessings in Christ,

    Pastor Ryan

    The Walcott Family

    The Walcott Family

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