Sunday, February 26, 2012



Intro.: Peace – illusive concept

  1. Miss Congeniality “World Peace”

  2. Peaceful Community – Rochester?

  3. Brockport a bit better

  4. Royal Gardens – but I have heard enough to know that there are times that do not seem very peaceful around here.

  5. Synonyms – quiet, serene, calm

  6. Scripture talks of peace. For example

Read: Galatians 5:22-23


Trans: Peace is a natural consequence of our living close to God. But what does the Bible mean by peace.

T.S. I want to look at two words that scriptures use to describe peace – and then look at how the scriptures use those two words to see what God means by peace.

  1. The most used word for peace in the OT is shalom.

    1. I expect that shalom is not an unfamiliar word.

    2. We read it in books with Jewish characters, we see it movies or on TV shows. Shalom, peace.

    3. Almost used as we say “God bless you” as we get off the phone or leave the presence of another Christian.

    4. But, like the concept in English, the word in Hebrew has a far wider meaning. Let me suggest three ways shalom is used

    5. The word shalom is translated “well”. (Ill.) You will remember the story of Joseph found in Genesis 37 - 43– he was sold into slavery by his brothers to a traveling caravan. The caravan eventually made its way into Egypt where Joseph was again sold to Egyptians. But while in Egypt, he eventually crossed the path of his brothers. He asks how his father is doing, and they reply “he is well”, “he is shalom”.

(Ill.) One of my favorite hymns is “It Is Well.” It was written by a man who had just lost his wife and four daughters, when they were crossing returning to the family roots in England after the Great Chicago Fire. And yet, after this horrific loss, he is able to turn to God and write those might words:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.

Horatio Spafford understood SHALOM. God offers us Shalom in the midst of non peaceful world.

    1. Shalom is translated as peace, as well, and it is translated as safe, safety, or safely. To see this, I turn to Psalm 55:18 – He redeems my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me.

      1. When we are safe, we are experiencing shalom

      2. The easiest way to connect the two terms of peace (as we usually think of Shalom) and safety is to think in terms of governments. When our government is able to offer us safety, we are at peace with the countries around us.

      3. When I am feeling safe and secure, I am beginning to feel a bit of God means by shalom

    1. Let me give you one more way in which shalom is translated – complete or whole.

      1. There are days in which I feel like my life is going in too many directions. I have to be in two place at the same time, Sandra needs to be somewhere else; and then I get a call from my son who also needs some thing from me. My life becomes fractured. I am not experiencing Shalom.

      2. But shalom means that overly committed day come under control. Not my control, but God's control.

(Ill.) Over the last few years I have enjoyed watching the various jigsaw puzzles go together. The life that is incomplete, broken, and in pieces is much like that unfinished puzzle. Now, there are two ways to put that puzzle together. The first takes less work – I just keep shaking box until the pieces go together. The results are much like I would see in my own life if I tried to straighten it out. The other way of putting the puzzle together takes time, thought, and energy. And when that much attention is payed to the puzzle, it goes together. When we take our disjointed lives and turn them over to God, we have someone putting that fractured life back together – with more care and understanding than we can put into putting that puzzle back together. We are truly whole – we are shalom.

    1. SHALOM – peace, wellness. Safety, and wholeness, that is what SHALOM.

    2. SHALOM is the most common OT word for peace.

  1. The most common NT word for peace is Eirene

    1. In the NT, Eirene is used in much the same way as it is used in the OT – but there are two unique ways in which it stands out.

    2. The NT tells us that we can have the “peace of God”. This parallels the OT usage.

      1. Philippians 4:7 says it this way, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

      2. Similarly, we find in Colossians 3:15 – And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

      3. The peace of God Is that quiet sense of God's presence you have when you know life could be topsy-turvy, but it is not. Why? Because God is there.

    3. But the NT uses eirene in another way. It it also speaks of “peace with God”.

    4. In our natural state there is something wrong with our relationship with God. That something is “sin”.

    5. That sin puts a distance between ourselves and God – a space that we cannot fill. A space that will last through eternity – unless something is done to fix it.

    6. I cannot fix it myself. I cannot be good enough, I cannot have enough faith, I cannot pray enough to remove that space that separates me from God.

    7. But amazingly, God did do something. He sent his Son to fill that gap. God sent His Son so that I could have peace with God.

    8. Paul put it this way, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    9. Do you know that you have peace with God? Today is a good day to make sure that you have. If you have not done so, would you make peace with God Today?



Sunday, February 12, 2012

Worship - Where and Why

Worship – Let God Teach Us

Intro.: Our mission statement as we meet each Sunday is “to provide a place to worship when we cannot get to our home churches.

  1. One Bible Dictionary defines “worship” as “The praise, adoration and reverence of God, both in public and private. It is a celebration of the worthiness of God, by which honour is given to his name.”

  2. The Psalms are one place where we can begin to learn about worship.

  3. I want to look at two verses of one Psalms that will help us to better understand this thing called worship.

Read: Psalm 150:1-2


Trans: This sermon has its roots in my devotions.

  1. When traveled to Nashville last month, Sandra purchased a gift – a journal. I like to journal – both on my computer and in writing.

  2. This journal had verses at the bottom of each page – that is what I decided to do. Meditate on each verse in the book – one per day.

  3. One of the first ones included this verse – and here is what I learned as I studied it.

T.S. The Psalmist answers two questions about worship.

  1. First, the Psalmist addresses the question of where should we worship God.

    1. As we read these first two verse, it become evident that we are to praise God.

    2. It may seem obvious, but we it is easy in the midst of our lives to forget. We clean, we visit – either on the phone or in person, we travel – to the store, or to the doctors, or to family. You see we get busy – and we forget.

    3. So before anything else, the Psalmist says PRAISE the Lord. The word that is used here is YH – an abbreviation of Yahweh – God's very personal name.

(Ill.) God's name was so personal, that the Israelites would not even pronounce it as they read scripture. Instead they would use substitute the name Adonai – meaning “the God who rules”. They took the consonants of God's name YHWH, and inserted the vowels from Adonai – giving the name Jehovah, a name which was never use in Hebrew. One translation, actually uses Jehovah in this text, “Praise Jehovah”. Another word in our English Bibles that has a similar derivation is “Hallelujah” - and one translation uses that word for the first phrase of verse 1 – “Hallelujah, Praise God in His Sanctuary.

    1. The focus of verses 1 and 2, in fact of the whole Psalm, is praising God.

    2. But verse 1 has a specific focus – it focuses on where will we be worshiping God:

Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty heavens.

    1. Simple enough – but let me suggest four ways we might apply this verse – each view of the verse explores a different part of it.

      1. Verse one will teach us that we are to worship God both in church and out of church.

        1. Of course we are to worship God in church – that is why we come here or attend our home churches – the sanctuary.

        2. But we are also reminded that it does not take a sanctuary to have a place of worship.

(Appl.) Where are some of the places you might find to worship – as you pull up to Walmart, when you make out your shopping list, before sitting down to dinner. It doesn't take a sanctuary to have a place of worship – it only takes the presence of God.

      1. Verse one also will remind us that we need can worship when God is close and when he seems far away.

        1. Of course the first is easy – after getting a compliment, feeling very satisfied after a good meal, you know those times – when God seems like He has in some way touched you in some special way.

        2. But then comes those days, whatever we do, God seems distant. It seems like He doesn't care, it may even seem that he is not there. When God seems far away, the Psalmist still calls us to worship.

      2. Verse one has more to say – it calls us to worship God as he sits on throne in heaven. That is how I usually picture Him – I am sitting in prayer or in worship at His feet – God sitting on the Throne of Grace.

        1. When we are called to worship in “His might heavens” the Psalmist is using the same word that Moses used in Genesis 1 as he described God's creation: And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

(Ill.) We understand how storms are created. We map solar systems and transplant hearts. We measure the depths of the oceans and send signals to distant planets. We … have studied the system that define our world and are learning how it works.

And, for some, the loss of mystery has led to the loss of majesty. The more we know, the less we believe. Strange, don’t you think? Knowledge of the workings shouldn’t negate wonder. Knowledge should stir wonder. Who has more reason to worship than the astronomer who has seen the stars? …

Ironically, the more we know, the less we worship. We are more impressed with our discovery of the light switch than with the one who invented electricity.… Rather than worship the Creator, we worship the creation. Creation should bring us to the creator, creation should lead us to worship.1

      1. Finally, when the Psalmist writes, “Praise God in His sanctury; Praise Him in His might heavens”, he is affirming that we can worship Him where we might expect Him to be, but we can also worship Him wherever we are.

        1. Wherever you may be, this week, the next, or whenever, God calls us to worship.

        2. Take time to worship him this week.

  1. The Psalmist also addresses the question of why we should worship God.

  2. Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness!

      1. First, we are called to worship because of what God has done – his mighty deeds.

      2. Whether it be for us, for our family, for others, for out nation – God had done great things.

    (Ill.) In just a few minutes we will end our worship by singing:

              To God be the glory, great things he hath done! So loved he the world that he gave us his Son, who yielded his life an atonement for sin, and opened the lifegate that all may go in.

              It reminds us that God has done great things – and we can worship Him.

      1. The Psalmist also calls us to worship God for who He is: Praise Him According to His excellent greatness.

      2. A few weeks ago we discussed God's omniscience, omnipotence, and His omnipresence. This is not all of God's character, but it is part of it. At the very least, we can worship Him for these very reasons – and add more as we get to know Him better.

    Conclusion: The bottom line – we are called to worship God – and the question we have to answer is – are we doing so, am I doing so, are you doing so?


1Lucado, M., & Gibbs, T. A. (2000). Grace for the moment : Inspirational thoughts for each day of the year (338). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.