Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Jesus Was Born For This

Jesus Was Born For This

Rev. Greg Schermerhorn – December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!  The angels declared the good news of the birth of our Savior to shepherds in the fields surrounding Bethlehem about 2000 years ago.  Jesus' birth is the cause for great celebration, today and every day.  But I want us to look past the presents and "seasonal" things to look at the true gift of Heaven by looking into what Jesus was really born to do and accomplish in His earthly existence.
Ephesians 2:8–9 (NKJV)
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Now, please allow me to present this passage to you from the Amplified translation of the Bible.  Read to what God’s Word says with the nuances of the original Greek text expanded into English:
Ephesians 2:8–9 (AMP)
For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God; Not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.]
It is hard to look at Christmas without looking toward the cross.  The virgin birth of Jesus is absolutely important and we gladly celebrate it with a willing world.  BUT, Jesus grew up!  In His humanity, Jesus grew into an adult to fulfill His role as the rejected Messiah of Israel so that He could become the Savior of the entire world.  This is the Jesus that our society rejects. 

Jesus stepped out of heaven and submitted Himself to the humiliation of becoming a human.  Yes, I said Jesus subjected Himself to the humiliation of wrapping Himself in human flesh. 
Philippians 2:5–7 (AMP)
Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:] Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained, But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being.
Jesus willingly became weak and frail.  He willingly took on all of the physical limitations you and I live with every day.  Jesus, the one who created the universe subjected Himself to becoming an infant.  He willingly became helpless and dependent upon others for everything. 

As an adult, Jesus would serve others instead of being served Himself.  He would demonstrate His love for others through His actions, right up to His final human act of willingly sacrificing His life through the cruelest form of death the world has ever known, called crucifixion. 
Philippians 2:8 (AMP)
And after He had appeared in human form, He abased and humbled Himself [still further] and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross!
Jesus was crucified after being nearly beaten to death with a Roman scourge.  And He did it without so much as a word of complaint or regret.

Passersby mocked Jesus while He hung on the cross.  They taunted Him, daring Him to save Himself and come down from the cross.  What a temptation that must have been for Jesus!  One of the greatest miracles Jesus ever performed during His earthly life is that He stayed on the cross.  One thought or, one word from Him, and a legion of angels would have come to His aid, if He had desired it.  The miracle is that Jesus loved us more!  As John 3:16 says:
John 3:16 (AMP)
For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.

Jesus loved us so much that He was willing to endure the torture, the pain, and bear the shame of our punishment to stay there on the cross and complete the task that He was born in human flesh to do.  Jesus was born to die!  The just for the unjust!
1 Peter 3:18a (AMP)
For Christ [the Messiah Himself] died for sins once for all, the Righteous for the unrighteous (the Just for the unjust, the Innocent for the guilty), that He might bring us to God.

But, PRAISE GOD!  This is NOT the end of the story!  On the third day after His death, Jesus rose from the dead, ALIVE!  You know the day I am telling you about.  We call it Easter Sunday!

Jesus fulfilled His task in becoming human.He lived a sinless life.
Jesus died as the final atonement or final sacrifice required by God the Father for remission of all of the sins of mankind for all time.Jesus then rose from the dead confirming His final victory over sin and death.

For the first time in human history, mankind was reconciled before God because of the sacrifice of Jesus' blood.  Salvation is open to ALL men, women, boys, and girls of every nationality, everywhere.  The good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ says that if you have faith to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, who lived a sinless life, died, and rose again from the dead to pay the penalty for your sins and that He alone can give you the free gift of eternal life, if you simply trust Him for it.  Then you shall be saved!

This is what Jesus was born to do!  He was born to die for me and for you!  Christmas is a celebration of the gift of heaven.  The reality of the gift of heaven is the free gift of salvation that Jesus has earned for you!  Jesus has done all of the work because you would never be able to do enough good to get to heaven on your own.
Romans 3:23 (NKJV)
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Jesus is the only sacrifice that God has found acceptable to pay for the sins we have committed in our lives.  John 14: 6 says:
John 14:6 (NKJV)
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

None of us will ever be worthy to enter heaven on our own merit or good works, no matter how good we are or how much we do to try to earn entrance.  We simply cannot earn our way to heaven.  We can only enter heaven through Jesus' righteousness.  That is His free gift to us.
Romans 6:23 (NKJV)
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Do you remember where we started this Christmas message? 
Ephesians 2:8-9 (AMP)
For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God; Not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.]
Eternal Life is the original Christmas present!  Jesus was born for seek and to save that which was lost.
Luke 19:10 (NKJV)
for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.

I am going to ask you some questions for you to answer to yourself.  Have you already received the gift of heaven?  Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus as your Savior?  Do you know FOR SURE that you will spend eternity with Him in heaven?  If you can’t answer “YES” to these questions, don’t despair because I’m speaking to you right now.  You CAN have a personal relationship with Jesus and you CAN KNOW FOR SURE that you will spend eternity with Him in heaven.  It really is as simple as having the faith to believe that Jesus is God’s Son, who lived a sinless life, died, and rose again from the dead to pay the penalty for YOUR sins and that HE ALONE can give you the free gift of eternal life, if you will simply trust Him for it.  If this is the intent of your heart, pray this sample prayer to the Lord:
Lord Jesus,
I know I'm a sinner and do not deserve eternal life, but I believe You stepped down from Heaven, lived a sinless life, died, and rose from the grave to pay the penalty for my sins and purchase a place in Heaven for me.  Lord Jesus, I ask forgiveness of my sins.  I am placing my trust in you alone for my eternal salvation, and I accept Your free gift of eternal life.  Lord Jesus, I want you to come into my heart and into my life as my Savior and Lord.  Thank you for saving my soul.  - Amen

If this prayer was the sincere desire of your heart, hear this promise of Jesus in John 6:47:
John 6:47 (NKJV)
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.

If you have made a decision to receive the gift of Heaven, please share it with us so we can rejoice with you in your new relationship with Jesus.   Also, so we can pray for you in your new walk of life.  If you don't know Jesus in a real and personal way as your Savior and Lord, please don't leave the gift of Heaven untouched under your Christmas tree this year.  It is truly a matter of eternal life or death.

Merry CHRISTmas to you and your family!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thanksgiving to God for His Faithfulness

Thanksgiving to God for His Faithfulness
 by Rev. Greg Schermerhorn – November 24, 2013

Rick and Greg Schermerhorn 1969
My soul longs, yes, even faints For the courts of the Lord; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.(Ps. 84:1) You have clothed me with skin and flesh and have knit me together with bones and sinews. You have granted me life and favor, and Your providence has
Greg & Lee Schermerhorn at Greg's Ordination Service
preserved my spirit.(Job 10:11-12) For You did form my inward parts; You did knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will confess and praise You for You are fearful and wonderful and for the awful wonder of my birth! Wonderful are your
works, and that my inner self knows right well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was being formed in secret [and] intricately and curiously wrought [as if embroidered with various colors] in the depths of the earth [a region of darkness and mystery]. Your
eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days [of my life] were written before ever they took shape, when as yet there was none of them. How precious and weighty also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!(Ps. 139:13-17)...Thank you, Lord for
the life you have given to me! Thank you for my parents, Rick & Lee, my brother Brian, and my sister Beth! Thank you for my wonderful wife, Kate! Thank you for my extended family... my in-laws and my many nephews and nieces. Thank you for my church family and friends, some as
close as a brother. I praise you, Lord for your blessings on this my birthday.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Praying for Revival

Praying for Revival
by Rev. Greg Schermerhorn – October 24, 2013

We hear many people, both pastors, evangelists, and lay people alike, talk about revival.  But, what is revival?  In like manner, we also hear the term "spiritual awakening" used, frequently in conjunction with the word revival.  We certainly need to be praying for both revival and spiritual awakening, but we also need to know what we are asking the Lord to perform in our lives, in the life of our "church", and in the lives of people in our communities...our families, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc.
Revival is the sovereign work of God among His people that draws them closer to Himself and restores, renews, and refreshes the depth and intensity of the relationship.  Revival is initiated by the Lord in the heart of the individual believer.  It has nothing to do with "revival meetings" or other external forces, save the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer as revival can only occur in the life of a believer in Jesus Christ.

Spiritual awakening is the sovereign work of God among those who do not believe in Jesus as their Savior to bring them to a point of saving faith in Him.  Spiritual awakening can be the result of many different influences, so no one factor can be cited except that the Holy Spirit was involved in the process.  Many other factors could have played a part in the spiritual awakening of a man, woman, or child.  It could have been the Scriptures themselves without any assistance from mankind.  As the Bible says in Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV)
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The seeds of spiritual awakening could have been planted by the fervent prayers of righteous people over the years.
James 5:16b (NKJV)
The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
It could have been the personal testimony of a friend or loved one.  Or the testimony of the lifestyle and actions of a believer living out their life that made an impact.  The point is this, the Holy Spirit of God is the one who orchestrates the conviction of sin in the life of a sinner who must then choose how to respond to that conviction.  They can respond by hardening their heart and turning away from God, or they can respond in repentance by asking Jesus to be their Savior.  This is spiritual awakening, the realization of a person that they are hopelessly lost in sin and facing eternal damnation because they don't know Jesus Christ.  Then they can respond to Jesus and receive His gift of salvation and eternal life.

As Christians, we have failed to stand upon the truth of the Scriptures.  Just look at the moral decay in our American society!  Look at the despicable things that are considered "normal" and "acceptable" today.  Abortion is more than okay today, it is encouraged!  Adultery is more than okay today, it is encouraged!  Homosexuality is more than okay today, it is encouraged!  Lying is more than okay today, it is encouraged!  Our American society is reeling from the mantras of "If it feels good, do it!" and existential philosophies like "The ends justify the means."  These  mantras fly in the face of a holy God who said:
1 Peter 1:15–16 (NKJV)
but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
Where are God's people?  Why have we allowed things to go so far in this nation of ours?  We were not called to sit idly by while America crumbles in moral decay all around us!  We have been called to stand on the TRUTH of Scripture and to oppose sin.  Why should we allow sin to be crammed down our throats?  Why should we allow Christianity to be persecuted on these shores?  Why should we allow our nation's Christian history to be rewritten?  Well folks, it's being done right now before our very eyes without hardly a whimper from the Christians of this nation.  Why?  I suspect that the Christianity of many of our countrymen has been too Americanized to allow them to act.  You see, the Americanized version of Christianity allows for any "Christian" to be "excused" from doing anything that makes them feel uncomfortable or takes up too much time.  Things like praying, attending church when it interferes with a ballgame, or when you want to sleep in because you stayed out drinking the night before is okay in Americanized Christianity.  In Americanized Christianity, we are "all inclusive", so we are willing to have a look and feel more like the world so you won't feel uncomfortable in church.  You also won't have to worry about those uncomfortable messages about sin or hell either because we will only talk (not preach) about positive and uplifting things in our services because we are here to cater to you.  In Americanized Christianity, we have forgotten about God and wouldn't know what to do if the Holy Spirit showed up in one of our services...He might disrupt our time schedule and we can't have that!
Too many Christians, churches, and denominations have forgotten that JESUS is supposed to be the focus of our worship!  I'm an SBC pastor and I am speaking to SBC folks too.  We need to abandon this idea that Christianity is easy, that we can cater to every whim, and that we can be like the world without becoming tainted by it.  We can't be the light in the world if we are trying to be like the darkness.  The ends DO NOT justify the means.  We are lacking prayer in our churches, which is probably indicative of a lack of personal prayer time in our lives.  If we want to truly see revival in ourselves and our churches, as well as, spiritual awakening in our communities, the prayer time MUST START WITH US!  We must pray with confidence and boldness before the Lord knowing that He can and will hear us.  This is a prayer that is in accord with His will in Heaven and on Earth (Matt. 6:10).  This is a prayer that needs to be heartfelt and continual before the Lord, until He tells us to stop praying for revival and spiritual renewal or He answers our prayer.

To help us pray for revival and spiritual renewal, I have added below the FIRST day of the ARISE 30 Day Prayer Challenge from the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, courtesy of Dr. Chris Schofield.  You can download a complete 30 day copy of the ARISE prayer guide, in .pdf format, directly from this link:

ARISE 30 Day Prayer Challenge:

Most rearview mirrors have a disclaimer attached that says, “Objects in this mirror are closer than they appear.” I used to have a sticky note attached to my calendar that read, “Events on this calendar are closer than you think.” A good dose of reality is always helpful to jolt us back to the real priorities and circumstances in which we live. For many centuries (700 BC-100 AD), the city of Sardis in Asia Minor had a rich history and name for being a luxurious and highly fortified city. Its location served the notion well since any approaching army would, at first glance, not welcome the opportunity to lay siege to a city with three sides being cliffs and only one side approachable. The inhabitants of Sardis also believed their city was easily defendable and impregnable. Appearance is sometimes deceiving, as was evidently true concerning Sardis. The city was conquered several times throughout its history and destroyed by an earthquake in AD 17 – so much for being impregnable.

The church at Sardis (see Revelation 3:1-6) also needed a good dose of reality. It evidently had a reputation for being a spiritually “alive” congregation. In reality, it was “dead.” The Lord knew that the church’s reputation was only an outward sign with no real evidence of a genuine inward spiritual life. How this death came about was not the real issue at hand. What mattered most was that they needed to come to grips with a true picture of their spiritual condition. In the eyes of man, it appeared that they were one way, and in God’s eyes, reality was spoken. Reputation among men led to a false sense of security; it always does, until God speaks truth into the situation. What did God say? Their reputation did not match reality. That is why it is important for us to hear from God through His Word on a regular basis. It becomes a reality check, which we all need. Reputation or reality – where are you? Where is your church? What is God saying about your spiritual life? Do you need to “wake up” and have a reality check?
PRAY:  Ask the Lord to search your heart for areas where you have not been “real” before Him concerning your spiritual life. Pray that you will hear God’s truth, wake up and return to Him through repentance and obedience.