September 24th, 2019


Galatians 2:21

Yesterday’s Bible-in-a-Year reading stuck out to me as I’ve always found Galatians 2:21 to be a powerful verse.  It says, “I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless.  For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die” (NLT).
I preached a series through Galatians back in 2017; when we read Galatians we find that the church in Galatia had been confronted with a false teaching that said, “In order to have eternal life, a person must be saved by Jesus and be circumcised.”  In other words, it wasn’t enough to be saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, you also had to be circumcised.  The Apostle Paul called this, “a different gospel – which is really no gospel at all” (Galatians 1:6-7, NIV).
It’s important to always remember that the Bible teaches that there is nothing that we can do to be saved.  Now, it is true that once we are saved we live our lives for the Lord (I am preaching on that very truth this Sunday), but our good works cannot make us right with God.  Only Jesus’ perfect and sufficient payment for our sins can give us peace with God.  This is why we are called to repent of our sins and believe on Jesus Christ for salvation. 
The fact of the matter is this: we owe an impossible debt for our sins, Jesus paid that entire debt for us, and now we are called to receive His free gift to us by trusting solely in Him for salvation.  What makes adding anything to Jesus’ payment so dangerous is that by adding something to Jesus’ payment we declare that His payment for our sins wasn’t enough, and therefore we are no longer trusting in Jesus for our salvation but instead we are trusting in ourselves and what we can do.
It was necessary for our salvation that Jesus Christ die for our sins.  And if you have turned from sin and self to trust in Christ alone as your payment for sins, then rest assured that you are saved and that the Holy Spirit lives within you, empowering you to live for the Lord.
-Pastor Chase

September 19th, 2019


Ecclesiastes 1-3


The book of Ecclesiastes gives us a great example of how relevant the Old Testament can be in today’s world. Its writing has been attributed to King Solomon whose great wisdom ranks him behind only Jesus Christ of all who have lived. Warning here- the study of this book is daunting. Categorized with the books of the Bible known as Wisdom Literature, it contains the practical nitty gritty stuff of life. As our daily readings turn to this book, it can at times wander, ramble, and be difficult to understand. Compare that to this book about life. It begins sounding like it could have been written by anyone waking up on the wrong side of bed with the Monday morning blues and heading to a dead-end job.


Solomon was a man who seemed to have it all! Unparalleled riches, power, wisdom… but let’s not forget that he also played fast and loose with all that God had given him. Solomon sought the best that life had to offer, and then realized that nothing rivals life simply lived in obedience to God. It is a depressing beginning to the book but at least Solomon has gotten our souls hungry for even a morsel of hopeful good news. He tells us that this good news is not to be found anywhere under the sun, so we have to start looking elsewhere. Solomon wants us to know that there is more to this life than this life. And that is the message of God’s Word. In God’s plan it’s all about the King and his kingdom.


If we seek to find meaning in the things of this world, we will miss out. God calls us to set our hearts on our home. The journey home is nice but the journey is not the destination. Solomon begins what could be seen has his autobiography by naming many of the pleasures one may find on our journey home. But if we seek contentment with nothing more than joy in the journey we are settling for too little satisfaction. The pursuit of anything other than our Heavenly Father will ultimately be futile.


In Christ,


September 11th, 2019

Jars of Clay – 2 Corinthians 4

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.” (ESV)


I remember as a kid in art class we would make things out of clay. Every year we’d have the chance to make a bowl or a plate, a vase or an urn, a cup or a mug. So I’d get my few little bricks of clay and gently role and mold what it was that I wanted to make. After our little creations were done, we’d etch our name into the bottom of the piece and our art teacher would place it on a shelf in storage to later bake it in the kiln. After a few treatments in that immense heat, our projects were ready. The teacher would always warn though that we needed to be careful because they were easily broken. I knew this to be true. It did not take long for the plate that I made, ornate with decorative accents on the rim, to break. Even with great care and handling, the small clay plate broke. 


In this passage, Paul tells us that we “have this treasure in jars of clay”. To fully understand the treasure he’s referencing here you have to go back and read through chapter 3. I’ll summarize it: in chapter 3 Paul reminds the church at Corinth of the law that God gave Moses and the transformative power it physically had in his life. After an encounter with God and the glory of His presence, Moses’ face radiated light. Paul tells the people of Corinth that that same experience happens in our hearts once we’ve trusted in the work of Christ. God’s glory radiates our hearts, transforming it into something beautiful. That glory and light then are shown outwardly in our lives as a light to others through the knowledge and understanding of the gospel. 


That is the treasure in which we possess; it’s a wondrous treasure! To think the Almighty, Infinite, Holy God would illuminate our hearts to His grace and His glory when we don’t deserve it; when we are unworthy to even grasp it, yet in His mercy and kindness He gives us such a blessing. Recognize that you and I are sinners. We were born that way. Our human condition pulls us toward sin and away from God. We rejected God. But even so, He still showed favor towards us, gave us His overwhelming grace through Jesus Christ who lived and died in our place, taking the punishment for sin that we rightly deserved. And after spending three days in the tomb Jesus conquers death and walks out of the tomb alive again sealing our salvation and forgiveness once and for all. That is the gospel and the knowledge of that truth is a great treasure to possess. 


But look again at the passage. Paul compares us to jars of clay. Even with this great knowledge illuminating our hearts, we live in a broken world and we possess fragile and sometimes broken bodies. Hard times fall upon us. Sometimes the weight of the world’s brokenness is heavy on us. Sometimes people mock or persecute. Life gets difficult and the fragility of our beings begin to show. We are liable to break or crack at any moment. But there is hope. Look again at the second half of verse 7 “…to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” God knows how fragile we are. Remember He made us. It was His hands that formed and shaped us. We are intentionally made this way. Why? To show God’s glory! To prove even more His greatness and worth. Look at the promises that follow in verse 8…


Paul says, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;” In Isaiah 41 God tells us “10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 11 “All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish. 12 Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all. 13 For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” (NIV)


We have great encouragement in knowing that God holds us in His caring, gentle hands. He will not let us break. We may be refined. Clay hardens and strengthens when it goes through the fire. There most certainly will be hard times; but as we remain we give glory to God. It is Him and Him alone that keeps us from breaking. We face the hard times so that we can point back to God who brings us through! 


So let the light of the knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ that God has illuminated your heart and life with shine bright in a dark world. Tell others this good news and share with them that when we believe in the gospel and work of Jesus, God has promised us we will not break. That indeed is a wonderful treasure!

Check out this song by modern hymn writer Matt Boswell. It beautifully tells the work of Christ which is the treasure we have.

In Christ!


September 9th, 2019

The Seduction of Sin – Proverbs 7:6-27

6 At the window of my house, I looked through my lattice. 7 I saw among the inexperienced, I noticed among the youths, a young man lacking sense. 8 Crossing the street near her corner, he strolled down the road to her house 9 at twilight, in the evening, in the dark of the night. 10 A woman came to meet him dressed like a prostitute, having a hidden agenda.11 She is loud and defiant; her feet do not stay at home. 12 Now in the street, now in the squares, she lurks at every corner. 13 She grabs him and kisses him; she brazenly says to him, 14 “I’ve made fellowship offerings; today I’ve fulfilled my vows. 15 So I came out to meet you, to search for you, and I’ve found you 16 I’ve spread coverings on my bed— richly colored linen from Egypt.
17 I’ve perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 18 Come, let’s drink deeply of lovemaking until morning. Let’s feast on each other’s love!
19 My husband isn’t home; he went on a long journey. 20 He took a bag of silver with him and will come home at the time of the full moon.”
21 She seduces him with her persistent pleading; she lures with her flattering talk. 22 He follows her impulsively like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer bounding toward a trap 23 until an arrow pierces its liver, like a bird darting into a snare— he doesn’t know it will cost him his life.
24 Now, sons, listen to me, and pay attention to the words from my mouth. 25 Don’t let your heart turn aside to her ways; don’t stray onto her paths.
26 For she has brought many down to death; her victims are countless. 27 Her house is the road to Sheol, descending to the chambers of death.” (CSB)
Man this is heavy to read. When you read this passage, it almost seems dirty – like something out of an adult romantic novel (note I’ve NEVER read one personally nor do I wish to). Let me give some context. The passage here is continuation of Solomon giving paternal advice to his son. In earlier chapters 5 and 6, he gives warnings about being enticed by adultery (a topic Solomon would have been very familiar with). Here in chapter 7 he appeals to the reader (his son and now us) to keep wisdom close to the heart. “You are my sister” (v.4) could be translated to mean that wisdom is like a spouse (a dear companion). Someone we are bound to and we hold within our hearts. So he’s made his appeal to hold wisdom close, he then tells a story so as to provide an illustration of what he’s been talking about. This passage isn’t just about a promiscuous woman and her unfortunate victim. It’s about us! This story is the way sin works everyday in our lives. It’s enticing and seductive. It perverts our minds into thinking that everything is ok…until it’s not. There’s a few thoughts that I want to point out that I think will help us understand and apply this passage…
1. Notice the setting. This young man is somewhere he is not supposed to be. In chapter 5, Solomon tells the reader, “keep your way far from her. Don’t go near the door of her house.” (5:8)  We see in the story here that that is exactly where this young man is. He knew exactly where he was going. He was seeking out the woman.
2. Notice the timing. This was done by cover of night. People would have been tucked away in their homes. There wouldn’t have been many out. The goal for this young man was to do it in secret. He didn’t want anyone to know of his destination. 
3. Notice her. That’s the point here really. The woman in this story has gone to great lengths to make sure she is seen. Prostitutes then (like now) had very specific ways of dressing that was identifiable. The purpose of these clothes was to draw attention to themselves so as to entice the men (or women) that would happen to catch their gaze. It was a craft they worked hard at mastering. Although the passage here does not indicate this was a “profession” of hers, it’s clear she wanted to portray herself in a risqué way to those that would seek her. 
4. Notice her actions. Upon showing up, the young man doesn’t get a word or action in after that.  She came out to meet him (v.10); she grabs and kisses him (v.13); she brazenly (or boldly) makes him promises. This young man did nothing but show up, but it is the woman here that is setting the pace for the interaction. She’s calling the shots, she’s got total control on what is happening. 
5. Notice her progression. There is a clear progression when it comes to what this woman is seeking to do. Remember we know from (v.10) she’s got an agenda…First, she kisses him; and not just a friendly peck on the cheek. This is a full blown PDA kind of kiss. Although it certainly has significance, a single kiss is not all that meaningful. You could move on from it. But her next move is an invitation to somewhere private. “Let’s get away where no one can see us.” There’s more planned here that she doesn’t want others to see. Then finally her invitation to the bedroom. Notice here a single kiss quickly turned into a full sexual encounter. He had no chance. He didn’t see it coming. He had no control.
You see why I said this is a bit of a racy passage. Now if you’ve read up to this point, you’re probably thinking something along the lines of “why on earth is Sam taking so much time to walk through this passage?” The reason I want us to really see and understand what’s happening here is because this happens to us every single day. There is a great parallel here that can be drawn between the woman and sin. Sin doesn’t just show up in our lives one day “accidentally”. It’s not as though it just suddenly is there like… poof… a sin issue. No we, like the young man, seek it out. It is in our nature as human beings. Sometimes it is intentional, sometimes unintentional, but our human nature is always bent towards sin. It’s a result of the fall of Adam and Eve. And truthfully, it’s not hard to be enticed by sin. Like the woman in the story, sin promises us every pleasure we could want. It uses every resource it can to seduce us into letting ourselves be ensnared by it. It promises us a good time. It promises us satisfaction and fulfillment. It promises us pleasure to every sense in our body. And perhaps the biggest promise is that is promises us secrecy. It promises us that we won’t be found out. It promises us that it’s ok because no one will ever know.
The imagery in this passage is not accidental. A sexual relationship between people is extremely transparent and personal. You are literally surrendering your entire self: physical, emotional, and spiritual to the one in which you are having sex with. You are giving all of you away at that point. It’s no coincidence that later in James 1:14-15 we read: “But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desire. 15 Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death.” I don’t think I need to explain to you how babies are made; hopefully you know. The idea of conceiving means there had to be an encounter of this nature. That you’ve given away your entire self. But look at the result…
To give yourself to the enticement of sin will lead you to death. That is the woman’s ultimate goal. That is sin’s ultimate goal. To kill us. Satan is described in 1 Peter as a lion seeking to devour. Satan uses the sweet, sexy, sultry, enticements of sin to draw us in and get us alone so that he can achieve his ultimate end game…his “hidden agenda (v.10)”. Matt Chandler said “The serpent doesn’t bite Eve. He whispers into her ear.” 
We should be careful to take Solomon’s warning here seriously. To stay away from the adulterous woman and sin. Avoid it at all costs because the ultimate price you will pay is with your life! It may not be your physical life…but your spiritual life. Sin will destroy your soul. And there is no recovering from that. 
The christian rap artist Lecrae beautifully and poetically wrote a song that perfectly summarizes this passage. In the hook of the song we can see exactly what sin says to entice us:
“Baby this is innocent 
It won’t even hurt a little bit 
I’m only here for your benefit 
I’m your every wish 
Come on and let me in.
Baby this is innocent 
And it won’t even hurt a little bit 
Close your eyes and let’s get lost tonight 
It’ll be alright 
You’ll see I’m not a (killa)” (To hear the full song click here).
Friends let us always be mindful of the sin that seeks to destroy us. Call upon the Lord for help and for strength to resist temptation. And begin to take steps now to avoid that which would entice you and draw you away in secret. Join a church and be known in it, read and study God’s word, gather regularly with other believers and continually be watching for the areas of life in which you might fall. 
In Christ!

Leave a Reply