Sermons by “Rev. John R. Larson”

Do You Still Have It?

But if you are someone who has it, you can’t keep it.  At least not just for yourself. Hope is not something to be greedy with.  We are just a few weeks away from Christmas and you’ll be hearing the song of the angels the night Christ was born a few times in these next 17 days, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”  (Luke 2:14 KJV) The news of God’s great revelation in Jesus is ours, we hold it in faith. And it also shows itself in good-will toward others. Hope is both held and shared.

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A Thief or a Lord

Is Jesus a thief, or a Lord?  I guess He’s both. He is a thief.  He will surprise the entire world on the day when He returns.  For many people His return is unexpected. For those who have not repented of their sins, who have not looked inside to see how empty they are without God’s redemption in Jesus Christ, for those who haven’t looked in faith to Jesus and His death to cover all their sin, and His resurrection showing Him to be the Savior for eternity, they are unprepared.  The door is shut. The words, “I don’t know you” are spoken.

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The Gifts of the Rich

In many ways we are rich.  In so many ways, materially, we have more than we need.  In every way, spiritually, we are rich. We are graced. We are cleansed.  We are filled. We have hope. And we are folks who are filled with gifts to be given to others.  “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, to be generous and willing to share.”

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Options

We all have an option, will we live in faith, or not.  Israel answered it in the worst way. Paul, in the New Testament speaks of the option we are given, “For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.  They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.” (Galatians 5:17)

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Only One Future

Right here, in the midst of chaos, Jesus says something that is quite amazing, “At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.  When these things begin to take place, stand up, lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:27-28) Stand up? Lift up your heads? How about hiding?  How about running away? This is scary stuff, but Jesus promises that the future is going to be ok.

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The Most Important Verse in the Bible?

Everything that we are is to love God. He is first. He is most important. Nothing in all of our life should be more important than God. We are to have a passion for God. Our desire is to please Him, to do His will. Our passion for Him includes our intellect, our mind, our will, our personality – everything that makes us a person.

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The End of Tears

“Are they ok?” That is what we want to know when people have gone through the hard moments in life. Are they ok? Someone gets a sudden illness and their life is now changed. Are they ok? Someone has an accident and life in now different. Are they ok? Relationships among family change – a divorce has happened or a separation has occurred. Are they ok?

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Jesus, Jesus, Only Jesus

But the gospel is not just the news of a martyr, one who dies for a cause, it is the news of a Savior. Gospel is no gospel if Jesus isn’t living right now. If there was no resurrection on Easter Sunday we have no message, no hope – we’d just be a bunch of “do-gooders” living a religious fantasy. But the gospel is that Jesus died to remove the curse of our sin and that He rose and brought us everlasting life. Romans 10, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Verse 9)

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A Good Return

The reason for the gifts?  It must come out of response to everything that God has done for us.  When Paul is telling the Corinthians to “excel in this grace of giving” he says that the motive is the work of Jesus.  “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”  (II Corinthians 8:9) The word from Psalm 116 connects a giving heart from us to a giving heart from God. “How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.  I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.” (Psalm 116:12-14)

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Duty

I know that duty isn’t one of those great words – we would rather have words that choice and decisions and doing something for a much higher purpose, but duty is actually a great word. William Willimon has this great word about duty, “Have you ever been truly in love with someone? If you have, you’ll know what I’m talking about… Have you ever been so in love that you find yourself doing all sorts of things, many things you would have never done on your own, things that really bring you very little enjoyment in themselves, all because they reflect the wishes of the one whom you love? Someone once changed your diapers out of nothing more than love. Being a disciple is much like being in love.” (Pulpit Resource, October 4, 1998, Page 5)

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