Pentecost Sunday, The Birthday of the Church

Sermon, 05/24/2015
Rev. Ben Herlong

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All We Truly Need

Our one eternal need is for the grace of God found in Jesus Christ. He alone is the one who offers the fulfillment of abundant life. In striving for abundant life, we are our own worst enemies because many times we think that we can make it happen by our efforts to be good. We only then begin to see that we fall short, and then settle for life according to the futile adage, “what will be, will be.” There’s not much expectation of mercy or hope in that philosophy. Christ has a better way. But we must come to understand some things.

God is holy and has revealed His law. We are not holy and have broken His law. Any effort to keep the Law will be futile. The Law, as holy as it is, will always condemn even the best of us. The grace of God reaches down to the worst of us. How it this done?

Striving to keep the Law sends us down the slippery slope. To break the Law in one place, only one time, means the entire Law condemns us. Condemnation brings guilt, guilt brings fear, fear brings stress (anxiety), stress depletes our spirit, vitality, and life. In short, it brings futility, despair and death. Enter Christ.

Christ came and kept the Law, satisfying the Law’s demands for all who are in Him. Through forgiveness of sins based on all that Jesus did, we are no longer under the condemnation of the Law. Where there was condemnation there is forgiveness; where guilt, pardon; where fear, hope; where stress, peace; where peace, strength of spirit, soul and mind. In short, Christ brings life and that abundantly. However, it is not automatic.

Whereas, the Law holds us condemned without our consent; grace, which is offered even to the worst of us, only enters into our lives with our consent. Through repentance we acknowledge that we are guilty in and of ourselves. Through faith in Christ the slippery slope passes from our feet and we stand upon the Rock of our salvation. Abundant life is ours, not for the taking, but for the reception of it. Jesus is all we truly need for in Him is everything that we need for life. — Ben

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Doing The Impossible

Sermon:  05/17/2015
Rev. Ben Herlong

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The Hand That Rocks the Cradle…

Sermon:  5/10/2015
Rev. Ben Herlong

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The Good In Life

An old truism states, “the good things in life are free.” Of course that flies in the face of people who were taught, “you get what you pay for,” only to find in today’s world, you can pay for it and still not get it! This leads us to the exercise of defining what we mean by “good things” or, that which makes life fulfilling.

The world has many glittering trophies to capture. Each one promises satisfaction for the uninitiated. Do you observe young people? Have you seem them when one of their “trophies” tarnishes before their eyes and the inevitable disgust that follows? That is a good day! Do not run to console them with yet another trophy which will tarnish later. Let the day be good. And it will be good if and only if the truth is allowed to enter into their spirits that the things of this world will never truly satisfy. Therefore, don’t let happiness depend on trophies. If that is learned, then that day is good for them.

The psalmist in Psalm 73 talks about the goodness of God and how he almost missed it! He was blinded by the envy he had toward others who were filled with the things of this world, even their ill-gotten gains. It seemed there was no retribution for their sinful lifestyle. He lamented his plight of being poor in things and enjoyment, while living a good, wholesome life. It just isn’t fair!

No, it’s not fair, that some should live their whole life in the things of this world and never come to the truth of where the food in life really is! That so many live life with such a view that they never see below the superficiality of things, fun, and irresponsibility, shows the depth of how “shallow” our culture is. We fail to teach reality.

And what is reality? The psalmist found out. “Then I entered into Your sanctuary,” he tells the Lord. Then he found the truth of life, that the world and its pleasures are fleeting and its end is death. His last bit of wisdom declares, “It is good for me to draw near to God.” This is true because God is good, and is good to all who trust Him. And we find that some “truisms” are really true after all. That the good life Jesus offers which includes things beyond our imaginations’ capabilities to even dream about, is still free. — Ben

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God Is Love

Sermon:  05/03/2015
Rev. Ben Herlong

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Confirmation Sunday

Sermon:  4/26/2015
Rev. Ben Herlong

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Be Perfect, That’s All

Sermon:  4/19/2015
Rev. Ben Herlong

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Jesus Paid It All

Offering:  4/19/2015
Jeff Wilcox

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The Pain of Light

Psalm 119 says that the entrance of God’s word brings light. But light is not always pleasant. As a boy I attended several double-feature Saturday matinees. Going from the dark theatre into the afternoon sun was not enjoyable. It took many squints and grimaces for my eyes to finally get accustomed to being outside. So, too, the entrance of God’s light into a dark soul is often painful; especially when that soul has no desire to live in the light. Because of the discomfort, some simply turn from the light to return to the comfort of darkness.

Chrysostom said of the unrepentant, “Like men with sore eyes: they find the light painful, while the darkness, which permits them to see nothing, is restful and agreeable.” Have you ever wondered why people who have made bad decisions continue to do so? To continue in comfortable darkness is easier than to change. Change is painful for the present. People who live only for the “now,” do not want the disturbing possibility that things could actually be better with a little light on the subject. It might cause the discomfort of change. But the prospects of future pain or blessing should be cause to get one to open his eyes and go through some pain now in order to receive future blessings.

For us now, it is better to wrestle with God’s word and find the light of challenging instruction and accept what discomfort may come our way; than to rest in the darkness and experience the momentary bliss of ignorance, to our ultimate demise. — Ben

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