Sin Makes a Mess . . . But God Makes a Way — Genesis 3:16-24

Posted by on Apr 30, 2017 in Christian | Comments Off on Sin Makes a Mess . . . But God Makes a Way — Genesis 3:16-24

Sin Makes a Mess . . . But God Makes a Way — Genesis 3:16-24

Sin makes a mess … there’s no way to sugarcoat that awful reality.  It has been like that since the Fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  There are always consequences for our sinful choices.  What might seem pleasurable for a moment can turn into a lifelong struggle against obstacles and bondage.  Think of the choices that lead someone into the devastating lifestyle of addiction.  We heard this week of a family friend that is in treatment for cocaine addiction.  He was raised in a Christian family but he made a series of bad choices.  God has said that He will not be mocked – whatever a man sows … that shall he also reap.  There is no getting away with sin.  Sin makes a mess.

I spent some early years when we first moved to Baltimore working in a ministry with a gifted Christian counselor.  What struck me as couples or individuals would come into the office in desperate situations seeking hope and deliverance was what a tangled mess sin makes of our lives.  It is like a ball of twisted yarn.  You can pull on one thread and seemingly make some progress but it is so difficult to straighten out a life gone down the wrong path.

But we are also going to see in this passage, that God makes a way.  Where man tries to cover up his sin with the futile attempts of a patchwork of fig leaves, God provides the seed of the woman to offer up His sinless life as a sacrifice for sin.  Only God can clothe us with the righteousness of Jesus Christ and by His grace shower undeserving sinners with His grace and compassion and mercy and forgiveness.  We are all undeserving sinners.  We are all in bondage to sin and guilt and death apart from the salvation offered freely by a gracious God.

This morning we get back to the roots of humanity – the origin of sin in the human race and some of its devastating consequences.  But we will also witness the grace of God at work behind the scenes.



Where are You . . . What Have You Done? Genesis 3:8-15

Posted by on Apr 24, 2017 in Christian | Comments Off on Where are You . . . What Have You Done? Genesis 3:8-15

Where are You . . . What Have You Done?  Genesis 3:8-15

Definition of Guilt: the fact or state of having committed an offense, crime, violation, or wrong, especially against moral or penal law; culpability: — Accompanied by a sense of shame and regret and the experiencing of the consequences

Guilt is like the red warning light on the dashboard of the car (the engine warning light).  You can either stop and deal with the trouble, or ignore the light by disabling it or putting tape over it.

As we get back into the early chapters of Genesis and study the consequences of the Fall … it is amazing how dramatic are the changes reflected in our text.

  • Changes in man’s emotions and intellect and will
  • Changes in man’s environment
  • Changes in man’s relationships – on both a vertical and horizontal plane

One of the most famous Scripture passages regarding Guilt is the tragic sin of Saul recorded in

1 Samuel 15 – led to the Lord rejecting Saul as king over the nation of Israel.

  • Clear command of God (:3)
  • Clear disobedience of that command (:8-9)
  • Guilty conscience leading to false protestations of innocence (:13)
  • Clear indictment (:14)
  • Blame shifting (:15ff)
  • Tragic Consequences of Sin and Guilt
  • Forced Admission of Guilt (:24)

Think of how this sequence of events plays itself out in how we confront our young children with their acts of disobedience.



The Christian Approach to Easter — Mark 16:1-8

Posted by on Apr 19, 2017 in Christian | Comments Off on The Christian Approach to Easter — Mark 16:1-8

The Christian Approach to Easter — Mark 16:1-8

Driving through Ellicott City Friday morning, I saw a small group of religious pilgrims following behind a man bearing a wooden cross who was leading them along Main Street.  This was the way they had chosen to mark the historic remembrance of Christ’s Crucifixion.  As I drove by I had no way to tell whether these were genuine believers or simply people caught up in the rites and symbols of religious observance.  Casual Worship

Too much casual worship taking place today all around the world – worship that is caught up in the externals of rites and symbols rather than in heartfelt repentance of sin and genuine faith in the Lordship of Jesus Christ in our lives.  Are people worshiping the True Jesus or an image that they have created to satisfy their religiousity?

Implications of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ:

Steven Lawson:  (great resource for this text – borrowed extensively)

  • Validated the perfection of His sacrifice for our sins; completion of mission of redemption; provided just basis for forgiveness of sins

  • Father had accepted His payment in full; propitiation

  • Authenticated the claims of Jesus

  • Guarantees that God is sovereign over all of men’s affairs and of all history

  • Jesus had triumphed over death and sin and Satan;

  • guarantees there will be a final judgment because God has raised the Judge from the dead; greatest message for every believer and should strike terror into every unbeliever;

  • dominated message of early apostles




The Burial of Jesus — Overlooked but Very Significant — Mark 15:42-47

Posted by on Apr 10, 2017 in Christian | Comments Off on The Burial of Jesus — Overlooked but Very Significant — Mark 15:42-47

The Burial of Jesus — Overlooked but Very Significant — Mark 15:42-47

Everybody knows the attention given to the first born … and of course the baby of the family remains significant forever … it is the child or two in the middle that can sometimes be lost in the shuffle.  That’s how it is with significant events as well.  1 Cor. 15 makes it plain that the crucifixion, the burial and the resurrection are all key components of the gospel message.  Yet how much prominence is given to the burial?

MacArthur: Those are two very, very significant marks in the life and ministry of Christ. There is one, however, in the middle of them, between the cross and the resurrection that is equally monumental, although it is usually overlooked. It is the burial of Jesus. Maybe you’ve never even thought about that. Maybe you’ve never even taken time to consider the significance of the burial of Christ. It had human elements, but was no less supernatural than what was happening at the cross, or the Resurrection. This is an amazing, supernatural, divinely orchestrated event. And I mean by that, the burial of Jesus Christ. You might even say that when He was dead in the body, He was alive in the Spirit and He basically coordinated His own funeral. He controlled every detail of His own burial.

The burial of Jesus is strong affirmation of His deity and His Messiahship, strong affirmation of the veracity of Scripture, the deity of Christ, the sovereignty of God and the purpose of history. All of that from the burial of Jesus.

Staging for the coming resurrection

All things are accomplished by the Sovereign hand of God in accordance with His providential plan


Same with the details of our lives as well


The Crucifixion — Part 2 — Mark 15:33-41

Posted by on Apr 9, 2017 in Christian | Comments Off on The Crucifixion — Part 2 — Mark 15:33-41

The Crucifixion — Part 2 — Mark 15:33-41



A.  (:33) Suffering Associated with the Darkness of Divine Judgment

And when the sixth hour had come, darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth        hour.

Not caused by any storm or natural cause

Not an eclipse – since this is Passover (full moon) and darkness lasted for 3 hours, not just a matter of minutes

God turned out the lights in the middle of the day

Very eerie ; very scary

OT precedent

Well might the sun in darkness hide and shut its glories in

when God the mighty maker died for man the creature’s sin

Isaac Watts hymn – it makes sense that the sun would be hidden and darkness would be pervasive

Amos 8:4-9

Ex. 10: 21-22


The Crucifixion — Part 1 — Mark 15:22-32

Posted by on Mar 29, 2017 in Christian | Comments Off on The Crucifixion — Part 1 — Mark 15:22-32

The Crucifixion — Part 1 — Mark 15:22-32

We have arrived at the climactic point in Mark’s gospel where Jesus is now fulfilling His ultimate mission of Redemption.

Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Mark 2:20  “But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.”

Mark 8:31

Mark 9:12  “And yet how is it written of the Son of Man that He will suffer many things and be treated with contempt?”

Mark 9:31

Mark 10:33-34, 38

Mark 12 – Parable of the Vineyard Owner

Mark 14:8  “she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial.”

Mark 14:41the hour has come

Focused in on the key events of the Gospel:

Mark 1:1   “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God

1 Cor. 15:1-4  Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.  For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures

So on the importance scale we are off the charts when we come to this historical record of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Second Adam.


The Via Dolorosa — Mark 15:16-21

Posted by on Mar 28, 2017 in Christian | Comments Off on The Via Dolorosa — Mark 15:16-21

The Via Dolorosa — Mark 15:16-21

The Roman Catholic approach to the season of Lent has always mystified me.  Here you have religious people making their own free choice regarding what comfort or enjoyment or food they are willing to give up to identify with the suffering of Jesus Christ on their behalf.

 Lent is defined as a solemn religious observance in the Christian liturgical calendar that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks later, before Easter Sunday.   Began this year on March. 1.

In Lent, many Christians commit to fasting, as well as “giving up” certain luxuries in order to “replicate the sacrifice of Jesus Christ’s journey into the desert for 40 days”.

Many Christians also add a Lenten spiritual discipline, such as reading a daily devotional or praying through a Lenten calendar, to draw themselves near to God.  – Wikopedia

You might have friends that have shared with you what they are giving up this year for Lent – maybe chocolate or going to the movies or having dessert ….

But how can any self-imposed period of abstinence compare to the depths of humiliation and physical suffering which Jesus Christ endured at the hands of sinful Roman soldiers?  Here you have the majestic Creator laying aside all of His rights and prerogatives as Sovereign to submit to unimaginable scorn and sadistic abuse from those He had created and had come to rescue from their fallen state of depravity and enmity to God.

The abusive treatment we are going to pause to consider today should remind us of both the depths of human depravity and the depths of our Lord’s patience and mercy and forbearance as He faithfully completes His mission of accomplishing redemption for lost sinners.  Consider how much Jesus gave up as He humbled himself to submit to suffering and then death on the cross.  Consider what it means for us to be challenged by Jesus to take up our cross daily and follow after Him.  Certainly we are not talking in the same realm as giving up chocolate or dessert or the movies.  Need to pause and linger at this text; look into the face of our Savior; see his patient suffering at the hand of sinners; enduring shame on our behalf.


The Origin of Sin — The Fall of Man — Genesis 3:1-7

Posted by on Mar 17, 2017 in Christian | Comments Off on The Origin of Sin — The Fall of Man — Genesis 3:1-7

The Origin of Sin — The Fall of Man — Genesis 3:1-7

If God created the world and God is good, then how did evil come into this world? There is no question that we live in a world filled with evil and wickedness.  It’s a legitimate question and one which will be addressed by Genesis 3.  Look at the stark contrast between the Paradise that God created in the Garden of Eden – described by God as very good and characterized in 2:25 as a state of purity and innocence: “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”  Contrast that with post-Fall state of shame and fear and loss of innocence described just 7 short verses later: “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.”  Something catastrophic has occurred – something that has altered the condition of man for all time – the Fall of Mankind and the entrance of sin into the world with all of its devastating consequences.

S. Lewis Johnson: The Apostle Paul speaking for the divine revelation in Romans Chapter 5 and verse 12, speaks with the outmost plainness and assurance regarding the entrance of evil into this world. He says therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, so death spread to all men, because all sinned. The Apostle claims that sin entered into this world through the fall of Adam and Eve. Later on, he writes in the eighth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans about the creation and he says, for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of him who subjected it and hoped that the creation itself also will be free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. So that at the present time, what we see is the result of what happened in the Garden of Eden.

This morning we will study more closely this familiar story.  It is not a myth or just some type of allegory.  It is a literal historical account of the entrance of sin and death into the paradise that had been Eden.  We will gain insight into the devious ways in which Satan schemes to attack us and drive a wedge between us and our Creator.  By understanding how temptation works we can better devise a strategy for victory over it.


Top Ten Reasons Most People Resent Insurance

Posted by on Feb 28, 2017 in Top Ten Lists | Comments Off on Top Ten Reasons Most People Resent Insurance

Top Ten Reasons Most People Resent Insurance

Most people have developed some form of innate resistance to insurance sales.  Otherwise you would truly become “insurance poor” because there is no silencing the unending variety of insurance pitches that bombard us.  Certainly, not many people grow up with the goal of becoming an insurance sales person.  It usually is more of a fallback position after some other more idealistic career path did not pan out.  This is not to say that there is anything wrong with insurance sales.  It is a necessary product that serves an important function in every household.  We need people dedicated to this industry to provide us with the options and coverage that will suit our needs.  But still there is an underlying resentment of Insurance based on the following Ten Reasons:

10) It is an intangible product that you really hope you never have to use.

9) Because there is no tort reform and lawsuits run rampant with outrageous settlements, insurance premiums have skyrocketed.  Look at the medical malpractice insurance field.  It is ridiculous.

8) We end up having to insure people who are not responsible enough to provide their own insurance.

7) Insurance sales people can seemingly justify any amount of coverage = whatever you can afford — it all sounds so essential = so irritating.

6) The administrative bureaucracy can make filing a claim a difficult path to navigate.  Sometimes it seems they are intentionally complicating the process to delay the payment of legitimate claims.

5) The insurance contracts have become increasingly complicated.  It takes a lawyer to read all of the fine print.  Events that you might expect to be part of a basic coverage might require some type of special rider.  Everybody hates to hear the response: “That’s not covered.”

4) To some degree, insurance seems like a misplaced form of security where you are replacing dependence upon God for financial security.  Who really controls your future?  Where does your confidence truly lie?  This is not to say that Christians don’t need insurance products.  We do.  But we must be careful not to let the insurance coverage deflect our true source of security in life.

3) The variety of types of insurance has expanded to touch every area of life.  We can understand the need for Home, Auto, Health, and even Life insurance.  But those basic forms have now been eclipsed by more exotic and specialized types of coverage.

2) The deductible is burdensome and keeps escalating so that the insurance coverage ends up only covering cataclysmic events.

1) When you need to make a claim, despite years of having faithfully paid your premiums with a clean record, the company penalizes you for using the coverage and jacks up their rates.




Origin of Species — Mankind — Gen. 2:4-25

Posted by on Feb 27, 2017 in Christian | Comments Off on Origin of Species — Mankind — Gen. 2:4-25

Origin of Species — Mankind — Gen. 2:4-25

Importance of this subject matter – what does it really matter how you interpret the opening chapters of Genesis?

Jer. 10:6-16

Relationship between Chaps. 1 and 2:

Chap. 1 is an Overview – covers the entire first week of creation – by the end of the chapter you have both Adam and Eve created and God resting on the seventh day.

Chap. 2 is a Flashback – focusing in on the details of Day 6.

Problem passage is vv.4-6 – what is being said here?

Parunak: The creation narrative is a successive zooming in to the central theme:

[illustration: Google Earth application]

  • 1:1, (celestial) heavens and earth

  • 1:2-2:3, zoom in on “earth” to see it furnished and populated

  • 2:4-3:24, zoom in on second half of sixth day to see man created.

Very specific details given by our Creator; no mystery how He wants us to interpret these opening chapters.

Griffith Thomas: In the first chapter man comes at the end as the crown of creation; here he comes at the commencement as the starting-point of human history.

Our culture has undermined purpose of unique Roles of Man and Woman and role of Marriage and the Family – not understanding and submitting to God’s design