Bethel Mennonite Church is a small conservative congregation in south west Virginia. This podcast includes all of our weekly sermons.
Trusting God With Your Treasure - Leon Yoder
Matthew 6:19-34 – So, what is a treasure? A dictionary would say it is wealth, money, jewels, stored up. Something of great worth and value. For this message we’ll say, a treasure is “that which is valued most, desired most, is most dear to us.”
Earthly treasure is temporary. It will perish. There are many people who can tell stories about great material losses, some of them very suddenly.
In contrast, heavenly treasure is very secure! No moths, no rust, no fading, it is reserved in heaven for you.
All of us, along with every other person on the earth, are laying up treasure somewhere. We all work towards various goals. What are we trying to get?
How tragic would it be for someone to reach their goals and but found at the end that it was all for nothing. What a tragic ending that would be.
Matthew 16:24-26 – Would a man sell his eternal soul for all the money in the world? Many would… and sadly enough many do for much less.
Things will not give us happiness, or lengthen our life, or give us eternal life. This is the crux of what Jesus is saying, your treasures should be in heaven, a much better place to store your life investments.
Another reason that the place you are putting your treasure is important is that your heart follows your treasure. Our hearts often go to it, we set our goals, we make our choices, according to where we are putting our treasure.
Luke 12:33 – The only true treasure is Jesus, the Kingdom of Heaven, the joy of salvation, our sins forgiven, and an obedient life of service to God.
There are many issues here that we need to grapple with. A “treasure test” might help us to know where we are. Here are some things that are true of those who’s treasure in heaven.
* Their material things are used for things of the Kingdom
* Their material things are God’s and they are responsible to Him for how things are used
* Earthly things held loosely
* If a financial calamity occurs can we say, blessed be the name of the Lord!
Jesus was concerned about wrong attitudes and wrong trust and dependence on material things.
No one can serve two masters. You cannot serve God and money. How is your focus? Are you focused on Christ and the Kingdom of God? Or are you focused on the size of your bank account?
If we have invested our lives and devotions to heavenly treasures. We could wonder, will I be able to feed myself and my children? God says here, “don’t worry, I know about all the things that you need.”
If God takes care of the birds and the flowers… can He not take care of you too? The ungodly wish and long and worry about things that are more than what they need.
Scriptures used – Matthew 6:19-34, Matthew 16:24-26, 1 John 3:17, 1 Timothy 6:17, Proverbs 6:6-8
Keeping the Right Focus When Church is in a Lurch - Gabriel Yoder
Distractions are everywhere. Have you ever started on something, got half way and then got hung up on some details?
The enemy is constantly looking for ways to defeat the work that God is doing in the local church. We must not miss what Christ has for the church because the church itself is in the way.
We are to be actively living out the Christian life. It can be a natural tendency during tough times to be discouraged and wore down. When we are in that state it is much harder to encourage our brothers and sisters and can ultimately effect our church work.
Galatians 6:9 – In the midst of everything we must keep our eyes on Christ, and not loose heart.
Hebrews 12:11-15 – Even in the middle of chastening and pain, we are called to continue to strengthen each other and encourage each other. Do you ever feel like you just don’t have the strength to keep on?
When Peter walked on the water, Jesus didn’t stop the storm to make it possible for Peter to walk on water. The miracle was that Jesus allowed Peter to walk on the waves, in the midst of the storm. When we are in the midst of uncertain times, it is more important than ever to keep our eyes on Christ.
We can also tend to think only about how these things around us affect me. If we can ponder and recognize that everything is about us it can really make a huge difference in numerous ways.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – You are not your own. You were bought at a price. When we say “yes” to Jesus we also must say “no” to ourselves. Trading myself and my sin and my death problem for eternal life… it is only reasonable to give all of our life to Him!
1 Corinthians 1:1-9 – Paul makes it clear that there was a lot right in the Corinth church in spite of the problems they had. He lifted them up not because of what they had done, but because of what the Lord had done through them.
We should practice speaking Christ’s blessing over each other. Just like Paul did here in Corinthians. Giving truth to fellow believers must not be done without love.
It is normal for us to want people to just see things our way.
1 Corinthians 2:1-5 – Paul consistently wanted to help people look for and see Christ. Paul determined to only know “Christ, and Him crucified.”
Truly life is not about us. It is all about our Creator, He deserves every bit of our life.
Scriptures used – Galatians 6:9, Hebrews 12:11-15, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Romans 12:1, 1 Corinthians 1:1-9, 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, Hebrews 12:2
Grace & Works - Delvin Yoder
God has a reason for salvation, and grace needs to be worked out and expressed in the way that we live. A new Christian can sleep well at night, his sins are forgiven, he can be secure in God’s grace. Yes, there are things to do, but he can rest in Christ.
We as humans have a pretty small role to play, but there is an element of choice that God gives to us. God gives us the “want to” and the “doing” to live a life of holiness and continued growing.
Jesus wants us to have an affect on the world around us. Our life and our works should show His saving, and His walking/working power.
What are the “works” that the Bible talks about? The way we live our lives is a combination of all the works that we do. There are thoughts, and attitudes, and deeds, etc.
Humans are “doers” from the creation God had man “doing.” God made us to be doers, it is part of living under the King. Jesus taught us in the Lord’s Prayer to pray that God’s will would be implemented through us here on the earth.
Luke 23:39-43 – It helps to have motivation to do good things. We reinforce good behavior with things that motivate us. Scripture gives us some motivation for doing good works.
Hebrews 10:7 – Jesus life is an example of a life lived for others. He was caring, and loving and compassionate. His life was full of God honoring work. Jesus came to do God’s will.
Jesus sacrifice on the cross was a significant thing. Jesus in His death performed an incredible act of servitude and love. As participants in communion we should be inspired to obedience. It is because of grace that we can serve God acceptably.
Jesus is coming again, for the believer this is a huge motivation for living a life that is according to the pattern that is set for us in Scripture. Our citizenship is in heaven, we eagerly await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. Because of this, stand firm in the Lord.
Why are works work? Maybe this is a strange question, but why don’t they just flow naturally from the Christian? Aren’t they supposed to be fruits that’ll just pop out everywhere?
There is work for all of us. May Jesus give us grace to walk with Him and to be full of works which reflect His character.
Scriptures used – Luke 23:39-43, Hebrews 10:7, John 13, Hebrews 12, Philippians 3
3 Characteristics of Profitable, Useful Servants of Jesus - Leon Yoder
Philemon 1:1-25 – Onesimus, the slave of Philemon was suddenly gone. He didn’t show up, he had run away. Even before running away Onesimus was already a disappointment, he wasn’t a very good servant.
How might Paul and Onesimus connected in Rome? We don’t know. Did things get bad for Onesimus and he hit bottom and thought about Paul? There is a good chance that Onesimus remembered Paul from his visits to Philemon. Regardless of all the details, Onesimus became a Christian, and he returned to Philemon, the man who owned him.
Not only was Onesimus redeemed now, he became a useful servant.
* Dedicated – A useful servant of the Kingdom is dedicated, even unto death. Jesus came to be a servant, not to be served. Not like slaves to a conquered country, but a personal surrender to become a bond servant. Fully dedicated to service. A life of worship through action. Devoted first to God, serving for the love of Jesus our master.
* Perceptive – Do we see a field of service? When Paul wrote 1 Corinthians he was in Ephesus, he wanted to visit Corinth but he said he would stay in Ephesus for a time. Servants vary in how easily they recognize the work, but Paul saw opportunities for effective service all around him.
* Faithful – I’m yours God. This day is yours. I am yours. I am your servant. Wherever you find yourself, it is worship to serve the Father and the Kingdom where you are. Jesus was a faithful servant to His Heavenly Father. Paul was a faithful servant. Let us be faithful as well.
Scriptures used – Hebrews, Philippians, Philemon, 1 Corinthians, 2 Timothy 4, Ephesians 5:15, Luke 17:10
The Faithfulness of God to His People - Galen Yoder
2 Timothy 2 – When we talk about God being absolutely faithful we mean it is an absolute truth, it isn’t going to change. There is no circumstance or factor that changes this truth.
If we endure, we will also reign with Him.
God does have a plan for us, this plan is in the future, it is with Him, and it is beyond generous. If God is faithful (and He is) this is the kind of statement that should be able to get us through just about anything.
The Christian life, even with its blessings, will have difficulties as well. We are called to endurance, God will be faithful to take us through the difficult times.
God is Faithful in Guarding Us
God is not just faithful if we endure, He is also faithful to help us endure.
2 Thessalonians 3:1-5 – These verses talk about evil and wicked men, and the evil one. There is a prayer request here, that Paul and his companions would be delivered from evil men. Paul then goes on to state in verse three that whether or not they are delivered from the evil men, God will be faithful to strengthen and protect him and his companions.
Satan is limited in how he can attack us. Have you ever wondered how many times God has told Satan “no” on our behalf? If we could see that side of things, we would likely be more thankful and appreciative!
1 Corinthians 10:13 – God is doing his part to make sure we can endure. He won’t allow Satan to push us past what we are able to endure.
God is faithful in guarding His children. He wants us to reign with Him.
God is Faithful in Forgiving Us
1 John 1:5-10 – John is probably somewhat older than he was when he was walking with Jesus around Galilee. John includes himself in verse 8 when he says “we all have sinned.” We all need continued washing from our sins, it can be counted on, if we confess our sins God is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins.
God will forgive those who confess and are repentant. Even in the Old Testament there are examples of really wicked men who turned to God and repented and God was moved to forgive them.
The daily work of the blood of Jesus is another way that God is faithful to us.
God is Faithful in Sustaining Us
1 Corinthians 1:4-9 – God doesn’t get distracted or loose interest in His “projects” (us). He will sustain us to the end. Paul is confident that the Corinthians would be sustained and presented faultless before the throne.
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, Philippians 1:6 – If we are serious about growing in godliness, God is faithful to continue the work in His children.
The View from the Cross - Delvin Yoder
Grace is what God does… faith, belief, these are the things that are part of our “mustard seed” response to God’s offer. If we respond in faith it results in a “new birth” or the “beginning of the salvation journey.”
One thing that is a common thread between the newest most immature babe in Christ, and the most mature, gray-haired, lifelong, pious, saint, a sense of unworthiness and indebtedness to Christ.
Hebrews 12:1-3 – Why Jesus went to the cross in a nutshell… He had grace on His mind, He had us on His mind. The cross was a horrible Roman instrument of torture and shame. For Christians, though it is a very different thing now, it is now a symbol of grace and redemption.
Philippians 2:1-11 – Jesus, God’s only son, planned and chose to submit Himself to death… even death on a cross. We don’t understand totally all the details of why, but we do know that Jesus did it voluntarily. From the very foundations of the world, Jesus planned to offer Himself as a sacrificial lamb on the cross.
Satan must have thought that things were going according to plan during the week leading up to Easter. The disciples were in flight, the leaders of Israel were becoming more and more belligerent in their hatred for Jesus. Everything was looking “really good” from satans perspective. Obviously, and thankfully, he turned out to be wrong…
Why death on a cross? It was one of the worst ways for a person to die in those days, it was the “best” that Satan could come up with. Yet Jesus chose to accept death in this terrible way.
John 12:32 – Jesus was looking down from the cross, looking to lift the people he was seeing up, looking to lift us up.
There were two men crucified with Jesus. They were very real men, they had real feelings, and they were facing real consequences for things they had done. They were being punished for the kind of life they had been living.
We need grace for life. God’s grace was poured out in a huge measure that day on the cross. We want to be thankful people for Him and what He did and does in our life.
Did you ever stop to think that God is going to be as pleased to have you with Him in Heaven as you are to be there? – A. W. Tozer