INNOCENCE LOST

Posted by Joseph Lutz on OP3er @ 3:16 PM

This Sunday we continue our study of "Genesis." In Genesis 1 God created the world.  In Genesis 2 God created human life in the persons of Adam and Eve. They're enjoying their time in the Garden of Eden.  We have no idea how much time has passed, it could have been days, months, or even years.  In chapter 3 a new character enters the story: the serpent.  The serpent represents Satan.  He twists God's words, challenging Adam and Eve to question God's motives.  God has warned Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Satan seeks to convince them that God's motive is selfish in issuing that command, to keep Adam and Eve subservient, knowing that if they ate the fruit they would become like God.

Eve looks at the fruit and it looks good to eat.  She also thinks it would be good to become like God.  So she eats it and then offers it to Adam and also eats.  Adam is complicit in the sin because he "was with her."  Upon eating the fruit, their innocence is lost.  They realize they're naked and try to cover up.  In one act of eating the fruit God had warned them about, sin and evil came into the world and their innocence was lost.

There are some important "why's" in this story.  Why did God allow the tree of the knowledge of good and evil to be in the garden?  God didn't want the humans he made to be slaves or robots, but to have free will.  Would they choose of their own volition to be obedient and faithful to God?  Why did God allow Satan into the garden to tempt Adam and Eve?  Sometimes God tests us to see if we'll be faithful.  This was a test.  Would the people he created be faithful?  They were not.

As a result of their disobedience, Adam and Eve are removed from the Garden of Eden.  Death enters the world.  From that point on people would possess a sin nature predisposing them to selfishness and sin.  The result is that ever since "the fall," all people have sinned and fallen short of God's ideal for their lives.  The wages of sin is death.  But God still wants people to follow him and be his children.  Did God know that the people he created would sin?  Sure he did.  So he had a plan in mind: to send his own Son to earth to suffer and die in the place of sinners like you and me.  If we believe in him, our sins are forgiven, we are saved and will have eternal life in our Father's house (John 14:1-6).

This Sunday at First Baptist, come learn more about mankind's original sin.  By understanding how Adam and Eve were tempted, we'll learn how Satan works and recognize when he's messing around in our lives.  We can resist Satan, be faithful to God, and know that if (when ) we sin, Jesus will forgive us.  What a wonderful hope.  Join us for worship this Sunday at our Traditional Worship Service at 9:00 a.m. or our Contemporary Worship at 10:45 a.m.

THE CENTERPIECE OF CREATION

Posted by Joseph Lutz on OP4er @ 4:02 PM

In Genesis 1 we learn about the creation of the earth and the universe.  This Sunday, when I preach on  Genesis 2, the focus changes to "The Centerpiece of Creation," which is human beings.  Last week we learned how God created mankind, male and female, in his image (Genesis 1:27).  In Genesis 2 we find that God takes great care in creating the male and female.  God is far more involved and "hands on" creating the people who would become his children.

In Genesis 2 we learn that humans are different from all other created beings.  Verse 7 says, "Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being."  The word "breath" is the same Hebrew word that can also be translated "spirit."  I believe that God's breath is the origin of the human soul.  Only human beings have a soul.  The soul is the us that connects with God.  It's the us that will live forever.

It is important for us to develop and nurture the spirit within us.  When our bodies are dead and gone, our spirit (soul) continues on.  We spend so much time feeding ourselves and exercising in the hope that our bodies will be healthy, but if the soul is malnourished and without a connection to God, then we will be separated from him forever.  That would be terribly foolish.

We nurture our soul by having fellowship with God.  During the time of Adam and Eve, God walked in the garden with them.  Today we nurture our soul by developing a close relationship with God.  That relationship begins when we become aware of our need for God and ask Jesus to come into our lives and forgive our sins.  Our soul become healthy and strong as we worship God, spending time studying his word (the Bible), as we pray, serve God and have fellowship (develop friendships) with other believers.

This Sunday, I hope you'll join us for worship to find out more about the soul God has given you and how to care for it.  You'll also learn about God's purpose and plan for your life.  We have Traditional Worship at 9:00 a.m. and Contemporary Worship at 10:45 a.m.  Join our study of "Genesis: In the Beginning..." as this book develops the key themes found throughout the rest of the Bible.

GENESIS: IN THE BEGINNING

Posted by Joseph Lutz on OP4er @ 4:40 PM

Sunday marks the start of our all-church study of "Genesis: In the Beginning."  This week we'll begin in Genesis 1 and learn about "God's Handiwork."  There are many questions people have about creation, but the one thing all Christians agree on is that our God is the power and master designer behind everything that is.  The fact that God created gets to the question of purpose.  If God intentionally created the earth and human beings to be his children, there is a purpose for it.  There's a reason why this world exists.  There's a reason for each of us to be here.  You and I are essential elements of God's plan.  We are not the random product of a big bang or genetics, instead we have been formed by God in our mother's womb to be the people he wants us to be.

Genesis introduces all the major theological concepts that we find in the Bible.  It tells us of the origin of evil and why we need Jesus to be our Savior.  We'll learn about the holiness of God, his justice and the judgment of sin, and also that he's a God of grace who forgives those who trust in him.  In Genesis we see the beginning of God's salvation plan that reaches fruition in Jesus Christ, whose birth we just celebrated.  I'm very excited about this study of Genesis and the things we will learn about God and our faith every Sunday.

I hope that you'll choose to be part of our study of "Genesis - In the Beginning."  To get the most from this study means attending worship on Sundays.  The message is the same in both our Traditional Worship at 9:00 a.m. and our Contemporary Worship at 10:45 a.m.  I will be covering about half of Genesis in my messages on Sunday mornings and the other half will be covered in our small groups and Sunday Bible classes, so I hope you'll commit to being in a small group or class beginning this Sunday.  We have many groups to choose from and they're expecting new people to join them for this study, so you'll be warmly welcomed.  We would love to have you be part of this incredible learning experience with us.

GENESIS: IN THE BEGINNING

Posted by Joseph Lutz on OP4er @ 4:40 PM

Sunday marks the start of our all-church study of "Genesis: In the Beginning."  This week we'll begin in Genesis 1 and learn about "God's Handiwork."  There are many questions people have about creation, but the one thing all Christians agree on is that our God is the power and master designer behind everything that is.  The fact that God created gets to the question of purpose.  If God intentionally created the earth and human beings to be his children, there is a purpose for it.  There's a reason why this world exists.  There's a reason for each of us to be here.  You and I are essential elements of God's plan.  We are not the random product of a big bang or genetics, instead we have been formed by God in our mother's womb to be the people he wants us to be.

Genesis introduces all the major theological concepts that we find in the Bible.  It tells us of the origin of evil and why we need Jesus to be our Savior.  We'll learn about the holiness of God, his justice and the judgment of sin, and also that he's a God of grace who forgives those who trust in him.  In Genesis we see the beginning of God's salvation plan that reaches fruition in Jesus Christ, whose birth we just celebrated.  I'm very excited about this study of Genesis and the things we will learn about God and our faith every Sunday.

I hope that you'll choose to be part of our study of "Genesis - In the Beginning."  To get the most from this study means attending worship on Sundays.  The message is the same in both our Traditional Worship at 9:00 a.m. and our Contemporary Worship at 10:45 a.m.  I will be covering about half of Genesis in my messages on Sunday mornings and the other half will be covered in our small groups and Sunday Bible classes, so I hope you'll commit to being in a small group or class beginning this Sunday.  We have many groups to choose from and they're expecting new people to join them for this study, so you'll be warmly welcomed.  We would love to have you be part of this incredible learning experience with us.

CHRISTMAS DISCOVERIES

Posted by Joseph Lutz on OP12er @ 12:07 PM

There are many great discoveries that are part of our Christmas celebration.  There will certainly be a sense of discovery among the children in our families as they anxiously await Christmas Eve or Christmas Day to open the presents with their names on them under the tree.  You can be assured that there will be no unopened presents, the spirit of discovery is far too strong for that to happen.

In the story of Jesus' birth, the angels announce to the shepherds, "good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger" (Luke 2:10-11)   The shepherds went to Bethlehem to discover everything was just as the angels said it would be.  They found the baby Jesus in a stable, lying in a manger.

The wise men (Magi) noticed a new star in the sky.  Aware that the Jews looked forward to a day when God would send them a new king, the wise men travelled to Israel and discovered the Christ child in Bethlehem.  What was true of both the shepherds and the wise men was that they would not have found Jesus if they hadn't gone searching for him.

Now is a good time for us to discover the meaning of Christmas.  Christmas is more than just a nice story about a baby being born in a stable.  The baby in Bethlehem is the Son of God.  He came to get to know us.  He wants to have a relationship with us.  But for that to happen our sins must be forgiven, so Jesus died on the cross to pay our debt of sin.  Christmas is the perfect time to discover how much God loves you, that he sent his Son to you and the lengths he went to, to save you.

I hope you'll join us for a very special time of worship on Christmas Eve.  Out theme is "Christmas Discoveries" as we discover important things about Jesus and the purpose of his birth.  Our Christmas Eve Sunday worship services will be at 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., so come to whichever service best fits your schedule.  Bring the whole family for a Christmas celebration.

JESUS IS OUR HOPE

Posted by Joseph Lutz on OP4er @ 4:13 PM

Many people live lives filled with fear or discouragement.  We worry about our kids and grandkids growing up in a scary world.  We're afraid for what the future holds.  We wonder if we'll be able to pay our bills or be able to enjoy retirement.  We worry about our violent culture with terrorists trying to blow things up and new records for mass shootings occurring every few months.  We worry about global warming and what it's doing to our environment.  We worry about a crazy man in North Korea who now has nuclear weapons trained on our homes in America. 

700 years before Jesus was born, Micah prophesied about how God would send his Son into a scary world to give us hope.  He said God's Son would be born in Bethlehem, be a descendant of King David, and that he would be a shepherd for God's people.  The purpose of a shepherd is to protect and provide for the flock.  Jesus is our hope, sent by God at Christmas to help us.

Jesus gives us hope that the creator of this world cares about the people he made.  God loves us and wants us to love him back.  By sending Jesus, we know that God has a plan to forgive our sins and saves us through Jesus' death on the cross.  As a result of Jesus birth, we don't have to live in fear off death and judgment.  We don't have to be afraid of troubled times, because Jesus is with us, his Holy Spirit lives in us, and he hears and answers our prayers.  We don't have to fear death because we are recipients of the promise of eternal life.  We have hope because we believe that Jesus has a plan for our lives.  In a relationship with Jesus our lives make sense and we know there's a reason he put us here.

I'm thankful for the hope I have in Jesus Christ.  My prayer is that you will discover hope this Christmas too!  In the sermon this Sunday, I'll explain how Jesus birth in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2-4) brings us hope on many levels.  If you're looking for hope for living, for the future, for you kids, I hope you'll join us in worship this Sunday.  We have Traditional Worship at 9:00 a.m. and Contemporary Worship at 10:45 a.m.  I look forward to seeing you on Sunday!

WHO IS THIS JESUS?

Posted by Joseph Lutz on OA8er @ 8:12 AM

Christmas is the season when many people celebrate Jesus' birth.  We know about a baby, born in a stable, and the shepherds and wise men who came to worship him.  But for many people, that's all they know about Jesus and his birth.  This Christmas season, let's have the curiosity to find out who Jesus is and what he's all about.

We who know Jesus claim that he's the Son of God, sent to earth to save people from their sins, and to give all who believe in him life that lasts forever.  If those claims are true, Jesus is the most important person who ever has or ever will live.  If Jesus is God's Son, if he's our Creator as well as our Savior, then he has the answers we long for about the meaning of life and why we're all here.  We need to get to know him.

So this Sunday, and throughout the rest of December, I'm preaching a series of sermons titled, "Who Is This Jesus?"  Each Sunday we'll explore the Old Testament prophecies God gave hundreds of years before Jesus' birth to announce the coming of his Son.  These prophecies tell us about Jesus and what he came to do.  I'll explain the prophecy's connection to the Christmas story and it's application for our lives and the relationship Jesus wants to have with us today.

We began this series last Sunday with the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14 about Jesus' virgin birth.  If you weren't here for that sermon, you can hear it on this website.  This Sunday we'll move on to Isaiah 9:2-7 as Isaiah describes who Jesus is as it relates to his time on earth, and as it applies to our relationship with  him today.  I hope you'll join us on Sunday to find out who this Jesus is, and what he means for your life.  We have a Traditional Worship Service at 9:00 a.m. and Contemporary Worship at 10:45 a.m.

May this Christmas be the best one yet because you know who Jesus is and you have invited him into your life.  Jesus really is the reason for the season!

THE MIRACLE OF JESUS' BIRTH

Posted by Joseph Lutz on OP7er @ 7:11 PM

This Sunday we begin a new Advent sermon series on the "Prophecies of Jesus' Birth."  It's exciting to know that there are three specific prophecies of Jesus' birth, and several allusions to his birth, that were given by God to His prophets hundreds of years before the drama in Bethlehem ever took place.  What's important about these prophecies is that not only do they tell us what God is going to do, but they reveal who Jesus is and the important role he has for our lives and our salvation.

This Sunday we'll look at "The Miracle of Jesus' Birth" by looking at Isaiah 7:14 and the prophecy that Jesus is to be born to a virgin.  We'll also look at New Testament passages that assert that Mary was a virgin when she became pregnant and remained a virgin until after Jesus' birth.  It's surprising to me that many people who believe in the miracles Jesus did have a hard time accepting the reality of the virgin birth.  It's like we all take what we learned in Sex Education 101 and decided it's impossible even for God to send his Son to earth through a virgin.

There's tremendous significance to the virgin birth of Jesus.  Jesus is not just the product of a man and woman coming together, but the product of God and woman.  The virgin birth emphasizes the duality of Jesus' character, that while on this earth he was fully human and yet fully divine.  As a human, Jesus reveals God in words and deeds that only he could give.  As a human, Jesus understands us and has compassion for the challenges we face.  As divine, Jesus can be the worthy sacrifice for our sins that no other human could ever be. 

If you want to know more about the miracle of Jesus' virgin birth I hope you'll join us for worship at First Baptist Riverside this Sunday.  We have Traditional Worship at 9:00 a.m. and Contemporary Worship at 10:45 a.m.  Make this Christmas the most exciting ever as you realize like never before what Jesus' birth means for you.

THANKSGIVING... AND SO MUCH MORE!

Posted by Joseph Lutz on OA6er @ 6:13 AM

On this Thanksgiving Day I hope you'll take time to say, "Thank you," to God for all he has done for you.  Above all else I'm thankful for his plan of creation that has a place for me in it.  I'm thankful for the life he's given me and the new life I have in Christ Jesus.  I'm thank for God's Son Jesus Christ who came to earth so we can know God personally and then died in my place for the sins I've committed so I can have eternal life with him.  I'm thankful for the family and friends God has put in my life.  And only after those things am I thankful for the things in life I enjoy.  God is so good, I give him all the praise!

Another thing I'm thankful for is that my life has purpose in Jesus Christ.  If all I do on earth is live for myself and for the things I want, then my life has no meaning beyond me.  But when Jesus saved me, he called me to be part of a movement so much greater than myself.  I now serve God and am part of a kingdom that lasts forever.  My purpose comes from bringing others into the kingdom who are not yet there and helping them to become all God wants them to be.  That's the calling of every believer.

This Sunday I'll wrap up my sermon series on "Miracles" with a story of Jesus giving some fishermen he'd met the greatest catch of their lives.  It was a miraculous catch, greater than anything they'd ever experienced before.  This catch caused these fishermen to see Jesus as more than a teacher or prophet, and recognize him as the Son of God.  They put their trust in him and received a new calling for their lives.  Instead of fishermen, they would become disciples and later apostles and the leaders of the early church.  They were given a new job, instead of fishing for fish, Jesus tells them that they will now fish for the souls of men and women.  They devoted the rest of their lives to that movement and spread the good news of Jesus throughout the known world.

When we recognize Jesus as the Son of God and put our hope in him, he changes our vocation.  Instead of whatever our jobs are, we become disciples of Jesus and his witnesses and ambassadors to the people we know and love.  Our hobbies and jobs are no longer the most important thing in our lives, but Jesus has called us to be fishers of men and women.  The most important thing we will ever do is to invite our family members and friends (our oikos) to meet Jesus.  After they accept Jesus we invest in helping them to grow in their faith and become the people Jesus created them and saved them to be.

I hope you'll join us for worship this Sunday as we learn about Jesus' incredible miracle of the catch of fish and how it changed the lives of the disciples.  May we experience that same life change and the new calling Jesus has placed upon our lives.  We have two worship options for you at First Baptist Riverside: Traditional Worship at 9:00 a.m. and Contemporary Worship at 10:45 a.m.  See you in worship!

REMEMBER THANKSGIVING

Posted by Joseph Lutz on OP6er @ 6:01 PM

Sunday we'll continue our study of "Miracles."  This week's story is found in Luke 17:11-19.  Jesus promises ten men who have leprosy that he'll heal them and sends them on their way to see the priest, the only one who is able to declare them "clean" so they can go back to their homes, jobs and families.  As they're on their way, they are healed, just as Jesus promised.  Faith is required, they must go anticipating healing, in order to be healed.  However, the main point of this story is that of the ten men who were healed, only one returned to thank Jesus - and he was a Samaritan.

God works miracles in all of our lives, we are aware of some of his miracles and others we may not be aware of.  The greatest miracle God has given us is his Son Jesus who died on the cross to save us.  By faith, we need to acknowledge what Jesus has done for us and give thanks.  This Thanksgiving season is a great time to reflect on our lives, or at least over the last year and say, "God, thank you for all you have done for me."  Giving thanks increases our faith and shows our appreciation to the Lord.  Don't be one of those people who take what Jesus does for granted.

We are going to have a great celebration of Thanksgiving this Sunday at First Baptist Riverside in both of our services.  We hope you'll join us and share in the celebration!  We have two services: traditional worship at 9:00 a.m. and contemporary worship at 10:45 a.m. We'll be looking for you!

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 ...16
Email A Friend
From Name
From Email
To Name
To Email
Note