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sermon 06/26/22
One day while on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus sat and ate a midday meal with his disciples and a throng of the curious who came out to hear him speak. The local Pharisees and Scribes, who called themselves ‘The people of the Law’ because they were obedient to all the Jewish Commandments, also came out to see why this young Rabbi from Nazareth was attracting large crowds wherever he stopped to speak. The Jewish religious leaders and the experts on Jewish law were disapproving of what they saw. Jesus was associated with thieves, tax collectors, and others they considered undesirables; uneducated Jews, who were likely negligent in their observance of the Jewish day of rest (Shabbat) and the 613 commandments (Mitzvot) in the Torah due to their ignorance. The Pharisees and Scribes called this throng of undesirables surrounding Jesus 'the people of the land', and here was Jesus eating with them! Jesus told three stories to the gathered crowd that day, these stories, or parables, were about earthly events that people well understood, but each also contained a heavenly message to those whose hearts were open to the Truth. Each of the three parables followed the same four-part plot: 1. Something of value was lost  2. There is a search for the lost item 3. The lost item is found and returned  4. The return of the lost item is celebrated with great joy. The first of the three parables started with the lost item that most would consider of little value; a single sheep that strayed from the flock of 100 and was hardly worth the effort of searching for, let alone celebrating joyously when found and returned to the flock. In the second and third parables, the lost gold coin and the prodigal son, the lost item grows in greater and greater value to the person experiencing the loss.   Parable of the prodigal son - Luke 15:11-32  C E B 11 Jesus said, “A certain man had two sons. 12 The younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the inheritance.’ Then the father divided his estate between them. 13 Soon afterward, the younger son gathered everything together and took a trip to a land far away. There, he wasted his wealth through extravagant living. 14 “When he had used up his resources, a severe food shortage arose in that country and he began to be in need. 15 He hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to eat his fill from what the pigs ate, but no one gave him anything. 17 When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have more than enough food, but I’m starving to death! 18 I will get up and go to my father, and say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I no longer deserve to be called your son. Take me on as one of your hired hands.” 20 So he got up and went to his father. “While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with compassion. His father ran to him, hugged him, and kissed him. 21 Then his son said, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Quickly, bring out the best robe and put it on him! Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet! 23 Fetch the fattened calf and slaughter it. We must celebrate with feasting 24 because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life! He was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate”. 25 “Now his older son was in the field. Coming in from the field, he approached the house and heard music and dancing. 26 He called one of the servants and asked what was going on. 27 The servant replied, ‘Your brother has arrived, and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he received his son back safe and sound.’ 28 Then the older son was furious and didn’t want to enter in, but his father came out and begged him. 29 He answered his father, ‘Look, I’ve served you all these years, and I never disobeyed your instruction. Yet you’ve never given me as much as a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours returned, after gobbling up your estate on prostitutes, you slaughtered the fattened calf for him.’ 31 Then his father said, ‘Son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad because this brother of yours was dead and is alive. He was lost and is found.’” The Pharisees and the Scribes on the edge of the crowd that day were like the older son who stayed at home, who believed they were safe and did not need to be rescued because they were obedient to the Jewish law, and objected to their father celebrating his younger brother returning home after wasting his inheritance on sinful pleasures. They were excluding people like those that surrounded Jesus that day, who were like the prodigal son. The Pharisees and Scribes were offended by the parable, and prayed for a Messiah to come and destroy the undesirables. They could not see that they were also sinners in need of a savior. Jesus’ ministry of Love and Mercy is inclusive of all people, especially those sinners in need of salvation. The younger son who went astray represents a person who wanders away from God by choosing to lead a sinful life of worldly pleasures. Jesus doesn’t stop that person from wandering because God loves us so much that He gave us free will, letting us make our own choices in life, for both good or evil. The father who rejoices when the prodigal son returns represents our Lord, who never gives up on the person who walks away from Him, no matter how many others He has by His side, and rushes out to meet the son as he approaches home. He still loves, misses, and wants the lost one to return alive and well. Having that one person return back home to Jesus is cause for joyous celebration by all the Angels in Heaven. His message is clear: God’s Will is to bring all sinners home to Him. That includes you. He loves you, he knows your name, and you matter to Him. If you are the lost one, you can be sure He’s still searching for you and will never give up. Just say the word, and the moment you choose to turn to His side, He’ll open His arms and celebrate your return. His greatest joy is having one of His lost to return to Him. No matter how long you stray or what you’ve done, God has mercy on those who repent of their sins and ask for forgiveness. His mercy endures forever. You are His beloved child. All you have to do is come home to Him.
Sermons - 2022 May 22
Parable of the lost silver coin                 Luke 15:8-10 One day while on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus sat and ate a midday meal with a throng of his followers. The Pharisees and Scribes, who called themselves ‘The people of the Law’ because they were obedient to Jewish religious law, also came out to see why this “young Rabbi”, Hebrew for teacher, from Nazareth was attracting such large crowds wherever he stopped to speak. Jesus was more than a teacher of the law like the Pharisees. You see, the main difference between teaching and preaching is that a teacher mainly addresses the intellectual needs of the listeners while the preacher mainly focuses on the spiritual needs of the listeners. Jesus was preaching as well as teaching during his ministry on earth. The Jewish religious leaders and the experts on Jewish law were disapproving of what they saw. Jesus was associated with thieves, tax collectors, and others they considered undesirables; uneducated Jews, who were likely negligent in their observance of the 613 commandments, or mitzvot in Hebrew, of Jewish law due to their lack of education. The Pharisees and Scribes called this throng of undesirables surrounding Jesus ‘The people of the Land’, and here was Jesus eating with them! They were expecting a Messiah to come to destroy these sinners and elevate them to heaven. Unlike the Pharisees and scribes, Jesus includes all people in his Love and Mercy, especially those sinners in need of salvation. Jesus told three stories to the gathered crowd that day, these stories, or parables, were about earthly events that people well understood, but each also contained a heavenly message to those whose hearts were open to the Truth. Each of the three parables followed the same four-part plot: 1. Something was lost  2. There is a search for the lost item 3. The lost item is found and returned safely 4. The return of the lost item is celebrated with neighbors with great joy. The first of the three parables that I spoke on last time, started with the lost item that most would consider of little value; a single sheep that strayed from the flock of 100 and hardly worth the effort of searching for, let alone celebrating joyously when found and returned to the flock. In the second and third parables, the lost items grow in greater and greater value to the person that lost it. The Pharisees and scribes could not see that they were like the 99 sheep in the flock that was safe, while the good shepherd sought out the one sheep that had strayed. So Jesus continued with a second parable:  The earthly event:  “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ One silver coin during Jesus’ ministry on earth was worth the equivalent of one day’s wages. Losing one out of ten was a serious matter to this woman. In the custom of the day, silver coins were given as wedding presents, so this coin may have had sentimental value as well. It was customary for a woman to sew these gifts of silver coins into her garment for decoration. Perhaps this is how the one coin came loose and rolled out of sight. We can picture the woman lighting a lamp to see better, and diligently sweeping, sweeping, sweeping until the silver coin was swept out of its hiding place. We have all experienced dropping something on the floor and seeing it roll out of sight, so we get the broom and try to sweep it out. The heavenly lesson: In verse 10, Jesus again repeats how this common event relates to the Kingdom of God: “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” This represents the various means and methods God makes use of to bring lost souls home to himself, and the Savior’s joy on their return to him.  His message is clear: God’s Will is to bring all sinners home to Him. That includes you. He loves you, he knows your name, and you matter to Him. If you are the lost one, you can be sure He’s still searching for you and never giving up. Just say the word.  He’s waiting with open arms to scoop you up and carry you home. The moment you choose to turn to Him, the angels in Heaven will celebrate your return. His greatest joy is having one of His lost return home to Him. No matter how long you stray or what you’ve done, God has mercy on those who ask for forgiveness. His mercy endures forever. You are His beloved child. All you have to do is have faith in His grace and come home to Him.
Sermons 2022 - third and final sermon in the series
  This is the third of my 3-part sermon describes the Christians’ journey with Christ. A person on a journey may rely on a physical roadmap to travel safely from place A to Place B. Your journey with Christ is similar, but instead of a physical journey, it is a journey through time. Like any long journey, it has an initial starting point and can be filled with twists, turns and detours before finally arriving at the intended destination. (Bible verse that is the inspiration for this sermon) 44 No one can come to me unless they are drawn to me by the Father who sent me, and I will raise them up at the last day.       -- John 6:44 (analogy) There is a recent invention that has replaced the paper maps we used to keep in our cars. It is the ‘maps’ on our phone or built into our car’s navigation system that provides us with ‘on the go’ directions from the start to the end of the trip, and also warns us of any hazards ahead so we can avoid them. Christians have the indwelling Holy Spirit with them on their spiritual journey with Christ, which we trust to guide us along with our ‘road atlas’, the Bible, to get us to our final destination, and help us avoid the hazards of sin that the Adversary will use to try and block our way. In part one, I described the journey’s starting point, which begins the moment you are redeemed after convicting yourself a sinner and placing your faith in Jesus. You were justified through the grace of God “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10) You immediately received the Fruit of the Spirit when you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22) With redemption and justification through Jesus, you are saved by God’s grace alone and immediately pardoned from sin. Christians are called to do good works, but not to be saved; they do good works because they have been saved. “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." (Luke 12:48) My second sermon discussed the middle part of the journey. After you have received one or more gifts of the Spirit, you are ready to start your personal journey in Christ and begin the process of being sanctified in the eyes of the Lord. This second part is the longest, most difficult part of your journey with Christ. You are being purified by the Holy Spirit, and becoming ‘like Christ”. This purification of your heart is necessary to remove the desire to do evil and to prepare you to dwell in the presence of God in Heaven. This part of your journey lasts the rest of your life, and all the while you are battling with the Adversary. To be a disciple of Christ Jesus requires discipline. The meaning of the word disciple is commonly defined as being a follower of Jesus, but I believe that the greater meaning is to be a student of Jesus, with the Gospel as our textbook. Our goal is to become like our teacher and emulate God’s love for all people. 4” Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, 5 it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints,”    (1 Corinthians 13:4-5) (You have a friend in Jesus) One of the great joys of life is having family and friends to share the details of our lives with. We enjoy speaking with our friends, and so too we can speak to our friend Jesus every day through prayer. Jesus also speaks to us through scripture, and the Holy Spirit helps us to understand and personalize His message contained in the scripture. If we read the bible and pray daily, we remain in daily communion with God, and are well on the journey of sanctification. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”      (John 15:12-15) God’s expectation of all His followers is that we will be obedient to hear, trust, submit, and surrender to God’s Word and to use our time, talents, and gifts in service to others. We are told “To whom much is given, much will be required” (Luke 12:48). To walk with Christ, we must Love God, love our neighbor, read Scripture, and pray for God’s mercy and guidance every day. In return, God offers to take away all our anxiety, fears, and doubts if we trust in Him. 6“Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks.”     (Philippians 4:6) When we reach the last day of this life, our spirit will be welcomed into Heaven.  When it was time for the Apostle Paul to depart this earth, he gave us these words of encouragement; “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;” (2 Timothy 7). (Glorification) Death separates our soul from our body. Our spirit goes to the Lord in heaven while our bodies return to the dust of the earth. “We know that our body—the tent we live in here on earth—will be destroyed. But when that happens, God will have a home for us to live in. It will not be the kind of home people build here. It will be a home in heaven that will continue forever” (2 Corinthians 5).  At our death, our spirit departs our earthly body and we enter Heaven to dwell there until Christ’s triumphant return to earth. Then we will receive our resurrected bodies. Paul describes our new bodies as “The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.”    1 Corinthians 15:42-44 (Resurrection) God chose not to give us a complete picture of the last days and the events leading up to it, but we are assured through faith and His love that pain, suffering, and sin will no longer exist. We believe the many biblical prophesies of Jesus’ return to earth will be fulfilled, and the Saints will be resurrected. When the day of that first resurrection arrives, after 7 years of worsening persecutions of believers on earth, Satan is bound and thrown in the pit for 1000 years. Both the living and the dead believers will have their old bodies made new. Our glorified bodies will be raised up and reunited with our spirits. Our new bodies are similar to those we had on earth but perfected and glorified, as Jesus’ body was when he was resurrected from the tomb. We will then stand in judgment in our glorified bodies, but will not fear condemnation. “So now there isn’t any condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). After this first judgment, we join in the Millennial Kingdom on earth with Jesus and the martyrs who were killed for their faith during the Great Tribulation, while the souls of the wicked remain in Hades. Then, after 1,000 years there is a second resurrection of the unbelievers. Their corrupt souls will return from Hades and they will also be reunited with their earthly bodies to stand in judgment before the White Throne of Jesus for their sins. They are found guilty and are thrown into the lake of fire to join Satan, the beast, and the false prophet. Then God will destroy the current Heaven and earth and make a new Heaven and earth completely without the possibility of sin entering. “1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4) This vision fulfills the prophecy in the Old Testament Book of Isaiah: Look! I’m creating a new heaven and a new earth: past events won’t be remembered; they won’t come to mind. (Isaiah 65:17) As the new heavens and the new earth that I’m making will endure before me, says the Lord, so your descendants and your name will endure (Isaiah 66:22). Your journey is over. You have reached your destination. You have been glorified through the grace of God and have life everlasting in a world without sin. Rejoice in the Lord!  Amen.   The Journey (introduction) This is the third of my 3-part sermon that describes the Christians’ journey with Christ. A journey can refer to a person traveling from one physical place to another, using a physical roadmap to travel from place A to Place B. This journey can be filled with twists, turns, and detours. Your journey with Christ is similar, but instead of a physical journey, it is a journey through time. (Bible verse that is the inspiration for this sermon) 44 No one can come to me unless they are drawn to me by the Father who sent me, and I will raise them up at the last day.       -- John 6:44 (analogy) Like any long journey, it has an initial starting point, a rather long middle filled with twists, turns, and detours before finally arriving at the intended destination. I am reminded of a recent invention that has replaced the maps and road atlas we used to keep for planning a journey in our cars. It is the computer app on our phone or built into our car’s navigation system that provides ‘on the go’ directions from the start to the end of your journey, and also warns you of any hazards ahead so you can avoid them. We just key in our destination and hit ‘GO’ and we trust the technology to guide us, avoid road hazards, and detour around construction. Christians on their spiritual journey with Christ have the Holy Spirit, which we trust to guide us along with our ‘road atlas’, the bible, to get us to our final destination, while avoiding the hazards of sin that the Adversary may use to try and block our way. In part one, I described the journey’s starting point, which begins the moment you are redeemed after declaring yourself a sinner and placing your faith in Jesus. You are now justified through the love of God “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10) You immediately received the Fruit of the Spirit when you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22) In part 2, I discussed the next part of the journey, when after you have received one or more gifts of the Spirit. Now you are ready to start your personal journey in Christ and have begun the process of being sanctified by the Lord. This second part is the longest, most difficult part of your journey with Christ. You are being purified by the Holy Spirit, and becoming ‘like Christ”. This purification of your heart is necessary to remove the desire to do evil and to prepare you to dwell in the presence of God in Heaven. This part of your journey lasts the rest of your life, and all the while you are battling with the Adversary. With redemption and justification through Jesus, you are saved by God’s grace alone and immediately pardoned from sin. Christians are called to do good works, but not to be saved; they do good works because they have been saved. “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." (Luke 12:48) To be a disciple of Christ Jesus requires discipline. The meaning of the word disciple is commonly defined as being a follower of Jesus, but I say that the greater meaning is to be a student of Jesus. The gospel is our textbook, and our goal is to become like our teacher and emulate God’s love for all people. 4” Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, 5 it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints,”    (1 Corinthians 13:4-5) (You have a friend in Jesus) One of the great joys of life is having family and friends to share the details of our lives with. We enjoy speaking with our friends, and so too we can speak to our friend Jesus every day through prayer. Jesus also speaks to us through scripture, and the Holy Spirit helps us to understand and personalize His message contained in the scripture. If we read the bible and pray daily, we remain in daily communion with God, and are well on the journey of sanctification. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”      (John 15:12-15) God’s expectation of all His followers is that we will be obedient to hear, trust, submit, and surrender to God’s Word and to use our time, talents, and gifts in service to others. We are told “To whom much is given, much will be required” (Luke 12:48). To walk with Christ, we must Love God, love our neighbor, read Scripture, and pray for God’s mercy and guidance every day. In return, God offers to take away all our anxiety, fears, and doubts if we trust in Him. 6“Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks.”     (Philippians 4:6) When we reach the last day of this life, our spirit will be welcomed into Heaven.  When it was time for the Apostle Paul to depart this earth, he gave us these words of encouragement; “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;” (2 Timothy 7). (Glorification) Death separates our soul from our body. Our spirit goes to the Lord in heaven while our bodies return to the dust of the earth. “We know that our body—the tent we live in here on earth—will be destroyed. But when that happens, God will have a home for us to live in. It will not be the kind of home people build here. It will be a home in heaven that will continue forever”  (2 Corinthians 5).  At our death, when our spirit departs our earthly body and we enter Heaven to dwell there until Christ’s triumphant return to earth. Then we will receive our resurrected bodies. Paul describes our new bodies as “The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.”    1 Corinthians 15:42-44 (Resurrection) We don’t have a complete picture of exactly what the promised new heaven and the new earth will be like for believers and the events leading up to its creation, but we are assured that pain, suffering, and sin will no longer exist. Here is what we believe according to the different biblical prophesies, although some of the timelines have had different interpretations: When the day of the first resurrection arrives, after 7 years of worsening persecution of believers on earth, Satan is bound in the pit for 1000 years. Both the living and the dead believers will have their old bodies made new, our glorified bodies will be raised up and reunited with our spirits. Our new bodies are the same as we had on earth but perfected and glorified, as Jesus’ body was when he was resurrected from the tomb. We will then stand in judgment with our glorified bodies, but will not fear condemnation. “So now there isn’t any condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”  (Romans 8:1). After this first judgment, we join the martyrs who were killed for their faith during the Great Tribulation in the Millennial Kingdom on earth with Jesus, while the wicked remain in Hades. Then, after 1,000 years there is a second resurrection of the unbelievers. Their corrupt souls will return from Hades and they will also be reunited with their earthly bodies to stand in judgment before the White Throne of Jesus for their sins. They are found guilty and be thrown into the lake of fire to join Satan and the false prophet. Then God will destroy the current Heaven and earth and make a new Heaven and earth completely without the possibility of sin entering. “1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4) This vision fulfills the prophecy in the Old Testament Book of Isaiah: Look! I’m creating a new heaven and a new earth: past events won’t be remembered; they won’t come to mind. (Isaiah 65:17) As the new heavens and the new earth that I’m making will endure before me, says the Lord, so your descendants and your name will endure (Isaiah 66:22). Your journey is over. You have reached your destination. You have been glorified through the grace of God and have life everlasting in a world without sin. Rejoice in the Lord!     The Journey (introduction) This is the third of my 3-part sermon that describes the Christians’ journey with Christ. A journey can refer to a person traveling from one physical place to another, using a physical roadmap to travel from place A to Place B. This journey can be filled with twists, turns, and detours. Your journey with Christ is similar, but instead of a physical journey, it is a journey through time. (Bible verse that is the inspiration for this sermon) 44 No one can come to me unless they are drawn to me by the Father who sent me, and I will raise them up at the last day.       -- John 6:44 (analogy) Like any long journey, it has an initial starting point, a rather long middle filled with twists, turns, and detours before finally arriving at the intended destination. I am reminded of a recent invention that has replaced the maps and road atlas we used to keep for planning a journey in our cars. It is the computer app on our phone or built into our car’s navigation system that provides ‘on the go’ directions from the start to the end of your journey, and also warns you of any hazards ahead so you can avoid them. We just key in our destination and hit ‘GO’ and we trust the technology to guide us, avoid road hazards, and detour around construction. Christians on their spiritual journey with Christ have the Holy Spirit, which we trust to guide us along with our ‘road atlas’, the bible, to get us to our final destination, while avoiding the hazards of sin that the Adversary may use to try and block our way. In part one, I described the journey’s starting point, which begins the moment you are redeemed after declaring yourself a sinner and placing your faith in Jesus. You are now justified through the love of God “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10) You immediately received the Fruit of the Spirit when you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22) In part 2, I discussed the next part of the journey, when after you have received one or more gifts of the Spirit. Now you are ready to start your personal journey in Christ and have begun the process of being sanctified by the Lord. This second part is the longest, most difficult part of your journey with Christ. You are being purified by the Holy Spirit, and becoming ‘like Christ”. This purification of your heart is necessary to remove the desire to do evil and to prepare you to dwell in the presence of God in Heaven. This part of your journey lasts the rest of your life, and all the while you are battling with the Adversary. With redemption and justification through Jesus, you are saved by God’s grace alone and immediately pardoned from sin. Christians are called to do good works, but not to be saved; they do good works because they have been saved. “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." (Luke 12:48) To be a disciple of Christ Jesus requires discipline. The meaning of the word disciple is commonly defined as being a follower of Jesus, but I say that the greater meaning is to be a student of Jesus. The gospel is our textbook, and our goal is to become like our teacher and emulate God’s love for all people. 4” Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, 5 it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints,”    (1 Corinthians 13:4-5) (You have a friend in Jesus) One of the great joys of life is having family and friends to share the details of our lives with. We enjoy speaking with our friends, and so too we can speak to our friend Jesus every day through prayer. Jesus also speaks to us through scripture, and the Holy Spirit helps us to understand and personalize His message contained in the scripture. If we read the bible and pray daily, we remain in daily communion with God, and are well on the journey of sanctification. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”      (John 15:12-15) God’s expectation of all His followers is that we will be obedient to hear, trust, submit, and surrender to God’s Word and to use our time, talents, and gifts in service to others. We are told “To whom much is given, much will be required” (Luke 12:48). To walk with Christ, we must Love God, love our neighbor, read Scripture, and pray for God’s mercy and guidance every day. In return, God offers to take away all our anxiety, fears, and doubts if we trust in Him. 6“Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks.”     (Philippians 4:6) When we reach the last day of this life, our spirit will be welcomed into Heaven.  When it was time for the Apostle Paul to depart this earth, he gave us these words of encouragement; “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;” (2 Timothy 7). (Glorification) Death separates our soul from our body. Our spirit goes to the Lord in heaven while our bodies return to the dust of the earth. “We know that our body—the tent we live in here on earth—will be destroyed. But when that happens, God will have a home for us to live in. It will not be the kind of home people build here. It will be a home in heaven that will continue forever”  (2 Corinthians 5).  At our death, when our spirit departs our earthly body and we enter Heaven to dwell there until Christ’s triumphant return to earth. Then we will receive our resurrected bodies. Paul describes our new bodies as “The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.”    1 Corinthians 15:42-44     (Resurrection) We don’t have a complete picture of exactly what the promised new heaven and the new earth will be like for believers and the events leading up to its creation, but we are assured that pain, suffering, and sin will no longer exist. Here is what we believe according to the different biblical prophesies, although some of the timelines have had different interpretations: When the day of the first resurrection arrives, after 7 years of worsening persecution of believers on earth, Satan is bound in the pit for 1000 years. Both the living and the dead believers will have their old bodies made new, our glorified bodies will be raised up and reunited with our spirits. Our new bodies are the same as we had on earth but perfected and glorified, as Jesus’ body was when he was resurrected from the tomb. We will then stand in judgment with our glorified bodies, but will not fear condemnation. “So now there isn’t any condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”  (Romans 8:1). After this first judgment, we join the martyrs who were killed for their faith during the Great Tribulation in the Millennial Kingdom on earth with Jesus, while the wicked remain in Hades. Then, after 1,000 years there is a second resurrection of the unbelievers. Their corrupt souls will return from Hades and they will also be reunited with their earthly bodies to stand in judgment before the White Throne of Jesus for their sins. They are found guilty and be thrown into the lake of fire to join Satan and the false prophet. Then God will destroy the current Heaven and earth and make a new Heaven and earth completely without the possibility of sin entering. “1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4) This vision fulfills the prophecy in the Old Testament Book of Isaiah: Look! I’m creating a new heaven and a new earth: past events won’t be remembered; they won’t come to mind. (Isaiah 65:17) As the new heavens and the new earth that I’m making will endure before me, says the Lord, so your descendants and your name will endure (Isaiah 66:22). Your journey is over. You have reached your destination. You have been glorified through the grace of God and have life everlasting in a world without sin. Rejoice in the Lord!     The Journey (introduction) This is the third of my 3-part sermon that describes the Christians’ journey with Christ. A journey can refer to a person traveling from one physical place to another, using a physical roadmap to travel from place A to Place B. This journey can be filled with twists, turns and detours. Your journey with Christ is similar, but instead of a physical journey, it is a journey through time. (Bible verse that is the inspiration for this sermon) 44 No one can come to me unless they are drawn to me by the Father who sent me, and I will raise them up at the last day.       -- John 6:44 (analogy) Like any long journey, it has an initial starting point, a rather long middle filled with twists, turns, and detours before finally arriving at the intended destination. I am reminded of a recent invention that has replaced the maps and road atlas we used to keep for planning a journey in our cars. It is the computer app on our phone or built into our car’s navigation system that provides ‘on the go’ directions from the start to the end of your journey, and also warns you of any hazards ahead so you can avoid them. We just key in our destination and hit ‘GO’ and we trust the technology to guide us, avoid road hazards, and detour around construction. Christians on their spiritual journey with Christ have the Holy Spirit, which we trust to guide us along with our ‘road atlas’, the bible, to get us to our final destination, while avoiding the hazards of sin that the Adversary may use to try and block our way. In part one, I described the journey’s starting point, which begins the moment you are redeemed after declaring yourself a sinner and placing your faith in Jesus. You are now justified through the love of God “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10) You immediately received the Fruit of the Spirit when you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22) In part 2, I discussed the next part of the journey, when after you have received one or more gifts of the Spirit. Now you are ready to start your personal journey in Christ and have begun the process of being sanctified by the Lord. This second part is the longest, most difficult part of your journey with Christ. You are being purified by the Holy Spirit, and becoming ‘like Christ”. This purification of your heart is necessary to remove the desire to do evil and to prepare you to dwell in the presence of God in Heaven. This part of your journey lasts the rest of your life, and all the while you are battling with the Adversary. With redemption and justification through Jesus, you are saved by God’s grace alone and immediately pardoned from sin. Christians are called to do good works, but not to be saved; they do good works because they have been saved. “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." (Luke 12:48) To be a disciple of Christ Jesus requires discipline. The meaning of the word disciple is commonly defined as being a follower of Jesus, but I say that the greater meaning is to be a student of Jesus. The gospel is our textbook, and our goal is to become like our teacher and emulate God’s love for all people. 4” Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, 5 it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints,”    (1 Corinthians 13:4-5) (You have a friend in Jesus) One of the great joys of life is having family and friends to share the details of our lives with. We enjoy speaking with our friends, and so too we can speak to our friend Jesus every day through prayer. Jesus also speaks to us through scripture, and the Holy Spirit helps us to understand and personalize His message contained in the scripture. If we read the bible and pray daily, we remain in daily communion with God, and are well on the journey of sanctification. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”      (John 15:12-15) God’s expectation of all His followers is that we will be obedient to hear, trust, submit, and surrender to God’s Word and to use our time, talents, and gifts in service to others. We are told “To whom much is given, much will be required” (Luke 12:48). To walk with Christ, we must Love God, love our neighbor, read Scripture, and pray for God’s mercy and guidance every day. In return, God offers to take away all our anxiety, fears, and doubts if we trust in Him. 6“Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks.”     (Philippians 4:6) When we reach the last day of this life, our spirit will be welcomed into Heaven.  When it was time for the Apostle Paul to depart this earth, he gave us these words of encouragement; “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;” (2 Timothy 7). (Glorification) Death separates our soul from our body. Our spirit goes to the Lord in heaven while our bodies return to the dust of the earth. “We know that our body—the tent we live in here on earth—will be destroyed. But when that happens, God will have a home for us to live in. It will not be the kind of home people build here. It will be a home in heaven that will continue forever”  (2 Corinthians 5).  At our death, when our spirit departs our earthly body and we enter Heaven to dwell there until Christ’s triumphant return to earth. Then we will receive our resurrected bodies. Paul describes our new bodies as “The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.”    1 Corinthians 15:42-44     (Resurrection) We don’t have a complete picture of exactly what the promised new heaven and the new earth will be like for believers and the events leading up to its creation, but we are assured that pain, suffering, and sin will no longer exist. Here is what we believe according to the different biblical prophesies, although some of the timelines have had different interpretations: When the day of the first resurrection arrives, after 7 years of worsening persecution of believers on earth, Satan is bound in the pit for 1000 years. Both the living and the dead believers will have their old bodies made new, our glorified bodies will be raised up and reunited with our spirits. Our new bodies are the same as we had on earth but perfected and glorified, as Jesus’ body was when he was resurrected from the tomb. We will then stand in judgment with our glorified bodies, but will not fear condemnation. “So now there isn’t any condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”  (Romans 8:1). After this first judgment, we join the martyrs who were killed for their faith during the Great Tribulation in the Millennial Kingdom on earth with Jesus, while the wicked remain in Hades. Then, after 1,000 years there is a second resurrection of the unbelievers. Their corrupt souls will return from Hades and they will also be reunited with their earthly bodies to stand in judgment before the White Throne of Jesus for their sins. They are found guilty and be thrown into the lake of fire to join Satan and the false prophet. Then God will destroy the current Heaven and earth and make a new Heaven and earth completely without the possibility of sin entering. “1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4) This vision fulfills the prophecy in the Old Testament Book of Isaiah: Look! I’m creating a new heaven and a new earth: past events won’t be remembered; they won’t come to mind. (Isaiah 65:17) As the new heavens and the new earth that I’m making will endure before me, says the Lord, so your descendants and your name will endure (Isaiah 66:22). Your journey is over. You have reached your destination. You have been glorified through the grace of God and have life everlasting in a world without sin. Rejoice in the Lord! 
sermon 01-30-22
Christianity is a team sport (introduction) Being a Christian is about having a deep personal relationship with our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Our relationship with God is a personal one based on faith, love, and trust. All of Christianity belongs to the body of Christ in the world.[i] Today I would like for us to look at Christianity within the analogy of team sports. (analogy) We are at the end of the Football season playoffs, leading up to the Super Bowl, where the two remaining teams battle against each other on the gridiron until the winner is crowned victorious.  Each team has skilled players possessing the unique talents necessary to achieve victory for their team. Each team also has a knowledgeable coach supported by assistant coaches and trainers. The field of play is called the gridiron because it has clearly marked boundaries and yard lines. The teams have many spectators in the stands or watching on TV, curious who will win but not necessarily committed to either side. After the season is over, some players become free agents, meaning they are released from their contract and are free to join another team. (God’s grant of free will) When God created Adam and Eve in His image, He gave them the gift of agency, AKA free will, to accept or reject obedience to Him, their Creator. They chose to disobey God’s only rule in the Garden of Eden was not to eat the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, or they will die.  The serpent lied to Eve, telling them that if they ate that fruit they would not die, but would be like God, having the knowledge of good and evil. [ii] God punished their disobedience by sending them out of the Garden where they would undergo pain and eventual death, and pass the consequences of their original sin; loss of innocence, ignorance, suffering, death, and inclined to sin to each generation. However, a merciful God did make atonement for the sins of the world possible by sending his Son Jesus to make the necessary blood sacrifice by dying on the cross.[iii] (Trial of Jesus) During Jesus’ ministry on earth, he coached the team of His disciples. The Pharisees who opposed Jesus’ message of love and forgiveness were coached by the high priest of the temple in Jerusalem. His focus was on strictly following the law of Moses, which had expanded over time from 10 to 613 commandments of Jewish law recorded in the Torah, AKA the Old Testament. His loyal followers were the other high priests and the scribes, who were also experts in Jewish law. Scribes were originally tasked to make exact copies of the Torah, but later they began adding man-made regulations that went beyond the spirit of God’s law. The spectators watching both teams were the Jews and Gentiles of Judea. The Gentiles were descended from Israelite tribes that were divorced from God and adopted the idol-worshipping practices of the ancient Romans and Greeks. Jesus called the Pharisees and Scribes hypocrites because “they do not practice what they preach”.[iv]  In response to His threat to their authority, Jesus was tried by the Jewish leaders in the Temple at Jerusalem for multiple crimes, including being a false Messiah. During this trial one of the lawyers prosecuting Jesus, knowing that all 613 commandments in the Torah were equally important, tried to trick Jesus by asking, “Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the law?”  Jesus answered “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself.”[v] The religious leaders responded by convicting Jesus of blasphemy, an offense punishable by death, and turned him over to Judea’s Roman governor to carry out the sentence by crucifixion. (The Great Commission) After Jesus’ death and resurrection that redeemed the world’s sins but before ascending to Heaven, Jesus met his disciples in Galilee. There He commissioned them “to make disciples of all nations through sharing the gospel of forgiveness of sin and salvation through grace, and increasing the number of followers of Christ”[vi]. This contest for souls between the Good News spread through the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Bad News spread by His Adversary, the Evil One,[vii] has continued since the resurrection of Jesus to the current day. Jesus is the great Commissioner of the Christian league of disciples on earth, and his Father is both the scorekeeper, keeping a tally of each person’s sins, and the Time Keeper, knowing when the day of judgment will arrive and this contest on earth will end. When the disciples asked Jesus how will they know when the end time is near, Jesus replied “Only the Father knows” [viii]  when the trumpet will sound, announcing God’s judgment of the living and the dead is about to begin. [ix] (The Adversary’s Game Plan) Today, the opposing team members call themselves by many names including humanists, atheists, hedonists, secularists, and their ranks even include some religious leaders; all well-coached by the Adversary. They reject the idea of a living God and believe that mankind is the measure of all things. The Adversary has tricked them into believing the Bad News that this life is the only one they have a claim to, so they should seek to maximize their happiness, pleasure, and riches while it lasts. Their coach’s game plan is called a prevent defense, using trick plays to try and prevent sinners from accepting Jesus’ gift of eternal spiritual life with God in Heaven. They continue to repeat the Serpent’s lie that by using human logic, reason, and even performing good works they do not need God’s redemption. The Adversary has many tricks to keep sinners away from God. He rejoices in wars, famines, plagues, murders, and suicides, as the non-believers killed have lost forever their opportunity to choose salvation. He knows scripture very well and will twist its meaning for his own evil purposes. One common trick he uses is to convince people that they are ‘too busy’ building their treasure on earth to have time for God. Jesus gave a warning: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”[x] (God’s Game Plan) Our God is both merciful and patient and His plan allows time for everyone to be saved, but some reject God’s grace and close their heart to God’s love and forgiveness. The scoreboard shows both the number of people who have been saved by His grace and the penalties committed by the opposing team members. During his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”[xi] Being poor in spirit is not about lacking money, but describes those who realize their sins offend God and they cannot be saved through their own works. They seek salvation by professing their faith in Jesus Christ. (Redemption from Sin through grace) God has been waiting patiently since the Son’s redeeming death on the cross for all sinners to hear the Good News and to either reject this offer or to trust in God's grace.  We have all seen coupons in the newspaper or in the mail for a grocery store that promises “redeem this coupon at checkout for a free dozen eggs”. This means that someone has already paid for the eggs in full to gain your loyalty and to have you patronize their store. Redemption for Christians means that Jesus paid the price in full to redeem the past, present, and future sins of the world through his blood sacrifice on the cross.[xii] (New Christians justified by Holy Spirit) Once sinners are redeemed through Christ, they receive the Holy Spirit, who brings the Light[xiii] to help them understand scripture and that “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”[xiv]. The Holy Spirit justifies those that have accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, and replaces their selfish desires with the Fruit of the Spirit; Love, Joy, Peace, and much more[xv]. The Spirit invites them to leave the spectators in the stands and join the other new Christians on the practice team on the sidelines by their coaches. Some new Christians may not want to leave the stands, and may even try to hide the Light of Christ within them, perhaps fearing the ridicule of the non-believers that they were previously part of. But they are a new creation in Christ, and the old things are passed away.[xvi] As the apostle Paul said, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (New Christians receive gifts from the Spirit) The Holy Spirit welcomes new believers to the sidelines and using their God-given talents gives them one or more spiritual gifts, so they may be prepared through their acts of love to claim for Jesus those souls tricked by the Adversary. God didn’t give us a spirit that is timid but one that is powerful, loving, and self-controlled[xvii]. The older saints, who are weary from fighting the good fight, finishing the race, and keeping the faith,[xviii] go on to receive their reward in Heaven. The new saints are fitted with their spiritual armor[xix] and given their assignments to enter the gridiron, which is organized like the bible. All bible scripture is in-bounds on the field of play, because it is the inspired Word of God. Any teaching from other sources is out of bounds and rejected. Each book in the bible is like the numbered yard lines on the field, each chapter is like the single yard lines, and each verse is like the inches between each yard line. To follow Christ’s game plan, each Christian is charged with spreading the Gospel, fighting the Adversary, and continuing their journey of spiritual growth and sanctification in Christ. (God’s Expectation) God’s expectation of all his followers is that we will be obedient to hear, trust, submit and surrender to God’s Word and to use our time, talents, and gifts in service to others. We are told “To whom much is given, much will be required”[xx]. To walk with Christ, we must Love God, love our neighbor, read Scripture, and pray for God’s guidance. God knows that since we are still of the flesh, even the most righteous among us will occasionally sin. Jesus warned his disciples; “the spirit is eager but the flesh is weak.”[xxi] The Holy Spirit will never leave the true believer who sins again after being saved. When we do sin, we will humbly repent and seek God’s help to overcome the sin going forward. (Judgement and Redemption) On the day of judgment, we must stand trial before Jesus, with all our sins on full display convicting us. But if our name is found in the Lamb’s Book of Life, we will be acquitted of our sins and allowed to enter Heaven. (Jesus’ offer of salvation) If you haven’t yet accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, now is the time. We don’t know what will happen next week or next month, and it could be too late if you wait even another day. When you have some quiet time to reflect, think about His offer of salvation for all sinners and if in your heart you truly believe.     Scripture used in preparing this sermon is from the Common English Bible translation   [i] 1 Corinthians 12:12-15 [ii] Genesis 3:1-7 [iii] Romans 3:25 [iv] Matthew 23:1-3 [v] Mathew 22:36-40 [vi] Matthew 28:16-19 [vii] Matthew 6:13 [viii] Matthew 24-26 [ix] Revelation 10:6-7 [x] Matthew 6:19-20 [xi] Matthew 3:5 [xii] Romans 6:23 [xiii] John 8:12 [xiv] Matthew 4:4 [xv] Galatians 5:22 [xvi] 2 Corinthians 5:17 [xvii] 2 Timothy 1:7 [xviii] 2 Timothy 4:7 [xix] Ephesians 6:13-16 [xx] Luke 12:48 [xxi] Matthew 26:41      
Sermons - 2022
The Fruit of the Spirit and the Gifts of the Spirit Chaplain Michael Meccia, guest preacher. Bel Air Chapel, Round Rock, TX, January 4th 2022 Hebrews 13:8 - Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever! We are worshiping today during the 12 days of Christian celebration from Christmas Day to the Epiphany on January 6, when the Magi from the East arrived in Bethlehem with gifts for the newborn King of the Jews. Part of our celebration of the birth of Jesus includes giving gifts to loved ones. We give different gifts to different people. Some gifts are practical and suitable for many, while some gifts are uniquely chosen for a specific person. Some people receive many gifts, others receive just a few. All the recipients of gifts know they are loved by the gift giver. Buying gifts for loved ones this year has been a challenge for many. We hear of supply chain problems that make finding just the right gift for that special person difficult, and inflation causes the price of all goods, including gifts, to go up. There are some gifts that are not affected by supply chain problems; in fact, over 2 billion Christians worldwide have already received their gifts. And the cost of their gifts, even with inflation, is not a problem because these gifts have already been paid for and are freely given. Many of the gifts are unique and custom fit to the individual receiving them, and they do not wear out; they get better the more you use them in service to God through serving others. These are the gifts of the Holy Spirit We do not get to choose which gifts we receive from the Holy Spirit when we repent from the sin of being the master of our own life, living separated from God, and becoming a follower of Jesus. Once we are born again in Christ, we receive the greatest gift of all, eternal with God. Romans 10:9  Because if you confess with your mouth “Jesus is Lord” and in your heart you have faith that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works so that no one can boast. John 3:36  Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life. Whoever doesn’t believe in the Son won’t see life, but the angry judgment of God remains on them  2 Corinthians 17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! The apostle Paul summed up the gifts of the Holy Spirit in his letter to the church in Corinth: 1 Corinthians 12 4 There are different spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; 5 and there are different ministries and the same Lord; 6 and there are different activities but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. 7 A demonstration of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good. While the gifts of the spirit are chosen by God and are unique to each person, the fruit of the Spirit, which is a measure of the person’s virtues as they gradually model their life after Christ, are the same for all Christians: Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Just as the fruit ripens gradually on the vine, the Fruit of the Spirit is also cultivated and grows over time. Good fruit requires the work and time needed to produce it abundantly. John 15:2 He removes any of my branches that don’t produce fruit, and he trims any branch that produces fruit so that it will produce even more fruit. Unlike the “Gifts of the Spirit” (plural) which God chooses for us, all nine virtues composing “The Fruit of the Spirit” (singular) are on display for the world to see in each child of God. Matthew 7:15-20 15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you dressed like sheep, but inside they are vicious wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruit. Do people get bunches of grapes from thorny weeds, or do they get figs from thistles? 17 In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, and every rotten tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit. And a rotten tree can’t produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore, you will know them by their fruit. The Fruit of the Spirit is singular rather than plural because God’s Spirit has all nine attributes. Imagine baking a fruit cake containing pieces of cherries, raisins, peaches, figs, and other fruits. Once baked, each slice of the fruit cake displays all the fruit used in the recipe bound together in one serving. When you serve a slice of the fruit cake to a friend, they can see each of the different fruit (and sometimes some nuts) that went into the batter. So too is it that people see the Fruit of the Spirit in you when you walk with God.  
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