Sermons by “Rev. John R. Larson”

Last Things = First Things

All around us we are given notice that there will come a day when the world will end and Christ will return to judge the living and the dead.  There will be signs in nature, “There will be earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.”  (Luke 21:11) There will signs about how people act with each other. People will become increasingly selfish, proud, abusive, disobedient, slanderous and the like.  (See II Timothy 3:1-9) And the signs of His return will be seen within the church. There will be false prophets, false teachings, false lives, and within the church the love of many will grow cold.

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Of A Country But Not Of This World

You are not of this world. This world does not direct your life. You have a higher calling; you have a greater purpose. In John’s first letter he contrasts the believer with the one who isn’t, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” (I John 2:15-17)

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Families Really Matter

This is also the day to be forgiven and to give forgiveness.  A family has to be a place of grace. We offer to others what has not been earned.  We receive from others what we have no right to ask. Grace. Forgiveness. What a great gift to give to your own flesh and blood.  No more grudges. No more bitterness. Love, forgiveness, kindness are offered instead. We receive forgiveness freely from Jesus and we share it freely with others.

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What About Women?

Beauty isn’t found in that person who only has the perfect smile, the perfect face, the perfect shape.  Look for beauty that goes to her bones, that lives in her soul. In that section from Proverbs 31 it tells us, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”  (Proverbs 31:30)

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Our Namesake

“There’s work to be done!!” That is what the angels were saying to them. The Ascension tells us that the church of Jesus has a purpose to life. You have a purpose. I have a purpose. This church has a purpose. Rick Warren, a pastor in California, wrote the book The Purpose Driven Life, and his question throughout the book is ‘Why in the world am I here?’ That’s a question that every person, and especially every person who caries this namesake of the Ascension, must answer.

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Good Questions

Never tire of seeking God.  Never think you know everything about Him.  Have a passion for knowing more and more of God’s truth.  Jesus says this about spiritual growth, “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.  But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.  He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking what is mine and making it known to you.”  (John 16:12-14)

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Sheep or Goats?

Sheep listen.  They trust.  They follow.  They take Jesus, the Good Shepherd, at His word.  But goats don’t.  They live in unbelief.  They do not pay attention to what God says.  They don’t trust, nor do they follow God.  When the crowd ganged up on Jesus and said, “How long will you keep us in suspense?  If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”  Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe.  The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.”  (John 10:24-26)

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Against All Odds

Against all odds God kept on defying what should have happened. With their mouths wide open in amazement, we hear the song of Moses and his sister, Miriam, “Your right hand, O Lord, was majestic in power. Your right hand, O Lord, shattered the enemy. Who among the gods is like you, O Lord? Who is like you – majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?” (Exodus 15:6 and 11). Just previous to this they formed a duet to sing, “The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God and I will praise him, my father’s God and I will exalt him.” (Verse 2)

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Angus Dei

In the end, at the very end, blood was all Jesus had. His disciples had deserted him. His garments had been gambled away. Even his Father had turned his back. Blood was all Jesus had, but the blood of Jesus is all we need. The blood of Jesus is all we need!

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Love Language

But there is a greater love language than you telling God how much you need Him. The greater language is God telling you that He wants you to know His works that bring His salvation.
Love is costly. Love demands much from you. Love will mean that you will be inconvenienced for another. Love demands sacrifice. Love places another, or others, before you. When the Bible says that “God so loved the world…” He knew about the cost of love. Jesus has shown God’s love for us. Jesus is God’s language of deep love.

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