Psalm 98: Joy to the World
Psalm 98 • November 29, 2020 • Pastor Paul Edwards
Though it is now associated only with the Christmas season, Isaac Watts wrote "Joy to the World" as an anthem to the Second Coming. It is based almost entirely on Psalm 98, a psalm written in three stanzas: Why We Worship (vv. 1 - 3), How We Worship (vv. 4 - 6), and Who is to Worship (vv. 7 - 9).
Seeing in the Dark
Ephesians 5:15-18 • November 22, 2020 • Pastor Paul Edwards
Those who once were darkness but are now light in the Lord (Ephesians 5:8) are still in the darkness. They have changed, but their environment has not. But they can see things in the darkness that those who are darkness cannot see. The grace of Christ has abounded toward us with wisdom and understanding, causing us to know the will of God (Ephesians 1:7-10). This understanding of the will of God is the key to navigating the times and seeing in the dark.
The Days Have Always Been Evil
Ephesians 5:15-16 • November 15, 2020 • Pastor Paul Edwards
The church has been living in evil days since the ascension of Jesus and will continue to live in evil days until Jesus returns. There is no sense in which it can be said that the 21st Century church is suffering to any greater degree than the 1st Century church. How then shall we live in these evil days? From Ephesians 5:16 Pastor Paul takes us to 2 Timothy 3 to order our loves around the appearing of Jesus.
Children of Light in Evil Days
Ephesians 5:7-16 • November 15, 2020 • Pastor Paul Edwards
In our text, the Apostle Paul is contrasting the behavior, conduct, and demeanor of "the children of disobedience" with that of the "children of light." Christians are not called to live in isolation and separation from the darkness, but to conduct ourselves in a manner which brings conviction to those who have been taken captives by sin and Satan. What are the practical ways in which we do this? The answer is in this text.
Elected Leaders: Just, and Ruling in the Fear of God
2 Samuel 23:1-5 • November 1, 2020 • Pastor Paul Edwards
Regardless whether an elected leader is a person of faith, there is a universal principle rooted in the righteousness of God which mandates that those who rule over men be just, ruling in the fear of God. Why are some rulers and others ruled? Who or what decides who rules? What is to be the character of those who rule? And who ultimately is the Supreme Ruler and Judge of all the earth to whom all elected leaders are accountable and in whose place they rule?
Overcoming Headline Dysphoria
Luke 24 • October 4, 2020 • Pastor Paul Edwards
When our outlook is oriented only to the headlines about "the things which are happening," we are sad, disoriented, perplexed, and troubled. But when Jesus steps into the conversation, our outlook is oriented to "the things concerning Jesus" and what the word of God tells us is actually happening behind the headlines, peace and joy are ours even when the disheartening circumstances remain unchanged.
The Nature and Manifestation of Spiritual Darkness
Ephesians 5:8 • September 27, 2020 • Pastor Paul Edwards
Ephesians 5:8 says of the regenerated believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, "You WERE darkness." What assurance can we have that we are no longer under the power of darkness? The Apostle gives the answer in three manifestations of darkness in Ephesians 4:18-19. If these things are true of you, you ARE darkness.
Darkness and Light
Ephesians 5:7-16 • September 27, 2020 • Pastor Paul Edwards
In Ephesians 5:8 the Apostle Paul states the reality of who we were prior to coming to faith in Jesus. He says we were not only IN darkness, but our very being WAS darkness. What is the nature of this darkness and how did we come to BE light instead of darkness.
The Wrath of God
Ephesians 5:6 • September 20, 2020 • Pastor Paul Edwards
We must not confuse the wrath of God with the wrath of humans. God's wrath is his settled hatred against sin. It is never "triggered" or spontaneous. It is never uncontrolled. How, then, is the wrath of God revealed? For the answer, we turn to Romans 1.
Kingdom Heirs Cultivating Cultural Change
Ephesians 5:5 • September 13, 2020 • Pastor Paul Edwards
The culture is going to hell, and it should. It is has been found guilty of all manner of evil against God, and God is right and just to condemn it. Yet God has devised a rescue plan to move people from the kingdom of darkness, the the Kingdom of God. This Kingdom controls all earthly kingdoms, yet its power is veiled. Unbelievers are ambivalent to the power of the Kingdom. How is the Kingdom revealed? As believers carry their holiness with humility. This is the only hope for cultural change.
The Kingdom of Christ and of God: Heirs of the Kingdom
Ephesians 5:5 • September 6, 2020 • Pastor Paul Edwards
Believers are not subjects of the Kingdom of Christ, we are heirs of the kingdom of Christ. God demand holiness as the decorum of those who have been separated unto Him as uniquely His. And the environment in which these Kingdom Heirs live is one of response to the grace they have received which produces a language of thanksgiving..
Christ the Mediator: "His Only Begotten Son"
Hebrews 2:14-18 • September 6, 2020 • Pastor Paul Edwards
Why was it necessary for God to come in human flesh? Central to our understanding of the substitutionary atonement is what it means that Jesus is "the only begotten Son of God," which has nothing to do with his birth in Bethlehem and everything to do with His eternal generation.
The New Man's New Realm
Ephesians 5:3-5 • August 30, 2020 • Pastor Paul Edwards
The Christian is a person whom the Apostle Paul describes as "a new man" (Ephesians 4:24) who has been transferred from "the course of this world" to "the kingdom of Christ and of God." The decorum of the heirs of this kingdom is holiness, and in Ephesians 5:3-5 Paul delineates behaviors that among Christians are unmentionable, unbecoming, and unfitting and points to God's grace in Christ as the identifying marker of the behavior and speech of believers.
Failed Miracles: The Shunamite Woman's Son
2 Kings 4:8-37 • August 23, 2020 • Pastor Paul Edwards
What are the causes of our ineffectiveness in ministry, both in our personal Christian lives and as the church? We find the answer in an analysis of what went wrong and what went right in Elisha's raising of the Shunamite's son from the dead.
Longing for Zion, At Home in Babylon
Psalm 137 • August 23, 2020 • Pastor Paul Edwards
Are you feeling like a stranger in your own country? Psalm 137 is a lament by the people of God who have been taken captive and carried away from their true home in Zion and displaced in Babylon. What lessons can we learn from the exiled Israelites in this Psalm which might help us with our own angst and anxiety in 2020 America?
Christ For Us, To God: An Offering and A Sacrifice
Ephesians 5:2 • August 16, 2020 • Pastor Paul Edwards
Love in the context of Paul's letter to the Ephesians is defined by what he has already said about love in the first four chapters; but here in 5:2 Paul gives us the most sublimely concise definition of the love of God in Christ as the standard by which we are to live lives of love not only on our relationship to one another, but more importantly in our relationship with the Holy Trinity.
So You Want to Be Like God, You Say?
Ephesians 4:31-32 • August 9, 2020 • Pastor Paul Edwards
Kindness, Tenderheartedness, and Forgiveness are all essential to our life together as members of the body of Christ. But these three virtues are not the natural virtues which even unbelievers are capable of expressing. These virtues are the unique possession of those of have been created after God in righteousness and true holiness.
Bitterness: Its Source and Destructive Consequences
Ephesians 4:31-32 • August 9, 2020 • Pastor Paul Edwards
Bitterness is a grief or a grievance that has been nurtured into a destructive pattern of wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking that has as its ultimate goal the destruction of those who have created the grievance. How do we deal with bitterness before it poisons everyone around us and destroys everything in its path?