Sermon podcasts
Esterhazy Baptist Church Podbean

Mar 26, 2023 Podbean

Dial-A-Sermon – 1-306-985-9001
 (Note: this is a Regina number and long distance charges may apply)

Mark 8.27-38.  Following Jesus: The choice a disciple must make.
March 26, 2023.  Esterhazy Baptist Church.

Call to Worship: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28–30 NIV)

      As we turn our attention to the third major section of Mark, chapters 8:27 – 10:52, Jesus now focuses on instructing his disciples.  After healing the blind man in Bethsaida, Jesus and his disciples travel 25 miles north, near the Gentile city named after Augustus Caesar and the area’s ruler Herod Philip, Caesarea Philippi.

      We are reading the Gospel of Mark, knowing Jesus is the Son of God, and so we are watching his disciples, and wondering when they are going to understand who Jesus is.  They have seen Jesus heal many, yet they are terrified when Jesus calms the waves (Mk. 4:41), amazed when he walks to them on the water (Mk. 6:51-52), and don’t understand the meaning of Jesus’ ability to feed thousands of people with a few loaves: 17b Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear?” Mark 8:17–18a (NIV).

      Finally in Mark 8:27-30, they tell Jesus who they believe he is – with Peter speaking for all of them: Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.” Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.” Mark 8:27–30 (NIV). 

      One might think that after this eureka moment Jesus would send them off to tell everyone, but instead he tells them to keep it to themselves, why?  Because, as we see in the following verses, the Jewish understanding of the Messiah was very different from Jesus’ mission.  Their Messiah had political goals – he would free them from servitude to the Gentiles.

      After Peter’s declaration that Jesus is the Messiah, we read of Jesus that: He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.” Mark 8:31 (NIV).  Peter then took Jesus aside and “began to rebuke” him.  Perhaps Peter thought Jesus was discouraged and need to be encouraged that the Messiah was a winner, not a loser –this won’t happen to you… Peter likely didn’t get finished before Jesus looked at his disciples and corrected them all! But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”” Mark 8:33 (NIV).    

      Jesus then called to all who were near, and began to explain that to follow him means denial of self and sacrificially following him.  Did the disciples understand?  It doesn’t appear so; Jesus repeats this twice more (9:30-32; 10:32-34).  It is suggested that Mark highlights the mystery of Jesus as the Messiah because Jesus’ mission can not be fully understood without the crucifixion and resurrection.  The transfiguration gives Peter, James and John are given a glimpse of Jesus’ glory, but it is not until they meet the risen Jesus that they begin to understand that as Messiah, Jesus’ mission included the suffering servant of Isaiah 53.  I think many of us struggle with who we think Jesus should be and who he really is.  To call him “my Lord” and then want him to do what we think is best, is misunderstanding the meaning of “my Lord,” to say the least!  Let’s now take a closer look at what Jesus says is required of his disciples.

1.  Disciples must surrender ourselves completely to Jesus.

Mark 8:34: Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (NIV)

      Disciples of Jesus are called to choose to submit their will to that of God’s, let Him have His way with you.  Tim Gustafson told this story in an Our daily bread devotional: “A weed is any plant that grows where you don’t want it,” my father said, handing me the hoe. I wanted to leave the corn plant that had “volunteered” among the peas. But Dad, who had grown up on a farm, instructed me to pull it out. That lone cornstalk would do nothing but choke the peas and rob them of nutrients.  Human beings aren’t plants—we have minds of our own and God-given free will. But sometimes we try to bloom where God doesn’t intend us to be. [1]

      Our selfish nature wants to be where we are comfortable and get our own way, we even think we know better than God!  Sometimes we argue with God, sometimes we just ignore him: I don’t want to: forgive them, help them, go there, do that…

      Disciples must submit their will to Jesus, and NOT part-time or when it suits us!  We say to our Lord Jesus: “Not my will but yours be done.” I must be willing to give up selfishness and preoccupation with self in order to discover my true self in Christ.

2.  Disciples must identify with Jesus in suffering and death.

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34b: (NIV)

      Part of the purpose of the Roman crucifixion was the fear and public humiliation it generated.  This served as a warning and deterrent to others.  Jesus calls his disciples to a denial of self which includes a willingness to give up their physical lives, rather than give up their faith in him!  Believers are still doing this today! 

      Those who wish to be Jesus’ disciples must die to self-centeredness and self-absorption daily.  We need to die to any plans and dreams that do not align with God’s plans.  The Bible tells us that our ways lead to harm (Prov. 14:12), but God’s ways always lead to true life. What do you need to die to? 

3.   Disciples must follow Jesus obediently, wherever he leads.

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” Mark 8:35-36 (NIV) This is a call to humility.  A disciple of Jesus does things God’s way.  The only way to be a disciple of Jesus is to follow him and his example. 

      After Jesus’ resurrection, the Apostles came to understand Jesus’ words.  In Acts 5:40b-42 we read: They called in the apostles and had them flogged. Then they ordered them never again to speak in the name of Jesus, and they let them go. The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus. And every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they continued to teach and preach this message: “Jesus is the Messiah.”” Acts 5:40b–42 (NLT).

      During Lent, as we prepare to celebrate Easter, consider the choices Jesus made.  Think of what he did and gave up for our sake, in obedience to His Father.

      I am called to bear the image of the Creator. The image of the Redeemer. The image of God himself. Far too often, however, the image that the world sees reflected in me is . . . well, me. It is my own pride, arrogance and greed.  Reflect on your walk with Jesus who said “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”  How are you doing?  Spend time with your Lord and examine your heart – are their areas in your life where you won’t give up control? “No leave that corn stock there!”  Trust that He knows best for you and wants what’s best for; to become more like Jesus.  Let Him have his way with you!

Hymn # 371 “Have Thine own way Lord” (1,2,4)

Benediction: Let the wonderful kindness and the understanding that come from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ help you to keep on growing. Praise Jesus now and forever! Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18 (CEV).


[1] Our Daily Bread, Feb. 24, 2018 “Blooming in the right spot” by Tim Gustafson.

Sermon podcasts
Esterhazy Baptist Church Podbean

Mar 19, 2023 Podbean

Dial-A-Sermon – 1-306-985-9001
 (Note: this is a Regina number and long distance charges may apply)

“How do we please God?”  Mark 2.1-8.26
March 19, 2023.  Esterhazy Baptist Church.

Call to Worship: “God our Savior showed us how good and kind he is. He saved us because of his mercy, and not because of any good things that we have done. God washed us by the power of the Holy Spirit. He gave us new birth and a fresh beginning. God sent Jesus Christ our Savior to give us his Spirit.” Titus 3:4–6 (CEV).

      The Gospel of Mark is anonymous, but church tradition says it was written by John Mark from Rome.  Mark was a follower of Jesus from Jerusalem who was an associate of both the Apostle Peter and Paul.  The Gospel explains Jewish traditions and language when they are mentioned, which suggests it was written for a Gentile audience.  It is believed to be based on the preaching of the Apostle Peter.  Compared to the other Gospels, Mark focuses more on what Jesus did, then on his teaching.  So, let’s watch and learn by observing Jesus’ actions.

      Mark 2:1 – 8:26 summarizes Jesus’ public ministry and can be divided into 3 general sections.  Chapters 2 & 3 deal with the initial opposition to Jesus, chapters 4 & 5 have parables and miracles of Jesus, and chapters 6, 7 and first half of chapter 8 show the opposition to Jesus increasing. 

      Why did Jesus face opposition in his ministry? Was it, like in our situations, from people who don’t want to think of themselves as sinners in need of God’s forgiveness?  Actually, no.  Jesus was criticized by religious people, because he spent time with sinful people, like tax collectors, and also for not following the accepted practices of religious Jews.  Jesus’ followers didn’t follow the practice of fasting, weren’t corrected for working on the Sabbath and Jesus himself broke the Sabbath by healing someone who wasn’t in danger of dying.  Jesus also didn’t insist that his disciples follow the practice of ceremonially cleansing themselves and their utensils. 

      In answer as to why he associated with sinners, Jesus replied that it is the sick who need a doctor and that he hadn’t come to call the righteous but sinners (2:16-17).  Jesus is responding to the people who realize they need his help and come to him.  When asked why he didn’t require his disciples to fast, Jesus said the day would come, but wedding guests don’t fast at a wedding, that would be insulting (2:18-20).  The implication is that now is a time to celebrate, not mourn & fast. Is Jesus the bridegroom here? It seems so.

      Regarding the keeping of the Sabbath by his disciples and Jesus himself, the controversy arose from Jewish tradition which listed what could and couldn’t be done on the Sabbath.  William Barclay explains: “…the Sabbath was hedged around with literally thousands of petty rules and regulations. All work was forbidden. Work had been classified under thirty-nine different heads and four of these heads were reaping, winnowing, threshing and preparing a meal. By their action the disciples had technically broken all these four rules and were to be classified as law-breakers.[1]” (Mk. 2:23-28).    Darrell Bock in his commentary on Mark says: Jesus defended his disciples with two arguments. First, the Sabbath was never intended to create a situation in which basic human needs went unmet. Jesus made this point with the example of David, who also “broke” the law to obtain food. The second, more fundamental point was that Jesus, as Son of Man, had authority over the Sabbath.”[2]  The Sabbath was given as a day for the benefit of humanity as a day of rest and not to enslave us.

      In Mark 3:1-6 Jesus knows he is being watched to see if he will heal a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath.  To make sure the Sabbath command of not working wasn’t broken, it had been decided that medical attention could only be given if a life was in danger or to keep an injury from getting worse; however, making it better was considered working![3]  Since this man’s injury wasn’t life threatening, Jesus should have ignored the man until Sunday, but he didn’t!  Before he healed the man, he asked a question: Mark 3:4. “Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.” (NIV).  Again, Jesus frames the Sabbath as a day intended to be for the benefit of humanity, and of course of all days, it is a day to do good.  Ironically, Mark tells us the Pharisees present went out and began plotting, on Sabbath, how to kill Jesus.

      Why were the Pharisees so offended and so concerned about Jesus that they were plotting his death?  Does it matter to us, after all, we know they had Jesus killed, and that was so long ago?  I think we will see it does matter to us. 

      The Pharisees fasted twice a week, Mondays and Thursdays as an expression of mourning over the sins of Israel and over the fact that the longed-for salvation of prophetic hope had not appeared[4]  Concerning the keeping of the Sabbath, Some later rabbis said that the Messiah would come if all Israel kept the Sabbath! [5]  It would seem that one of the reasons behind the Pharisees strict enforcement of their regulations was a belief that doing the right thing is how to get God to act.  This is a human tendency which has not changed!  We are still looking for the best ways to influence God and get him to respond as we want: If we stop doing this… God will…  If we give this… God will give us … 

      Jesus’ message was not, this is what you need to do to get God to come, but rather, the time has come, kingdom of God is near, right now.  Through his teaching and his actions Jesus showed that God wasn’t waiting for us to get our act together, He had come in grace to save us now, as He promised.

      In Luke 7:1-23 Jesus is criticized by the Pharisees and teachers of the law for allowing his disciples to eat food without doing all the expected ceremonial washings – why doesn’t he keep the traditions of the elders they asked?  Listen to part of Jesus’ response in Mark 7:6–8. “Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’ For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.”” (NLT).  Jesus then condemns the tradition which allowed someone to ignore God’s command to honour your father and mother, by vowing to God, what you would have spent to support your parents.  The Pharisees had fallen into the same trap we face, to try and honour God with externals actions, rather than with what comes from our heart.  It’s easier to look righteous that be righteous in our heart, this was God’s criticism of his people through Isaiah, and continues to trip us up today.

      Josh McDowell is a well-known Christian apologist. A former agnostic, his two-volume apologetic work Evidence that Demands a Verdict has sold hundreds of thousands of copies. In Volume 1, Josh McDowell shares his pilgrimage from agnosticism to Christianity. While he was a university student, he went and sat down at a table in the student union with six other students and two faculty members. Josh had noticed this group that met regularly at this table, and he was intrigued by something he saw in their lives. He sat down and began visiting with the female student next to him, “Tell me, what changed your lives? Why are your lives so different from the other students and professors? Why?” Josh said that woman looked him right in the eye and said two words he never thought he would hear as part of the solution to any problem, especially at a university. She said, “Jesus Christ.” McDowell said he responded, “Don’t give me that garbage. I’m fed up with religion; I’m fed up with the church; I’m fed up with the Bible. Don’t give me that garbage about religion.”

      She shot back at him, “Mister, I didn’t say religion, I said Jesus Christ.” McDowell summarized the remainder of their discussion that day: “She pointed out something I’d never known before, Christianity is not a religion. Religion is humans trying to work their way to God through good works. Christianity is God coming to men and women through Jesus Christ, offering them a relationship with Himself.” [6]

      How do we please God?  It is not in religion, that is trying to manipulate God through our actions.  We please God by accepting His invitation to enter into a relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ.

      Doesn’t our good behaviour please God?  Of course, it does, but it is not what saves us.  Our good behavior is a response to His saving grace.  Then, we, under the control of the Holy Spirit, as we surrender our will to the Lord Jesus, we will seek to bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit’s presence within our life: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).  As we live this way, we may choose to add somethings to our life (e.g.: devotions, fasting, tithing, etc.) and remove other things (i.e.: behaviour that harms my relationship with God & others) – however, that doesn’t mean that these things are now what everyone around needs to be doing to please God – they’re for me.

      The Pharisees in wanting to please God with their actions saw this as a way of influencing God.  We need to guard ourselves from pride and trying to manipulate God through our “righteous” behaviour.  Remember, God sees our hearts, He knows our motives.  We may fool people for a while, but we cannot fool God – and why would we try, unless we are not fully submitted to Him.  Psalm 139:23–24. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” (NLT)

Closing song: “I am not my own.”

Benediction: Lord, send us out today as Your children, as those who care more about loving and serving You than exalting ourselves. May You keep us from filling our lives with religious ritual rather than a relationship with Jesus Christ. Bless us in Jesus’ name, Amen.


[1] Barclay, W., ed. (1976). The Gospel of Mark (p. 63). The Westminster John Knox Press.

[2] Turner, D., & Bock, D. L. (2005). Cornerstone biblical commentary, Vol 11: Matthew and Mark (p. 424). Tyndale House Publishers.

[3] Barclay, W., ed. (1976). The Gospel of Mark (p. 67). The Westminster John Knox Press.

[4] Hurtado, L. W. (2011). Mark (p. 45). Baker Books.

[5] Hurtado, L. W. (2011). Mark (p. 47). Baker Books.

[6] McDowell, J., & McDowell, S. (2017). Evidence that demands a verdict: life-changing truth for a skeptical world. Thomas Nelson.

Sermon podcasts
Esterhazy Baptist Church Podbean

Mar 12, 2023 Podbean

Dial-A-Sermon – 1-306-985-9001
 (Note: this is a Regina number and long distance charges may apply)


Part 1 – The introduction of Jesus.  Mark 1:1-2:12.

March 12, 2023.  Esterhazy Baptist Church.

Call to Worship: “1 Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you. I will praise your name, for you have accomplished wonders, plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.” Isaiah 25:1 (CSB).

      According to the Church calendar, we are in the season of Lent.  This is a time of personal self-examination in preparation for Easter, a sort of spring cleaning for the soul.  Lent can be a time to reflect on what Jesus did for us on Calvary’s cross and how we have been living for him the past year.  Over the next five weeks, we are going to be spending our time in the Gospel of Mark.

      The Gospel of Mark was written by John Mark, a follower of Jesus and close associate of the Apostle Peter and the Apostle Paul.  After Peter was miraculously released from Jerusalem prison by an Angel of God, he stopped at a prayer meeting to let them know God has freed him (Acts 12:12).  We are told the prayer meeting was at Mary’s home, the mother of John Mark.  Later John Mark travelled with his cousin Barnabas and Paul during part of their first missionary journey (Acts 12:25; 13:5,13; Col. 4:10).  When Paul wrote his letter to the Colossians, John Mark was again helping Paul. In the last letter we have from Paul, he asks Timothy to get Mark and bring him along “because he is helpful to me in my ministry” (2 Timothy 4:11).  As the Apostle Peter closed his first letter to the churches, he included greeting from John Mark, whom he called a “son” (1 Peter 5:13).  It is believed that in the Gospel of Mark we have Peter’s account of Jesus’ ministry. 

      Today we are looking at Mark 1:1-2:12 which introduces us to Jesus.  Mark begins his Gospel with the statement: 1 This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. It began 2 just as the prophet Isaiah had written: “Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, and he will prepare your way. 3 He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming! Clear the road for him!’ ”” Mark 1:1–3 (NLT).  “Gospel” means “the good news” translated from the Greek word “evangelion”.  Beginning with the first century, Christians have associated the word Gospel, with the story of Jesus.  However, the average person of that day, the word “evangelion” meant an important public announcement, in today’s terms it would be like a press release.  Rowan Williams says: An euangelion, a ‘gospel’, a good message, is a message about something that alters the climate in which people live, changing the politics and the possibilities; it transforms the landscape of social life.[1]  Mark’s writing “…is meant to be an official proclamation… about someone called ‘Jesus the anointed, God’s son’… The very first verse of Mark’s Gospel would tell you that this was a book about ‘regime change’; someone’s new reign has been inaugurated.[2]

      Mark is announcing something dramatic happened with Jesus.  Who is Jesus?  How does he fit in with God’s plans explained through the Hebrew prophets?  In 1:2-3, Mark, quotes from the prophets that God’s promised one will be revealed by a fore-runner (Malachi 3:1; Isaiah 40:3).  Then Mark tells us that the well-known John the Baptist was that preparatory messenger (1:4-8).

      As John the Baptist was calling people to repent and prepare for the Messiah’s arrival, he was told to watch for the Holy Spirit to come down (Jn. 1:32-34).  Mk. 1:9-11 tells us, that as Jesus’ was baptized by John, the Holy Spirit descended upon him, like a dove and a voice spoke from heaven which said: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”  Here we have the testimony of God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, as to whom Jesus is – the Son of God.  But what did the people around him think?  Who is he?

      The rest of chapter 1 is full of action.  Following 40 days in the wilderness 14 …Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”” Mark 1:14–15 (NIV).  In Verses 21-28 people are amazed at Jesus’ authority – heard in his teaching and seen in his command of an impure spirit to leave a man: 23 Suddenly a man with an evil spirit in him entered the meeting place and yelled, 24 “Jesus from Nazareth, what do you want with us? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are! You are God’s Holy One.” 25 Jesus told the evil spirit, “Be quiet and come out of the man!”” Mark 1:23–25 (CEV).  In Genesis 50, after their father Jacob died, Joseph’s brothers feared that he would take revenge on them for selling him into slavery; verse 19 records his reply: 19 But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you?” Genesis 50:19 (NLT). Who is Jesus that demons fear him? 

      Mark 1:29-34 records Jesus healing Peter’s mother-in-law of a fever. Word of this spread quickly and after sunset many people in the town of Capernaum came for healing. Who is it that has power over human ailments?  In Genesis 30, Rachel begged her husband Jacob to give her a child, and in his frustration, he asked how she would expect him to do: “what only God can do?” (Gen. 30:2b, NCV). 

      Then in Mark 1:40-45 Jesus is approached by a man sick with leprosy, an incurable, contagious disease in those days. The man begged Jesus to heal him saying: “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” (Mk. 1:40b). What makes him think Jesus can help him?  2 Kings 5:7 tells of a king of Israel who received similar requests: 7 As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, “Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!”” 2 Kings 5:7 (NIV).  Jesus responded to the man’s request: 41 Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” 42 Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed.” Mark 1:41–42 (NLT).  Are you seeing what’s happening here?  Jesus is doing what no ordinary humans can, who is he?

      Mark continues to introduce us to Jesus as he begins chapter 2, verses 1-12:

1 When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. 2 Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, 3 four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. 4 They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. 5 Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” 6 But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, 7 “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!” 8 Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? 9 Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? 10 So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, 11 “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” 12 And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!”” Mark 2:1–12 (NLT).

      Once again, we see that Jesus can heal, yet with this paralyzed man, we learn even more about Jesus.  Jesus’ miracles were a sign, a demonstration that he was sent by God, that the Kingdom of God was nearby.  As the man was lowered in front of Jesus by his friends, we read: 5 Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”” Mark 2:5 (NLT).  Sickness was seen as a result of sin, and indeed, sickness and death entered the world because of our first parent’s sin (Adam and Eve).  The paralyzed man, like some people today, may have gone over in his mind, which of my sins caused this?  Jesus saw the faith of his friends, expressed through their determined action, and spoke the words which bring spiritual healing: “My child, your sins are forgiven.” 

     The teachers of the law, immediately question this statement, and Jesus is aware of what they are thinking.  They are investigating the claims that Jesus can heal, now they hear him stating with assurance that God has forgiven this visibly sinful man. This sounds blasphemous to them, because only God can forgive sins!  So, Jesus asks them, which is easier, to say I can do something which can’t be seen (forgive sins) or confirm that his sins have been forgiven by healing this paralyzed man?  To show that he does have authority on earth to forgive sins, he tells the paralyzed man to stand up, take his mat and go home – and he does!  If any of you have had your leg in a cast for a while, you’ll know that if you don’t use your muscles, it takes time to build them back up – but this man is immediately able to walk!  The Kingdom of God has indeed drawn near.  What’s the message Mark want us to learn about Jesus by watching and listening to him?  1 This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.” (Mk. 1:1, NLT).

      As Jesus looked up at the hole in Peter’s roof and saw the paralyzed man being lowered by his four friends, we read that Jesus saw their faith.  The faith of those who knew Jesus could help their friend wasn’t stopped by a crowded house.  I think they paid to repair the roof; such was their determination to give their friend an opportunity to meet Jesus.  They believed Jesus could heal their friend.  Do you have friends and family that would benefit from meeting Jesus?  We can’t force anyone to follow Jesus, but we can bring them to meet Jesus through prayer.  N.T. Wright says: “This story is a picture of prayer. Don’t stay on the edge of the crowd. Dig through God’s roof and find yourself in his presence.”[3]

      Read through the Gospel of Mark as if you are there watching Jesus for the first time.  What stands out for you?  Who is Jesus to you? What will you share with others about Jesus?  It can change both of your lives!

Hymn: #89 “Our great Savior” (vv. 1,2). 

Benediction: “24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen.” (Jude 24-25 NKJV).



[1] Williams, R. (2014). Meeting God in Mark (p. 6). SPCK.

[2] Williams, R. (2014). Meeting God in Mark (p. 7). SPCK.

[3] Wright, T. (2004). Mark for Everyone (p. 18). Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.

Sermon podcasts
Esterhazy Baptist Church Podbean

Mar 5, 2023 Podbean

Dial-A-Sermon – 1-306-985-9001
 (Note: this is a Regina number and long distance charges may apply)


Titus 3:1-8.  “Do this to remember me.”

March 5, 2023.  Esterhazy Baptist Church.


Call to Worship: “The Lord is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth. He grants the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cries for help and rescues them.”  “I will praise the Lord, and may everyone on earth bless his holy name forever and ever.” Psalm 145:18–19, 21 (NLT)

     Today is communion Sunday.  Jesus took bread, broke, passed it around, ate it, the took the cup, blessed it, drank it, passed it around and told us to do this in remembrance of him.  We celebrate communion to remember his sacrifice, in love, his body broken and blood shed for us.  In the context of the events of that final supper, there are other things which Jesus left for us to remember.

     John 13:1-17 records that Jesus, saw the need and washed his disciples’ feet.  John 13:14–17 records what Jesus wants his followers to remember: “If I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash each other’s feet. I did this as an example so that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, a servant is not greater than his master. A messenger is not greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (NCV).  We are to remember, in humility, to serve one another.

     John 13:31-35 says that after Judas departed, Jesus told his disciples that he would be leaving them soon, and gave them important instructions: John 13:34–35. ““I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other as I have loved you. All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other.”” (NCV).  As we remember Jesus, we are to remember to love one another.

     John 15:1-17 contains Jesus’ words to us regarding the vine and the branches.  We are to show we remember Jesus by remaining in relationship to him and drawing the strength we need to live as he has told us, by depending on him: John 15:5. ““I am the vine, and you are the branches. If any remain in me and I remain in them, they produce much fruit. But without me they can do nothing.” (NCV)

     We have been learning from Paul’s letter to Titus, and what the church in Crete was to do, and what they were to remember.  Paul’s assignment to Titus was to ensure that these churches would represent the Lord God well.  To do so, they needed:

  1. A) Godly leaders who understood, taught, and could defend sound doctrine.
  2. B) The congregation, in submission to Christ, was to serve one another and to live godly lives among non-believers, including those who opposed them. Titus was to guide them to this – trust and a desire to change would be needed. To be this salt and light in their communities (Titus 3:1-2), Paul wants them to remember three things:

1) Where they came from.

2) What God did for them.

3) How they were to respond.

     First, to act in humility towards other people, these Christians needed to remember where they came from, meaning their condition before accepting Jesus as their sin forgiver.  Titus 3:3 describes the heart condition of all of us: “We used to be stupid, disobedient, and foolish, as well as slaves of all sorts of desires and pleasures. We were evil and jealous. Everyone hated us, and we hated everyone.” Titus 3:3 (CEV).  We may not have outwardly acted out what was within, but it was a power keg of sin within us, just waiting for a spark to be made visible.

     Second, we are to remember what God did for us, Titus 3:4-7.  “4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.Titus 3:4–7 (NIV).  When we were helpless to save ourselves (v. 3), “the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared” – what is this describing?  John 3:16 – God so love the world that he gave – who – his only son.  The kindness and love of God which has appeared is Jesus!  Why, because of God’s mercy, not our righteous lives – we were helpless to help ourselves.  God the Father, sent Jesus the Son, who sent the Holy Spirit to wash and renew us – here is the Trinity!  The triune God’s purpose in our salvation was so we who have accepted his grace would become heirs, confident of eternal life.

     The third item we are to remember concerns our response to the good news of God’s grace: Titus 3:8. “This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.” (NIV).  Titus 3:1& 2 gives specific examples of what this behaviour will look like as it is lived out: “Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good. They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone.” Titus 3:1–2 (NLT).

     Jesus calls us to remember his body broken and his blood shed.  We show we remember as we reflect on our past life, rejoice in what God did for us and respond by living to give him glory and honour.  We do this by humbly serving one another, loving one another and drawing the strength we need to do these things through depending solely on our Lord Jesus Christ.

     As we close our study of the Apostle Paul’s letter to Titus and prepare ourselves to celebrate communion, join me in a responsive reading that touches on some of the themes in Titus:

“One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty.

I will meditate on your wonderful works. They tell of the power of your awesome works— and I will proclaim your great deeds.Psalm 145:4–6. (NIV)

“Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance?

You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.Micah 7:18–19. (NIV)

“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.Psalm 40:2–3. (NIV)

“Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.” Proverbs 3:3. (NIV)

The Love we have from You, O Lord “is patient, it is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.1 Corinthians 13:4–8a. (NIV)

Hymn: #406 – My hope is in the Lord (vv. 1-4)

Benediction: 1 Corinthians 15:56–58. “It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power. But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God! With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.” (The Message)

Sermon podcasts
Esterhazy Baptist Church Podbean

Feb. 26, 2023 Podbean

Dial-A-Sermon – 1-306-985-9001
 (Note: this is a Regina number and long distance charges may apply)


“As a follower of Jesus, devote yourself to doing good.” Titus 3.
February 26, 2023.  Esterhazy Baptist Church.


Call to Worship: “God our Savior showed us how good and kind he is. He saved us because of his mercy, and not because of any good things that we have done. God washed us by the power of the Holy Spirit. He gave us new birth and a fresh beginning. God sent Jesus Christ our Savior to give us his Spirit.” Titus 3:4–6 (CEV).

Titus 3 (NIV)

1 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. 10 Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. 11 You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.

12 As soon as I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, because I have decided to winter there. 13 Do everything you can to help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way and see that they have everything they need. 14 Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives.

15 Everyone with me sends you greetings. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all.

     We have been looking at Paul’s letter to Titus, because, like Hebrews chapter 11, it deals with faith.  Faith, not just in the sense of a belief system, but faith that impacts my behavior, how I think, act and what I long for.  For those listed in Hebrews 11, their faith in God led them to trust God and do what He told them to do. 

     In the Epistle to Titus, Paul has assigned Titus the task of teaching the churches in Crete how to choose in their leadership and how to live out their faith.

     Chapter one deals with what to look for in a godly leader and how to respond to those who oppose sound doctrine, the God entrusted Gospel Paul and Titus had taught them.  It is important to see that an elder was to be a good loving leader first of their own family.  This is because since giving leadership to a church was being a steward of God’s household, God’s family!  Since the church is God’s family, we are brothers & sisters and therefore responsible to and for one another!

     Chapter 2 instructs Titus on what to teach the different groups within the church.  Just as in chapter 1 where we can use the requirements of an elder to measure our own spiritual development, in chapter 2, we can use these verses to evaluate our spiritual maturity and activity in the church body.  Most of us have been raised in a very individual focused culture: we are told to look out for ourselves because no one else will.  Yes, we need to have a personal relationship with God, accepting Jesus as my sin forgiver and my life leader, however, let’s remember God designed us to flourish within a community of believers.  Within this community we are taught and we teach, as we grow up in Christ, together.

     Paul’s instructions to Titus in chapter 2 remind us that we are part of a fellowship.  We are a family of believers, at different points in our physical and spiritual journey, and our choices can help or hinder others.  There is no place for boredom or self-centredness as we live out our faith within the family of God, as He intended.

     Titus chapter 3 continues to remind us that the impact of our faith is to be seen beyond our church family and include our community.  Titus 3:1 & 2 says: “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.” Titus 3:1–2 (NIV).    The Greek word translated “remind them” literally means: “keep reminding them.”  By the way, verses 1 & 2 are one sentence, so Titus is to keep reminding them to do all these things.  Why do you suppose they needed to be constantly reminded?  Because this response wasn’t something that came naturally to the people! It seems not much has changed in 2000 years, yet remember, this attitude was expected from them, even though their situation was much more difficult than ours today. Crete, like most countries around the Mediterranean Sea, was an occupied land.  They were ruled by the armies of the city of Rome, lead by the emperor.  Rome picked the governors, magistrates, made the laws and collected the taxes; the Crete’s obeyed and in doing so, lived.

     Some Christians today struggle with respecting government leaders they disagree with.  Jesus told his disciples that when ordered to carry a pack one mile (a Roman law to assist their army) they were to carry it two miles (Matt. 5:41).  Jesus paid the temple tax (Matt. 17:27) and said to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s (Matt. 22:21).  Peter echoes Paul’s words to Titus, in 1 Peter 2:13-14 by telling Christians to submit to every established authority for the Lord’s sake. In Romans 13:1, Paul says everyone must submit to the governing authorities, because they have been established by God.  In Acts we see the authorities are only challenged when they demand Christians stop preaching about Christ (Acts 4:18-20; 5:27-29).

      What’s the unspoken question which follow Titus 3:1–2?  It’s one parents often hear?  WHY?  Why do I need to be considerate and gentle towards everyone, have you met my neighbour?  He is so inconsiderate, hostile and sometimes downright evil?  Why are we told to be peaceable & considerate?  Because once we weren’t any different from the hostile world around us.  Verse 3 lists 8 sinful ways people act, things that at one time we were doing.  The behaviour listed in vv. 1 & 2 that Christians (under the control of the Holy Spirit) are to display, includes those who ARE HARD TO LOVE – as we once were – yet, God chose to love us!

     Why am I to show love & grace to those who don’t deserve it?  Verses 4-7 tell us, that as God’s children, as members of His family, His character is to be visible in our lives.  How did God treat us, when we were sinners?  Verse 4 – He loved us.  Verse 5 – He saved us – not because we were good, but because of His mercy.  Verses 7 & 8 tell us why God did this, as well as the results of His mercy: God’s saving grace ensures that we will be with Him forever, we inherit eternal life!  This certainty is to motivate we who have put our trust (faith) in God, to devote ourselves to doing good.  This is the 2nd time we are called to do this in chapter 3!

     Verses 9-11 give the antithesis, the opposite of doing good, and that is getting caught up in foolish speculative opinions that sound spiritual, but are time wasters and unproductive, because they cause arguments and divisions.

     Verses 12-15 contain Paul final remarks and greetings.  It is interesting to see that Paul continues to be the administrator of his team even in the conclusion of this short letter.  Titus is to prepare to depart Crete when Artemas or Tychius arrive and to proceed to Nicopolis, where Paul plans to spend the winter.  In verse 13 Titus is encouraged to help two Christian brothers get all they need to for their trip.  Presumably this includes financial assistance as well as logistical support.  Verse 14 suggest that v. 13’s “do everything you can” includes encouraging the believers in Crete to the goal of working to support these men, literally, as a way of learning “to devote themselves to doing what is good”  – here is the 3rd time we are reminded to do good!  Verse 14 calls them, and us as well, to keep doing what is good, in order to meet the urgent needs of others, and therefore protect us from living unproductive lives. 

     Our faith in Jesus isn’t to remain just a belief system.  Our faith is to impact how we live.  The maturity of our faith is measurable through our behaviours and actions: Our actions & attitudes within our families.  Our actions & attitudes within our Church family.  Our patient actions & considerate responses within our community and our world.  Because of our faith in Jesus Christ, and because He loved and forgave us our sins, we are to devote ourselves, for Jesus’ sake, to doing good!

Hymn: #366 “I surrender all”

Benediction: Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, according to Christ Jesus, so that you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with one mind and one voice. Romans 15:5–6 (CSB).

Sermon podcasts
Esterhazy Baptist Church Podbean

Feb. 19, 2023 Podbean

Dial-A-Sermon – 1-306-985-9001
 (Note: this is a Regina number and long distance charges may apply)

“Living a God-filled life within the family of God.”  Titus 2.
February 19, 2023.  Esterhazy Baptist Church.

Call to Worship: (based on Psalm 25)

We lift up our souls to you, Holy God. We trust the Lord with our past, present, and future. Teach us, Lord, that we may know your ways.  Guide our every move, Holy One, that we may walk in your paths of love and mercy.  Let us worship the One who leads us in what is right. Together, let us worship God!


      For the next couple of weeks, we are going to continue our look at Paul’s letter to Titus. This letter was written by the Apostle Paul to his younger colleague, Titus, whom Paul had left on the Island of Crete to assist the churches in choosing Elders and to help the Christians understand their mission.  It is generally felt that the letter to Titus was written during the time between Paul’s first and second imprisonment in Rome, this would place it after the events recorded in the Book of Acts.  While this letter is often seen as a handbook for new pastors, is it also a guidebook for all Christians on how our faith in Christ is to change our behaviour.

      Last week as we looked at Titus chapter one, we concentrated on verses 5-9, a passage intended to give guidance in the selection, from within the congregation, of elders / overseers, those today whom we call pastors and deacons.  We also saw that this list of behaviors and character traits should also be used to help us to evaluate our own walk with Christ, “Am I maturing as a Christian?”.  

      Chapter 2, verse 1 says: “You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine.” Titus 2:1(NIV).  Why does Paul say this to Titus?  If we look at chapter 1:10-16, we see that the churches in Crete where being influenced by false teachers who tried to lead the Christians away from sound doctrine of the Gospel.  They were adding laws and myths to the Gospel.  Paul was especially disturbed that whole households were being disrupted by these self-serving teachers (1:11). 

      Paul was concerned about the breakup of families, not only because they are the foundation of society, but also the church at that time, often being house churches. Notice also that the church is described as family.  In Titus 1:6-7, Paul desires that an elder/overseer be committed to his wife and children, because they “manage God’s household,” this is how the church is described – God’s household.  God is our Father, and fellow Christians are our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Paul described his co-worker Titus, as a true son in our common faith.  As we look at chapter two with its lists of appropriate and inappropriate Christian behavior directed at various groups found within the church, keep the image of the church as the family of God in mind.  Society says faith is to be personal and private, and yet for the Christian, my saving faith must be having an impact on my behavior. Paul states this in Titus 2:11–12: “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,” (NIV).  Your behaviour not only impact you – but your family and also your church family, to the benefit or detriment of its testimony to the community. 

      Paul begins chapter 2 by telling Titus to “teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine.”  The Greek word here translated as “teach” in this and the following verses doesn’t limit it to a preaching or Bible study setting, it also means to promote or to encourage, which can be done informally in daily interactions.

      Interestingly, Paul doesn’t begin with general statements for the whole congregation, but gives “assignments” to the already established groups within society and the church.  The older men, those over 40, were looked to as the leaders, and Paul tells Titus to encourage them to be examples, worthy of respect, not merely due to their age, but because of their self-control and growing spiritual maturity.  Titus 2:2. “Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience.” (NLT). 

      The older women are the next group of leaders Titus is to encourage to honor God with their lives, through their choices to abstain from what society likely saw as the norm for them – gossip & alcohol dependency.  These maturity women, were to teach/promote/encourage what is good, and to be responsible the third group identified in the congregation.  It is the responsibility of the older women to mentor the younger women in their congregation on how to be a godly wife and mother.  Being understood, prayed for and encouraged that with the Lord, you will make it, can make all the difference in a fellow believer’s life!  Be open to developing inter-generational relationships, you can be an encouragement to each other.

      Paul instructs Titus to encourage the young men to be self-controlled – something which can be challenging at that age, but also something all the previous ages groups were also told to do.  Being a young man himself, Paul tells Titus to show them how it’s done: Titus 2:6–7. “In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely. And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.” (NLT).  Titus is to be an example to the young men in each congregation, and also to model to the church how we all are to reflect Christ Jesus in our life.

      In verse 9 & 10 Paul addresses another group which was present within most homes and therefore within the church, slaves.  Listen to these verses from the Message Translation: Titus 2:9–10. “Slaves must always obey their masters and do their best to please them. They must not talk back or steal, but must show themselves to be entirely trustworthy and good. Then they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive in every way.” (NLT).  Some slaves did live in miserable conditions, others were apprentices or domestic workers, and as we see here, were considered a part of the household, and also a house church.  No doubt a question owners had about Christianity was, “what happens if my slave becomes a Christian?  Will she/he rebel?” 

      Paul, who began this letter by identifying himself as a slave of God, tells slaves to respect and obey their masters.  Here is a quote from the Preaching the Word Commentary. In doing this: “The slaves become the Savior’s representatives, responsible for conduct that can lead to their masters’ salvation. This perspective makes a master’s ultimate welfare dependent on his slave and makes a slave the master of his superior’s future.  This inversion of master/slave roles makes Paul’s statement in the following verse all the more striking: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men” (2:11).[1]  In the context of verses 9 & 10, verse 11 “encourage slaves to remember that even societal superiors who have been corrupted by their worldly privileges are objects of the grace of God and thus should not be denied the message of salvation by slaves who already possess the higher privileges of eternity.” [2]  It takes mature faith, love and endurance to remind yourself that demonstrating Christ’s lordship in your life through obedience to your master, gives credibility to the teachings of Christ, which may lead to your master’s salvation.

      Titus 2:11-15 summarizes what Paul calls Titus to teach / encourage (2:15).  It tells us what behavior to reject, accept, what to do while we wait and reminds us of why Jesus came:  Titus 2:11–1511 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. 15 These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.” (NIV). 

      This chapter is not just about evaluating our spiritual maturity, but reminding us that we are part of a family, God’s family.  As family, we learn and teach one another, grow and help, cry and laugh and pray together, through all that life brings.  Look at Titus 2:11-14 and notice all the “us” and “we” – we are in this wonderful family of God together!

      I will close with a storyJohn Buchanan writes of a person trying to do ministry. She is an elderly woman shut into her home by age and blindness.

      She lost her husband early in their marriage. With two daughters to raise, the menial jobs that she could get would not provide enough income. So, she supplemented her small salary by baking wonderful, melt-in-your-mouth sourdough bread. When the daughters grew up and left home, the baking did not stop. The woman who had given herself so much for others was simply in the habit of putting others first. She kept baking bread and giving it away to friends.

      Then something began to affect her sight. She progressed from weakened sight to total blindness very quickly. With so much against her, and so much pressure simply to survive, no one would have blamed her for calling it quits on everything except what was needed to take care of herself. But instead of submitting to the darkness, the elderly woman made an important decision. Baking bread was what God had given her to do to express her love and care to others. She would not give it up simply because she could not see.

      So she mixes the flour and water she does not see, finds the dials on the oven in the dark, bakes the bread by instincts long developed in the light, and gives the loaves to people whose faces she can only imagine. She cannot tell you entirely why she bakes blind—only that God has given her love to share with those whose future and present need the yeast of her selfless love in order to share the bread of life with others.

      Whether we are attending church or a Bible study or offering fellowship to another family or are baking blind, we do not physically see the spiritual effects on others. But what we share with each other in these settings is spiritual life, nourishment, and protection more sustaining than earthly eyes can estimate. Still, Heaven sees and blesses through such selfless sharing that prepares us for the future, protects us in the present, and shapes hearts forever.[3]

Hymn #366 “I surrender all” (vv. 1,2,4)

Benediction: 1 Thessalonians 3:12–13 12 May the Lord make your love grow more and multiply for each other and for all people so that you will love others as we love you. 13 May your hearts be made strong so that you will be holy and without fault before our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.” (NCV)

[1] Hughes, R. K., & Chapell, B. (2000). 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus: to guard the deposit (pp. 333–334). Crossway Books.

[2] Hughes, R. K., & Chapell, B. (2000). 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus: to guard the deposit (p. 334). Crossway Books.

[3] Hughes, R. K., & Chapell, B. (2000). 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus: to guard the deposit (pp. 335–336). Crossway Books.

Sermon podcasts
Esterhazy Baptist Church Podbean

Feb. 12, 2023 Podbean

Dial-A-Sermon – 1-306-985-9001
 (Note: this is a Regina number and long distance charges may apply)


“Sharpening my focus.” Titus 1:1-9.

February 12, 2023.  Esterhazy Baptist Church.


Call to Worship: For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes… For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16–17 (NIV).

Titus 1:1-9 1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness—2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, 3 and which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior, 4 To Titus, my true son in our common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

       5 The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you. 6 An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. 7 Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8 Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. (NIV)

       One day Victoria Pierce of Nashville opened her front door and her dog raced in, yelping and covered with skunk spray. With Victoria chasing him, the dog ran through every room, rubbing himself against every cushion, rug, and piece of upholstered furniture. The whole house had to be decontaminated.

      The stench of sin is worse than all the foul odors of earth. When we dishonor the commands of Scripture, it’s a stench rising to heaven. …Only the Bible tells us how to rid our life of the foul effects of sin. We must confess and turn from them, letting the Lord bathe us in grace.[1]

      The stench and stain of our sin is beyond our ability to remove, but God has a plan.  This is the message of forgiveness offered in John 3:16 – “God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die.” John 3:16 (CEV). This is the first verse that the AWANA children learn when they come to club, it is where our renewed relationship with our God begins.

      We recently finished looking at Hebrews chapter 11, which highlights those who did incredible things by putting their faith in the Lord God.  How does one go from John 3:16 to Hebrews 11?  The writer of Hebrews encouraged his readers to grow up in their faith, how do we do that? In other words: The Lord has removed the stench of sin from our life, how do we mature in our faith?

      For the next few weeks we are going to focus on Paul letter to Titus. The content of this letter is like 1 Timothy, but briefer. This letter has only three chapters, with a total of 46 verses, but it is packed with wisdom on what living and walking by faith looks like.

      Titus was written by the Apostle Paul to his younger colleague, Titus, whom Paul had left on the Island of Crete to select Church Elders in the churches.  While this letter is often treated as a handbook for new pastors, this was not the first time Titus was asked by Paul to aid congregations.  Titus was sent by Paul to help the troubled churches in Corinth a couple of times, and he did help them.  Titus is not mentioned in the book of Acts, but Galatians 2:1,3 says that Paul took Titus, an uncircumcised Gentile Christian to Jerusalem and was not compelled to have him circumcised.  This is believed to be the events described in Acts 15.  Acts also does not record Paul going to Crete to plant churches.  It seems that this letter to Titus was written during the time between Paul’s first and second imprisonment in Rome. 

      We’ve already heard Titus chapter one from the NIV translation, here is Titus 1:1-4 from the Message Translation: “1 I, Paul, am God’s slave and Christ’s agent for promoting the faith among God’s chosen people, getting out the accurate word on God and how to respond rightly to it. 2 My aim is to raise hopes by pointing the way to life without end. This is the life God promised long ago—and he doesn’t break promises! 3 And then when the time was ripe, he went public with his truth. I’ve been entrusted to proclaim this Message by order of our Savior, God himself. 4 Dear Titus, legitimate son in the faith: Receive everything God our Father and Jesus our Savior give you!” Titus 1:1–4 (The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language).

      Mark Twain, is usually thought of for his wit, but I appreciate the wisdom in this quote of his: “The two most important days in your life are… the day you are born… and the day you find out why.”  Mark Twain.

      Paul had met the Risen Jesus and he had come to understand why he was born.  We can see this in Titus 1:1-3.  He identifies himself as God’s slave, an Apostle, agent, a sent-one of Jesus Christ, whose purpose is to strengthen their faith & knowledge of the truth, leading to godliness and assurance of life eternal.  Paul saw the wonder of his relationship with the Lord Jesus as something to be shared!  Is this to be any different with us?  Our efforts may be different in scope from Paul’s, but all Christians have been bought from slavery to sin by God and are sent by Jesus Christ (the great commission) to tell others, baptize and disciple.

      I suspect that in this letter, Paul is not telling Titus anything new to him, and that this letter is intended to support Titus’ authority and teach the Crete believers what godly characteristics to look for and develop in.  In verse 5 we see that Paul left Titus in Crete to appoint elders/overseers in every town which has a congregation.  As we saw in vv. 1-3 Paul had come to understand “why he had been born” and he wants Titus to choose leaders who will do the same in the communities of Crete. The terms elders/overseers refer to pastors or bishops, and what follows in verse 6-9 lists what to look for in these individuals.  Please refer to these verses when you are selecting leaders, but also don’t ignore them when you are evaluating your own relationship with Jesus Christ!  Remember, at this point in church history, there were no seminaries, the leaders being considered for pastors and bishops were like you, people from all walks of life that accepted Jesus as their sin forgiver and life leader.  Keep that in mind as we look at the qualifications mentioned in Titus 1:6-9.

Titus 1:6. “An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.” (NIV)

Titus 1:6. “As you select them, ask, “Is this man well-thought-of? Is he committed to his wife? Are his children believers? Do they respect him and stay out of trouble?”” (The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language)

      Blameless means that no charges can be brought against him – he has a good reputation in the community – remember in a small town, there are no secrets!  At first glance, one might conclude that an elder must be someone who has a firm grip on his wife and children.  However, you do not achieve the desired results by being a drill sergeant.  Husband, you are to be faithful & committed to your wife!  Parents, you must live your faith and pray that your children will want to follow in your footsteps.  Fathers, live with consistency in your life so your children will grow to respect you and want to imitate your behavior.  This is not describing someone who is controlling, but someone who’s life inspires others to imitate them!

Titus 1:7. “Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.” (NIV)

Titus 1:7. “It’s important that a church leader, responsible for the affairs in God’s house, be looked up to—not pushy, not short-tempered, not a drunk, not a bully, not money-hungry.” (The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language)

      Verse 7 begins by reminding us that we who give leadership to the church, and a Baptist church uses a congregational form of leadership, are doing this as a manager on behalf of God.  In other words, people, this is God’s church not the pastor’s or the membership’s – we are responsible to God for how we manage His household!  This is why being a good manager of your own household is a pre-requisite for managing God’s household.

Blameless: Again, this is stressed – meaning unaccused. 

Not overbearing: Not one who is self-pleasing, self-willed, or arrogant.  Ask yourself, “do I always have to be right or have my own way?” 

Not quick-tempered: This describes someone who does not have their anger under control.  As Christians we are, with Christ’s help to be humble & gentle as Jesus is (2 Cor. 10:1).

Not given to drunkenness: How do you relax and relieve stress?

Not violent: Describes a quarrelsome person.  How do you handle frustrations and confrontations? 

Not pursuing dishonest gain or being greedy for money: Some questions to ask yourself is – What drives me? Am I tempted to cross the line if it is profitable or is my clean conscious worth more to me than wealth?

      In verses 8 & 9 Paul now list qualities we want in our lives and in our Christian leaders.

Titus 1:8. “Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.” (NIV)

Titus 1:8. “He must welcome people, be helpful, wise, fair, reverent, have a good grip on himself,” (The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language)

Hospitable: This literally means “a lover of strangers.” In the 1st century hospitality was a very practical expression of love – you took strangers into your home.

One who loves what is goodPhilippians 4:8. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (NIV)

Self-controlled: A balanced view of yourself. Self-controlled is listed four more times in chapter 2, and in 2:11-12 we are reminded that it is a result of God’s grace.

Upright, righteous: A call to be fair, equitable and honest in how you deal with others.

Holy, reverent: The word used here carries the meaning of pure and unpolluted – a life reflecting Christ Jesus.

Disciplined: Control over oneself and being in control of one’s strength. “This kind of self-control is only possible for the person who is mastered by the Word of God and led by the Spirit of God.” [2]

Titus 1:9. “He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.” (NIV)

Titus 1:9. “and have a good grip on the Message, knowing how to use the truth to either spur people on in knowledge or stop them in their tracks if they oppose it.” (The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language)

      An elder / overseer must be devoted to the truth of God’s Word so to: 1) Encourage others by sound doctrine, 2) Be able to refute those who oppose it.  Those assigned to detect counterfeit money first become experts by handling genuine currency.  To detect false doctrine, you must understand sound doctrine, what and why you believe.

      I trust you are seeing how you an use these verses not only to evaluate a pastoral candidate, but as a check list to check your own heart and ask: How am I doing Lord?

      The Exalting Jesus in Titus Commentary concludes its study of Titus 1:6-9 with a quote from Richard Baxter directed at pastors: “Take heed to yourselves, lest your example contradict your doctrine, … lest you unsay with your lives what you say with your tongues; and be the greatest hinderers of the success of your own labors”[3] I think these words serve also as a reminder to all Christians – to submit all our behaviour to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, whether in our work place, church or home – Jesus needs to be Lord of all!

Hymn: #387 “O to be like Thee” (vv. 1-3)

Benediction: “11 Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you.” “14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:11b, 14 (NLT)

[1] Jeremiah, David. Today’s Turing Point, Thursday, February 9, 2023.

[2] Platt, D., Akin, D. L., & Merida, T. (2013). Exalting jesus in 1 & 2 timothy and titus (Tt 1:8). Holman Reference.

[3] Platt, D., Akin, D. L., & Merida, T. (2013). Exalting jesus in 1 & 2 timothy and titus (Tt 1:5–9). Holman Reference.

Sermon podcasts
Esterhazy Baptist Church Podbean

Jan. 22, 2023 Podbean

Dial-A-Sermon – 1-306-985-9001
 (Note: this is a Regina number and long distance charges may apply)

Next Sunday, Jan. 29, we will have a guest speaker, therefore no message will be sent out, recorded or posted next Sunday.
Hebrews 11:35-40. “Does living by faith guarantee a trouble-free life?”
Jan. 22, 2023.  Esterhazy Baptist Church.

Call to Worship: (based on Psalm 25)

We lift up our souls to you, Holy God.

We trust the Lord with our past, present, and future.

Teach us, Lord, that we may know your ways.

Guide our every move, Holy One, that we may walk in your paths of love and mercy.

Let us worship the One who leads us in what is right.

Together, let us worship God!

      Last week I explained that we are back in Hebrews chapter 11 to answer a couple of questions that this chapter deals with, which people have.  The first question, we looked at last week: Do I have to be perfect for God to accept me?  This is an important question to consider how you would answer, because many people, when they become open to accepting God’s love, struggle with the likelihood Him accept them because of all the bad they’ve done.  A look at the “Hero’s of the Faith” listed in Hebrews 11 shows us that God uses a wide variety of people and loves to use broken people to demonstrate His grace and forgiveness.

      The second question, which we will consider today is another common one that you will hear expressed in a variety of ways.  Recently I was talking with someone who had experienced a string of unfortunate circumstances and they were asking if I thought it was God judging them or the devil attacking them?  During times when someone is going through sickness or loss, I hear people saying things like: “I don’t understand why this happened to them, they are such good people.”  So, the second question, which is also answered in Hebrews, is Does living by faith guarantee a trouble-free life?  When I finally bend my knee to God and admit that I am wrong and He is right about my sin, and ask for His forgiveness and help, some of us expect our troubles to be over.  Is that a realistic expectation?  Is it biblical?

      Reading of the heroes of the faith listed in Hebrews 11:35-40 makes it clear that walking by faith in God doesn’t guarantee a trouble-free life. 

Hebrews 11:35–40.  35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. 39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” (NIV)

      These verses describe Old Testament and Intertestamental people who faced persecution and death rather than give up their faith in God.  Because they were willing to die for their faith, rather than recant, the Jewish faith continued and was present when Jesus was born in Bethlehem.  The writer of Hebrews is reminding his readers of their history; persecution of those who walk by faith is nothing new!

      Jesus told his disciples that he would suffer, die and rise again: 31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.” Mark 8:31 (NIV).  In his final hours with his disciples, before his crucifixion, recorded in John chapters 14-16, Jesus repeatedly prepared his disciples to expect persecution:

      John 15:18–20 18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.” (NIV). 

      Hebrews Chapter 12 challenges us, in light of the examples of faith we have just read about, to get serious about our own race of faith.  Get rid of everything that would hinder you from completing your race of faith, looking to Jesus as your example and guide.

      Hebrews 12:1–3 1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (NIV)

      In Hebrews 12:4-13 the readers are reminded that God disciplines those He loves, using hardships as training in righteousness, as a parent uses discipline to train a child.  Does this mean that trouble in my life is God disciplining me?  We live in a sinful, fallen world.  Our own sin cause trouble, bodies get sick & things break – causing trouble, other people’s sin impact us – causing trouble.  If the Lord is disciplining you to get rid of your love of sin in your life, you won’t have to guess.  Walton & Longman in their book, “How to read Job” address the question of God’s discipline this way: We know that God, like a good parent, disciplines those whom he loves. After all, the author of Hebrews tells us that God disciplines us like a father disciplines his son (Heb 12:4–13). But as we have learned in the book of Job, we must not be too quick to conclude that when things go wrong in our lives, God is disciplining us. Discipline is not very instructive or effective if sufferers do not know why they are being disciplined. As parents, we would not make such a mistake, so we should not think that God would be so opaque in discipline.[1]

      Does living by faith guarantee a trouble-free life?  No, it doesn’t, because Jesus said His followers would not be treated better than he was treated.  How are we to handle all that life brings us?  Follow Jesus’ example and remember His words: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV).

Closing Song:  #371 Have Thine own way Lord” (vv. 1,3,4)

Benediction: God is always with you. Even when times get difficult and the way is not clear, God is truly by your side. Rest in God’s strength and love. Serve God with joy. Go in peace. AMEN.

[1] Walton, J. H., & Longman, T., III. (2015). How to Read Job (p. 181). IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press.

Sermon podcasts
Esterhazy Baptist Church Podbean

Jan. 15, 2023 Podbean

Dial-A-Sermon – 1-306-985-9001
 (Note: this is a Regina number and long distance charges may apply)

“What does it take to become a faith walker?”  Hebrews 11.1-2, 30-34.
January 15, 2023.  Esterhazy Baptist Church.
Call to Worship: “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.” “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14, 16 NIV)

      This morning I would like to return to Hebrews chapter 11.  Last November I thought we were finished as we got to verse 29 – focused on Moses, then we moved into the Advent season.  This week as we shared in Bible study, I sensed the Lord saying to me that there were still a couple of unanswered questions which needed to be answered by completing Hebrews chapter 11.  The title of today’s sermon “What does it take to become a faith-walker” touches on the first question to be addressed.  But before we get into that, let’s do some review.

      The book of Hebrews doesn’t identify the author or to whom it was written.  For many years it was assumed to have been written by the Apostle Paul, but the style and Greek vocabulary have led scholars to doubt this assumption. The many quotations from Hebrew Scripture, references to the Temple and the sacrificial system suggest it was written to people with a Hebrew background, hence, its title, Hebrews.

      The letter seems to have been written to Hebrew Christians who had once endured persecution for their faith, but were now beginning to waver in their commitment to Christ Jesus.  As chapter 10 concludes, the author reminds his readers of the importance of our faith, that is placing our trust in God to pleasing Him: 35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” 38 And, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” 39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved. 1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for.” Hebrews 10:35–11:2 (NIV).

      Hebrews chapter 11 goes on to show the readers how faith was active in the lives of significant people in their history.  In fact, we see a heritage of faith laid out for us 2 This is what the ancients were commended for”.  The writer then proceeds to highlight examples of those who walked by faith, including giants in Israel’s history like Abraham and Moses.

      By the way, those of you who are feeling like getting old will or has side-lined you, a reading of Hebrews 11 will remind you that some of these giants of the faith did their best “faith work” in the latter years of their life!  For some Christians, realizing that they likely have fewer years ahead of them then behind them, helps them depend more on the Lord and focus on what is most important to them, especially sharing about their relationship with their sin forgiver and life leader, Jesus!

      Hebrews 11:1-29 is encouraging and enlightening as we see the impact of those who followed God by walking by faith: Humanity was preserved (Noah), the nations were blessed (Abraham), people to represent God received His law and became a nation (Moses).  Verses 31-32 names a few individuals who did amazing feats of faith detailed in vv. 33-34: 33 By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight.” Hebrews 11:33–34 (NLT). 

      As encouraging as these examples are, I wonder if some of us look at these verses and this walk of faith as something for ‘others’ – for someone other than me.  Why might we feel this way?  Perhaps we don’t feel our faith is big enough, or we feel we’ve blown our chance to be useful to God.  In a sense, we are asking: “Do I have to be perfect for God to us me?”  If you grab a Bible dictionary look up the life individuals mentioned in Hebrews 11:4-29, you should conclude that the answer to the question, “Do I have to be perfect for God to us me?” is no!  Looking at the individuals in today’s passage (11:30-34) should further confirm the answer is no, when wondering if you have to be perfect to be used by God.  Patsy Clairmont’s book “God uses cracked pots” comes to mind!

      How can this be, you might ask?  The strength of faith lies in the object upon which our faith is placed.  Rahab had not lived a good life among a sinful people.  She was secure within the thick walls of the fortress of Jericho.  Yet she chose instead to stake her life and that of her family on trust the God of Israel and His people.  She demonstrated her faith through her choice to hide the Hebrew spies and misdirect the soldiers who were hunting for them.  This choice to trust God, to place her life in His hands, changed her life.  She and her family were the only survivors from Jericho’s defeat, and she became part of Hebrew nation and a descendent of King David, and therefore Jesus Christ, the Son of David.

      Hebrews 11:32 mentions Gideon, Barak, Samson & Jepthah – all Judges God chose and used to lead Israel out of times when they had turned their backs on God and become oppressed by conquerors.  They are remembered for great victories, yet none were perfect, all were flawed sinners.  David, Israel’s second King is also mentioned.  He was a remarkable man of faith, composers of many Psalms, yet committed adultery and had the woman’s husband killed to cover it up.  However, when God’s prophet confronted him with his sin, he did repent, acknowledging that he had sinned against God.  As he continued in his walk with God, the Lord promised David that a king from his line would reign forever, the Messiah would be a descendant of David!

      I am so glad that God is willing to use cracked pots – after all, aren’t we all crackpots?  All of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, yet God has reached out to us while we were still sinners (Romans 3:23-24; 5:8).

      The 12 apostles gave up everything to follow Jesus, but still struggled among themselves to be seen as Jesus’ favorite.  Brother’s James and John earned the nickname “Son’s of thunder.”  Peter was, outspoken, he corrected Jesus and then denied he even knew Jesus – yet Jesus trusted him to lead the young church after His death.

      In 1 Timothy, the Apostle Paul remained amazed that God was willing to forgive and use him, the chief of sinners (1 Tim. 1:12-14).  He considered himself a poster child to demonstrated the depth of God’s grace.  Paul in essence is saying, if God can forgive and us me, He can use anyone who is willing (1 Tim. 1:15-16).

      You may be asking, “I’ve messed up – can God still use me?”  Yes, if you will trust Him (faith), believe His Word (more faith), and with His help, obey Him (faith in action).  Believe that if God has said He will do something, He is trustworthy and He will do it – you do not have to see it to believe it will happen – because God never lies!

      What does it take to become a faith-walker?  Put your trust (faith) in the Lord’s ability to save you and follow Him.  2 Corinthians 4:6–7 says: For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (NIV).  Our God, who spoke light into the darkness and created all that was good in the Garden of Eden from nothing, is able to make His light shine within our dark sinful hearts, making them new, through the saving work of Jesus Christ.  This is the treasure now within us clay pots, cracks and all, to the glory of God!

      Why does God use cracked pots?  Listen to the words of encouragement the Lord gave the Apostle Paul when he struggled with the weakness of his thorn in the flesh: 2 Corinthians 12:9–10 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (NIV)  

      What does it take to become a faith-walker?  Put your trust (faith) in the Lord’s ability to save you, and lean on Him to provide what you need to follow Him and serve Him.

Hymn: #405 “My faith has found a resting place” (vv. 1-4)

Benediction: And now, all glory to God, who is able to keep you from stumbling, and who will bring you into his glorious presence innocent of sin and with great joy. All glory to him, who alone is God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Yes, glory, majesty, power, and authority belong to him, in the beginning, now, and forevermore. Amen.” (Jude 24-25 NLT).

Sermon podcasts
Esterhazy Baptist Church Podbean

Jan. 8, 2023 Podbean

Dial-A-Sermon – 1-306-985-9001
 (Note: this is a Regina number and long distance charges may apply)

Matt. 7:7-11; Neh. 4:1-6; 1 Cor. 11:23-26.  “Power.”
Jan. 8, 2023.  Esterhazy Baptist Church.

Call to Worship: “Proclaim the power of God, whose majesty is over Israel, whose power is in the heavens.  You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!” Psalm 68:34–35 (NIV).


·     Why do we pray, doesn’t God know what is going on in our life?

–      To help us realize these things are bigger than us.

–      That we would deliberately ask God to be involved.

–      Most of all, because Jesus tells us to approach God in prayer.

·       Read Matthew 7:7-11.

Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. Everyone who asks will receive. Everyone who searches will find. And the door will be opened for everyone who knocks.  Would any of you give your hungry child a stone, if the child asked for some bread?  Would you give your child a snake if the child asked for a fish?  As bad as you are, you still know how to give good gifts to your children. But your heavenly Father is even more ready to give good things to people who ask.  Matthew 7:7–11 (CEV)

      Why do we pray?  Because Jesus invites us to prayer, but he does more than that, he persuades us to trust our heavenly Father with our very real concerns.  Ask, search, knock, Jesus says; don’t be afraid to tell your heavenly Father what you need.

      Prayer often begins with the focus on what concerns us, as we ask, seek and knock.  But once we stop depending on ourselves and begin to realize that God’s power is at work in prayer, our focus shifts to our Father’s will in our concerns.  Jesus reminds us, that weak as we are, we do not ignore our children when they are hungry and asking for food.  Weak as we are, the demands of love make us strong.  Obviously, our heavenly Father, with goodness and power far beyond our own, will do much more for us, his children when we ask.  Why do we pray?  The power of prayer lies in the love of our God.  Let us pray, knowing that He hears us.


      We have already seen that there is power in prayer.  This comes as we acknowledge our weakness and recognize God’s power, as well as his eagerness to be involved in our lives. 

      The Bible tells us there is also power in the people of God agreeing together.  Matthew 18:19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. (NIV).  There is power in commitment.

      The book of Nehemiah in the Old Testament takes place after some of the Jews have returned from 70 years exile in Babylon.  Those who arrived first were overwhelmed by the work and opposition.  The book of Nehemiah highlights the leadership Nehemiah, who reminded the people that since God had brought them back to their land, He would help them secure it.  The work was not hindered by their weakness, but success would come as they trusted together in God’s strength.  Listen to two of passages from Nehemiah: 2:19–20 When Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard about this, they mocked and despised us, and said, “What is this you’re doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” I gave them this reply, “The God of the heavens is the one who will grant us success. We, his servants, will start building, but you have no share, right, or historic claim in Jerusalem.”” Nehemiah 2:19–20 (CSB).

Nehemiah 4:1–6 When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became furious. He mocked the Jews before his colleagues and the powerful men of Samaria and said, “What are these pathetic Jews doing? Can they restore it by themselves? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they ever finish it? Can they bring these burnt stones back to life from the mounds of rubble?” Then Tobiah the Ammonite, who was beside him, said, “Indeed, even if a fox climbed up what they are building, he would break down their stone wall!” Listen, our God, for we are despised. Make their insults return on their own heads and let them be taken as plunder to a land of captivity. Do not cover their guilt or let their sin be erased from your sight, because they have angered the builders. So we rebuilt the wall until the entire wall was joined together up to half its height, for the people had the will to keep working.” (CSB).

      Whenever a great task is undertaken, it seems there will always be those who harass and criticize the workers.  “It can’t be done; or if it is done, it won’t be good enough!”  If the workers listen to the ridicule, then the job will probably be abandoned. However, if the people determine that what they are doing is according to the will of God, then nothing can stop them.  This is because the tasks that God assigns are always beyond our own strength to accomplish.  This is so that we learn to rely on His strength, as we work together for His glory.

      This is the power of commitment.  When we follow Jesus’ prompting and agree together in His name, we work together; and when we work together, God is with us.  There is power in commitment together to accomplish the will of God.

      This morning, I would like us to review the purpose we have agreed to as a church.  A condensed version of our purpose statement is on the front of our bulletin every Sunday.  Today, on the back of the bulletin is the full purpose statement as it appears in our church’s procedures book.  Listen as I read it.

PURPOSE:  We believe our church exists to glorify God by making disciples of Jesus Christ in Esterhazy and Area, in Saskatchewan, and among all people, as our Lord commissioned us (Matt. 28:18-20)

     We shall seek to attain this goal through:

1.     Winning people to Christ through personal witness and corporate evangelism.

2.     Building believers up in Christ through Bible instruction, fellowship and example, private devotions and public worship.

3.     Equipping believers to serve Christ in committed service to the church and the communities in which it exists and serves.


      There is power in prayer, so we bring our requests to the Lord daily.  There is power in commitment, in dedicating ourselves to God’s work, in His strength to accomplish his purposes for us as a church family.

      Lastly, there is also power in remembering, and so we celebrate communion.  We remember that our Lord, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, willing laid down his life in our place.  As we accept his forgiveness, we are forgiven, made whole, and have a renewed relationship with God, as His adopted child.

Closing Song: #370 “I’ll live for Him” (vv. 1,3)

Benediction: Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20–21 (NLT).

Sermon podcasts
Esterhazy Baptist Church Podbean

Dec. 18, 2022 Podbean

Dial-A-Sermon – 1-306-985-9001
 (Note: this is a Regina number and long distance charges may apply)


Today’s message begins with an advent devotional from the North American Baptist Conference, followed by a monolog sermon about Joseph, the husband of Mary.


“Embracing the difficult manger.” Action/Reaction
Advent Devotional for December 18, 2022
     “This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.
     As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” [. . .] When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.” (Matthew 1:18–21, 24 NLT)
      Even if we don’t grasp the whole of the mathematics behind it, most of us understand the basic truth of Isaac Newton’s third law of motion with as much ease as kicking a ball across a field: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
      Actions have consequences. Every choice we make (action) results in some sort of consequence (reaction). Sometimes the reaction is perfectly in line with what we expect: we pay the barista and in return receive a hot cup of coffee. Other times, the results are entirely beyond our expectation. Such was the case with Joseph.
      Joseph had a decision to make, and the most prudent and righteous course of action seemed to him to be breaking off his engagement with Mary. After all, she was now pregnant, and he knew he was not the father. He might have been thinking that this course of action meant the man who got her pregnant was now free to take her as his wife and be a father to his child. Or maybe he was simply allowing her the freedom to fade into the background rather than go through the spectacle of a wedding while visibly pregnant. Who knows what might have been if Joseph had followed through on his decision to quietly break their engagement. The unintended consequences of his decision are thankfully a mystery because, due to the intervention of an angel meeting him in a dream, Joseph chose instead to stay the course, to take Mary as his wife and to be the earthly father to Jesus.
      Fred Rogers once said, “There is no normal life that is free of pain. It’s the very wrestling with our problems that can be the impetus for our growth.” Choosing the easier way, even when it seems to be righteous, is not always the best way. Joseph was privileged that an angel came to him in a dream to redirect him; the rest of us must instead rely on the difficult process of discernment. We must learn how to set aside what we want and be open to wherever God, through the Holy Spirit, leads us. This is not a skill that is easy or even one that can be mastered; anyone who says they are an expert at discernment is fooling themselves.
      Yet when we put in the hard work to learn how to hear the quiet whispers of the Spirit and ignore the thundering shouts of our own wants and desires, we are sowing seeds in our soul that will flourish and bloom in magnificence and splendor.

Joseph reflects.” A monolog sermon based on Matt. 1:18-24; 2:1-2, 11-13, 19-23.

        Hi, my name is Joe Davidson.  My wife Mary calls me Joseph, son of David.  Perhaps you’ve heard of us, or at least Mary.  An angel of the Lord was sent to her with the message that she would become pregnant with the Messiah, through the work of God’s Holy Spirit.  All of this happening while we were engaged.  If God’s angel hadn’t appeared to me in a dream, telling me not to fear going ahead with our marriage, I would have released Mary from her obligation to me.  Instead, assured that Mary’s pregnancy was the work of God’s Holy Spirit, we got married.

        Mary’s faith was simple, yet so strong, it was grounded in her trust in the Lord God.  She refused to accept human opinion over God’s Word.  This for me, was something easier said than done, and I needed God’s help!  You see, I struggled with my worthiness for the task.  I’d just gotten used to the idea of become a husband and providing for a wife. Now I learn that not only I am soon to be a father, but I am to father the Son of God!  How am I going to do that?

        Honestly, at first, I wondered if Mary would be better off without me and my doubts.  Yet Mary would have nothing of that idea!  She firmly reminded me that God’s Angel could have been sent to her before we were engaged, if I wasn’t to be involved.  “Also remember” Mary said “That God also sent His angel to you in a dream to assure you to not be afraid to take me as your wife and to assure you that I have remained faithful to you!”  I remembered, he said: The child Mary carries was conceived by the Holy Spirit.  “Joseph” Mary would say “God intended that we are in this together, we are both to raise His son!  God chose you to father this child.  Put your full trust in Him to help you.  He will provide what you need!” 

        After that, Mary and I spent countless evenings talking and thinking.  We recalled the Lord’s work in the lives of our fore-fathers.  Moses wasn’t saved from being drowned in the Nile River by his own strength or that of his family, but through the work of God.  The Israelites didn’t walk out of slavery in Egypt because of their efforts, it was all a work of God. 

        I needed to remember; this was God’s plan.  We didn’t have to figure out how to this on our own.  We simply had to follow God’s directions, just like our fore-fathers did when God protected them for 40 years in the wilderness.

        Jesus’ birth was an incredible experience.  Once again, Mary was so brave and strong.  But I saw the events surrounding Jesus’ birth as a disaster!  It didn’t go at all like I had planned.  I had hoped to arrive in Bethlehem sooner, and when we got there, I couldn’t find a private room for my wife to have her baby.  As a result, God’s Son was born in barn, an enclosure meant for sheep!  Honestly, I kind of thought that God would have made things a little easier for us, and wondered why He hadn’t.

        While Mary held Jesus, she listened to my disappointment over my failed expectations and plans, then she reminded me that babies don’t care about our plans – only theirs!  As she snuggled baby Jesus and smiled at me, I knew she was right.  Let the disappointment go, and be thankful for what we have, I told myself.  As I was assuming that we’d gotten through the worst of the night, our stable started to fill up with shepherds!  Oh great, the only empty place I could find for my wife and child now has to get used as a working barn!!! 

        But the shepherds hadn’t brought their sheep, in fact, it turned out they had come looking for us – what?  “How did you know we were here?”  I asked?  Then they told us their incredible story.  They too had been visited by an angel.  It turned out, God had not let His Son’s birth go unnoticed after all.  The heir to the Shepherd King, David’s throne, had his birth announced to working shepherds, out in the same fields David had once walked.  They had come to see the child, the Saviour who is Christ, the Lord!  The look of awe on their faces told me how deeply they had been touched by this moment.  And when left, everyone they met heard about the angel’s message and the baby they found in a feeding trough. 

        After some time, I began to relax.  I found work and was able to afford a small place for our little family.  Maybe raising God’s son wasn’t going to be a tough as I had feared.  When the foreigners arrived, wise men, Magi from Eastern lands, things got even more interesting.  The whole village was curious as their caravan passed by, and the gifts the Magi presented to Jesus were worth more than years of my labour; yes, I can get used to this, I thought!

        The night the Magi left, I woke up with a jolt, and started shaking Mary awake.  “Get up, get up – we have to leave this place now!”  “What?  Why?”  Mary asked, rubbing the sleep from her eyes.  “I had another dream, a visit from the same angel – he told me Herod is going to try and kill Jesus.  We have to leave for Egypt right now!”  That’s all Mary needed to hear, and she was gathering clothing and household items for the trip.  I ran to prepare the pack animals and shelter.  In a few hours we were on our way, out of Bethlehem, headed for Egypt. We stayed there for a couple of years, until Herod died and the angel told us to return.  I was heading back to Bethlehem until the angel warned me Herod’s son ruled that area, so we returned to our little home town of Nazareth to raise our family.

        The Magi’s gifts had been a life saver, providing for our needs.  Any time I started questioning God’s care and concern for us, I would remember the blessings those gifts had been to us while in Egypt.  It was like when the prophet Elijah was fed by Ravens when he hid from King Ahab; we also had been blessed by an unexpected source.  God was at work in ways I least expected and could have missed if not for Mary’s gentile reminders.  David spent years hiding for his life from his father-in-law, Saul, yet he had been chosen by God to be the next king.  Why should we expect any better treatment for David’s son, the future King of Israel?

        As Jesus got older, He took an interest in what I was doing, I taught Him my trade. As He grew in wisdom and in statute, I knew He had greatness waiting ahead for Him. I didn’t get to live to see Him reach His greatest hour. But I do know the rest of the story of His life. He began to preach that the the Kingdom of God had come. He upset some people with His preaching and claims about Himself. Finally, the leaders of the people had enough, and they had Jesus crucified, just like He said they would. They thought they had rid themselves of the one who claimed to be the Messiah. But three days later, Jesus took His life back. He rose from the grave, proving He was the Son of God, the Messiah. He is the Saviour, the one the angel announced to Mary, to me and to Bethlehem’s shepherds.

        That little baby which I held in my arms so many years ago was God Himself. He wasn’t my Son; He was God’s Son.  He is MY Saviour.  He came into this world to deliver ME from MY sins, and He lives today.  He came so that you and I might have eternal life.  This Jesus came to be your Savior, too.  Two thousand years ago I saw God come down to earth.  He lives today. He can be your Messiah. He can be your Savior. You just need to trust and believe. He can save you today.

        It is so easy to get all wrapped up in our own little world, and think that this is all that matters, all that you need to be concerned with.  And then God reminds you, that not only is He at work in this world around you, but he has a part for you to play in His eternal plan.  A part that is far greater than your “important stuff” like your to-do list, sports team, hobbies etc. 

        When the Lord told our childless Father Abraham to look up at the stars and count them, because his descendants would out number them, he was reminding Abraham that he was part of the Lord’s plan which was beyond his ability to comprehend.  Abraham simply needed to trust God and live faithfully, and God would work out His plan.  This certainly doesn’t mean your life becomes trouble free.  In fact, all who determine to live a God-fearing life will face opposition, this is to be expected.

        How about you?  Yes, you need to look after your day-to-day responsibilities.  But are you conscious that you are also part of God’s greater plan.  God created you for a relationship with Him AND to represent Him in this world!  He desires that your trust in Him grows and matures, becoming an example to others.  This means facing situations where you have to decide – am I going to handle this with my wisdom or lean on God for the wisdom and strength I need to do it His way?  I marvel that God chose me to be part of His plan for reaching humanity, and I certainly do not regret it.  How about you?  What is your response to God’s invitation to trust Him and join Him in the plans He has for your life?  What will you do?  Will you trust Him with your life?

Benediction: Let us go from this place proclaiming that we have seen the glory of God.  Believing that there is a light that shines in the darkness, which the darkness shall not overcome.  And may the love of God the Father, the joy of the Holy Spirit, and the peace of the Christ-child be with you this Christmas season, and evermore.  Amen.

Sermon podcasts
Esterhazy Baptist Church Podbean

Dec. 11, 2022 Podbean

Dial-A-Sermon – 1-306-985-9001
 (Note: this is a Regina number and long distance charges may apply)

Why celebrate Jesus’ birth?  Philippians 2.5-11
Dec. 11, 2022.  Esterhazy Baptist Church.

Call to Worship: Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.  Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.  For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:1, 2, 5 (NIV)

      Christmas is a busy time for most people.  There are cards to write, decorations to put up, gifts to buy, parties to plan & attend, school events, community events, church, and family events – busy, busy, busy – Happy Holidays!!!  “Merry Christmas” you reply, “after all it is Jesus’ birthday!”  {Yes, we don’t know when Jesus was born, but Dec. 25 was picked to celebrate it.}

      Now, after explaining to someone that you’re not just happy about the holidays, but in celebrating Jesus’ birthday, do not be surprised if someone asks you why Jesus’ birthday is worthy of celebration.  What would you say?

      In today’s message we are going to answer that question with four points based on a familiar passage concerning Jesus, Philippians 2:5-11.

      “5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5–11 (NIV84).

– Why celebrate Jesus’ birth?

1st Because of who Jesus is – God who came to earth. Phil. 2:5-6a.

5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God…”

      In Paul’s letter to the Philippians Christians, he is calling them to humility by imitating Christ Jesus’ humility and self-denial for the benefit of others.  Since it is so easy to for us focus on ourselves, Paul points to Jesus’ example of selfless giving.  Although He is God, He is willing to set that aside to save us!  Jesus is God who came to earth!  In John 8:58 Jesus said “…before Abraham was born, I am” (NIV) – this is God revealed to Moses as His personal name! 

      Jesus often referred to God as His Father, and taught His disciples to pray to God by praying, “Our Father…”  In John 14:8-11 when Philip asked Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father…”  Jesus responded by saying: “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (v9b, NIV84).  “11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.” John 14:11 (NIV84).  The New Testament writers confirm that Jesus is God.  Colossians 1:15–16a says: “15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, 16 for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth.” (NLT).  Jesus is God, He has made the invisible God visible to us – to see Jesus is to see God the Father!  Wow, Christmas celebrates that God came to earth – that is Big News!

      Now some may argue that the Greek gods sometimes came down to earth and interacted with humanity, that’s not such a big deal – but wait there’s more!

– Why celebrate Jesus’ birth?

2nd Because of what Jesus has done – God became man. Phil. 2:7-8a.

7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man…”

      Yes, Jesus is God coming to earth, but He also took on human flesh and blood, being born as a baby, to a poor, displaced couple – that is humility!  Jesus can identify with us, and help us, because He is one of us!  How did Jesus become like us?  Christmas celebrates his birth – he was born like every one of us.  He grew up, through childhood and adolescence like every one of us.  He faced temptations, like each one of us.  However, as Hebrews 4:15 tells us, he was tempted, but he did not give into sin.  In Matthew 26:38, just before Jesus was arrested and crucified, we read He said, “My soul is crusted with grief to the point of death.” (NLT).  Jesus suffered grief, tears, and pain; He is human, He understands us.

      Jesus is God and man, so why did He come?  It must be for something important!  It is, this is the third reason we celebrate Jesus’ birth at Christmas:

3rd Because of why Jesus came – Jesus came to die. Phil. 2:8b.

“…he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!”

      This seems shocking!  Why would God go to all the trouble to come to earth, to become human, only to die?  The Bible says Jesus did this for two reasons:

1)   To demonstrate God’s love to us.  John 3:16 16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NLT).  This is what Paul says in Romans 5:8 “…God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (NLT).  To see how deeply God loves us, look to the cross, that is how far He would go to save us from eternal separation from Him.  But why is it necessary, you may ask, that’s the second reason Jesus came to die:

2)   To pay for my sins.  The angel announced Jesus’ birth to the shepherds with the words: 10 “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!” Luke 2:10b–11 (NLT).  Who needs a Saviour?  Those who are in trouble. When you break a law, you have to pay a penalty. When you break man’s laws you pay man’s penalties. When you break God’s laws you pay God’s penalties. The Bible says “we have all sinned” (Rom 3:23a) and that “The wages of sin is death.” But “… the gift of God is eternal life.” (Rom 6:23)   John the Baptizer understood that God had given him the role to prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah, the Christ.  When he saw Jesus, he announced: “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” Jn. 1:29b (NIV84).  We need a Saviour; this is why Jesus came. 1 Peter 2:24 says of Jesus that “He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.” (NLT). 

Our passage in Philippians 2:5-11 gives us a final reason to celebrate Jesus’ birth:

4th Because of the results of Jesus’ coming – His life, death and resurrection show that Jesus is LORD. Phil. 2:9-11a.

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord…”

      Jesus, the Son of God, humbled Himself, took on flesh, died on the cross for humanity’s sins and rose from the tomb.  Because of this God did two things:

1)  Gave Him the place of highest honour in the universe.

2)  Gave Him a name above every other name: LORD.  Jesus is LORD.

      These days, we may fail to understand the significance of proclaiming that Jesus is LORD.  The Greek word Lord can mean master, ruler, king.  However, in New Testament times, the word Lord came to be used for Caesar, and the Roman Emperor was to be treated as a god.  The Romans would say “Caesar is Lord” as a test of loyalty.  Christians refused, saying only Jesus is my LORD, and many were put to death. 

What does it really mean to say Jesus is LORD?

a)    It means I acknowledge that He really is God. He’s more than a man or a prophet. He really is God. He is the LORD. It is a test of my commitment to Him.

b)   It means I believe that He has everything under control. To say Jesus is Lord is a statement of comfort and encouragement. Although everything looks bleak, Jesus is Lord and I know He’s got everything under control. Nothing escapes His care or concern. To say Jesus is Lord is to say I don’t know what the New Year holds but I know and trust Him, my LORD, who holds the future.

c)    It means I commit all of my life to Him. He is God, has come to earth, died for me and rose again. As my LORD, He has the right to determine what’s right in my life and to direct me. As my LORD, I desire to live according to His plans.

      Don’t use the word LORD lightly.  Philippians 2:10-11 says that one day every being will acknowledge that Jesus is LORD – that He is supreme over all, because of His humble obedience to God the Father in becoming our Saviour.  The real issue is not if you will call Jesus LORD, but when will you call Jesus LORD?  The Bible says: “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.” Romans 10:9. This is why we celebrate Christmas, and remember Jesus’ birth!

      What does it mean to be a Christian, to be a believer, to be saved? It means to say, Jesus is my LORD in this life. I acknowledge the fact that He is God, I believe that He has everything under control, I commit everything I have to Him.

      Remember that when you are discouraged: Jesus is LORD.  When you are tired, worried, afraid: Jesus is LORD.  When you are grieving, when you are alone, when you think you can go on: Jesus is LORD.  Remember it is why you celebrate Christmas: Jesus is LORD!  “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.” Romans 10:9.

Closing Song: “Glory to the newborn king”

Benediction: The one who is God, who was born as a Babe that long-ago night reflects the light of his Father’s love to you now.  Receive the love – and pass it on!  And may God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, bless you all with a very Merry Christmas.  Amen

Sermon podcasts
Esterhazy Baptist Church Podbean

Dec. 4, 2022 Podbean

Dial-A-Sermon – 1-306-985-9001
 (Note: this is a Regina number and long distance charges may apply)

2 – Celebrating the peace of Christmas – Lk 1.67-80
Dec. 4, 2022.  Esterhazy Baptist Church.

Start with Chris Rice Video: Peace on earth

      Peace on earth – did the angel’s waste their words?  Many people still equate Christmas as a time of peace, with a desire to seek peace.  However, where we tend to look to find this longed for peace (gifts, trips, excitement) at best are only short term.

      For Israel, during the time of the Priest Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth, externally, there was ‘peace’ in the land – but it was Roman peace.  The Roman’s only gave a country peace when you submitted to their rule.  As for inner peace, Zechariah & Elizabeth had been unable to have children, and so for years dealt with this peace robbing emptiness and the question – had they offended God?

      When Zechariah was chosen by lot to go into the temple of the Lord to burn incense and then received a personal message from an angel of God, the answer to their question was clearly – No, they hadn’t offended God, he had a special role for them.  However, the angel’s message that Elizabeth would bear a son, to be named John, who would prepare the people for the coming of the Lord, was more than Zechariah could comprehend (Lk. 1:11-18).  The answer to his request for certainty was that he would not be able to speak again until the child was born.

      When the baby was eight days old, the townsfolk gathered together for the monumental circumcision and naming ceremony of Zechariah junior.  When Elizabeth broke protocol by insisting the boy be named John, Zechariah was consulted.  As he took a tablet and wrote “His name is John” his tongue was loosed and he began to speak again (Lk 1:59-64).  Luke 1:67-79 records Zechariah’s Holy Spirit filled prophecy – this is our focus today.  God in His mercy is revealing His salvation, have peace, be at rest, our God is at work.

1st we see The Plan of Salvation unfolding (1.68-73).

Luke 1:68–73. ““Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has visited and redeemed his people. He has sent us a mighty Savior from the royal line of his servant David, just as he promised through his holy prophets long ago. Now we will be saved from our enemies and from all who hate us. He has been merciful to our ancestors by remembering his sacred covenant— the covenant he swore with an oath to our ancestor Abraham.” (NLT)

      God’s long promised plan of salvation has been revealed, “he has visited and redeemed his people;” “he has sent us a mighty Savior from the mighty line of David…”  The book of Deuteronomy records Moses’ final words to Israel, warning them of what would happen if they turn away from serving the Lord.  He also includes these words of hope: Deuteronomy 4:30–31. ““In the distant future, when you are suffering all these things, you will finally return to the Lord your God and listen to what he tells you. For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon you or destroy you or forget the solemn covenant he made with your ancestors.” (NLT) God will not forget the solemn covenant he made with Abraham, Isaac & Jacob.

      As John leapt for joy in Elizabeth’s womb at the presence of Mary as she carried Jesus in her womb, so now Zechariah rejoices that the Lord’s promises through David, the prophets and all the way back to Abraham is unfolding.  Jesus will be born soon, but Zechariah celebrates that God, our redeemer is here

2nd we see The Purpose of Salvation (1:72-75).

Luke 1:72–75.  72 He has been merciful to our ancestors by remembering his sacred covenant— 73 the covenant he swore with an oath to our ancestor Abraham. 74 We have been rescued from our enemies so we can serve God without fear, 75 in holiness and righteousness for as long as we live. (NLT)

      Verse 71 celebrated that salvation meant they would be saved from their enemies and from all who hate them.  Verses 74-75 shows the purpose of salvation: to serve God without fear in holiness and righteousness.  Another way of saying this is we have been saved so we may worship our God and Savior.  This is the New Testament version of what God had Moses tell Pharaoh: “Let my people go, so that they may worship me.”  God saves so that we might worship, freedom to worship Him for the salvation He brings.

      In verses 76-77 Zechariah prophecies regarding the role his son John will play in God’s salvation plan.

3rd we see The Prophet of Salvation (1:76-77).

Luke 1:76–77. ““And you, my little son, will be called the prophet of the Most High, because you will prepare the way for the Lord. You will tell his people how to find salvation through forgiveness of their sins.” (NLT)

      John will be known as the prophet of the Most High, because he will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord, telling them how to find salvation through the forgiveness of their sins.  John will soften the soil of Israel’s heart for the coming of the Messiah.

      Thabiti Anyabwile in his commentary “Exalting Jesus in Luke” says: Zechariah’s prophecy defines John’s life in relationship to Jesus’s life and mission. Beloved, all lasting meaning is found when we define our lives this way. Greatness comes from serving the Lord, not from serving ourselves. Greatness comes when we, like John, say, “We must decrease; Jesus must increase” (see John 3:30). The prophet of salvation never replaces the bringer of salvation.[1]

4th The peace of Salvation (1:77-79).

Luke 1:77–79.  77 You will tell his people how to find salvation through forgiveness of their sins. 78 Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, 79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.”” (NLT)

      Finally, Zechariah describes the effects of the Lord’s salvation on the people.

1.  v. 77, salvation is spiritual and personal, since it involves the forgiveness of sin.  Sin separates us from the sinless God.  The Saviour has come so we may be forgiven and experience peace with God rather than eternal condemnation.  Have you accepted Jesus as your sin forgiver and life leader?

2.   v. 78, salvation is a result of God’s tender mercy.  This is the only way anyone is saved from sin!  We cannot earn forgiveness, demand forgiveness or buy forgiveness.  If we try, we then worry is we have done enough, or were strong enough or had paid enough to ensure we are truly forgiven.  Forgiveness is an act of God’s tender mercy, which means it is free and underserved.  The only way we can receive it from God is to ask for it.  As we read in 1 John 1:9, confess you sin and God is faithful to give your sin.

3.  vv. 78-79, salvation comes through Christ Jesus.  The NLT says “the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us.”  This is a picture of the rising Sun at dawn pushing away the darkness.  This is what Jesus has come to do with the sin in our life and the hope that gives us.  We are reminded of Isaiah 9:2 and John 8:12

2 The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.” Isaiah 9:2 (NLT).

12 Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”” John 8:12 (NLT).

      Have you experienced the peace that comes through accepting Jesus as your sin forgiver and life leader?  He is, as John the Baptist would say “the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29).

Hymn: #147 “Silent night” (vv. 1,3)

Benediction: May kindness and peace be yours from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness. Jesus was the first to conquer death, and he is the ruler of all earthly kings. Christ loves us, and by his blood he set us free from our sins.” (Revelation 1:5 CEV).

       Though the night is dark, the Light of the world goes before you. God guides your steps and surrounds your life. Go in peace, ready to serve the One who has always loved you. AMEN.

[1] Anyabwile, T. (2018). Exalting Jesus in Luke (Lk 1:76–77). Holman Reference.

Sermon podcasts
Esterhazy Baptist Church Podbean

Nov 27, 2022 Podbean

Dial-A-Sermon – 1-306-985-9001
 (Note: this is a Regina number and long distance charges may apply)

The Hope of Christmas.  Isaiah 9.2; Mathew 1.22-23
Nov. 27, 2022.  Esterhazy Baptist Church.

Call to worship: “Who is like you, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you.” “Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, Lord.” Psalm 89:8, 15 (NIV).

          We have been looking at Hebrews chapter 11, and some of the heroes of the faith highlighted there.  Their faith and trust that God would keep His promises to them and their descendants guided their choices during dark difficult times.  Hebrews 11:1-2 explains faith in our God this way: 1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for.” Hebrews 11:1–2 (NIV).  The Apostle Paul reminds us of the importance of studying the scriptures in Romans 15:4 “4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.” (NIV).

      Our faith, our hope is not based on wishful thinking, rather it is based on the assurance that our God does not lie and has the power to do what He says.  When He says He will do something, it comes to pass.  Hebrews 11 reviews the faith of the ancients who were commended by God for their faith.  They believed God could act without having to see it happen in their lifetime, and they passed on the promises to their children as blessings. 

      As we heard earlier, the first candle of Advent represents hope.  There is a lot of hope present around the Christmas season.  Children may spend some serious thought making a list of what gifts they hope to get at Christmas.  Adults hope for their family’s happiness and also for some peace –within themselves and among their family and friends.

      However, the reason Christmas is a time of hope is because of Jesus the Christ.  His birth was the fulfillment of many prophecies and the confirmation of more fulfillments to come!  The song, “O come, O come Immanuel” summaries Israel’s hope as they waited for God to fulfill His promise to send Messiah, the anointed one, Emmanuel.  The prophet Isaiah was called by God to speak during some very dark days in the history of Judea and Israel.  The people of Israel had turned their hearts from the Lord God to consult mediums & spirits (Isa. 8:19) and Assyria would be God’s instrument of judgment.  Yet God’s judgment would pass and in the future the Lord God offered the promise of hope in the midst of their darkness. 

      Listen to Isaiah 8:19-9:7 19 Someone may say to you, “Let’s ask the mediums and those who consult the spirits of the dead. With their whisperings and mutterings, they will tell us what to do.” But shouldn’t people ask God for guidance? Should the living seek guidance from the dead? 20 Look to God’s instructions and teachings! People who contradict his word are completely in the dark. 21 They will go from one place to another, weary and hungry. And because they are hungry, they will rage and curse their king and their God. They will look up to heaven 22 and down at the earth, but wherever they look, there will be trouble and anguish and dark despair. They will be thrown out into the darkness.

      1 Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory. 2 The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine. 3 You will enlarge the nation of Israel, and its people will rejoice. They will rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest and like warriors dividing the plunder. 4 For you will break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders. You will break the oppressor’s rod, just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian. 5 The boots of the warrior and the uniforms bloodstained by war will all be burned. They will be fuel for the fire. 6 For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!” Isaiah 8:19–9:7 (NLT).

      This passage makes two things clear. The darkness engulfing Israel was due to sin and corruption.  Yet there is still hope, because of God’s promise – the coming of a child, no ordinary child, will be as light dawning after a dark night.  This child, the Messiah who would reign on David’s throne forever, was watched for, longed for and hoped for, because the Lord God had not forgotten them!

      Matthew’s Gospel saw in the birth of Jesus, the fulfillment of God’s promises, including those from Isaiah.  18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly. 20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: 23 “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”” Matthew 1:18–23 (NLT).

      The child would be named Immanuel, meaning “God with us.”  Jesus would be the fulfillment of Israel’s hope that God would send light into the darkness of this world.  One of the reasons Christmas resonates in our hearts is because we also live in a world which is dark and corrupted by sin.  Violence, deceit and pain is all around us.  Christmas reminds us that those things we hope for: healing, restoration, forgiveness and a fresh start are available to us now through Immanuel, God.  This hope is not the result of the absence of conflict, difficulty, struggle or trial, rather it is due to the presence of the living God within us.

      One lesson we learn from Hebrews chapter 11 is that hope can take time to be fulfilled, and therefore requires patience.  Isaiah saw that one day in the future, God would bring a great light and salvation through the birth of a child.  It was not until hundreds of years later that Matthew recorded Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem.  Matthew saw Jesus’ Galilee focused ministry as a fulfillment of Isaiah 9:2. 12 When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he left Judea and returned to Galilee. 13 He went first to Nazareth, then left there and moved to Capernaum, beside the Sea of Galilee, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. 14 This fulfilled what God said through the prophet Isaiah: 15 “In the land of Zebulun and of Naphtali, beside the sea, beyond the Jordan River, in Galilee where so many Gentiles live, 16 the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined.”” Matthew 4:12–16 (NLT). Jesus also saw his ministry as a fulfillment of this prophecy as we see in John 8:12 12 Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”” John 8:12 (NLT).  Jesus is the very presence of God on earth.  He offers forgiveness of sin, destruction of evil, and the promise of eternal life.

      Advent is not only a celebration of Jesus’ birth but is also a reminded that we await Jesus’ second advent, his second coming.  May this hope encourage you to live your life ready for Jesus’ return, as you seek to honor him with your thoughts, actions and plans.

Closing hymn: #124 “Come thou long expected Jesus”

Benediction: 5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:5–6 (NIV).

Sermon podcasts
Esterhazy Baptist Church Podbean

Nov 20, 2022 Podbean

Dial-A-Sermon – 1-306-985-9001
 (Note: this is a Regina number and long distance charges may apply)


Hebrews 11:23-29. Moses’ Faith in God.

Nov. 20, 2022.  Esterhazy Baptist Church.


Call to Worship: I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.  I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. Psalm 9:1–2 (NIV)

     We are continuing our look at examples of those who walked by faith as highlighted in Hebrews chapter 11. Hebrews was written to Jewish Christians who were questioning their decision to follow Jesus as their Messiah, had they made the right choice.  The writer of Hebrews wants to assure them that they have made the right choice and encourage them of the importance to live by faith.

     Today we are looking at verses 23-29 which focus on Moses.  Moses was considered the most important figure in Israel’s history. The book of Deuteronomy ends with this summary statement: “10 Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, 11 who did all those signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt—to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. 12 For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.Deuteronomy 34:10–12 (NIV).

     Judaism considered Moses their greatest prophet, he was the great lawgiver and Israel’s greatest historian (authoring Genesis to Deuteronomy). He was also Israel’s greatest deliverer, bringing Israel out from 400 years of slavery in Egypt. Because of Moses’ standing among the Old Testament figures, seeing that he lived by faith rather than adherence to the Law was a powerful argument to show the Jewish people that God’s way has always been the way of faith.  The writer to the Hebrews begins his look at Moses by reminding us that:

  1. Moses had a heritage of faith (vv. 23)

23 By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.Hebrews 11:23 (NIV).

     The faith of Moses begins with the faith of his parents. To stem the population explosion among the Hebrew slaves in Egypt the Pharaoh gave an edict that all male babies were to be drowned in the Nile. Amram and Jochebed felt lead by the Lord that their newborn son must be protected so they first hid him for three months (Ex 6:20).  Then put him in a water-proofed basket and placed him in the Nile near the place where the Pharaoh’s daughter bathed. Moses grew up knowing the faith his parents had exercised in the Lord had saved his life. 

     The parents of Moses were willing to risk their lives to follow God’s will. Their decision was clear: save the child, whatever the consequences. It was no light thing to defy the royal decree, but their faith drove out fear.  They placed him in a specially prepared basket and place him in the reeds by the bank of the river.  From a human perspective, his parents had no way of knowing that his life would be spared, much less that, for all purposes, he would be given back to them. Yet they willingly let him go, entrusting him to God.

     As we know, Pharaoh’s daughter “found” the baby Moses, adopted him as her own son, and even hired his own mother, Jochebed, to nurse and raise him. Scripture infers that she and Amram took care of him well past the age of weaning. They probably had him into the mid-childhood years — certainly long enough to firmly establish his Hebrew roots and teach him of the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.  Their patient instruction built a faithful son. The best thing in life that you can give your children is not possessions, not even an education, but to show them a life of faith, one that leads them to thirst to use their uniqueness to serve God.

Moses not only had a heritage of faith … but

  1. Moses, in faith chose to believe God’s plan (vv. 24-26)

24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.Hebrews 11:24–26 (NIV).

     There are three words in these verses that I want to pay special attention to, in verse twenty-four circle the word “refused.” The word literally means “to reject, to deny or to totally disown.” Next in verse twenty-five circle “he chose” this literally means “to select or decide.” And the finally circle “he regarded” in verse twenty-six, this means “to weigh in the balance, to evaluate the worth or to consider the value.”

     When Moses came of age, he faced a crucial decision. He had to decide whether to identify himself as an Egyptian with absolute loyalty or join himself with his enslaved people, the children of God. The deciding factor was his faith in God.

     Think about the immensity of his decision. It is hard enough for us to choose not to live for worldly things. It is harder yet to give them up when we have grownup with them. Moses, living as a son of Pharoah’s daughter had access to the best of Egypt.

     However, by the time he was forty, Moses had come to see that doing God’s will was of more value than Egypt’s riches. Moses realized the land of Egypt was not his home.  Faith in the Lord enabled him to see the sinful pleasures of Egypt for what they really were: a temporary source of pleasure that separates us from God and eventually leads to pain and death.  He believed that eternal riches in God are to be valued above what the world can offer.

Moses, Had the faith to believe God’s plans and…

  1. Moses in faith endured when he could not see. (v. 27)

27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.Hebrews 11:27 (NIV).

     Hebrews 11:27 reminds us of how this chapter started, verse 1: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (NIV) or as the NLT says: “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.Hebrews 11:1 (NLT).

      Moses did more than simply leave Egypt; he abandoned it, he turned his back on Egypt and its gods; all Egypt represented. He renounced it permanently. Like Peter, James and John in the New Testament (Luke 5:11) Moses left everything to follow the Lord.

Moses had the faith to endure when he could not see and…

  1. Moses in faith trusted God when he did not understand. (v. 28)

28 By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.Hebrews 11:28 (NIV).

     Next the author focuses our attention on the Israelites last night in Egypt. The tenth and last plague that God sent on Egypt was the death of the first-born living in the land (Ex 11:5).  The only hope of protection was to trust God’s instructions.  A lamb without blemish was to be slain, and its blood sprinkled on the doorpost of the house (Ex 12:7).  The lamb was to be eaten by the household that evening, yet each person was to dressed ready to leave.  They were to stay in the house while the angel of death passed through the land of Egypt.  Moses and his people had never done this before, yet they believed that God’s way to avoid death was the only way.  Moses also believed God’s promise of freedom and repeated God’s command that the Passover be an annual observation.

Moses had the faith to trust when he did not understand and…

  1. Moses in faith trusted God would save them. (v. 29)

29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.Hebrews 11:29 (NIV).

     The story of the crossing of the Red Sea is told in Exodus 14. In obedience to the command of God, Moses led and the people followed. God performed a miracle in nature that enabled them to cross through the Red Sea on dry ground. Through putting their trust in God and His plans, the faithful find themselves doing that which otherwise would be impossible.  In attempting to follow where God had led the Israelites, the Egyptian armies were destroyed, and Israel escaped to realize God’s appointed destiny for them.

     William Barclay in his commentary on Hebrews says: Moses had the faith he had because he knew God in the way he did. When we come to it straight from God’s presence, no task can ever defeat us. Our failure and our fear are so often due to the fact that we try to do things alone. The secret of victorious living is to face God before we face men.[1]

     The life of Moses is a dramatic example of the difference faith makes in one’s life. Are you living the life of faith? Are you deciding against that which may be enticing but would lead you away from God’s will?  Moses is remembered because his eye was on Him who is invisible, and he had access to spiritual resources.

     Moses knew God. He trusted God, obeyed God, and proved God to be dependable and trustworthy. If you will trust God and obey God, you will find Him to be dependable and worthy of your trust!

Hymn: #517 “I’d rather have Jesus”

Benediction: 24 Offer praise to God our Savior because of our Lord Jesus Christ! Only God can keep you from falling and make you pure and joyful in his glorious presence. Before time began and now and forevermore, God is worthy of glory, honor, power, and authority. Amen. Jude 24–25 (CEV)


[1] Barclay, W., ed. (1975). The letter to the Hebrews (p. 159). The Westminster John Knox Press.

Sermon podcasts
Esterhazy Baptist Church Podbean

Oct 30, 2022 Podbean

Dial-A-Sermon – 1-306-985-9001
 (Note: this is a Regina number and long distance charges may apply)

Hebrews 11.22 – The Message in Joseph’s burial arrangements
October 30, 2022.  Esterhazy Baptist Church.

Call to Worship: Psalm 57:5, 9-11. “God is supreme over the skies; his majesty covers the earth.” “Lord, I will praise you among the nations; I will sing songs of praise about you to all the nations. Your great love reaches to the skies, your truth to the clouds. God, you are supreme above the skies. Let your glory be over all the earth.” (NCV)

      Today we are continuing our look at Hebrews chapter 11 at those who are listed as living by faith in God.  Our focus is on Joseph in verse 22, but I will read from Hebrews 11:20-22 from the NIV Translation.  20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future. 21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff. 22 By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.” Hebrews 11:20–22 (NIV).  These verses give us a brief summary of the faith of Abraham’s son, grandson and great grandson.  As each neared their death, they demonstrated that they believed God’s promise to their fore-fathers, by passing God’s blessing on to the next generation.  They believed God would continue to work out His plan, as shown to Abraham, in the following generations.

      As Joseph was close to death, he reviewed his funeral arrangements with his brothers and made them promise, with an oath, that they would carry them out.  Joseph was highly regarded in Egypt as the prime minister who helped prepare the country to survive a devastating drought, which lasted for 7 years. After he died, he was embalmed.  The Egyptian’s expertise in embalming is still evident today as new discoveries of ancient mummies are made each year.  Yet what Joseph required his family to promise was greater than just funeral plans; his casket, containing his bones served as a reminder to his descendants of the promises God had made to them.  Listen to verse 22 from the New Living Translation: 22 It was by faith that Joseph, when he was about to die, said confidently that the people of Israel would leave Egypt. He even commanded them to take his bones with them when they left. Hebrews 11:22 (NLT). 

      In refusing to be buried in Egypt, Joseph is showing his confidence that God WOULD keep his promise – Joseph’s funeral plans declare his faith in the Lord God!  The Message Translation emphasises this: 22 By an act of faith, Joseph, while dying, prophesied the exodus of Israel, and made arrangements for his own burial.” Hebrews 11:22 (The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language).  We read in Hebrews 11:4 that “by faith, Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.”  So also, Joseph in death, through his casket spoke to his descendants about the Lord God.  We see…

1st Joseph’s casket served as a reminder that they were the people of God.

      Joseph could have had an elaborate burial in Egypt and encouraged his relatives to blend in, stop being different and adapt to the new culture around them.  But He didn’t do this himself in life, nor in death.  Instead, his funeral plans declared that Egypt was not his home, “My final resting place will in the land our God promised to us through our fore-fathers.  When He leads you there, you MUST take my bones with you!” 

      As the people of God, they were different and they were to live different and not forget their relationship as God’s people.  We also have been invited into a relationship with God.  In Ephesians chapter 2 we see that God through Christ, chose believing Gentiles to join with believing Israelites to form a new people, to become His people in Christ Jesus.  We are to remember that we are the people of God, imperfections and all, journeying with the Lord to be come all He intends for us to be as his people.  Joseph’s casket reminded them they were the people of God.

22 It was by faith that Joseph, when he was about to die, said confidently that the people of Israel would leave Egypt. He even commanded them to take his bones with them when they left. Hebrews 11:22 (NLT).

2nd Joseph’s casket served as a reminder of the promises of God.

      Perhaps, at the time of his death Joseph’s remains could have been interred in Canaan as his father Jacob’s was when he died (Gen. 49:29-50:14).  However, it seems Joseph wanted his remains to be a reminder to his descendants of what God had promised all of them, that their time in Egypt would eventually come to an end.  Then and only then would Joseph allow his body to be buried, when Israel’s children could bury it in the land the Lord had promised to them.

      God’s promises to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3) continued to unfold as the generations of Israelites walked with God – sometimes feebly, sometimes faithfully, until the time when Jesus the Messiah appeared.  All who respond to the invitation to accept Jesus as their sin forgiver and life leader are welcomed into God’s family, a new creation of Jew and Gentile, the church.  The Apostle Peter describes in 1 Peter 2:9–10 how God sees His church: 9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (NIV).  We are the people of God, His special possession, with the privilege of declaring the praises of Him who brought us out of darkness into His wonderful light!  As the Lord sends us, He promises to be with us, even until the end of the age (Matthew 28:20)! 

22 It was by faith that Joseph, when he was about to die, said confidently that the people of Israel would leave Egypt. He even commanded them to take his bones with them when they left. Hebrews 11:22 (NLT).

3rd Joseph’s casket served as a reminder of the presence of God.

      The descendants of Israel, though slaves, could look at Joseph’s ornate casket and remember his story.  He had also been a mistreated slave, but the Lord God had elevated him to a position second only to the Pharaoh.  Joseph had experienced suffering, but the Lord never left him; and the Lord remains with us through our pain and suffering.

      The writer of the letter to the Hebrews was reminding his readers that these heroes of the faith, not only serve as examples of how to walk by faith, but also that they in faith looked forward to God fulfilling His promises beyond their life times, looking for the very things the readers of Hebrews were now experiencing.  God’s plan was unfolding, the Messiah had come!  Therefore, he calls his readers, this is a time to live by faith and not shrink back (Heb. 10:37-38), no matter what life brings!

      Joseph’s casket was a reminder of God’s faithfulness and a call not to give up hope – “God will lead you to the land He promised – take me with you when He does!”  We too have a casket of sorts in our midst, reminders of God’s work, promises and faithfulness.  The cross is a reminder of God’s love and the lengths He will go to offer us salvation from our sin, as we humble ourselves and accept the gift of His Son, Jesus.  The communion table and the elements are a reminder of the sacrificial love of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Jesus said to let the bread and the cup remind you of what He has done, until He returns.  We are reminded of the cost of our sin.  We are reminded that sin’s price has been paid!  We are reminded that one day He will return and take us out of this “Egypt” here to the place He has prepared for us, the place we belong, at home with Him! Remember you are the people of God.  Remember to trust in the promises of God.  Remember you have the presence of God, lean on Him and not your own understanding. 

Hymn: “Wonderful, merciful Savior”

Benediction: To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.” (Revelation 1:5b-6 NIV).

Sermon podcasts
Esterhazy Baptist Church Podbean

Oct 23, 2022 Podbean

Dial-A-Sermon – 1-306-985-9001
 (Note: this is a Regina number and long distance charges may apply)


“Faith lessons from Abraham.”  Hebrews 11:8-19.

October 23, 2022.  Esterhazy Baptist Church.

Call to Worship: I will thank the Lord with all my heart; I will declare all your wondrous works. I will rejoice and boast about you; I will sing about your name, Most High.” Psalm 9:1–2 (CSB).

      We have been learning about faith as we look at Hebrews chapter 11.  This is not simply a theological exercise of trying to define faith.  We are observing the lives of individuals and how they responded to God’s invitation to join Him.  For example: Faith caused Abel to worship God.  Faith led Enoch to walk with God.  Faith moved Noah to work for God. 

      Let’s also not forget that we are not looking at these individuals primarily in the Hebrew scriptures (OT), but as they are mentioned in the Letter to the Hebrews.  The Letter to the Hebrews contains the words of wisdom from a Christian leader to a group of Christians struggling in their Christian walk.  Each of the individuals in Hebrews chapter 11, along with specific moments in their lives, were chosen to challenge, encourage and inspire the recipients of the Letter to the Hebrews, and those who would read it later. 

      In faith, Abel worshipped God in a way which pleased Him, even though it increased animosity with his own brother who then killed him.  The first readers of Hebrews were experiencing rejection, even from those closest to them.  Enoch walked with God for 300 years, and God took him.  A possible lesson is that even if it seems your walk of faith doesn’t seem to matter to anyone else, it pleases God!  Noah is an example of faith which doesn’t give up even when you are the only one walking with God.  God was pleased with Noah and preserved him and his family from destruction.

      Today, we will learn from Abraham’s example of faith, and how not to lose hope when our faith is stretched.  Abraham is mentioned in Hebrews 11:8-19.  As we read through this passage, our focus will be on references to what was done by faith.  Today I am reading from God’s Word Translation.

Hebrews 11:8 (GW) Faith led Abraham to obey when God called him to go to a place that he would receive as an inheritance. Abraham left his own country without knowing where he was going. (GW)

1.  Faith in God, led Abraham to put his hope and trust in God.  God’s call to Abraham was to leave his past life behind and trust Him.  Abraham’s faith is seen through his actions; leaving his country and traveling until God told him he had arrived at his destination.  He didn’t know where God was leading him, but he trusted the Lord when He promised a country as his inheritance.  Faith trusts God and His promises, and is confirmed through my actions.  Do I trust God?  Does my life demonstrate trust in my God or in myself?

Hebrews 11:9-10 (GW) Faith led Abraham to live as a foreigner in the country that God had promised him. He lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who received the same promise from God. 10 Abraham was waiting for the city that God had designed and built, the city with permanent foundations.

2.  Faith in God, led Abraham to endure patiently, as a foreigner in the land God had promised him.  Abraham and his descendants lived in tents as nomads in the land God repeatedly promised them.  They stayed because they believed in faith, that one day they would receive what God promised.  The recipients of the letter to the Hebrews were growing wearing of the waiting and persecution – had they made the right decision in following Jesus?  We are quick to accept God’s many blessings, but can get cranky and start to waver in our faith when the blessings don’t come as quickly as we hoped.  Does this mean God is unfaithful?  No, it means we must trust His timing is best, and learn the lessons along the way.  

Hebrews 11:11-12 (GW) 11 Faith enabled Abraham to become a father, even though he was old and Sarah had never been able to have children. Abraham trusted that God would keep his promise. 12 Abraham was as good as dead. Yet, from this man came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the grains of sand on the seashore.

3.  Faith in God, enabled Abraham to trust that God would do the impossible.  Abraham and Sarah were reproductively as good as dead.  Yet because God promised they would have descendants, Abraham continued to trust God would do what He promised.  One lesson is not to look at your situation based on your capabilities, but on God’s.  I am reminded of Jesus’ words in Luke 18:25-27: 25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?” 27 Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”” Luke 18:25–27 (NIV).  We are tempted to give up when we don’t see results as quickly as we expected.  Faith in God focuses on who is making the promise, not on what your eyes can see!  What is impossible with man, is possible with God! 

Hebrews 11:13-16 (GW) 13 All these people died having faith. They didn’t receive the things that God had promised them, but they saw these things coming in the distant future and rejoiced. They acknowledged that they were living as strangers with no permanent home on earth. 14 Those who say such things make it clear that they are looking for their own country. 15 If they had been thinking about the country that they had left, they could have found a way to go back. 16 Instead, these men were longing for a better country—a heavenly country. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God. He has prepared a city for them.

4.  Faith in God, led them to trust God would fulfill His promises even after their death.  Their faith in God enabled them to be comfortable with unfulfilled promises in this life, because they trusted the certainty of God’s promises in the place, He was preparing for them.  Since they did not turn their back on God even when having no permanent earthly home, God was not ashamed to be associated with them!  Here is a lesson for the recipients of Hebrews, questioning the validity of faith in Jesus because of difficulties they were facing.  Difficulties and disappointments do not mean God has forgotten you.  How about you and I?  How do you respond when things don’t happen as you expect?  Review God’s promises, review and recommit to your response to God’s call on your life.  Believe His promises that He will never leave you or forsake you and that He has gone to prepare a place for you.

Hebrews 11:17–19 (GW) 17 When God tested Abraham, faith led him to offer his son Isaac. Abraham, the one who received the promises from God, was willing to offer his only son as a sacrifice. 18 God had said to him, “Through Isaac your descendants will carry on your name.” 19 Abraham believed that God could bring Isaac back from the dead. Abraham did receive Isaac back from the dead in a figurative sense.

5.  Faith in God, led Abraham to trust God with his dream.  Abraham had longed for a son. God had promised and then provided a son, Isaac, in virtually impossible circumstances, yet now He wanted him back as a sacrifice.  What is going on?  God never puts one of his children to a test until that child is ready for it, now Abraham was.  As Abraham was in the very process of offering his son to God, God stopped him and provided a Ram as a replacement.  The writer of Hebrews tells us that Abraham believed since God promised that Isaac would be his heir, that God could bring Isaac back from the dead.  Abraham’s faith in God led him to trust God even with what mattered most to him. 

      Generations later, when Abraham’s descendants were preparing to enter the land God had promised them, Moses warned them not to let the blessings of the land cause them to forget the Lord.  What is most important to you, the gift, or the giver?  Am I following God for what I can get from Him, or for who He is?  God blesses us with so many things, but if they were removed, would our faith falter?  Is my faith dependent on the gifts or a relationship with the giver of those gifts?  If the gifts are withdrawn, will I still trust the goodness of the giver, of the Lord?

      Abraham was the father of the Hebrews, the one through whom the promised blessings from the Lord began.  The readers of the letter to the Hebrews are reminded that faith, walking by faith in God, is what distinguished Abraham from everyone else.  And so, they are called to continue to walk by faith, for this is what pleases the Lord.  Christian, put your trust, your faith in the Lord and daily walk in relationship with Him.  Spend time reading and meditating on His Word, talk and listen to Him in prayer.

2 Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.”” Isaiah 12:2 (NIV).

4 Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.” Isaiah 26:4 (NIV).

Hymn: #461 “He leadeth me” (vv. 1-3)

Benediction: “Now I am putting you in the care of God and the message about his grace. It is able to give you strength, and it will give you the blessings God has for all his holy people. Acts 20:32 (NCV)

Sermon podcasts
Esterhazy Baptist Church Podbean

Oct 16, 2022 Podbean

Dial-A-Sermon – 1-306-985-9001
 (Note: this is a Regina number and long distance charges may apply)


What are you building?  Hebrews 11.7

October 16, 2022.  Esterhazy Baptist Church.


     We are continuing our look at Hebrews chapter 11, sometimes called the Faith Hall of Fame.  The book of Hebrews was written to Jewish Christians who were being tempted to return to Judaism. The author of Hebrews has been reminding them of the superiority of Jesus, the Messiah, over everyone else.  Jesus is our great High Priest who has opened the way for us to approach God the Father without fear.  As he ends chapter 10, in v. 38 he quotes from Habakkuk 2:4b, reminding them of the need to live by faith.  Then, in Hebrews chapter 11 we see what living by faith looks like, as we are given a sample of those who lived by faith.  Their lives were not easy or uncomplicated, but their choices to obey God’s Word, in faith, pleased God and serves as an example to us.

     Before we continue, we should answer the question: What is faith and why is it important?  When we speak of faith, we are thinking about trust, and where we place our trust makes all the difference.  People have lost thousands of dollars putting their faith in individuals who proved to be untrustworthy.  Hebrews 11 is talking about putting our trust in the Lord God, who is faithful to His Word.  When He promises something, we can “take it to the bank,” it is trustworthy.  Hebrews 11:1-2 from the Message Translation says: “1 The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. 2 The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.Hebrews 11:1–2 (The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language). 

     Why is placing our faith, our trust in God so important?  Hebrews 11:6 puts it plainly: “6 It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.Hebrews 11:6 (The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language).  Why is faith in God important?  It is the only way to please God, because faith demonstrate you believe He exists and that you believe He cares enough to respond to those who seek Him.  Faith in God is the foundation of a trusting relationship with God.

     Today we are looking at Noah who is mentioned in Hebrews 11:7. Noah lived at a time when he and a few family members were the only people on earth who cared enough about God to respond to His warnings about their sins and a coming judgement.  Hebrews 11:7. “Faith led Noah to listen when God warned him about the things in the future that he could not see. He obeyed God and built a ship to save his family. Through faith Noah condemned the world and received God’s approval that comes through faith.” (GW).  Noah spent years building the ark, possibly 100!  It’s likely he built it on the plains of modern-day Iraq, far from the sea.  Can you image how many times Noah must have been asked “What are you building?”   When he answered their question, he likely also told them why – God is sending a world-wide flood, only those within the ark will be saved.  Will you join me? 

     How is Noah an example of faith?  I see two ways based on Hebrews 11:7.

  1. Hebrews 11:7a. “Faith led Noah to listen when God warned him about the things in the future that he could not see. He obeyed God and built a ship to save his family.” (GW).

     Faith may begin as a response in the heart, but it is confirmed through one’s actions and choices.  Faith in God, trust in God’s Word, motivated Noah to ignore what his eyes could see as well as the “advice” his ears heard from those around him, and instead he acted on what God had told him.  Day by day he built the ark according to the specifications that God had given him.  How about you?  What determines your choices and your actions?  Is it what you can see and hear or is it by faith in what God’s Word directs?

     Faith acts on what God says and what you know of God through His Word.  The ESV translates Heb. 11:7a as: “By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household.” Hebrews 11:7 (ESV).  Noah acted “in reverent fear.”  The NRSV says “respected the warning” and the NIV says “in holy fear.”  Noah appreciated God’s mercy, yet took His holiness seriously – he built the ark!  God is just and will judge sin, yet He is merciful, thus He warned the world through Moses and his 100 years of ark building!

  1. Hebrews 11:7b. “Through faith Noah condemned the world and received God’s approval that comes through faith.” (GW).

     Noah, what are you building?  The finished ark, sitting on the dry plain showed that God had spoken in a way that humanity could hear.  Noah did, and built the ark according to God’s plans.  The question was, do you trust God and take His Word seriously?  For Noah, building the ark was a demonstration of his faith in God’s Word shown through his action.

     The ark, bobbing on the water covered earth, confirmed that God kept His word to act against humanity’s sin, and also save those who had faith in His Word.  Noah got the message and prepared for the flood.  The others may have also heard the message, but didn’t believe it, or else they too would have prepared!

     What are you building?  Why did Noah spend so many years of his life building the ark?  He believed and obeyed God’s warning, AND therefore, he built the ark to save his family!  Hebrews 11:7. “Faith led Noah to listen when God warned him about the things in the future that he could not see. He obeyed God and built a ship to save his family. Through faith Noah condemned the world and received God’s approval that comes through faith.” (GW).  God revealed to Noah what He would do, and what Noah could do to save his family.  God showed him how to save what was of highest importance to him, and that is why he invested years of his life in doing so!  Why didn’t the others?  Didn’t they care about their families as well?  Of course, they did, but they did not have faith in God, they did not take God’s warnings seriously enough to turn from their sin!  They seemingly listened to the serpent’s question: “Did God really say?” and his response “you shall not die!” 

     We need to ask ourselves, “Who am I listening to?”  You can determine the answer by looking at what you are spending your time on.  Ask yourself, “What am I building?  What will be my legacy?” 

     Let me ask you, are you putting your trust in your own efforts or are you building an ark for yourself and inviting your family and friends to join you in?  Building an ark?!  Pastor, are you losing it?  I’m not talking about building a ship, I’m asking about where you are placing your faith for eternal protection. God has made it clear, He will judge sin, and that all of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s standard.  Place your faith in the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and Him alone!  Noah’s ark is a foreshadowing of the Lord Jesus Christ.  All who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins will be saved (cf. Acts 16:31; Jn. 10:9).  All who refuse to come to Jesus as their sin forgiver and life leader will perish (Jn. 3:18).

     Noah is someone who believed God’s Word without needing any addition evidence that a world-wide flood was possible.  His faith is evident to us in the building of the ark.  The Lord God saw his heart and his righteous choices at a time when everyone else was making sinful choices.  We also have a daily choice to make.  As 3 John 11 says: “Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God.” (CSB).  What am I building?  What are you building?  May I fear You, O Lord, and serve and obey You and not rebel against Your commands. (cf. 1 Sam.  12:14)

Hymn #358: “I am thine O Lord” (vv. 1-3).

Benediction: God did not say that it would be easy to bring the good news to all people, but God did say that God would be with you. So go now in peace, walking humbly with God. Bring the good news of hope to all the people. AMEN

Sermon podcasts
Esterhazy Baptist Church Podbean

Oct 8, 2022 Podbean

Dial-A-Sermon – 1-306-985-9001
 (Note: this is a Regina number and long distance charges may apply)

Hebrews 11.6 – The faith to remain thankful.
Oct 9, 2022.  Esterhazy Baptist Church.

Call to Worship: Come, let’s sing joyfully to the Lord.  Let’s shout happily to the rock of our salvation.  Let’s come into his presence with a song of thanksgiving.  Let’s shout happily to him with psalms.  The Lord is a great God and a great king above all gods.” Psalm 95:1–3 (GW).

      This morning in our Responsive Reading we read from Deuteronomy 8, where Moses spoke to the descendants of Israel, as they were soon to enter the land the Lord God had promised to their forefathers.  In verses 6 and following, He encourages them to obey the commands of the Lord their God, by walking in obedience to him and revering him.  Moses’ concern is that once they enter their new land and experience its abundance, that they will forget the Lord and his guidance.  But how could that ever happen to a people saved from slavery in Egypt by the hand of the Lord?  They had such an incredible experience, what a testimony!  How could they forget?  In time, pride in their accomplishments could lead them to take for granted the bounty the Lord had provided for them in the land, hills and sky.  They would stop appreciating that what they had was a fulfillment of the covenant the Lord God had made with their forefathers’.  In other words, they would stop being thankful to the Lord God for what He had given them!  This lack of thankfulness to the Lord would then lead to a lack of faithfulness, as a failure to acknowledge the Lord would lead them to stop observing his commands for them.

      How is our attitude of thankfulness to God and our faith on God linked?  We have been looking at Hebrews chapter 11 the last few weeks.  We’ve seen that the faith, the trust we express in God is a response to the certainty of his truthfulness and faithfulness.  Those who believe what God says, make their life’s decisions based on his guidance, thus expressing their faith in God’s Word through their choices and actions.

      In Hebrews 11:4, Abel was commended by God as a righteous man.  Genesis 4 records that he presented to the Lord an offering of a choice lamb from his flock, which the Lord accepted.  In this action Abel showed his heart attitude towards the Lord.  He was willing offered the best he had, even as others might have argued it would weaken the genetics of his flock.  Abel was demonstrating his gratitude to the Lord, and acknowledging the lamb was gift from the Lord all along.  Abel trusted that the Lord could provide more quality lambs if he so chose. 

      This is what Moses reminded his listeners of in Deut. 8:18 18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” Deuteronomy 8:18 (NIV).  Moses is calling them, and us, to remember, the ability to produce wealth is a gift from the Lord, AND also a fulfillment of his promises.  Meaning, when you are counting your cash, be thankful, may it remind you that the Lord is being faithful to his promise to provide for you, as you express your faith in him.  Let’s return to Hebrews 11.

      Hebrews 11:6 says: And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6 (NIV).  The Message translates this verse as: It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.” Hebrews 11:6 (The Message).  Moses warns us not to let pride seep into our hearts so we take credit for what God has blessed us with.  Instead, as Hebrews 11:6 reminds us, that those with faith in God are thankful because they acknowledge his presence and his blessings.

      How does the Lord God bless those who seek him?  What are you thankful for?  Yes, we are thankful for material things, which Jesus told us not to worry about because our Heavenly Father already knows we need them!  What else are you thankful for?  Have you experienced the forgiveness of your sin?  Are you thankful for your salvation?  If you have called upon Jesus as your sin forgiver and life leader, you have been redeemed from sin by the priceless, precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Are you thankful for the Lord’s presence, guidance and watch care?  He reminds you; I will never leave you or forsake you; I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you…  Are you thankful for his indwelling Spirit, and the fruit of his presence growing in your life?  Are you thankful for God’s faithful love towards you (Romans 8:38-39).  We place our faith in God because we trust him.  He keeps his promises, he IS faithful.  What are you thankful for?

      Saying grace before a meal is a “simple” action, but if done with the proper attitude it can be an expression of Hebrews 11:6.  You believe that God exists, therefore you acknowledge him both as present and as the source of the meal you are about to eat.  The Lord provides for us; it all has come from him.  Giving thanks is a way of expressing your faith in God, and acknowledging that he is faithful and true to his Word to provide for you! 

      The prophet Habakkuk lamented the wickedness rampant in the land and he was overwhelmed when the Lord declared he would use Babylon as his instrument of judgment.  The Lord responded that the time would come when he would also judge the Babylonians for their brutality.  Habakkuk’s final response is one of faith based on his trust in the character of the Lord, rather than on what he saw with his eyes.  Similar to what we read in Hebrews 11:1 regarding faith: 1 Faith assures us of things we expect and convinces us of the existence of things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1 (GW).  Habakkuk does not give up, for his hope was grounded in his trust in the Lord God, his word and his ways.  Listen to Habakkuk’s expression of faith in God, which is not based on sight: 17 Even if the fig tree does not bloom and the vines have no grapes, even if the olive tree fails to produce and the fields yield no food, even if the sheep pen is empty and the stalls have no cattle— 18 even then, I will be happy with the Lord.  I will truly find joy in God, who saves me.  19 The Lord Almighty is my strength.  He makes my feet like those of a deer.  He makes me walk on the mountains.” Habakkuk 3:17–19 (GW).

      Habakkuk continues to find joy in the Lord and to give thanks because He remains his strength and salvation.  How about you?  What do you have to be thankful for?  Are you thankful for your salvation?  Are you thankful for the Lord’s presence, guidance and care?  Are you thankful for his indwelling in your life?  Are you thankful for God’s faithful love towards you? If so, what are you doing to show your thankfulness?  For those recorded in Hebrews 11, their thankfulness to God was then seen in their walk of faith.  Is your thankfulness firmly rooted in the assurance that the Lord is with you and working for your good, the good of those who love him and walk with him?  Join with the Psalmist and this Thanksgiving share what the Lord has done for you!  Psalm 66:16–20 16 All who worship God, come here and listen; I will tell you everything God has done for me. 17 I prayed to the Lord, and I praised him. 18 If my thoughts had been sinful, he would have refused to hear me. 19 But God did listen and answered my prayer. 20 Let’s praise God! He listened when I prayed, and he is always kind.” (CEV).

Benediction: 15a Let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. 16a Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. 17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. Colossians 3:15a, 16a, 17 (NLT)

Sermon podcasts
Esterhazy Baptist Church Podbean

Sept 25, 2022 Podbean

Dial-A-Sermon – 1-306-985-9001
 (Note: this is a Regina number and long distance charges may apply)

Hebrews 11.5.  Enoch – faith brings God pleasure.
Esterhazy Baptist Church. Sept 25, 2022

Call to Worship: “Whoever goes to the Lord for safety, whoever remains under the protection of the Almighty, can say to him, “You are my defender and protector. You are my God; in you I trust.”” “He will cover you with his wings; you will be safe in his care; his faithfulness will protect and defend you.” Psalm 91:1–2, 4(GNB)

      The book of Hebrews was written to discouraged, wavering Christians.  They had begun with strong faith, for they endured persecution and helped others to do the same.  Yet doubts were now creeping into their minds – had they made the right decision in accepting Jesus as Messiah? 

      The author of Hebrews reminds them of Jesus’ sufficiency to represent us before God as our true High Priest.  It is only by placing our faith and trust in Jesus’ redemptive work on our behalf that we can enter God’s presence with confidence.  He then calls his readers to not give up, but to live by faith.  Chapter 11 shows us what it looks like to life by faith. 

      Hebrews 11 begins by introducing us to two pre-flood individuals we know little about.  We may overlook them when studying the heroes of faith, but God does not over them!  Why?  He was pleased with their faith, and therefore we need to learn lessons from their lives.  Abel (v. 4) is the first person we encounter as we enter “faith’s hall of fame.” That Abel had faith is repeated three times in one verse!  Abel’s act of giving the best he had to the Lord, in love and worship, not concerned with the reaction of anyone but the Lord, gained him God’s approval and first mention in Hebrews 11.

      Today we are looking at a man named Enoch.  Hebrews 11:5 says, 5 By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.” Hebrews 11:5 (NIV). 

      Why is Enoch included among the heroes of the faith?  An amazing act of faith?  Faith the size of a mustard seed?  We are simply told that he pleased God, so he did not experience death!  Three times in this verse we are told we was taken (NIV) or ‘translated’ which means conveyed from one realm to another.” [1] He was transferred by God from earth to heaven without passing through death. The only other biblical record of anything like this is the prophet, Elijah.  Let’s to Genesis chapter 5 which tells us about Enoch.

      Genesis 5:18–24 “18 When Jared had lived 162 years, he became the father of Enoch. 19 After he became the father of Enoch, Jared lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. 20 Altogether, Jared lived a total of 962 years, and then he died. 21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. 22 After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. 24 Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.” (NIV) 

      Our reading at verse 18 with Jared the father of Enoch to get a taste for the rhythm that is repeated again and again in Genesis chapter 5.  A man lived a certain number of years, became the father of … then lived …years and had other children, altogether he lived … years and then he died and the next one lived and died and on it goes.  God’s Word is proved true and the serpent’s “you shall not die” a lie!  Yes, they live long lives, but eventually everyone succumbs to death.  Enoch’s obituary stands out because it is missing his death announcement! Instead, we are told then he was no more, because God took him away.  This would have shocked people because he was only 365 years old!  People in those days didn’t die that young of natural causes.  Adam had died only 57 years earlier and his son Seth was still alive when God took Enoch!  This was to remind them that although death comes, it does not the final word; God still has His say!

      A little girl who came home from Sunday school, and her mother asked, “What did your teacher tell you about today?” The little girl said, “She told us all about this man Enoch.” And the mother said, “Well, what about Enoch?”

      So the little girl told her mother this story: “Enoch lived a long time ago, and God would come by every afternoon and say to him, ‘Enoch, would you like to take a walk with Me?’ Enoch would say, ‘Yes, I’d like to take a walk with You, God.’ And so every day God would come by Enoch’s house, and Enoch would go walking with God. One day God came by and said, ‘Enoch, let’s take a long walk today. I want to talk to you.’ So they started out. Enoch got his coat—even took his lunch, and they started walking. They walked and they walked and they walked, and finally it got late. Enoch said, ‘My, it’s getting late, and I am a long way from home. Maybe we’d better start back.’ But God said, ‘Enoch, you are closer to My home than you are to your home, so you come on and go home with Me.’ And so Enoch went home with God.”

      Why did God take him away?  Because “Enoch walked faithfully with God”.  To walk with God in the Hebrew means being in close relationship with God, and this only happens with those who “pleased God” (Heb. 11:5b).  When Enoch “was no more, because God took him away”

      We are told in Genesis 5:22-24 that Enoch’s walk with God began after he became the father of Methuselah.  The arrival of a child does call for parents to examine their priorities and life’s direction; this may be what led to Enoch’s decision to walk with God.

      James Boice in his commentary suggests there may have been something more.  The name Methuselah, is usually understood to mean: “Man of the javelin.”  Boice feels a second option is: “He dies, a sending forth” which he understands to mean: “When he is dead, it shall come.”  Boice suggests that: Enoch had a revelation at the time of Methuselah’s birth of the destruction to come on the earth by flood. God said that the flood was to come after the death of that son. So, either at God’s explicit direction or as an act of his own faith, Enoch named the child Methuselah – “when he is dead, it shall come.” While Methuselah lived, the flood would be held back. But when he died, it would come.” [2]  This may explain Enoch’s decision to walk with God following the birth of his son Methuselah.

      Methuselah lived the longest of any human being recorded in the Bible, with his son Lamech, Noah’s father, dying 5 years before him. The flood came the year Methuselah died.  Boice sees his long-life as a gift, a demonstration of God’s mercy, offering the people of Noah’s time opportunity to return to Him: “Methuselah… was a testimony to God’s grace. For this is why Methuselah lived longer than any other man on earth. His longevity was no accident.” [3] 

      Boice’s speculation that God gave Enoch some insight into His coming judgment on the earth may explain his decision to walk with the Lord.  However, before we use this as an excuse to say that’s why he had such faith, and we struggle, let’s remember that we also have many revelations that judgement is coming!  Continuing a walk of faith for 300 years (3½ – 4 of our lifetimes) is no easy task!  How can we develop a faith that brings God pleasure?  Hebrews 11:5–6 says: “5 By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (NIV) 

      The writer of Hebrews is urging his readers to keep their faith in the Lord, because it is impossible to please God without faith.  All the good works or offerings in the world, done without faith, will not please God!  At the heart of faith in God is a belief in God’s existence and His goodness, that leads a person to live their life to please God as their chief priority no matter the situation.  This is what we will see in upcoming examples of faith in Hebrews 11. 

      This week I have been encourage by passages of scripture which have been turned into prayers by Kenneth Boa:

May I not be like those who draw near to You with their mouths and honor You with their lips, but whose hearts are far from You, and whose reverence for You is made up only of rules taught by men. (Isaiah 29:13)

I desire not only to call You Lord but to do what You say. By Your grace, I will come to You, hear Your words, and put them into practice. Then I will be like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock, and when a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. (Luke 6:46–48)[4]

      Faith, believing that God exists and rewards those who seek Him, is something which grows and deepens as we grow in our friendship with God.  Like any friendship, you must spend quality time with your friend for the relationship to develop.  You walk through good times and bad times together, and as you do, your appreciation for your friend (the Lord) grows.

      I was reading in Daniel 7 and marvelling at the vision Daniel had been given of the Lord coming with the clouds of heaven to receive all authority.  I thought, wow, how does one come to the point where God is willing to trust them with such revelation?  Then I reflected on Daniel’s story.  It began as a youth, with a small but deliberate choice not to be swept up in the pagan culture surrounding him.  So, he and some friends refused to eat the Babylonian food, since it did not meet the dietary laws of the Jews and instead ate grains and drank water.  They also continue their practice of daily prayers to the Lord God, even as pressure to conform grew, yet they saw glimpses the Lord was pleased with their faith in Him.  They were entrusted with more responsibility and known as people of integrity, even as others hated them! 

      Join with Abel & Enoch in the walk of faith.  Believe that God exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him!

      I will close with personalized versions of Jeremiah 9:23-24 & Lamentations 3:24-26:

Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the strong man boast of his strength, and let not the rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on earth; for in these I delight,” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 9:23–24)

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I will wait for Him.”  The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.  It is good to hope silently for the salvation of the Lord. (Lamentations 3:24–26) [5]

Closing Song: “Jesus strong & kind.”

Benediction: Go forth joyfully. God is with you. Bring peace and hope to all you meet. And may God’s eternal love shine through you always. AMEN.

[1] Hagner, D. A. (2011). Hebrews (p. 185). Baker Books.

[2] Boice, J. M. (1998). Genesis: an expositional commentary (p. 292). Baker Books.

[3] Boice, J. M. (1998). Genesis: an expositional commentary (p. 295). Baker Books.

[4] Boa, K. (1993). Handbook to prayer: praying scripture back to God. Month 1, day 19. Trinity House.

[5] Boa, K. (1993). Handbook to prayer: praying scripture back to God. Month 1, day 24. Trinity House.

Sermon podcasts
Esterhazy Baptist Church Podbean

Sept 18, 2022 Podbean

Dial-A-Sermon – 1-306-985-9001
 (Note: this is a Regina number and long distance charges may apply)

Hebrews 11.4 – The message of Abel.
Sept 18, 2022.  Esterhazy Baptist Church.

Call to Worship: Teach me your way, Lord, and I will live by your truth. Give me an undivided mind to fear your name. I will praise you with all my heart, Lord my God, and will honor your name forever. For your faithful love for me is great, and you rescue my life from the depths of Sheol.” Psalm 86:11–13 (CSB).

      We are continuing our study of Hebrews chapter 11.  Last week we were reminded that the certainty of our faith lives wholly on who or what it is placed.  Our faith is in the living God.  He made all that is from nothing.  He spoke it into being and there is no one who compares with Him.  Our faith/trust in God is the firm foundation which gives us confidence, that what our powerful & truthful God has said, will come to pass.  Why is this important to emphasize?  The recipients of this letter were becoming discouraged.  Persecution and doubt were causing them to waver in their faith.  The writer of Hebrews, in the first 10 chapters has shown that Jesus is the one we have been waiting for, He is the perfect High Priest.  Now in this chapter, he draws on those whom in chapter 12 he calls “a great cloud of witnesses” to testify of the value of trusting in God by living a life of faith.  These witnesses are not spectators watching us, they are cheerleaders whose lives testify to the dependability of God to meet the deepest needs of life.  Their lives call us to us, “Trust God and don’t give up, He will see you through!”

      Our text today is Hebrews 11:4. By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.” Hebrews 11:4 (NIV).  It speaks of the immortality of influence.  Abel was the second generation of humanity, a son of Adam & Eve.  Although he is long dead, his life of faith still speaks!  This should remind us that our lives speak to those around us, and they will continue to speak even after our tongues have grown silent.  What message is your life communicating?  Is it good news that blesses or it that which brings harm & pain to others?



1.  Abel speaks of a life of faith.

      When we think of faith in God, especially in the context of Hebrews chapter 11, we may conclude that the most faithful are those who did great things, even impossible things.  Whether this is deliberate or a sub-conscious, accepting this definition of faith gives most of us a “pass,” allowing us to think: that’s just not me, I don’t have that ‘gift’.  Yet the very 1st person you meet as you enter the Hebrews 11 faith hall of fame is Abel.  What great act of faith did Abel accomplish, remember it led to his death.  He expressed his faith in God, he responded to God in faith!

      Faith is a response to God and to his will for our lives.  Genuine faith is more than our mental agreement with biblical truths.  It is more than saying “Yes, I believe in one God.” James 2:19 tells us that even the demons, fallen angels who reject God’s authority over them, agree with that statement, that is not faith!  Genuine faith is responding in accepting trust to God’s revelation of Himself through Jesus Christ and the testimony of those who have known Him and lived with Him.

      Saving faith is a believing response to the Good News of Jesus.  1 My friends, I want you to remember the message that I preached and that you believed and trusted. 2a You will be saved by this message, if you hold firmly to it. 3b Christ died for our sins, as the Scriptures say. 4 He was buried, and three days later he was raised to life, as the Scriptures say.” 1 Corinthians 15:1-2a, 3b–4 (CEV).

      Faith is a gift of God which we then respond to.  We show our faith, our trust, our belief in God’s promises through our actions, and that is what Abel did through offering the best of his flock.

2.  Abel speaks of a life of faith & worship.

      Abel’s faith was deeper than a concept or ritual.  His faith in God longed for a way to express heart felt appreciation to Him, and this was expressed in personal worship.

      Genuine faith, like genuine love, longs to find a way to express itself.  Because of the faith in his heart, Abel sought to worship the Lord through the means available to him.  Worship of God is the offering of worth to the one who is of supreme worth. 

      Do you worship the God of Abel, Abraham and Paul, or have you allowed the god of success or leisure to take first place in your goals and activities?  Heart-felt worship of our God is a natural result of genuine growing faith.  Our faith grows as we daily put our trust in God to lead and direct us.  How are you doing this?

3.  Abel speaks of a life of faith, worship & excellence.

      Genesis 4:4 says: Abel also gave an offering to the Lord. He killed the first-born lamb from one of his sheep and gave the Lord the best parts of it. The Lord was pleased with Abel and his offering,” Genesis 4:4 (CEV).

       Abel’s worshipful attitude is seen in that he brought the best of what he had to the Lord as an offering.  While those with a heart which matches Abel would say, Of course, what else would you do?  Those with shallow or no real faith are looking for loopholes, for this level of faith & worship is costly to continue for a lifetime and it takes away from what I have for myself!  The prophet Malachi relayed the Lord God’s sorrow that the people had so little respect for Him that they were sacrificing blind, crippled and diseased sheep, animals they would never dare present to their Persian governor (Malachi 1:6-8)!

      Abel was thoughtful about what he offered, presenting to the Lord the best he had.  Like King David, Abel also refused to give to the Lord that which cost him nothing (2 Samuel 24:24).  The value of the gift to the giver, expresses the value placed by them on the recipient of their gift.  This is what Howard B. Grose expressed in his poem: Give of your best to the Master, Naught else is worthy His love; He gave Himself for your ransom, gave up His glory above; Laid down His life without murmur, you from sin’s ruin to save; Give Him your heart’s adoration, Give Him the best that you have.

4.  Abel speaks of divine approval.

      Genesis 4:4 says: The Lord was pleased with Abel and his offering, but not with Cain and his offering. This made Cain so angry that he could not hide his feelings.”  Genesis 4:4b-5 (CEV).

      There is much discussion over why Abel and his animal offering was accepted by God, while Cain and his offering of crops were rejected.  Both types of offerings became part of the Hebrew sacrificial system.  It seems to me that the attitude of the giver lies at the root of the issue here. 

      This is the attitude Jesus highlighted in his comments recorded in Mark 12:41-44 – 41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. 43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”” Mark 12:41–44 (NIV).

      It would seem Cain’s offering was not given in faith, as a genuine love response to God.  When God didn’t respond as he expected, Cain was mad, then jealous of his brother for receiving God’s approval.  Still today there is the danger of simply “going through the motions” of worship and giving and not responding from a heartfelt relationship with God.  Sometimes God is offered a gift in the hope of off-setting sinful behavior, it won’t work.  A gift may be given to receive the praise of people, but the wrong motive of the heart is clearly seen and disapproved of by God.  Gifts presented grudgingly, out of a feeling of obligation or simply to attain tax benefits also fall short of divine approval.  What’s missing?  Our love for God.  Paul tells us that even the greatest gift or sacrifice if not given in love is ultimately meaningless: 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:3 (NIV). 

      Abel’s simple act of giving the best he had, in love and worship to the Lord, gained him the Lord’s approval.  That’s it!  No begging. No manipulation, and no need to bargain with God.  Come to God the Father, through the saving work of Jesus the Son, and offer Him in love, your heart, body, mind and spirit.

Hymn: “Give of your best to the master.”

Benediction: Be strong and courageous, and act; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you” 1 Chronicles 28:20b (NASB 2020).

Sermon podcasts
Esterhazy Baptist Church Podbean

Sept 11, 2022 Podbean

Dial-A-Sermon – 1-306-985-9001
 (Note: this is a Regina number and long distance charges may apply)

Hebrews 11.1-3. The full assurance of placing our faith in Jesus Christ.
Sept 11, 2022 Esterhazy Baptist Church.

Call to Worship: “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.” “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14, 16 NIV)

Hymn: “Faithful one”

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 10:19-23; 10:32-11:2,6

Hebrews 10:19–23 19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” (NIV).

Hebrews 10:32–11:2, 6 32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. 35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” 38 And, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” 39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved. 1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for.” 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (NIV).

      Yesterday morning (Saturday), I opened my email and saw the heading “Today is an important mental health day.”  It was from a Christian site and I thought, oh, it must be in preparation for the anniversary of 9-11 in the states.  Instead, the email stated that Sept. 10 is “World suicide prevention day.”  It went on to explain that the CDC has found that almost half of all adults experience mental illness in their life time.  Mental health is something Christians need to be compassionate and caring about for those within and without our churches. 

      There is still the terror from abroad represented by 9-11 and terror from within, witnessed at the James Smith Cree Nation here in Saskatchewan.  We were looking forward to “getting back to normal” after the covid-19 health restrictions; however, war, weather, air port chaos and inflation has popped that balloon!  Most churches have been slower to return to their pre-pandemic vibrancy and the graying of our congregations seems to be growing.

      Good mental health is vital, and so is our spiritual health.  What can we do to maintain our spiritual health, especially when we are facing difficult times?  Periods of problems, stress and pain seem to stretch us to our spiritual limit and all the while, voices within and around us are telling us to look for help in places other than the Lord God.  What are we to do?

      Rather than giving into the urge to walk away from Lord, we should run to Him, clinging to Him and seek His wisdom found in His word.  Do not be embarrassed to ask Him for help, His greatest victories can be seen in our toughest trials!

      The pressures and feelings we are experiencing today were not unknown by 1st century Christians, and so, help is found in God’s Word.  Today I want to begin a study of Hebrews chapter 11.  Turning to a chapter which is seen by many as being the Biblical Hall of Fame, may seem counter productive when trying to help the discouraged, yet this is what the writer to the Hebrews did.  We don’t know who wrote the book of Hebrews, but it was written to discouraged, wavering Christians, likely converts from Judaism.  They had started with strong faith, enduring persecution and helping others to do the same.  Yet some had grown weary, relief was not coming and doubts were creeping into their minds – had they made the right decision in turning to Jesus? 

      The writer of Hebrews has reminded his readers of Jesus’ uniqueness and sufficiency to represent us before God as our true High Priest.  Through placing our faith and trust in Jesus’ redemptive work on our behalf we can enter into God’s presence with confidence, because Christ has made us clean.  He has reminded us repeatedly of God’s faithfulness to us (faithful one so unchanging), and then calls us not to give up, but to hold on and live by faith.  Then he begins chapter 11 with an explanation of faith in verses 1-3.  Some may think of faith similar to a young girl who defined faith as: “Having to believe in something you know ain’t so.”   Yet expressing faith is something we do everyday.  Every time we turn on a light, sit on a chair, drive a car or bank, we are exercising faith.  Without exercising faith our economy would collapse.  Yet when Christian talk of faith they are sometimes mocked.

      Our Christian faith is based on a relationship of trust in God, not our abilities!  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5–6 (NIV).  Hebrews 11:1-2 is a description of our faith, rather than a definition of faith.  1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for.” Hebrews 11:1–2 (NIV). The Contemporary English Version says: 1 Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see. 2 It was their faith that made our ancestors pleasing to God.” Hebrews 11:1–2 (CEV). The Message Translation says: 1 The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see.” Hebrews 11:1 (The Message).  Our faith in God, our trust that He will do what He says because He does not lie, is the bedrock, the firm foundation we can count on when everything is unstable.

      F.F. Bruce in his commentary on Hebrews says this about Hebrews 11:1-2: In Old Testament times… there were many men and women who had nothing but the promises of God to rest upon, without any visible evidence that these promises would ever be fulfilled; yet so much did these promises mean to them that they regulated the whole course of their lives in their light. The promises related to a state of affairs belonging to the future; but these people acted as if that state of affairs were already present, so convinced were they that God could and would fulfil what he had promised. In other words, they were men and women of faith.[1]

      Those listed in Hebrews chapter 11 “Hall of Fame” are not people who experience a life of ease without hardship or challenges.  The point for us to grasp is that because of their faith in God and His promises to them, they were faithful to Him and have become examples to us of those who walk by faith and not by sight.  Their voices call out to us today, “God is faithful! Trust Him and don’t give up! He will see you through!”

      When we are anxious, Noah’s life speaks to us: “Patience! I had to wait 120 years to see God’s plan fulfilled in my life; a few more weeks of waiting will do you good!”

      When we run the race and begin to doubt, Sarah shouts, “Keep going! God is able to do the impossible!”

      Joseph faced one hardship after another: sold into slavery by his brothers, imprisoned on false charges, forgotten by those he helped. Yet his life testifies to us, “Trust God in spite of your circumstances!”

      Faith in the Lord God produces faithfulness, this means our faith is seen in our choices, our action, because we believe God’s promises.  Let people see your faith through the life choices you make, because faith in God will bring victory!

Hymn: #486 “Faith is the victory” (vv. 1,2)

Benediction: The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:56-58 (TNIV)

[1] Bruce, F. F. (1990). The Epistle to the Hebrews (Rev. ed., p. 276). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

Sermon podcasts
Esterhazy Baptist Church Podbean

Sept 4, 2022 Podbean

Dial-A-Sermon – 1-306-985-9001
 (Note: this is a Regina number and long distance charges may apply)


Psalm 118 – The Lord’s hand has done mighty things. 

Sept. 4, 2022.  Esterhazy Baptist Church. 


Call to Worship: “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.” “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14, 16 NIV)  

Psalm 118 (NIV) 

1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. 2 Let Israel say: “His love endures forever.” 3 Let the house of Aaron say: “His love endures forever.” 4 Let those who fear the Lord say: “His love endures forever.” 5 When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place. 6 The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? 7 The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies. 8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans. 9 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes. 10 All the nations surrounded me, but in the name of the Lord I cut them down. 11 They surrounded me on every side, but in the name of the Lord I cut them down. 12 They swarmed around me like bees, but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns; in the name of the Lord I cut them down. 13 I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me. 14 The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. 15 Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: “The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things! 16 The Lord’s right hand is lifted high; the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!” 17 I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done. 18 The Lord has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death. 19 Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord. 20 This is the gate of the Lord through which the righteous may enter. 21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. 22 The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; 23 the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. 24 The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad. 25 Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success! 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. From the house of the Lord we bless you. 27 The Lord is God, and he has made his light shine on us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar. 28 You are my God, and I will praise you; you are my God, and I will exalt you. 29 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”  

Today we are looking at Psalm 118, the last of 6 psalms known as the Egyptian Hallel (praise) psalms (#113-118), which were sung during the Passover celebration.  One can understand why this psalm would be including in a collection for use remembering Israel’s Exodus from slavery in Egypt.  The Exodus was a time when the Lord demonstrated that human, including princely power is no match for His.  The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things! 

As we have seen with the other psalms in this collection, we don’t know when, where, why or by whom this psalm was written.  It is so beautifully general in its description of the troubles faced that it applies to many incidents in Israel’s history.  The form of this psalm invites its use in both large and small gatherings as well as allowing for an individual to testify to the Lord’s goodness and enduring love.   

The Psalm begins in vv. 1-4 with a call for communal praise, using the response: “His love endures forever.”  In v. 2, the community of Israel is invited to respond, in v. 3 it is the priest, and in v. 4, it is likely everyone.  It is possible that by the time of Jesus “those who fear the Lord” included God fearing Gentiles.  Thinking of the book of Proverbs, I wonder if this is another way of call for those who are wise to respond – 10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdomProverbs 9:10a (NIV).  

Verses 5-13 contain an individual’s testimony on how trusting in the Lord made the difference between victory or certain defeat.  Some scholars feel we are to hear a Davidic king testifying to the Lord’s faithfulness.  Psalm 118 begins and ends with the call to “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever” (Ps. 118:1, 29).   This is the same refrain King Jehoshaphat had sung by those leading his army out to watch the Lord defeat an invasion force (2 Chron. 20:21b). 

By the way, here is an interesting observation from James Boice’s commentary: It is reported by people who count such things that there are 31,174 verses in the Bible, and if that is so, then these verses, the 15,587th and the 15,588th, are the middle verses. That position should be reason enough to give them prominence. 

What do you suppose a middle verse should say? Shouldn’t the middle verse of the Bible be John 3:16, or its equivalent? Or something from Psalm 23? At least it should be about God’s love, perhaps “God is love” (1 John 4:8). Actually, the middle verses of the Bible are none of these or anything else we might naturally expect, though in their simplicity they are of vast importance. Significantly, they are about putting our trust in God rather than in mere human beings. 

It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.  It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes (Ps. 118:8–9).1  Amen, Christian, put your trust in the Lord rather than in people, no matter how influential! 

Verse 14-19 continue the testimony of praise to the Lord, now including some of Moses’ song of praise found in Exodus 15, after Pharaoh’s army was swept away by the sea.  Psalm 118:14 quotes directly from Exodus 15:2 The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.Exodus 15:2a (NIV).  Exodus 15:6 6 Your right hand, Lord, was majestic in power. Your right hand, Lord, shattered the enemy.” (NIV) is paraphrased in Ps. 118:15b-16 15b The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things! 16 The Lord’s right hand is lifted high; the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!Psalm 118:15–16 (NIV).   

Verses 20-29 end the Psalm with thanksgiving and worship.  Some feel that the gates referred to are describing the special entrances designed for the king and his entourage to access the inner courtyard (Ezek. 44:3; 46:1-8). 

Verses 22-24, referring to a rejected stone becoming the cornerstone, was from a Hebrew proverb expressing the transition from humiliation to honour.  Some say this was a picture of Israel, God choosing the people and bringing them out of slavery in Egypt.  One can also see David, rejected by King Saul, then most of the tribes, until he is finally made king of all the tribes (2 Samuel 5:1-5).   

By Jesus’ time Psalm 118 was considered a Messianic psalm.  As we read this psalm, did you hear some familiar passages?  Verses 25 & 26 were shouted by the crowds on “Palm Sunday” and is recorded in all 4 Gospel accounts (Mt. 21:9; Mk. 11:9; Lk. 19:39; Jn. 12:13).  The words from Ps. 118:25, “Lord, save us” literally mean, “save us now,” which is the Hebrew word hosanna.2  Now we know not only where this phrase comes from, but why it would have been on the people’s minds as they approached Jerusalem to celebrate Passover!  Jesus confirmed that this messianic passage referred to himself, when speaking of Jerusalem’s rejection of those the Lord had sent when he said in Matthew 23:39: For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”” (NIV).  

Psalm 118:22-24 is another passage that we hear during Jesus’ final week in Matthew, Mark & Luke (Mt. 21:42; Mk. 12:10-11; Lk. 20:17) In Matthew 21:33f, as Jesus finished His parable of the Tenants, we read: 42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “ ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? 43 “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. 44 Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.” 45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. 46 They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.Matthew 21:42–46 (NIV).  

The nation of Israel was rejected by the Empires of the World, but God chose it, and through Jesus, a descendent of King David, would build a new people.  Jesus was rejected by Israel’s leaders, but chosen by God, demonstrated through His resurrection.  This is what Peter told the Sanhedrin in Acts 4:7-12 7 They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?” 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 Jesus is “ ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ 12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”Acts 4:7–12 (NIV).  

  This great truth is what we remember and celebrate: Salvation is found in no one else, there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved than Jesus Christ!  It is through a personal, saving relationship with Jesus Christ that we can enter into the Lord’s presence – Thank you Lord! 

19 Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord. 20 This is the gate of the Lord through which the righteous may enter. 21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. 22 The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; 23 the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. 24 The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad. 25 Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success! 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. From the house of the Lord we bless you. 27 The Lord is God, and he has made his light shine on us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar. 28 You are my God, and I will praise you; you are my God, and I will exalt you. 29 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.Psalm 118:19–29 (NIV).  

Benediction: 18 Lord God of Israel, we praise you. Only you can work miracles. 19 We will always praise your glorious name. Let your glory be seen everywhere on earth. Amen and amen.Psalm 72:18–19 (CEV).