Sermon Notes (Page 11)

“Different, Same, All Need Grace” I Corinthians 1:10-17

We are all different. We are all the same. We all need grace. That’s the message of World Communion Sunday.
We live in a great big world. This summer, when Jennifer and I were fortunate to attend the Baptist World Alliance meeting in South Africa, I was reminded of how different people are. As part of the worship service on Saturday, everyone received communion which was led by the outgoing and incoming Presidents of the BWA. The outgoing president was a white Virginian John Upton; the incoming President is Paul Msiza, a black South African pastor. All around me receiving the bread and the cup were people of many nations; 80 countries were represented. Nigerian women wore their native dress. Many others from the African continent wore bright colors. Europeans, Asians, Australians, South Americans, and of course North Americans took the bread, the cup and remembered the death of our Savior. We were all reminded that Christ died for all, that we, even though we were different, were all the same, and that everyone was in need of God’s grace.
People were not sent to specific areas of the arena to receive communion. We were not separated by kingdoms, because only one kingdom mattered and that was the Kingdom of God. To my right was a lady from South Africa. Diagonally behind us were folks from South Korea. Australians were two rows in front of us; Germans and Austrians were diagonally to my right. Americans were across the aisle from us to the left. We celebrated God’s great love for us as a family. “For God so loved the WORLD, that He gave his only begotten Son.” For God so loved all nations, that He gave his only begotten Son. This Jesus was not intended to be an exclusive Savior; he came for everyone. Different, same, all need grace.

“Give Your Life Away on Purpose” Matthew 6:19-24


The purpose of life is to give our lives away. Give your life away on purpose. If the greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and the second is like the first, to love our neighbor as ourself, then to express our love for God, we have to love people, and the way we love people is by giving. Giving our time to someone who is lonely. Giving our ear to someone who is hurting. Giving our resources to help somebody.
Did you know that in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, one out of every six verses deals with money? Of the 29 parables Christ told, 16 deal with a person and money; more than half of Jesus’ parables reference our possessions. About our New Testament Lesson, Augustine said, “Where your pleasure is, there is your treasure; where your treasure is, there is your heart; where your heart is, there is your happiness.”
Self-absorption, self-seeking, and self-serving ambitions are all contradictory to the Christian life. Why is the self-help book section at Barnes and Nobles so crowded? Because people continue to seek ways to help themselves; self-reliance is overrated.

“Jesus Christ, The Door to Life” John 11:17-27

Three friends were discussing death and one of them asked, “What would you like people to say about you at your funeral?”
The first of the friends said, “I would like them to say, he was a great humanitarian, who cared about his community.”
The second said, “He was a great husband and father, who was an example for many to follow.”
The third friend said, “I would like them to say, ‘Look, he’s moving!!'”
(ChristianGlobe Illustrations, Brett Blair, ChristianGlobe Networks, Inc., 2002)
Our New Testament passage begins with the announcement that a funeral had already occurred for one of Jesus’ closest friends. Today is the last in the sermon series, “Jesus Christ the Door.” For the past few weeks, we have been focusing on some of Jesus’ “I am” statements found in the Gospel of John. We have concentrated on Jesus’ statements, “I am the Bread of Life which has come down from heaven”; “I am the light of the world”; “I am the door”; “I am the Good Shepherd.” “I am the way, the truth and the life.” All the previous “I am” statements are summed up in today’s text, “I am the resurrection and the life.”

“Jesus Christ: The Door to Listening and Learning” John 14:1-6

Listen and learn. Some people are visual learners; they see something or read something, and learning happens. Perhaps see and learn or read and learn would describe this process. Others are experiential learners; the phrase “experience is the best teacher” illustrates those who learn by doing. Do and learn would describe this process. When we read the gospels, we sometimes forget that what was occurring was happening in real time without any idea of an outcome. We chastise the bone-headed disciples because of their blundering actions when they should have known better. How could they not trust Jesus when they knew that he was always going to take care of them? When Jesus spoke to the disciples or to any individual or group, his words had power. But just because Jesus said something, a person did not learn. Words had power when the hearer owned them, made them their own.
Every day teachers talk and hope that what they say results in learning. Teachers cannot make students learn, and just because teachers are talking does not insure that students are learning.

“Jesus Christ, The Door to Leadership” John 10:11-18

The subject of leadership is one that we cannot take lightly. Leadership plays a central and critical role in life and ministry; leadership guru John Maxwell said, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” This is true at a personal level, the family/home level, the community level, the church level, and any governmental level. Leadership is a subject of value since each one of us is a leader; turn to your neighbor and tell them, “You are a leader.”
Today is the third sermon in this sermon series, Jesus Christ the Door. We have focused on Jesus Christ the Door to Light and Jesus Christ the Door to Liberty. Jesus Christ the Door to Leadership opens a way for us to understand what God desires to see in leadership and provides the model of good and godly leadership.

“Jesus Christ: The Door to Liberty” John 10:1-19

John 10:1-19 Ezekiel 34:11-17                                          Madison Baptist

August 23, 2015                                                                   Charles R. Smith

           When we hear the word liberty, many words or images come to mind.   The predominant picture found on Google images for the word “liberty” is the Statue of Liberty. For many, a church or school is our first thought: Liberty University or Liberty Baptist Church. For most, we equate liberty with freedom, a concept that we as Baptists cherish, since it was the Baptists who championed religious freedom in America in the 1700s. We should never take liberty for granted. We often hear or say, “Freedom is not free,” and then reference the many men and women who have given their lives for our freedoms. Our salvation was also bought with a price: the death of God’s Son, so we know that Jesus Christ is the door to liberty.

“Jesus Christ: The Door to Light” John 8:12-20

John 8:12-20                                                                     Madison Baptist

August 16, 2015                                                               Charles R. Smith

Because of the generosity of our Planned Giving Committee and a favorable stock market, Jennifer and I were able to go to South Africa last month. For half a week, we participated in the Baptist Convention of South Africa’s HIV/AIDS ministry; the second half of the week, we attended the Baptist World Congress. Founded in 1905, the Baptist World Alliance is the global organization for Baptists composed of 232 conventions, associations, and unions from 121 countries and territories. The Baptist World Congress meets every five years; there were more than 80 countries represented at the meeting we attended, and the theme of the conference was “Jesus Christ the Door.” On Sunday night, August 30, Jennifer and I will make presentation about our trip and highlight both the mission work and the Baptist World Congress.

In our society, Jesus Christ is often misunderstood; that’s really not a big surprise, since certainly when Jesus walked around Palestine, he was misunderstood. Over the next few Sundays, we will be focusing on “Jesus Christ the Door.” Today our focus is on Jesus Christ: The Door to Light. The next few sermons will examine Jesus Christ as The Door to Liberty; The Door to Leadership; The Door to Listening and Learning; and The Door to Life.

“Partaking of Our Daily Bread” John 6:35, 41-51

John 6:35, 41-51                                                                        Madison Baptist

August 9, 2015                                                                           Charles R. Smith

Before we read the text for this morning, I am going to ask you to do something a little different. I want you to listen to the reading not with a heart of faith, but with a skeptical mind. We have the luxury of reading the Scripture knowing the outcome; we know that Jesus lived, “suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried, the third day he arose from the dead,” to quote the Apostle’s Creed. We know how the story ends. But those who listened to Jesus as he spoke these words had no clue as to how his story would end. They had no idea what would transpire later in his ministry. As I read the text, if it helps, imagine that you do not know that Jesus is anything else but a teacher, for that is how the crowd identified him. Imagine that you are in the crowd when Jesus is talking. You have no clue about how his life will unfold. You don’t know what the future holds. You are a first century person who has just been introduced to him. And while you are in the crowd, Jesus says,          [Read John 6:35, 41-51]

Pretty incredible isn’t it for someone to make such claims as being the Bread of Life that has come down directly from heaven. What if later today, you were introduced to someone, and that someone said, “Hi, I am the bread of life. I am the bread that has come down from heaven.” You would look at your friend who just introduced you to this person and you would say, “I’m sorry, what did he just say?” Anyone who seriously made such claims would easily be labeled a kook, a nut, certifiable.