Sunday, December 21, 2014

December 21, 2014 | Pastor John Bayles | Fourth Sunday of Advent: Jesus, the Suffering Servant | Hebrews 12:1-4

How often do we interpret the life of Jesus from the vantage point of how we perceive our own life? Jesus was a man like us. He “endured such opposition from sinful men” (Heb. 12:3). We know from the Scriptures that He “suffered when He was tempted” (Heb. 2:18) and that “...we have One Who was tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin” (Heb. 4:15). We can identify in a very worldly way with our Savior. However, though Jesus shared the humanity that we understand, it is wrong to believe that He experienced it as we do. Jesus’ visitation in the flesh was not at all common or even similar to us. Basically, He was like us in the flesh, but we are not like Him.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

December 7, 2014 | Pastor John Bayles | Second Sunday Of Advent: What A Great Grace Is Mine! | Ephesians 2:1-10

The sentiment has been expressed throughout the ages that if we do not first understand how miserable our condition was and how far we actually were from God, we will not fully appreciate how great the benefits to us are of the cross. As has been the case throughout all of history, our present culture wants to think about the goodness of man, the greatness of man, the kindness of man. In fact it is believed by most that if treated well, fed well, and given equal freedom and comforts, mankind would never turn to evil naturally.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

November 30, 2014 | Pastor John Bayles | First Sunday of Advent: If Only There Were Someone! | Job 9:25-35

Often we minimize the importance of beginnings. All of us are affected by persons and events in our lives which shaped the pathway from where we came, who we are, what we believe, who we associate with, where we live, and what we do for work. As a human race we have a beginning which has deeply affected every person born since the creation of the earth.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

October 19, 2014 | Pastor John Bayles | Marching to the Cross: Overcoming the Great Blindness | John 12:34-43

Jonathan Edwards, the greatest American theologian of the eighteenth century, once said that there are truths in the scriptures that are sweet as honey. These truth are easy to embrace because they conform to our understanding of life. On the other hand he also stated that there are truths that are like vinegar. These ideas are fully as true, but hard to grasp and even harder to accept as divine. These truth run in opposition to our worldview and our nature.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

October 5, 2014 | Pastor John Bayles | The Spirit-filled Life: Being Filled with Honor | Ephesians 5:21

Though this is a very familiar passage, we must see it as a part of Paul’s subject which he began in verse 15 and centers in the statement in v.18: “be filled with the Spirit.” He has instructed us to Be Filled with Wisdom (v.15-18) and to Be Filled with Thanks (v.18-20). He now turns to his third imperative: Be Filled with Honor, which begins in v.21 and continues all the way through chapter 6:9. This section is the longest and includes a listing of Christian relationship all centered in the key of Honoring One Another or submitting to one another as he has stated in v.21.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

September 21, 2014 | Pastor John Bayles | Marching to the Cross: The Hour to be Lifted Up | John 12:26

The disciples are in shock. They thought they were entering into a discipleship relationship to a man who was wise, who could work miracles, and who even might become noteworthy in their religious circles. But He has surprised them again and again. They speak of His mission as one of messianic glory. He speaks of dying. They are looking into their hearts and wondering if this all was a mistake. Jesus is looking into their hearts and calling them to absolute loyally and servitude.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

September 14, 2014 | Pastor John Bayles | Marching to the Cross: Serving the True Master | John 12:26-43

Today we will continue to examine the statements that Jesus began in verse 23 with the words: Jesus replied, The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” How strange it must have seemed that Jesus brought forth these words in response to Philip and Andrew bringing the request for a personal visit with Jesus by a group of Greek visitors to Jerusalem. But not strange at all in the light of what we have seen taking place over the past two chapters in which John outlines again and again how mis-understood and even non-understood Jesus’ had been by all those around him. They were looking at a singular, Jewish interpretation of the Messiah. Jesus would not fulfill their expectations. As a result they were missing Him and misunderstanding everything He was preaching to them. They had missed the Messiah because their unregenerate, dead nature was blinding them. They were yet dead in trespasses and sins.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

August 24, 2014 | Pastor John Bayles | A Love Greater than Treasure | John 12:1-7

This is one of the most non-complex and simply presented passages in all the Gospel of John. As we first read it, we see something that seems on the surface to be incidental - very much just a narrative report. Mary pours expensive perfume on Jesus's feet and wipes it with her hair. Judas rebukes her action as wasteful, Jesus makes the curious statement that the poor would be in the world always, and John comments that Judas was driven by his thievery. But what would move Mary to such an action? Was she unconcerned about using the expensive oil as a foot wash because she was very rich? Is this the lesson of this passage - because Mary is rich, she is out of touch with the real world? Or maybe John is simply identifying Judas as the reprobate thief he was.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

August 17, 2014 | Pastor John Bayles | The Seventh Sign: The Separating Savior | John 11:45-57

Whenever Christ is presented, the result is division. Not the immediate view of division as disruption of groups or people who hold the same general views, but are thrown into confusion and conflict with each other, such as in a church split.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

June 15, 2014 | Pastor John Bayles | The Sixth Sign: Who is the Blind Man? | John 9:13-41

The narrative resumes in the chamber of the Sanhedrin. This is the power center of all Judaism. The very place was enough to intimidate anyone who went there. Even the Roman officials would not enter this place, but summoned the Jews to their location in order to maintain the power advantage in political matters. Jesus is absent from the scene. Only His witness is present.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

June 8, 2014 | Pastor John Bayles | The Sixth Sign: The Witness of Light Shining | John 9:1-12

Jesus made the declaration that he was the light of the world. This assertion was challenged by the Pharisee on the basis that Jesus had no witnesses to collaborate His statement. Jesus response was that he did not need any witnesses to demonstrate that He was the light. Basically, the fact that He was shining was the only testimony He needed.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

May 4, 2014 | Pastor John Bayles | The Sixth Discourse: When the Son is Lifted Up | John 8:21-30

In this text we see the inclusion of statements Jesus made at some time in His ministry. They may or may not have been spoken at the same time as what has come before, but John deems them so important that he includes them here in this discourse. The death of God’s lamb. The taking away of the Holy One who will take away the sin of the unholy ones. To think that these sinners here and we sinners now will assist in the mission of Jesus most significantly. How will we they and we do it? We will contribute our sins, our selfish arrogance, our denial and rejection of Who He was and is, and the dismissal of His mission and message. All the while, as we assist in killing Him, He is being exalted, He is being lifted up in death. But not His death. The death He dies is the death of our death, our nature redeemed, our sins forgiven.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

April 13, 2014 | Pastor John Bayles | 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 - 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, March 2, 2014

March 2, 2014 | Pastor John Bayles | The Fifth Discourse: The Man of Truth | John 7:14-27

We see again that Jesus is not driven by the terms of the moment or the wishes of people. He is not waiting for a time to teach, but for the time to teach, on His time, God's time. How often have we been subject to speaking or acting because we were driven by a reaction to time or people?

Sunday, February 2, 2014

February 2, 2014 | Pastor John Bayles | The Bread of Separation and Salvation | Part 2 | John 6:41-60

In this section, Jesus lays out perhaps the most difficult revelation of His ministry. Thus far he has responded to questions from the Jews in Capernaum regarding the bread, the amazing bread that Jesus had miraculously produced by prayer a few days earlier. This bread that came down from heaven, had been a life-changing experience for those who had been there that day, and was continuing to amaze those who had heard about it and were hoping for a repeat performance from this man with the divine connection.

That is all Jesus was to the masses and the Jews in the synagogue in Capernaum - a miracle man with miracle powers. But, to their amazement, Jesus emphasizes not what He can do, but where He came from and Who and What He is. He is the bread that came down from heaven, not given by the power of a man. This is the sign that Jesus used to awaken His audience and serve as a call for belief. The nature of the miracle points only to the miracle of the man Jesus, the Word, the Son of God, the bread of heaven.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

January 26, 2014 | Pastor John Bayles | The Bread of Separation and Salvation | Part 1 | John 6:25-40

What were they all looking for, the people who had heard about a miracle of five loaves and two small fish being multiplied into a feast that fed more than five thousand people? Those who were present were amazed and filled. The disciples of the teacher were amazed and filled. And now those who missed the action were hoping for more. And so they finally found him. How he got to Capernaum without a boat had baffled them all. They came seeking an answer to their question of how he crossed the lake without a boat. He answered by revealing that boats, lakes, bread, and fish were not on His mind.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

January 19, 2014 | Pastor John Bayles | When Darkness Shadows Grace | John 6:16-24

The miracle of Jesus walking on the Sea of Galilee is recorded in Matthew, Mark, and here in the Gospel of John. Because of this coverage we have a synoptic view, that is we can expand our understanding of what happened that dark, stormy night from three viewpoints. It is a short passage and not difficult to understand - it is a miracle of Jesus walking on the water to save His disciples during a violent storm that occurred at night on the Sea of Galilee.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

January 12, 2014 | Pastor John Bayles | Forgiveness: Breaking Old Chains | Matthew 18:21-35

In this text today we will discover that forgiveness is not simply dismissing the wrong actions of someone else, or an emotional feeling we try to reach, or just forgetting an offense. It's not just deciding to trust an offending person, and it sometimes does not lead to the full restoration of a relationship. So, practically, what is forgiveness and how do we do it? Isn't it a two-way process that requires the actions of the other person? Doesn't the other person have a responsibility to seek forgiveness?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

January 5, 2014 | Pastor John Bayles | Forgiveness: The Key to Christian Freedom | Matthew 18

Forgiveness is the most powerful tool available to the Christian. At the same time, forgiveness is the most underutilized tool of the Christian life. Relationships are strained or broken, lives are fragmented, marriages ended, family bonds broken, churches split, new denominations formed, nations divided, wars fought, a world splintered – all because of the failure to forgive among people.