Messages on the Lord’s Supper
Title: Looking at the Lord’s Supper
Scripture Reading: Matthew 26:26 – 30
On the night before his crucifixion, our Lord Jesus observed the Passover with his disciples in the upper room. Following the departure of Judas Iscariot, he instituted the ordinance that we know as the Lord’s Supper. This significant ordinance crystallizes the gist of the gospel. It symbolizes the substitutionary and redemptive death of the Son of God. With reverent awe let us look at this ordinance in several different ways as we prepare to participate in a worthy manner.
I. We should look backward.
In deep meditation and in complete consecration, we should look backward to the atoning Christ whose body was slain and whose blood was shed for our redemption from sin (Heb. 9:22 – 26; 1 Peter 1:18 – 19; 1 John 1:7).
II. We should look upward.
With an attitude of reverent submission, we should look upward to the Christ who has been exalted to a position of lordship over all things (Phil. 2:5 – 11). The Christ who died on the cross now sits on the throne. He has been appointed by God to occupy the throne of the heart of each of us. He alone is worthy to have complete sovereignty over our will. If we would properly partake of the elements of the Lord’s Supper, we should earnestly seek to make him the Lord of our lives.
III. We should look inward.
With the purest motives possible, we should look into our own hearts and request divine help to purge out every attitude or ambition that is contrary to the mind and spirit of our Lord. In sincere repentance, with genuine love, and with deep gratitude, we should recall how Jesus Christ died that we might live. He became poor that we might be rich. He gave his all that we might have all of the grace and goodness of God.
IV. We should look forward.
“For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come” (1 Cor. 11:26).
Our Savior came first as a peasant. He will come the second time as the Prince of God. He came the first time in great humility. He will come the second time in great glory and power. He came the first time to occupy a cross. He will come the second time to occupy a throne before which every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that he is Lord of Lords.
We look backward, we look inward, we look upward, and we look forward in faith and love and gratitude and hope. With all of our minds, hearts, and souls, let us concentrate on what our Lord did for us on the cross as we partake of the elements that symbolize the giving of his body and his life for our salvation.
Title: Why Did Jesus Die?
Text: “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come” (1 Cor. 11:26).
The day that Christ was crucified was the darkest day the world has ever witnessed. On that day humankind revolted against the love of God, refused to accept Christ as God’s Son, and slew him by nailing him to a cross.
In spite of the awfulness of humankind’s terrible sin of crucifying the Savior, the disciples came to understand that, in the death of their Lord, God had done his kindest work for humankind. It would be appropriate for us to raise the question, “Why would the sinless, stainless, spotless Son of God have to die? Why did he institute a meal in which the elements were given great symbolic significance with a design of perpetuating the memory of his death on the cross?” To have the correct answer is to have the key to the Christian religion. To understand Christ’s death is to discover the essence of Christianity. To grasp the significance of his sacrificial death is to understand the heart of God’s revelation of his love and mercy.
I. Jesus Christ died on the cross to reveal the evil nature of sin.
Not only in our age, but in every age, people have been inclined to minimize and excuse sin. There are many who deny that there is any such thing as sin. There are others who joke about sin and treat it lightly. Others tolerate and coddle sin in their own hearts and lives.
Jesus died on the cross because of our sin. Had humans not been sinners, it would not have been necessary for him to die. If sin were not something terrible, dark, and destructive, Calvary would not have been necessary.
If there had been no dread malady in the heart that causes people to depart from God and live a life of waste and ruin, then Jesus Christ died as an unrealistic idealist.
It is the testimony of the Scripture that Christ died for our sins (1 Cor. 15:3; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18).
We should let the elements of the Lord’s Supper speak to us concerning the deadly, destructive, evil nature of our sin that required the death of Jesus Christ for our deliverance and forgiveness.
II. Jesus Christ died on the cross to redeem and save us (Mark 10:45).
A. Jesus was the perfect substitute. He died to ransom us from sin (Mark 10:45).
B. He is the Good Shepherd who gave his life for his sheep.
C. The Sinless One assumed the burden of our sin and suffered in our place that we might obtain his perfect righteousness (1 Cor. 5:21).
III. Jesus Christ died on the cross to enlist and inspire our service.
A. Because Christ died for our sins, we should be inspired to die to sin and to devote our lives to a life of righteousness, both in relationship to God and in our conduct toward our fellow humans (1 Peter 2:24).
B. Next to our salvation, the privilege of Service is the greatest gift of God to humankind (Phil. 1:29; Rom. 12:1).
C. Gratitude for God’s unspeakable gifts, through the Savior who was willing to die and who triumphantly lives again, should cause us to dedicate ourselves in Service to him.
As we partake of the bread, which symbolizes Christ’s body, and the wine, which symbolizes his blood, let us dedicate our lives and bodies to the Savior.
Themes for Wedding Ceremonies
Title: In All Thy Ways
Text: Proverbs 3:5 – 6
The words of the wise man are applicable for all persons in all seasons and under all circumstances. At no time are his suggestions better than when a man and woman leave their separate ways of life and join together to begin a new way of life.
On this occasion we should trust in the Lord and recognize that marriage is part of his benevolent plan and purpose for us. Marriage is more than a human arrangement; it is a divine provision for the welfare of the race and for the fulfillment and happiness of the individuals involved.
A wedding is a significant time for the couple involved, for their families, for their church, and for the community as a whole. We come together to hear a young couple solemnly pledge before God and witnesses their firm and steadfast decision to assume not only the rights but the responsibilities that are associated with marriage.
The writer of Proverbs declares that if we will but recognize and acknowledge the Lord in all of our ways, he will make our paths straight and lead us in a manner that will help us achieve the happiness and success for which our hearts hunger. Give him first place in your love and loyalty. Give your companion a love and loyalty second only to your Lord. Place your own wishes and well-being in a position subordinate to the will of God and to the happiness of your companion. If each of you will determine to love God supremely and serve him steadfastly, if you will determine to give your companion the happiness that genuine love always wishes, you will discover that you are achieving both happiness and success as time goes by.
If you, then, _____and _____, have freely and deliberately chosen each other as partners in this holy estate and know of no just cause why you should not be so united, in token thereof you will please join your right hands.
Groom’s Vow: _____, in taking the woman you hold by the right hand to be your lawful and wedded wife, before God and the witnesses present you must promise to love her; to honor and cherish her in that relation; and leaving all others, cleave only unto her and be to her in all things a true and faithful husband so long as you both shall live. Do you so promise? (Answer: “I do.”)
Bride’s Vow: _____, in taking the man you hold by the right hand to be your lawful and wedded husband, before God and the witnesses present you must promise to love him; to honor and cherish him in that relation; and leaving all others, cleave only unto him and be to him in all things a true and faithful wife so long as you both shall live. Do you so promise? (Answer: “I do.”)
Pastor’s Response: Then are you each given to the other in advances or reverses, in poverty or in riches, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until death shall part you.
The Ring(s): For unnumbered centuries the ring has been used on important occasions. It has reached its loftiest prestige in the symbolic significance it vouches at the marriage altar. It is a perfect circle having no end. It symbolizes your desire, our desire, and God’s desire, that there be no end to the happiness and success for which your heart hungers. It is thus a symbol of the unending plan and purpose of God for your happiness and well-being.
Pastor’s Question: Do you give these rings to each other as a token of your love for each other? (Answer: “We do.”)
Pastor’s Question: Will each of you receive this ring as a token of your companion’s love for you, and will you wear it as a token of your love for your companion? (Answer: “We will.”)
Closing Proclamation: Here in the presence of your parents, your relatives, and your friends; here in the presence of the living God, you have made vows. These vows are binding upon you by the laws of this state. They are binding upon you by the law of God. And they are binding upon you by the law of your own love for each other. You have sealed these vows by the giving and receiving of rings. Acting in the authority vested in me as a minister of the gospel by this state, and looking to heaven for divine sanction, I now pronounce you husband and wife. What therefore God hath joined together do not let anything put asunder. Amen.
Title: Walk in Love
Text: “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour” (Eph. 5:1 – 2).
Paul encouraged the disciples of our Lord at Ephesus to walk in love. Jesus had commanded his disciples to live by the principle of love (John 13:34 – 35). Unselfish, sacrificial love was to be the badge of identification by which the world would recognize his disciples as his followers.
Human beings need love more than anything else in the world. A famous physician has said, “We must learn to practice love or we will perish.” The human spirit was made for love. Without love a personality withers and dies like a water lily transplanted in a desert. In no relationship is the practice of Christlike love more necessary or more productive of happiness than in the marriage relationship.
In Paul’s great hymn of love recorded in 1 Corinthians 13, he declares that love is more important than any other gift or ability or activity. He sets forth some of the characteristics of Christian love.
I. Christian love is very patient (v. 4).
II. Christian love is very kind (v. 4).
III. Christian love never boils with jealousy (v. 4).
IV. Christian love is never envious (v. 4).
V. Christian love does not cherish inflated ideas of its own importance (v. 4).
VI. Christian love is never rude, unmannerly, or indecent (v. 5).
VII. Christian love is never self-seeking, nor does it pursue selfish aims (v. 5).
VIII. Christian love is never quick to take offense and keeps no score of wrongs (v. 5).
IX. Christian love is never glad when others go wrong (v. 6).
X. Christian love always rejoices when truth prevails (v. 6).
XI. Christian love can overlook faults and is always hopeful for the best (v. 7).
XII. Christian love keeps on loving in spite of some things that are unlovable (v. 8).
(The actual ceremony should follow this brief study of the nature of Christian love as set forth in 1 Cor. 13:4 – 8).
Dearly beloved, we are assembled here in the presence of God to join this man and this woman in holy marriage, which is instituted of God, regulated by his commandments, blessed by our Lord Jesus Christ, and to be held in honor among all people. Let us therefore reverently remember that God has established and sanctified marriage for the welfare and happiness of humankind. Our Savior has declared that a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife.
By his apostles God has instructed those who enter into this relationship to cherish a mutual esteem and love; to bear with each other’s infirmities and weaknesses; to comfort each other in sickness, trouble, and sorrow; in honesty and industry to provide for each other and for their household in temporal things; to pray for and encourage each other in the things that pertain to God; and to live together as heirs of the grace of life.
Question addressed to Bride’s Father: Who gives this woman to be married to this man? (Answer: “I do” or “Her mother and I.”)
The Pastor Speaks to the Couple: If it is your sincere and steadfast desire to assume the rights and responsibilities of holy marriage, you will so indicate by joining your right hands.
Groom’s Vow: _____ , wilt thou have this woman to be thy wife, and wilt thou pledge thy troth to her, in all love and honor, in all duty and Service, in all faith and tenderness, to live with her and cherish her, according to the ordinance of God, in the holy bond of marriage? (Answer: “I do.”)
Bride’s Vow: _____ , wilt thou have this man to be thy husband, and wilt thou pledge thy troth to him, in all love and honor, in all duty and Service, in all faith and tenderness, to live with him and cherish him, according to the ordinance of God, in the holy bond of marriage? (Answer: “I do.”)
Vows: (The bride and the groom shall each repeat the following vows.) I, _____ , take thee _____ , to be my wedded wife (or husband); and I do promise and covenant, before God and these witnesses, to be thy loving and faithful husband (or wife) in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live.
The Ring(s): (Groom) This ring I give thee in token and pledge of our constant faith and abiding love. (If it is a double ring ceremony, the bride should repeat this also as she places the ring on the finger of her groom.)
After offering a prayer for the blessings of God upon the couple, the pastor will say the following: By the authority vested in me as a minister of the gospel, I now declare that you are husband and wife according to the ordinance of God and the law of this state in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.
Meditations for Funeral Services
Title: Comfort Concerning Those Who Are Asleep
Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 4:13 – 18
Comfort is needed when death invades our presence and takes from our midst one who was near and dear to us. Comfort is needed as we think of the departed. Comfort is needed because of our loss. Comfort is needed as we face the future.
In times like this, we can rejoice in the comfort that is available to us through faith in Jesus Christ. In 2 Corinthians Paul emphasizes this great truth concerning the comfort that comes from God to those who suffer: “Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God” (vv. 2 – 4).
I. God does not want us to be overly concerned about those who die in the Lord (1 Thess. 4:13).
Paul wrote so that the Thessalonians might be informed. He was eager to dispel their doubts and their fears. While recognizing that it was normal and proper for them to know sorrow, he declared that the sorrow of the Christian should be different from the sorrow of “others which have no hope.”
II. The dead in Christ are with the Lord.
As Paul anticipates the visible and victorious return of the Lord Jesus Christ, he declares that those who have died in the faith will come with the Lord when he returns (1 Thess. 4:14).
Paul sought to encourage the saints in Corinth by saying, “If our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Cor. 5:1).
Paul declares that while we remain at home in our physical body, in a very real sense we are absent from the Lord (2 Cor. 5:6). He saw death as the experience by which the believer moved out of his physical body to “be present with the Lord” (v. 8).
III. Victory over death and the grave is promised to those who know Jesus Christ (1 Thess. 4:15 – 16).
The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead was the firstfruits of the final resurrection of all of those who respond to God through faith (1 Cor. 15:23). The term firstfruits is a technical term that referred to the first of all ripe fruits that were to be offered in God’s house as an act of recognition and allegiance to God who was the giver of all good things. By using this term in reference to the resurrection of Christ, the apostle was seeking to communicate the truth that “for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (v. 22). This is to take place when Christ returns to the earth (v. 23).
IV. Separation will be a thing of the past in eternity: “So shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:17).
There are many causes for sorrow and grief in this life. Perhaps among these is separation from those we love. This is true when husband and wife are separated. This is true when parents are separated from children. This is true when friends are separated. One of the wonderful things about heaven is that there will be no more separation from God and from those whom we love as his children.
John described the conditions that will prevail in heaven: “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Rev. 21:4).
Paul encouraged the Thessalonian Christians to find comfort in these precious promises. The comfort he speaks of is more than the result of recalling pleasant memories of the past. He is challenging them to face the future with faith, courage, and good cheer in the assurance that death has achieved no final victory and that the grave must one day surrender its victim.
Let us be still and know that God is real. He is concerned with our heartaches and our heartbreaks. He has sent his Son Jesus Christ to taste death for us. He raised Christ back to life that he might deliver us from the fear of death (Heb. 2:14 – 15). In the midst of our sorrow, let us rejoice in the grace and goodness of God and take courage for the living of these days.
Title: Memorial Service for a Christian Who Died in the Service of His Country
Scripture Reading: Psalms 23; 46; John 14:1 – 6
I. Biographical sketch.
A. Vital information concerning birth and family.
B. Information concerning conversion, baptism, and church membership.
C. Information concerning military career, achievements, honors.
II. Sober thoughts for us all.
A. We memorialize one who has stood between us and the enemy.
B. We memorialize one who dedicated his life, like millions of others, to preserve our freedom.
C. We memorialize one who has made the supreme sacrifice for his country.
1. His wife has also made a great sacrifice.
2. His children have made a great sacrifice.
3. His parents have made a sacrifice.
D. We memorialize one who has died that we might be free.
1. We are not free to forget.
2. We are not free to waste.
3. We are not free to lose what he died to preserve.
Because of his sacrifice and the sacrifice of many others, we remain free. We are free to live, love, worship, and serve. We are free to preserve and to perpetuate those values for which he gave his life. Let each of us dedicate ourselves to our God and to the ideals for which our country stands that his death might not be in vain.
For both our comfort and our strength as we face the future, let us look by faith to our final home where there will be no more suffering and separation or sadness. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we can be a part of that heavenly family (Rev. 21:1 – 4).
Title: Graveside Service for an Infant
For comfort, for mercy, for help in this time of need, let us allow God to speak to us from the Scriptures.
I. Matthew 18:1 – 5.
II. Matthew 19:13 – 15.
III. Matthew 18:10 – 14.
IV. Isaiah 40:11.
In this passage the Good Shepherd is pictured as having a special concern for the lambs. He gently carries them in his bosom. This picture of our wonderful Savior can bring glad comfort to our hearts in this time of need.
V. Second Samuel 12:22 – 23.
A. While David’s child was alive, David did all that could possibly be done for him.
B. When the child died, David faced and accepted the fact that the child could not be brought back.
C. David was comforted by the faith that he would someday go to be where his infant child had gone in death.
We cannot bring the child back to us, but through faith in our wonderful Lord, we can have the assurance that we can go to be with this little one. Because we know that God loves us and because we know that our God is the God who never makes a mistake, let each of us face the future with faith in his goodness. He will be present to help us. By his grace he will meet the deepest needs of our lives.
Messages for Children and Young People
Title: “Honor Your Father and Mother”
Text: “Honor your father and mother” — which is the first commandment with a promise” (Eph. 6:2 NIV).
When Paul wrote to the children and young people of Ephesus urging them to honor their parents, he was actually quoting from the Ten Commandments that God had given to Israel through Moses.
How can you honor your father and mother? Was the apostle Paul encouraging children and young people to build a monument in honor of their parents? Was he suggesting that they write a biography to eulogize their parents? Most likely he was suggesting that they conduct themselves in a manner so as to bring both satisfaction and delight to their parents.
Children usually are on the receiving end in the parent-child relationship. The parents provide the home, food, clothing, and most of the other things that are enjoyed in childhood. Parents themselves think more in terms of what they can give to their children than they do in terms of what they can receive from their children.
Have you ever stopped to think about how you might be able to bring the greatest possible joy to your parents? There are great limitations placed on what you can give to your parents by virtue of the fact that you have very little money to spend for gifts. Paul would probably make some very practical suggestions to you such as the following.
I. You can honor your parents and bring great delight to them by an attitude and habit of obedience (Eph. 6:1).
A. One of the Ten Commandments requires that children be obedient to their parents (Exod. 20:12). If you do not learn to practice obedience at home toward your parents, you will not know how to obey the rules of your classroom at school, the laws of your country, or the laws of God. Every parent will take pride in and be delighted by an obedient child.
B. The love that you have in your heart toward your parents can best express itself by an attitude of obedience. There is no substitute for obedience. To be disobedient is not only to upset your parents, but such an attitude will bring you trouble throughout life.
II. You can honor your parents and bring great delight to them by expressing gratitude.
How long has it been since you sincerely thanked your parents for the many things that they do for you? Your parents gave you life. They have loved you and cared for you when you were unable to care for yourself. They have spent vast sums of money for your well-being. Most likely they are providing, at personal sacrifice, for your future well-being. The best way to express gratitude is with a gift from time to time as you become aware of what your parents have done and are doing for your welfare. An attitude of gratitude is not only a mark of courtesy, it is a practice that brings real delight into the hearts of others.
III. You can honor your parents and bring great delight to their hearts by making your contribution to the well-being of the family.
Did it ever occur to you that as a child you have a contribution to make toward the happiness and success of the family unit? Are you as regular in fulfilling your duties, such as keeping your room clean, discharging various chores, doing your homework, etc., as you would like for your father to be in the matter of providing you with money for an allowance or other things that you would like to have? Do you try to make your mother and father happy as you would like for them to make you happy? What is your contribution toward the happiness of your father and mother? What can you do to help the home operate more smoothly?
IV. You can honor your parents and bring great delight to their hearts by doing your best in your work.
By work we are not thinking in terms of your securing a job and earning a living. A part of the responsibility of parents is that of providing the material resources needed until you reach maturity and independence. Even though you do not have a job that pays a salary, you still have work to do. Have you ever thought of your schoolwork in terms of your job as your parents think of their professions? Even at an early age you should recognize that you have a mission in life and that adequate preparation is necessary. Your Lord wants you to do your best, and your own heart hungers for the best.
V. You can honor your parents and bring great delight to their hearts by deciding for Christian conduct on all occasions.
In some respects it is much more difficult for a person to be genuinely Christian in this day and time than it was several decades ago. There are many voices that would invite you to walk in paths of pleasure that can produce nothing but pain and disappointment. The demands of the crowd will be with us as long as we live. Instead of letting the pressure of the crowd or the whim of the moment be the determining factor of your conduct, make Jesus Christ your Leader, Guide, and Helper in every circumstance.
These five practical suggestions have been offered for your consideration as you seek from day to day to be what God would have you to be. Your following these suggestions will cause your parents to rejoice, and you will accomplish far more in life than you would have if you had you made no firm decision concerning your responsibilities and opportunities within the home.
Title: The Experience of Zacchaeus
Scripture Reading: Luke 19:1 – 10
Zacchaeus was a publican, which meant that he collected taxes for the Romans in a certain area of his country. His cooperation with the Roman army and his profiteering at the expense of his fellow countrymen made him, like all the other publicans, hated by the people of his community.
One day it became known that Jesus was going to pass through Jericho on his way to Jerusalem. Since he was the most famous person in all of the country, everyone wanted to see him as he passed through. Zacchaeus heard that Jesus was coming, and like the others, he wanted to see this famous teacher and miracle worker who was considered by some to be the Son of God.
The crowds surrounding Jesus as he passed through Jericho were so great that Zacchaeus was at a great disadvantage, for he was a short man. He needed to think of a way to see Jesus.
Suddenly it occurred to Zacchaeus that if he were to climb up in a sycamore tree along the way by which Jesus was to come, he would be able to see Jesus without being harmed by the press of the crowd. Little did he realize what was in store for him.
Jesus was the Friend of sinners. His eyes were constantly open to see the needs of those about him. His ears were open to hear the heart cry of those who were lonely and distressed. His ministry was intended to be a blessing, not only to the good and innocent, but also to the guilty and the outcast. As Jesus approached the sycamore tree, he looked up and saw the rich publican perched on a limb looking down. Let us try to imagine some of the thoughts that passed through the mind of Zacchaeus.
I. Zacchaeus thought, “He sees me.”
Never had Zacchaeus felt so conspicuous as he did when Jesus lifted his loving eyes with penetrating insight and looked up to see Zacchaeus sitting on a limb. Zacchaeus was shocked and embarrassed and wished that he could disappear.
Did it ever occur to you that Jesus also sees you? He sees you right now. He saw you yesterday. His loving eye was upon you a year ago. He sees the secret unspoken thoughts of your mind. He sees the emotions that surge through your heart.
II. Zacchaeus thought, “He knows me.”
As Jesus looked up and saw Zacchaeus, he called him by name and said, “Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house” (Luke 19:5). It could be that they had met before. It could be that Zacchaeus had attended the banquet that Matthew had had following his conversion (Luke 5:29). It is possible that Zacchaeus had been present on some occasions when Jesus had spoken and someone had informed Jesus concerning who he was. Zacchaeus was overwhelmed with the thought, “He knows me.” Jesus knew his name.
Did it ever occur to you that Jesus knows you? He knows your birthday. He knows the grades that you make at school. He knows your middle name. He knows your nickname. He knows everything about you.
III. Zacchaeus thought, “He loves me.”
Most of the people in Jericho hated Zacchaeus. They would not walk down the street with him or invite him into their homes. They treated him as a traitor to his country. He could see hate in their eyes and on their faces.
There was something in Jesus’ face and in his tone of voice that warmed the heart of Zacchaeus. He rejoiced in the assurance of God’s love for him.
Are you aware that Jesus loves you in spite of the fact that in many ways you are unlovely and unlovable? He loves you to the extent that he was willing to die on the cross for your sins. He loves you and wants you to let him come into your heart so that he can bestow upon you the blessings of God. He will always love you, not because of your loveliness, but because God is love.
IV. Zacchaeus thought, “He wants me.”
Zacchaeus rushed to get down from the limb of the sycamore tree. With great haste and joy he led Jesus to his home. During their conversation Zacchaeus was overwhelmed with the thought that despite the fact that he sees me and knows all about me, he still loves me and wants me. He found this difficult to believe.
Are you aware that Jesus not only sees you and knows you but that he also loves you and wants you?
V. Zacchaeus decided, “He can have me.”
Zacchaeus was fortunate that he was short, for this led him to climb the sycamore tree to see Jesus. Jesus saw Zacchaeus, knew him, loved him, and wanted him.
Zacchaeus made the wisest decision of his life when he decided to turn his heart, home, life, and business over to the will of God. He made Jesus his Lord, and Jesus said to him, “This day is salvation come to this house.” Zacchaeus determined to live a life of honesty and kindness and charity toward others (Luke 19:9).
You would be wise to follow the example of Zacchaeus in his decision to let Jesus Christ have first place in his heart and life. You can be certain that Zacchaeus never regretted his decision. And you can be certain that you will never regret your decision to let Jesus Christ be your Lord and Leader in your life.
Title: “Speak, Lord, for Thy Servant Heareth”
Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 3:1 – 10
God’s dealings with us are always wonderful. There is something both mysterious and miraculous about the way in which God speaks to the hearts of people.
The Scripture that we have read describes how God communicated with a boy who was eventually to become a great prophet and a great leader of his people. There are several interesting things in this story that are profitable for your consideration.
I. Samuel was living away from his parents (1 Sam. 2:11, 18, 26; 3:1).
Samuel had been given to his parents in response to his mother’s prayer for a child. His mother, above all things, had desired the privilege of being a mother. She prayed earnestly for a child, and God heard her prayer. In gratitude she dedicated Samuel to the Service of God. He began his training at a very early age in the temple Service.
God may speak to you in your home. He can also speak to you when you are away from home, at church, or while you are at school or camp.
II. God spoke to Samuel while he was just a child (1 Sam. 3:1).
We cannot know exactly what Samuel’s age was when the voice of God came to him. He could have been ten or fifteen or possibly eighteen. The significant thing is that God spoke to him while he was still a child. Some think that God speaks only to those who are mature. Others insist that God speaks only through the aged. If God spoke to Samuel while he was but a youth, it follows that God will speak to boys and girls and young men and young women today.
III. The voice of God came to Samuel in the silence of the night (1 Sam. 3:3).
Perhaps Samuel heard God speak to him in the silence of the night because he was too busy during the day to hear God’s voice. The psalmist said, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10)
A. God always speaks softly. He never raises his voice. He never shouts or screams at us. He speaks with a still, small voice that can be heard only by those who seek the nearness and the silence of communion with him in prayer and meditation.
B. God always speaks personally. His messages to us are directed to our individual needs.
IV. Samuel did not recognize the voice of God immediately.
A. The first time God spoke (1 Sam. 3:4).
B. The second time God spoke (1 Sam. 3:6).
C. The third time God spoke (1 Sam. 3:8).
D. The fourth time God spoke (1 Sam. 3:10).
Did it ever occur to you that God has been seeking to speak to your heart? Is it possible that you have not heard him?
V. Samuel needed help to recognize and understand the voice of God.
All of us do.
A. Many times parents can help you recognize and understand the voice of God as he speaks to you.
B. Your Bible teacher who seeks to lead you in a study of the Bible can help you to understand God’s message to your heart.
C. Your pastor would help you to understand and to respond to God’s message for your heart.
D. Most of us have friends whom God can use to help us understand his message.
VI. God continues to speak to those who will listen.
A. God speaks to those who study the Bible.
B. God speaks through the message of your pastor as he preaches.
C. God speaks to you through the singing of hymns and songs and choruses.
D. God speaks to you with a still small voice by the Holy Spirit.
You would be very wise to respond as did Samuel to the voice of God. He responded by saying, “Speak; for thy servant heareth.” God will speak of his love, God will speak of his plan for your life. God will speak of the help that he wants to provide you. God will speak of his hopes of what can be accomplished through your life if you will hear and heed his Word and cooperate with his purpose for you.
Title: “The Lord Will Do Wonders among You”
Text: Joshua 3:5
Joshua was Moses’ chief assistant. When it came time for a new leader to take over following the death of Moses, Joshua was the man charged with that responsibility. In his first message to the people, he made a statement to which every young person could listen with great profit. As his people faced the difficulties of the future, he challenged them by saying, “Sanctify yourselves: for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you” (Josh. 3:5). Joshua believed that God wanted to accomplish wonderful things through the people with whom he lived and worked. We can make the same assumption today.
I. The mystery of tomorrow.
No one knows what tomorrow holds. Someone has calculated that if you could correctly predict the future for five minutes, you could soon make a fortune by investing in the stock market. If you knew the future for five minutes, you could buy stocks before they went up in price and sell them immediately before they decreased. No one can predict accurately the future even for five minutes.
A. Tomorrow can be exciting.
B. Tomorrow can be challenging.
C. Tomorrow can be sad and tragic.
D. Tomorrow can be filled with achievements and honors.
E. Tomorrow can be filled with fears and frustrations.
F. Tomorrow can be filled with failure and disgrace.
II. The meaning for today.
“Sanctify yourselves.” Joshua challenged the people to recognize that their tomorrow was wrapped up in the decisions of today. The word sanctify means to dedicate oneself to a purpose and then voluntarily discipline oneself in order to achieve that purpose. Joshua was challenging them to dedicate themselves to their God and to his will for their lives.
A. Have you dedicated yourself to Jesus Christ and to his will for your life?
B. Have you dedicated yourself to a life of purity, honesty, and truthfulness in all relationships?
C. Have you dedicated yourself to a program of study that will prepare you for academic achievement in the future? You have not lived long enough yet to witness the tragedy of one being forced to drop out of college because he had neglected to apply himself while in junior high or high school.
D. Your tomorrow is wrapped up in the decisions of today. Your destiny tomorrow will be determined by the fork of the road you choose today.
III. The Lord can do wonders in and through you.
A. God will give to each one (who decides to live the life of faith and faithfulness) the gift of spiritual life.
B. David faced Goliath the giant with faith and courage because he had dedicated himself to God (1 Sam. 17:37). Both his mind and his muscle were dedicated to his God.
C. John’s gospel (6:1 – 14) tells us of the boy who shared his lunch of five barley loaves and two small fish with Jesus so that he could multiply it to feed the multitudes. History is filled with illustrations of those who presented their loaves and fish to Jesus Christ. He blessed them and multiplied them and accomplished great wonders through them.
God is a wonder worker. He will do wonders in your life tomorrow if you dedicate yourself to him today honestly and sincerely. Dedicate yourself to doing your best today, and with God’s help, wonderful things will happen in your life and through your life tomorrow.
The reading of the Scriptures is preventive medicine.
The Bible is God’s love letter to us.
Following every Calvary, there is an Easter Sunday.
Faith is like a muscle that grows stronger as it is exercised.
“Expect great things from God! Attempt great things for God!” (William Carey)
Gratitude is the memory of the heart.
Happiness is not a destiny but a way of life.
You cannot kill time without injuring eternity.
Nothing good is easy.
The sun never rises in hell.
Time is the womb of eternity.
Human goodness is no substitute for divine righteousness.
Destruction is more rapid than construction.
Hell is an eternal lament.
God does not want your Service out of fear but out of love.
The grace of God runs faster than human transgression.
The God who made the heavens will stoop and dry our tears.
Idleness destroys happiness and corrodes the moral nature.
Our first great duty is to find the work in which we can be the most.
Atheism breeds anarchy as like begets like.
A seeking soul can never be hid from Jesus.
Christless marriages lead to godless homes and often to lawless divorces.
No man can do Christ’s work except in Christ’s way.
The wages of soul winners are sure, and they are paid in the coinage of eternal life.
A clean heart will clarify the mind.
Perfect love casts out selfishness.
Christ, the Timeless One, had no time to waste.
An ounce of experience is worth a ton of theory.
What people think of Christ reveals what they are themselves.
A life that has no Christian roots cannot yield Christian fruits.