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Sunday, January 24, 2021

An Imperative Regarding False Teachers



This is the manuscript of the sermon delivered at Christ Church on January 24, 2021. This is the third sermon in a sermon series "Great Imperatives For Effective Living"

Paul is concerned with false teachers, and he warned the congregation in Philippi, and us today, against the danger of being misled in their and our faith. Paul warns the Philippians, and us today, about the necessity of being on guard against false teaching and false teachers. Paul was afraid that the Philippian congregation would be subjected to the same kind of dangers that he dealt with in his letter to the Galatians.

The Galatians had initially responded to the gospel by faith but later they had become confused and misled by these Judaizers, who caused them to fall away from the way of grace. They added the works of the law to faith as essentials for salvation.

Galatians 3:1‭-‬4 NLT Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it?

Paul was concerned that the same would happen to the Philippians. 

For an audio recording of the sermon click the YouTube link at the end of this manuscript.  

To see a video of the entire service click this link https://youtu.be/ZLlZ92AClSU

Scripture Reading: 

Philippians 3:2‭-‬11 NLT Watch out for those dogs, those people who do evil, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved. For we who worship by the Spirit of God are the ones who are truly circumcised. We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort, though I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could. Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more! I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault. I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!


Text: 

Philippians 3:2 NLT Watch out for those dogs, those people who do evil, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved.

Introduction

In this part of his letter to the Philippians Paul is concerned with false teachers, and he warned the congregation in Philippi, and us today, against the danger of being misled in their and our faith. In the verses that follow the text, which we just read, we get  the impression that these false teachers were the Judaizers.Judaizers were those who believed that Gentiles must become Jews in order to be Christians. We get that impression because Paul said that these people were saying that you must be circumcised.  Circumcision was the sign of the covenant between God and Abraham and his descendents.  

Genesis 17:12‭-‬14 NLT From generation to generation, every male child must be circumcised on the eighth day after his birth. This applies not only to members of your family but also to the servants born in your household and the foreign-born servants whom you have purchased. All must be circumcised. Your bodies will bear the mark of my everlasting covenant. Any male who fails to be circumcised will be cut off from the covenant family for breaking the covenant.”

The Judaizers found it very difficult to believe that the Gentiles were included in God’s great redemptive purpose. They would have preferred to restrict Christianity to the Jews, and they resisted every outreach effort that was extended toward non-Jews. The Judaizers were seemingly unable to see that their traditions placed restrictions on the love and mercy of God. They were legalistic and literalistic in their interpretations of the Old Testament. Every “i” of the Law must be dotted and every "t” crossed. They were blind to the changes that the preaching of the gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit were bringing about in the hearts and lives of Gentile believers, in that salvation and a relationship with God was achieved by faith and not by the works including obeying the Law.

Paul warns the Philippians, and us today, about the necessity of being on guard against false teaching and false teachers. Paul was afraid that the Philippian congregation would be subjected to the same kind of dangers that he dealt with in his letter to the Galatians. Jean read some of that letter this morning, in Galatians 1:1-14. 

The Galatians had initially responded to the gospel by faith but later they had become confused and misled by these Judaizers, who caused them to fall away from the way of grace. They added the works of the law to faith as essentials for salvation.

Let's go back to 

Galatians 3:1‭-‬4 NLT Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it?

Paul was concerned that the same would happen to the Philippians. 

I. So Paul issues a warning against legalism.

From verse 3 of Philippians on, we draw the conclusion that Paul was informing his converts in Philippi to be on their guard. They needed to oppose those who insisted that the proper observance of external religious ceremonies, along with ancestral relationships, gave them a special position of privilege in God’s sight.

Genesis 15:4‭-‬6 NLT Then the Lord said to him, “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.” Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!” And Abram believed the Lord , and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.

Galatians 3:6‭-‬7 NLT In the same way, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.”  The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God.

So it was faith that caused God to count Abraham as righteous not anything that Abraham did other than believe Him.

So the fact that you were a direct descendant of Abraham gave you  no special position of privilege in God’s sight.

Paul addressed this point again  about religious ceremonies, and ancestral relationships, in his letter to the Romans.

Romans 4:1‭-‬3 NLT Abraham was, humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation. What did he discover about being made right with God? If his good deeds had made him acceptable to God, he would have had something to boast about. But that was not God’s way. For the Scriptures tell us, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.”

Romans 14:5‭-‬9 NLT In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable. Those who worship the Lord on a special day do it to honor him. Those who eat any kind of food do so to honor the Lord, since they give thanks to God before eating. And those who refuse to eat certain foods also want to please the Lord and give thanks to God. For we don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves. If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. Christ died and rose again for this very purpose—to be Lord both of the living and of the dead.

Paul went into great detail, in his letter to the Phillippians, to demonstrate that he no longer put his faith and trust in his ancestral heritage and his works, the things on which he previously had based his hope for a right relationship with God. 

In other words, He no longer put faith in his religious self-discipline or achievements as a basis for acceptance before the Father God.

Philippians 3:5‭-‬7 NLT I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault. I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.

As we said last week Paul was saying that he was not going to waste any more time worrying about the past, he was now concerned with the main thing, he was going to press on toward the goal ahead.  

Paul encouraged the Philippian congregation to trust in Jesus Christ plus nothing else, for a righteousness that comes through faith.

Philippians 3:8‭-‬9 NLT Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.



II. Paul then  issues a warning against false teachings.

In the closing verses of Philippians 3, Paul warned believers against listening to and following those who separate belief from conduct and behavior.  

Philippians 3:17‭-‬19 NLT Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth.

The false teachers in this passage may be the Gnostics, who believed that people found acceptance before God on the basis of a superior knowledge. This belief was communicated to them by those who thought they had the secrets of the knowledge of God. The Gnostics believed that any natural matter, people plants, animals, any natural thing, is essentially evil and that the Creator God is so exalted and so far removed from mankind that he is really unconcerned about human conduct.

These false teachers denied the true humanity of Jesus Christ and in so doing also denied his divinity. Paul warns his beloved Philippians against the belief that there is no relationship between the condition of the life that someone lives and eternity.     In fact how you live is very important and determines the rewards we will receive at the judgement seat of Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:10 NLT For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.

Conclusion

There are many false teachers in the world today and some of them are very sophisticated. We need to beware because these folk and these religious teachers can lead us astray from the truth of God’s Word. 

2 Corinthians 11:12‭-‬15 NLT But I will continue doing what I have always done. This will undercut those who are looking for an opportunity to boast that their work is just like ours. These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve.

In a series of sermons last year I called these people counterfeiters passing a counterfeit religion.  These people are even more devious than those who counterfeit clothes,  perfumes and money.  

We need to be cautious to make sure that we are not led away from the path of righteousness by what we hear on the radio, see on television or in videos or from the pulpit. We need to be on guard so that we are not led astray by the customs and the traditions of our culture that are often accepted as the law and the gospel.

Here is what Jesus said once about the Pharisees,  the religious teachers of the time He walked the earth;

Matthew 15:13‭-‬14 NLT Jesus replied, “Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted,  so ignore them. They are blind guides leading the blind, and if one blind person guides another, they will both fall into a ditch.”

The  best way to prevent ourselves from being misled is to make a total commitment to Jesus Christ as heaven’s infallible teacher as well as our Lord and Savior and the Holy Spirit who Jesus said would teach us.   

John 14:23‭-‬26 NLT Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.  Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me.  I am telling you these things now while I am still with you.  But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.

Where do we find His teaching, His instruction?  We find it in His Word, in the Bible.  

Your local bank tellers know when a counterfeit bill comes their way because they’ve memorized the details of a real dollar. In the same way, believers with sound biblical knowledge will recognize and discard an anti-Christ message or attitude when it reaches their ears.

Let’s listen to him as he speaks to us with authority concerning God, others, and things that are of eternal value.


Sermon Audio






Sunday, January 17, 2021

Rejoice In The Lord



This is the manuscript of the sermon delivered at Christ Church on January 10, 2021. This is the second sermon in a sermon series "Great Imperatives For Effective Living"

Paul, from a prison cell, in either Rome or Ephesus, wrote this letter of joy to the members of the congregation in Philippi, where he had also been imprisoned at one time. It was in Philippi where the prison was shaken when Paul and Silas prayed and sang praising God.  After having been beaten, Paul and Silas were able to experience the joy of worship in the midst of unfavorable circumstances.

Many people live in defeat and despair today because they search for joy and happiness in the wrong places. Paul did not say, “Rejoice in your health.” Your health can fail. Paul did not say, “Rejoice in your wealth.” You may not have wealth, and even if you did, you could lose it. Paul did not say, “Rejoice in your friends.” Your friends may disappoint you. Paul did not say, “Rejoice in your family.” Your family can be a source of unhappiness. But Paul said, "Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!"

For an audio recording of the sermon click the YouTube link at the end of this manuscript.  

To see a video of the entire service click this link https://youtu.be/U2McxTkwPrU


Scripture Reading: 

Philippians 4:1‭-‬7 NLT Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stay true to the Lord. I love you and long to see you, dear friends, for you are my joy and the crown I receive for my work. Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. And I ask you, my true partner, to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. They worked along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life. Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Text: 

Philippians 4:4 NLT Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!

Philippians 4:4 KJVRejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.


Introduction

Paul, from a prison cell, in either Rome or Ephesus, wrote this letter of joy to the members of the congregation in Philippi,  where he had also been imprisoned. It was in Philippi where the prison was shaken when Paul and Silas prayed and sang praising God.  

After having been beaten, Paul and Silas were able to experience the joy of worship in the midst of unfavorable circumstances.

Acts of the Apostles 16:25‭-‬26 NLT Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off!

It is rather surprising to find an exhortation to rejoice in the Lord coming from someone who was a prisoner for his faith. Yet Paul repeatedly urged the believers in Philippi to rejoice. In this  crucial moment he reveals to us the source of his joy, and he encourages us to respond to this same source of joy. He is recommending a positive mental attitude characterized by optimism and hope in the midst of circumstances that may not be favorable.

The Philippian believers needed this exhortation, and we need it today, with everything going on with a pandemic and everything else that’s happening in this country.

Jesus’ desire for us His disciples  is to experience the fullness of joy.


John 16:22‭-‬24 NLT So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy.  At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name.  You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.


John 17:13 NLT “Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy.

Many people live in defeat and despair today because they search for joy and happiness in the wrong places. Paul did not say, “Rejoice in your health.” Your health can fail. Paul did not say, “Rejoice in your wealth.” You may not have wealth, and even if you did, you could lose it. Paul did not say, “Rejoice in your friends.” Your friends may disappoint you. Paul did not say, “Rejoice in your family.” Your family can be a source of unhappiness. But Paul said,


Philippians 4:4 NLT Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!

He encourages us to take a spiritual inventory. He urges us to truly value that which is valuable and to find our greatest satisfaction in our relationship with God.

In our series on stewardship when we talked about being good stewards of our time we said that we need to concentrate on the main things.

Matthew 6:33 NLT Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

When Paul said in


Philippians 3:13‭-‬14 NLT No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.


he was saying that he was not going to waste time worrying about the foolish mistakes and sins of the past but, concerned with the main thing, he was going to press on toward the goal ahead.


He was going to rejoice and pursue the joy of his salvation.


Romans 14:17 NLT For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.


 I. So let us rejoice in the Lord’s characteristics.


The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is a moral God. He is a God of integrity who is characterized by righteousness and dependability. 

Deuteronomy 32:4 NLT He is the Rock; his deeds are perfect. Everything he does is just and fair. He is a faithful God who does no wrong; how just and upright he is!

Psalms 119:137‭-‬138 NLT O Lord , you are righteous, and your regulations are fair. Your laws are perfect and completely trustworthy.

God never makes a mistake and if we are truly seeking His will He will never disappoint us, 

Psalms 18:30 NLT God’s way is perfect. All the Lord ’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.

Numbers 23:19 NLT God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through.

God is holy.  When Isaiah was in the temple and saw the seraphim 

Isaiah 6:3 NLT They were calling out to each other, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies! The whole earth is filled with his glory!”

And when Hannah was praying and asking for a son she said in her prayer

1 Samuel 2:2 NLT No one is holy like the Lord ! There is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.

And the Peter in writing to the early Christians said

1 Peter 1:15‭-‬16 NLT But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”


We can rejoice because He is a God of love. 

Psalms 36:7 NLT How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.


1 John 4:7‭-‬8 NLT Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

So let’s rejoice that he is the kind of God he is. 

II. Let us rejoice in the Lord’s purposes for us.


All of God’s purposes toward us are purposes of love, and he deals with us according to his perfect wisdom. 


Jeremiah 29:11 NLT For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord . “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.


He knows our past, our present, and our future.  There is no evil in Him and no selfishness is in his purposes toward us. 

Romans 8:28‭-‬29 NLT And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

Romans 8:31‭-‬32‭ NLT What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 

God’s will is that none of us should perish, but that all of us should experience life in its fullness.


Jesus said 

John 10:10 NLT The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

Then Peter wrote later 

2 Peter 3:8‭-‬9 NLT But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.

III. We can rejoice in the Lord’s promises.

The bible, God’s word, contains thousands of promises.  According to one person, who in my research is unnamed, there are 3573 promises. There was an article in Time magazine in 1956, that someone did some research and came up with 7,487 promises by God to man.  Whether it was 3,573 or 7,487 or 7, God who is Holy didn’t have to make a single promise to sinful man but he made lots of them.   

We need to discover these promises and respond to them in faith and obedience.  

God is faithful and He keeps all His promises but we sometimes misapply them.  We take our preferences and turn them into His promises - even when those aren't actually things He has promised to do.  Many times we pick things out of the Bible completely out of context and try to make them fit our situation and claim victory because, after all  God said it.  Then when it doesn't happen the way we thought it should happen, and let's be honest, we think that God or wouldn’t, or worse yet couldn’t, keep His promise.  We get angry then we don’t trust God.

But the truth is God's promises uplift us and enrich us. 

So how do we find and apply these promises to our lives?

Here are three suggestions;

1. Use a concordance

First, think of specific words that you associate with the problem you have, such as fear, afraid, fearful, anger, sick, or sickness

Now realize that many words, such as depression, for example aren’t found in the Bible, so you will need to look for a similar word such as heaviness.

Next, search for these words in the concordance in the back of your Bible for scripture on the subject.

Read over the verses from your search results. But always be sure that you read them in the context which they appear.

A few of these Scriptures will speak hope to the problem you are facing. These are your promises.

2. Read through portions of your Bible.  You might want to look at 

Psalms, Proverbs, Isaiah, and all of the New Testament. As you read through these books of the Bible pay particular attention to any Scriptures that address your problem or issue.

When a verse or passage jumps off the page and into your heart, you know the Holy Spirit wants you to grab onto that verse as a promise from Him to you.

3. Use a Bible promise book or go the the Internet and do a search. 

This is the simplest way to find a list of God’s promises but it doesn’t have  the same impact in your life as does personally digging in God’s Word for His promises.   If you do go the the Internet be sure that you double check  the verses in the search results with what’s written in your own Bible.

Let’s review the reasons for us to rejoice we have looked at so far; rejoice in the Lord’s characteristics, His purposes, and His promises.  


IV. Let’s also rejoice in the Lord’s power.

Our God is no weakling. He is the creator and the sustainer of everything. 

Hebrews 11:3 ESV By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

Colossians 1:15‭-‬17 NLT Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.

God provides all good things for us. In his strength we can resist evil and can become what he wants us to be and achieve what he wants us to do. 

James 1:16‭-‬18 NLT So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.  He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.

Let us rejoice in God’s inexhaustible spiritual power, which is available to all who seek and serve him.

Philippians 4:12‭-‬13 NLT I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.


1 John 4:4 NLT But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.


 V. Let us rejoice in the Lord’s abiding presence.

Jesus promised his disciples that he would be with them at all times, in all circumstances, to the very end of the age.

Matthew 28:18‭-‬20 NLT Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.  Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

He is the God who has promised never to leave us or forsake us. 

He told Joshua before he led the Israelites into Canaan;

Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

In fact It is impossible for us to drift beyond the range of his loving care.  I want you to read all of Psalm 139 but I’m just going to read the seventh verse.  

Psalms 139:7 NLT I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!

 VI. And finally let us rejoice in the Lord’s provisions.

First of all God has provided for the forgiveness of all our sins, past, present and future. 

Ephesians 1:3‭, ‬7 NLT All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.

He provides for our deepest needs. 

Matthew 6:27‭, ‬31‭-‬34 NLT Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’  These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.  Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

In addition to that he promises to provide a home for eternity. 

John 14:1‭-‬3 NLT“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.  There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?  When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.

 Conclusion

Many things in life can cause us to become downcast, disappointed, and discouraged. Let’s make sure that we don’t search for happiness and joy in the wrong places. When the Lord is the basis for our hopes for the future, we will find the source of unending joy.

Paul said, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” As you rejoice in the Lord, you will find life to be more meaningful. And you will find life to be more productive as you seek to minister to others.

Sermon Audio