6-26-16 What's in a Name

Message given June 26, 2016. Pastor Ed begins a new series for the summer called "Best of the Best." These are a collection of sermons that Ed has preached over the years that Ed feels are among his best. Each of these sermons will challenge you and encourage you as you live out your Christian Faith. The first installment in this series is titled "What's in a Name?"

What's in a Name?

What's in a Name?

6-12-16 Combating Unbelief - Combating Lust

Message Given June 12. Pastor Ed concludes his series on Combating Unbelief by diving into a topic not often dealt with in the church. A topic that the Bible doesn't shy away from, therefore we shouldn't either. So join Ed as he looks at what the Bible has to say about Lust, and how that lust is a way we demonstrate unbelief in our lives.

Memorial Day - "Heroes"

This week we have a special Guest Speaker, Don Fletcher. Don is the current Chairman of our Elder's board, and is also the key leader in our Divorce Care and Grief Share Programs. Listen as Don shares what it take to become a Hero.

COMBATING UNBELIEF - An Overview

In his book To End All Wars, Ernest Gordon tells the true story a group Of POWs under Burma Railway during World War II. Gordon writes:

Good days work had ended; the tools were being counted, as usual. The party was about to be dismissed, the Japanese guard shouted that a shovel was missing. He insisted that someone had stolen it to sell to the Thais.   Striding up and down before the men, the guard ranted and denounced them for their wickedness, and the most unforgivable of all their ingratitude to the Emperor. As he raved, he worked himself up into a paranoid fury. Screaming in broken English, he demanded that the guilty one step forward to take his punishment. No one moved; the guard’s rage reached new heights of violence.  “All die! All die!” He shrieked. To show that he meant what he said, He cocked his rifle, put it to his shoulder and looks down the sights, ready to fire at the first man at the end of them.

At that moment the Argyll, who we called Highlander, steps forward, stood stiffly to attention, and said calmly, “I did it.”

The guard unleashed all his whipped up hate; he kicked the helpless prisoner and beat him with his fists. Still the Argyll stood rigidly to attention, with blood streaming down his face. His silence goaded the guard to excessive rage. Seizing his rifle by the barrel, he lifted it high over his head and with a final howl, brought it down on the skull of the Argyll, Who sank limply to the ground and did not move. Although it was perfectly clear that he was dead, the guard continued to beat him and stopped only when he was exhausted.

The men of the work detail picked up their comrade’s body, shouldered their tools and marched back to camp. When the tools were counted again at the guardhouse no shovel was missing. The guard had miscounted.  The young soldier who had stepped forward had not stolen the shovel.  He had given his life for his friends. 

How could that young man who happened to be a Christ follower, live out such a loving, heroic act in the midst of that terrible war?  I believe it is because of the transforming power of faith that was produced by his belief in the promises that he found in the Word of God – the Bible. 

As John Piper reflects on this moment he says: “He may have thought in a flash: ‘Jesus you died for me. My sins are forgiven.  I have eternal life.  I love you. You are my greatest treasure. I am eager to be with you. My friends are not all ready to die.’  Perhaps he took fifteen seconds to remind himself what Christ had done for him, and what it meant for his future after death.  Then, sustained by his faith in God’s promises, he stepped out and died.” 

That is the fruit of faith in God’s promises.  More importantly, that is how we who are Christians combat those moments when we waver between belief and unbelief.  And that is what I want to wrestle with in this spring series of messages.  The unbelief that I want us to learn to combat is not the unbelief of the person who does not know Christ as Savior; rather the unbelief that I have in mind is the failure of the believer to trust in God’s promises which sustain our radical obedience into our immediate future and beyond.  For those are the moments our lack of faith and belief in God’s Word causes us to fail in our obedience. 

This is an important step in your Christian maturity.  For whenever we act in unbelief that is sin.  More than that, our sin of unbelief causes us to sin in other areas of our life.  Satan comes into our life with promises like: “If you cheat on your tax returns you’ll have extra money and that will make you happier…or…If you look at that pornography it will give you a sense of pleasure that is better than the joys of a clear conscience…or…If you eat those cookies when no one’s looking it will soften your sense of woundedness and help you cope better than anything else just now.”  You see Satan’s promises are lies.  And the only way to combat the lies of the Enemy is to stand on the superior promises of God’s Word and thus sever the root of sin in our life.

So from now to early June we are going to look at those arenas in our life where Satan can so easily speak his lies into our lives: arenas like anxiety, pride, shame, impatience, and bitterness, etc.  And we are going to learn to combat those moments with God’s promises.  To put it in Biblical terms we are going to do what Hebrews 3:13 tells us:  13But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. (NIV) The series is inspired and informed by John Piper’s book, Battling Unbelief.

Pastor Ed Nelson

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1 Earnest Gordon, To End All Wars (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1963), pp. 101-102 - as shared in Battling Unbelief by John Piper.
2 John Piper, Battling Unbelief (Multnomah Publishers, Colorado Spring, CO. 2007), pp 11-12.
 

COMBATING UNBELIEF - Combating Anxiety

Join Pastor Ed as he begins a new series called Combating Unbelief. Pastor Ed found his inspiration for this series from a book by John Piper called Battling Unbelief, and while this book does not appear to be in print, Pastor Ed would encourage you to find a used copy if you can. In this first of the series Ed will be looking at how we combat anxiety as a follower of Christ.