Sunday, March 22, 2015

March 22, 2015 | Joe Porter | Faith and Forgiveness | Mark 11:22-26

I have been puzzled why these verses on forgiveness, vv. 25-26, are inserted in this passage of prayer and faith. It seems to be out of place. However, there must be a good reason why our Lord Jesus taught His disciples about faith and connected it with forgiveness.

Let us start by remembering that in our lesson on Have faith in God, it teaches us that our prayer depends on faith, and faith in God depends on our relationship to God. Faith is about our relationship with God, and prayer depends on our relationship with God being clear, no obstruction or no hindrance: nothing blocking our relationship with God. Example: Have you experienced being in sin? How was your relationship with God then? One of the fruits of sin is guilt, shame, and awful feelings that hinder you from freely facing God. Try to recall an incident where you sinned and felt ashamed, guilty, and could not face God. How was your faith then? If you will be honest with me, you will admit that it felt terrible, and that you could not exercise faith as you should because your relationship with God has been affected. Right?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

March 15, 2015 | Pastor John Bayles | The Hour is Now Come: The Lamb is Now Ready | John 17:1-5

As Jesus concludes His final discourse, “Before I Leave You,” He looks to the beginning of the end of His suffering. He has just proclaimed: “But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 6:33b). All that the broken world could muster against Him, Jesus had overcome. This declaration marks the final and full success of an impossible mission: the proclamation, confrontation, exhortation, and presentation of the Son of God and the, now ready, lamb of God for glorification. This three part prayer is in complete unity with the mission and message of the Savior.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

March 8, 2015 | Pastor John Bayles | Before I Leave You: A Hard Transition | John 16:12-33

In this text the disciples go from confusion to belief and then back to confusion and fear. The cross is still in their future. They seem to be in a state of wonderment about what is happening or could happen next. On the one hand, Jesus is giving them instruction about the near future, of how to handle his arrest, trial, suffering and death, as well as their ensuing sadness and grief. And, on the other hand He comments upon the far future: how they will be equipped with the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus will send. In addition, they will come into a new time frame of revelation and relationship directly with their heavenly Father.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

February 15, 2015 | Pastor John Bayles | Before I Leave You: Help For A Hard Task | John 16:1-11

There are many things in life that are important to guard. I remember as a young man hearing Larry Byrd give a motivational speech in which he said that intense practice guards our skills as athletes. Notice the language, “guards.” What is implied is that we are given gifts: be it athletics, public speaking, playing a musical instrument, or singing. We don’t grow it or develop it. It is a gift that must be guarded, watched, protected.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

February 8, 2015 | Pastor John Bayles | Before I Leave You: The Privilege and Purpose of Election | John 15:17-28

Jesus has just made an astounding assertion to His disciples and to us who are a part of that number: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit — fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name” (John 15:16). We are God’s choice. An astounding statement, yet one that if properly understood demonstrates that without it, we would be eternally lost in the mire of our own self-will.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

February 1, 2015 | Pastor John Bayles | Before I Leave You: Pruned for Fruitfulness | John 15:1-16

Jesus’ public ministry is over. The setting for these verses is the upper room where Jesus has gathered with His disciples for the Passover meal and His final meal with them. He has washed their feet. Though there is no mention of the Lords supper in the Gospel of John, it is clear from the Synoptic Gospels that He has instituted the celebration of the new covenant meal. Judas has been identified as the betrayer and has left the group to do his evil deed. Jesus begins to teach His disciples. His subject is discipleship.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

January 25, 2015 | Pastor John Bayles | Before I Leave You: True Peace, True Reconciliation | John 14:26-31

These are that last comments that Jesus will make with his disciples in the upper room during the Passover and the last supper. It is interesting that here, in this upper room, He reveals to them that the Holy Spirit will come to them. Could it be that in this very same upper room, not many day hence, the Holy Spirit Jesus speaks about in this room, will come in power in the same room?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

January 18, 2015 | Pastor John Bayles | Before I Leave You: The Coming Advocate | John 14:15-27

To this point in his Gospel, Jesus has not spoken very much about the Holy Spirit. We should not, however, assume that there is no presence of the Holy Spirit. The fact that this Gospel and all of the scriptures has been written and preserved throughout time and history is the absolute evidence of the inspiring and preserving work of the Holy Spirit. As the Apostle Peter stated, “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20,21).

Sunday, January 11, 2015

January 11, 2015 | Pastor John Bayles | This is My Prayer for You | Ephesians 3:14-19

In today’s text the Apostle Paul renders one of the most meaningful expressions of prayer and praise in all of Pauline literature. As we enter into the new year, my hope is that this prayer will become a reality in each of our lives. In this prayer we see a synopsis of the whole of the Gospel message and especially as we seek to become caught in it’s day to day flow in our lives.