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June 3, 2019 12:00 pm
Let me congratulate our wonderful graduates was good to see them up there all the colors all of the different colors. I do wonder about who chose the born someone said we could use them in the parking lot for traffic cones after the service, but I thought that was a little harsh, but we are very very thankful for each one of them for you. The parents of encourage them and also as Tim is indicated with very very thankful for so many of you who have served enthusiastically and faithfully at Calvary over these years, and not just the worship ministry, but behind the scenes in many ways you've enriched us and that we thank you for that. We miss you as you go on the next chapter of your life and I'm going to talk on God's plans and I know because I'm the pastor here. The God's plan for you is that when you come back home you come to Calvary church so that is part of the plan and we look forward to seeing you there.
I trust you are planning for the future. I trust all of us are obviously our graduates, but I trust all of us are planning for the future Seneca who lived for BC to A.D. 65 said if a man knows not to which port T sales know when that is favorable very well side and that is if you don't know where you're going if you're in a shape and do not know what port you're going know when that is favorable. That is how important it is that we plan for the future now that can be difficult. Someone said the problem with the church. It is that is not what it used to be, and that life is very very different in our society and culture and life changes very very fast. Not just in terms of the technology, but politically many many aspects of our life.
Life can change dramatically and so as we plan then we should plan it must always be subject to the will of the Lord and why we plan, we must always recognize that God often can I say frequently has plans for our life, which are very different from our own plans that suddenly true in my case, singing of our graduates with graduation in this, and for my school we just won the right one day when we do a final exam, but as I life my skill. My plan was to be, you know, the best attorney in Scotland, only 5 million people.
So it's a bit easier, but my plan was to be an attorney. That was my plan and God dramatically change that plan. That was not an easy change, but it was his plan for me and then when good and I moved to Dallas seminary to begin my theological training which was obviously very different lifestyle for us.
My plan our plan was to return to Scotland to begin the church, possibly to plant a church. But God had other plans and remember when we were called out to the small group in the Pittsburgh what I'd been an intern.
One summer, but hundred people who did another pastor I thought this could not be possibly be God's plan for me. I didn't want to go to Pittsburgh never really had much about it other than Andrew Carnegie had to put the city on its feet as many Scotsmen have done in this country remains true in the and under Canadian fact came from the tiring. When my mother was staying and didn't want to go there and yet God has his plans for us know that could cause you fear if you didn't know God is perfect, has plans for us is perfect. December says.
As for God's way is perfect. This is what it means to live by faith doesn't mean that we don't plan what it does mean that as we plan our plans are always as James would remind us to be subject to the will of God that I think gives us exactly gives me great confidence that God's ways are perfect. God is much wiser than I am. God knows the future.
I don't know the future. God knows me knows every circumstance of life. He knows everything about everything and so I am to trust them step-by-step. And so you go forward. Graduates of logical plans, but remember God can change your plans and live by faith, keep looking to the Lord. Paul this wonderful apostle that we been studying the book of Romans. Paul had future plans. We saw the last week as he planned to take the gospel he planned to preach the gospel to plant churches to go over the gospel had never ever been preach. That was his plan and in the passage looking at this morning. But on the change going through much of the graduates are way would indicate the Romans, Paul is planning his future Apollo for some time had been planning to go to Rome to see the Roman believers. But he says he had been hindered from doing so.
Even the apostle Paul, yes he plan yes he wanted to go to certain places, but God had these ways of hindering him of the Holy Spirit is saying no.
Paul would closing the door, you're not going to go there at least at that time and this happens doesn't it. We plan with our lives out in the hands of God. This is why Paul tells us over and over again that the just shall live by faith each day I'm to commit to the Lord. My future plans are in God's hands and he and this is wonderful to know as we follow Jesus Christ that his plans are best know if you have your Bible asked you to turn the Romans chapter 15 verses 22 through 33. When Paul mentions at least three important factors in planning our future. I guess this mass message is for graduates, but it is for all of us future is ahead of all of us. You may have messed up in the past you may have blown it. You may have deliberately gone against God's will for your life. You may never even thought about what God wants for your life you live your own life that other self-centered life and you realize that that is not the best way to live with them when they tell you there is hope.
CS Lewis says you can go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending none of us can go back in time God has brought us to this day.
Beginning of June 2019. I can do on under the past with anything good or bad or indifferent, but today is the beginning in very real sense of my life and that is in the hands of the Lord God is always with us. Three important factors in planning our future. First of all plan to fellowship with Christ followers is encouraged when I heard on the videos from my mother graduates that as they go to a college that they had already concerned about this aspect of fellowship thing with fellow believers, that is so important. Plan to follow ship with Christ followers. Verse 22 was in Depaul. This is the reason why have I have so often been hindered from coming to you that is coming to Rome, but no since I no longer have any room for work in these regions.
And since I have longed for many years to come to you. I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain and to be helped on my journey thereby you once I have enjoyed your company for a while. Paul is planning and eagerly anticipating of fellowship with the Roman believers that we never been to Rome he wanted to go to Rome, but had been previously hindered but now in the sovereign purposes of God. The way is open. Paul believes for him to go to Rome as work is completed in the region where he was and so he has this desire to visit Rome on his way to Spain. He's got his great desire to preach the gospel in Spain.
The gospel has never been preach there at the time of Paul's writing, and Paul has this wonderful desire. He is the apostle of the Gentiles.
He wants to go to Spain and if you remember your children. If you're traveling from Israel to Spain in the past by Rome. And so is that in coming to Rome at to see you notice what he says in verse 24 coming to Rome he says I want to be helped on my journey thereby you help that would involve food. Some fellowship money and the blessing perhaps some of them.
Paul is thinking that they would even accompany him on his journey, Paul never ever operated solo. He always traveled with others with Silas or Barnabas or Luke Timothy.
He welcomed help from others. This grade apostle. Surely one of the strongest believers ever. With this dramatic conversion. This man presumed to be good at everything, he realized he needed spiritual fellowship.
He needed help he needed encouragement and so here is he's planning to travel from Corinth, south of Greece is what is writing from and he's going to travel there to Jerusalem will see this in the minute why he's going to do that and then he's going to travel west towards Rome and then on to Spain. That's a voyage of about 3000 miles none on a cruise ship the jet on the jumbo jet was tremendous.
Remember, Rome is the superpower and the Romans had culminates in Spain and Paul as he strategizes to bring the gospel things are going and get to Spain again preach the gospel. There and I think Paul is also thinking of going north in Spain into what we now call friends previously golf and perhaps even into ancient Britain, although he never makes that but before going to Spain.
He anticipates this time of fellowship with the Roman believers is looking for spiritual refreshment. Verse 24 he talks about enjoying the company doing. Do you enjoy the company of fellow believers is a regular fellowship with the people of God is essential. Paul has explained that earlier in chapter 12 he thinks of the church is the body of Christ with different gifts, different abilities working together in harmony. Just as the human body works together in harmony as one unit. So the church is the body of Christ. That means we need one another, we must appreciate one another under help one another. But Paul also describes the church is the bride of Christ, a place of love a place of care is also the building of God, the place where we grow in our faith.
Spiritual growth takes place within the community of believers and you will never ever please hear me balance Christian apart from the body of Christ is a particular tour, graduates make sure your part of a local church and to all of us don't fly solo, graceful geese who are flying notice they don't fly solo. I'm told that geese flying in the information fly 70% faster than if the event's goose flying on his own, is not remarkable that one had they had it will fly for a while and then I will drop back another one will take leadership in this way.
This formation of grace travel much much faster so will the missing graduates attend church and attend the church where the Bible is preached. People often say to me what should I look for in the church.
While the first thing I would look for in the church is how is this book handled how was the Bible handled. If you are the church and there's no one with a Bible that's a good reason to leave and go to church where the guy thinks that preaching is putting a little virus on the screen and then talking about his own spiritual journey are giving you some inspirational message about when the going gets tough the tough gets going in all of this kind of thing.
It's time to leave. What is one of the characteristics of the church since the time of the Reformation is the exposition of the word of God. You say, while I make people there and I like the style of music and its coffee and is a real cool place to be.
That is all very very second-rate. Never ever choose the church because of his style. How is the word of God handle why is this so important is important for us all is particularly important for students because you're going to be overwhelmed yes overwhelmed with opinions and perspectives, different viewpoints, some of which are met may never have grappled with and in an age of social media. That is a tremendous amount of information coming to all of us Tom Nichols in his book the death of expertise states all voices even the most ridiculous talking about social media. This is so true all voices even the most ridiculous demand to be taken with equal seriousness and then they claim to the contrary is this is dismissed as undemocratic elitism you notice in social media. Evan is an expert in the old days before you could probably someone editors looked at it and said you're kidding me wanting to publish the staff. Now everyone is an expert with a couple of tweets within Instagram you view can be sent around the world and people become celebrity days, saying nothing about nothing is all this information is all this viewpoints was important, so important for students and I hope whatever you're going are being taught how to think how important it is for students for all of us to learn to think critically when the apostles went to Beria and started preaching these noble Berea and starts the Scriptures to see if what they were being taught was in accordance with Scripture.
That's the standard, isn't it. All kinds of use all kinds of cool ideas in the popular culture, but our goal in life as we plan our future is not to be popular is not to adopt the Jews of the culture, so we fit in. Our goal surely as we plan is to become more and more like Jesus and the ability to think, to think biblically, to think in a God centered in Christ centered way is absolutely essential so I'm center students think all of us make sure your regular in the church where partner churches on campus and their wonderful, not as a student I went to one and that's good to fellowship with your fellow Christians on the campus, but it is also essential that you become part of the local church that you attend the church. The church is not just your own little group of contemporary studying the Bible. That's not a church that's important.
What is the church.
The church is the body of Christ were young and old mates under the authority of spiritually appointed elders administering the sacraments, preaching the word of God, exercising godly discipline.
This is the church and Jesus Christ is building the church and if you neglect the church.
All of us will become disillusioned. You become unbalanced. You become critical, and eventually you will wither. Dietrich von Hahn Hallford in his book life together rights. I think this is a very good quote.
He says the more isolated the person is the more destructive will be the power of Satan over him.
Satan wants to get you alone. He wants to cut you off from all godly influences and the more deeply he becomes involved in it, the more disastrous is his isolation. Sin wants to remain unknown and shuns the light in the darkness of the unexpressive poisons the whole being of a person.
The express that knowledge. Satan has lost its power, the sin concealed separated him from the fellowship made all his apartment, fellowship, a shaman, the sin confessed has helped him to find true fellowship with the brethren in Jesus Christ well stated. Dietrich Bonhoeffer what's he saying that sin isolates us and cuts us off from the light of the word of God.
It cuts us off from the penetrating questions as were held accountable by brothers and sisters in Christ. But as we come in this we participate in godly worship as we are focusing on God and exulting our Savior and submissive to the word of God, the light of the word of God shines in our heart, exposing our sin getting us on our knees under the cross of Christ and asking for forgiveness and mercy that is not the psalmist says the entrance of your word gives light so first plan to fellowship with Christ followers. Secondly plan to give with generosity versus 25 through 29. Read them with me please burst 25 at present. However, I'm going to Jerusalem, bringing aid to the saints for Macedonia and a Kia have been pleased to make some contribution. The Greek word that is calling on the fellowship had been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem. They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them for the Gentiles of come to share in their spiritual blessings. They are also to be of service to them and material blessings when therefore I have completed this and have delivered to them. What is been collected.
I will leave for Spain by way of you.
I know that when I come to you I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ was pulsating before I'm going to come to Gen. Norman Conant before I come to your got to do something I've got to go to Jerusalem to go to the Jewish saints with a offering a financial contribution which the Gentile believers in Macedonia and the Kia were talking about northern Greece, present-day Macedonia and Greece itself have come together having Howard that the saints and Jerusalem are poor and the blonde through some kind of crisis withers of firemen were not quite sure what it was. But there's poverty. There and so Paul has obtained from the Macedonian believers and from those from Kia know that there are wealthy you can read about it in second Corinthians 8, and nine when well think what they gave her the poverty and to give this up all and Paul is so moved by this that he wants to take it to Jerusalem. That's true fellowship.
We talk about Christian Fellowship is a cliché.
What is authentic Christian Fellowship is having something in common its close relationships of sharing in ministry.
It's participated know this cannot be done solo by the very nature of it. It involves others.
It is called communion. The we talk about the community of believers, the communion of the saints.
The fellowship of the saints. Notice what Paul says. I find this remarkable for Macedonia and the Kia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem. Verse 27 there were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them? It wasn't yet in the sovereign purposes of God.Paul is going to use this financial gift given to the believers in Greece and Macedonia is going to take it to the poor saints in Jerusalem, and this is going to help in the buying thing together out of Jew and Gentile was attention in the first century that in a sense, that would be to kind of churches that would be the Gentile church and the Jewish shortfall doesn't want to know the body of Christ is one is Jew and Gentile one in Christ and of any giving of this gift from the Gentile believers to the poor Jewish believers in Jerusalem will make it clear to the Jewish believers in Jerusalem must have loved and cared for by the Gentile believers and Paul himself rather than entrust this money with someone else.
He wants to make the journey from Corinth to Jerusalem, give the saints their the money and then journey to roll. Spend some time there as we read and then go on to Spain. That would you think about what you think about believers in Jesus Christ hundreds of miles away from Jerusalem, never having met them being poor themselves, but giving in this act of fellowship really shouldn't be too surprised to enjoy because an authentic follower of Christ has an understanding of God's grace what is grace grace is what you don't deserve.
Paul has expended that magnificently improvements that were saved by grace that we understand this God who loves us is that gender is God gives us grace upon grace he lavishes his love upon this when he forgives us, he forgives us completely.
This God is infinite and his love and is a generous God is a giving God and therefore we who have received is grace. One of the characteristics which are dolls always market Christian is generosity. I hope your generous Christian fathers are you generous with your children. I don't mean the responsible you generous person was at work today know you as generous. Do you give generously of one of our themes at Calvary for 2019 is give generously every follower of Jesus should be generous by nature were greeted by nature were selfish.
Here's a joke for graduates. When I put on my hand.
Your life right sometimes you don't get it right and Englishman Welshmen and Irishmen in the Scotsman were having dinner together in a very very expensive restaurant and for the first course, they all order a plate of soup therefore flies buzzing around the restaurant and in an amazing coincidence before flies individually go into one of the four plates of soup the same time, the English of course a very well mannered and well mannered Englishman. The verses in the think that would be impolite. He takes his spoon very carefully just a little flyer I would've his soup and places it on his napkin Welshmen sees this by the Welsh are known for their magnificent singing cover have the singing of the Welsh rugby game. You know what I mean and he starts to sing and he is so powerful in his thinking that he closed the little fly writer to be soup. The Irishman sees this Irishman was looking for a fight. He's his he's furious with the fly he takes his spoon puts on top a little fly and submerges the fly until it runs both Irish for you. Beware the Scotsman watches all of this, then very carefully removes the fly from his soup takes hold of it and says I paid for the soup you greedy. We fly sprinted out expended arts, so he always got searchers not being generous but we are actually the most generous people, there are, as someone said in Scotland. We keep the Sabbath and anything else we got hands-on but seriously, you may. Christians were not generous, something troubling about that is neither give generously. Scripture encourages us to give regularly, systematically, proportionally and joyfully did you notice the Macedonian and the day believers from my Kia where Paul says there were pleased to make some contribution. I hope you gave to the offering this morning and I hope you were pleased to give Paul says elsewhere that God loves a cheerful giver. You know that the graduates of someone gave you a graduation present.
You want them to give you that cheerfully is about. It is one of this ticket.
Anyhow, I know, but someone who gives you something from the heart joyfully.
The pleased to give it is what God wants. Does God need my money goes everything God could make me bankrupt in a split second of God could make me a multimillionaire overnight if it was the sovereign purpose he owns everything, but I am to give an dealer to give generously. Notice what Paul also says in verse 27. Not only were they pleased to do it. Indeed, they all it to them. What does he mean he says of the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings. The spiritual blessings of the Jews.
Romans 11 number they ought also to be of service to them and material blessings. There is a principle here that Paul says and that writes in Galatians 6 verse six that he who is taught the word much share all good things with the one who teaches that is if you are benefiting spiritually. You are to give materially as part of God's purposes. The Gentiles had come into the blessings of the Messiah through the junior member of the gospel went first in the June and then to the Greek who brings the gospel to the Gentiles. A June I converted you. Paul himself and they rejoice in this amazing how wonderful that is that God's message of salvation has come to us.
So when Paul said was an urgent need back in Jerusalem.
They give and are pleased to give what would you think if after the service you in for lunch somewhere and you see the next table.
Someone from Calvary church down the have a nice have a nice meal and go out without paying what you think of that person I talked to a young man this week who acts as a waiter in the confusing to be done is remarkable. Many people pay so little is attempt.
Nevermind the tip with the new you come, you come to Calvary church and you receive spiritual blessings we enjoy this beautiful sanctuary you go to a classroom of children are taught curriculum are you, and there's there's air conditioning.
We support turn our missionaries and you never give Molokai the last week of the Old Testament is dealing with Jews like that in the temple. He says you know you don't delink a decision robbing God robbing God graduates you have much money. I understand that some amount of money is some out of desire.
Some of the most generous people I know have been very very poor thing going on. Grandparents extremely poor and some the most generous people I know I'm not wealthy people who were also very generous and have not wealthy people were not generous or tall. Not of the money we have with her, but rich or poor that's in God's sovereign purposes is an attitude as needed, giving to the Lord.
Very easy to talk about your love for Jesus. Very easy to sing about it is you are doing, but could I say a more accurate measure of your love for Jesus Christ is in your generosity question. When we were in Israel of the Dead Sea matures. God said you know what is called the Dead Sea and some of us knew is called the Dead Sea because it receives but it never gives the Jordan River goes into the jumped into the Dead Sea, but there's no outlet it's receiving is receiving is receiving. But there's no government. Don't be like the Dead Sea don't have the eye that should of entitlement.
Students I'm sure your parents are generous, if not I'm sorry but I'm sure knowing the parents of minor view the generous but don't think that is a sense of entitlement. Don't be taken was a prodigal wasn't a member and Luke 15 he went to his father and said give me give me give me and the father graciously give them his inheritance when he came back from the pack from the far country. He didn't say to the father give me give me said no.
A committee that was a wiser prayer wasn't make me know he was prepared to work for his father to do that free, just as a hired servant of the father, and great grace brings him back to the father's house first plan to fellowship with Christ follower. Secondly plan to give with generosity as to convicting.
Let's move on. Third, plan to pray for others as you think of the church for all of us fellowship with people giving generously and praying for others. Verse 30. I appeal to you, brothers, my Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the spirit to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service will Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints so that by God's will.
I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. May the God of peace be with you all imminent Paul, the great apostle is requesting prayer from others he said in chapter 1 that he'd been playing for the Roman believers without ceasing. Now he's asking them to strive with him in prayer, not just a little prayer God blessed me in mind striving Jacob wrestled with God. The imagery is of the athletes striving wrestling is in conflict who are we in conflict with with the forces of darkness. Some students going to UNC Chapel Hill.
One of them said is not easy dear, then it's not easy to get in and that is sadly not easy to stand for Jesus Christ that UNC Chapel Hill or any other college, even a Christian college it's heart heart what you do during your to strive in prayer and can I say to us as a congregation cannot ask you please that we would strive together in prayer for their graduates is the gold of the school. They need our prayers. Not just from their moms and dads although they have a increase obligation for their own children but for all of us, not just praying for graduates, but praying for one another. Why prayer is the divinely ordained ordained means for the accomplishment of the sovereign will of God is a John you earlier said that God is sovereign, yes he is but in the sovereign plan of God. The means by which his will is done is accomplished through prayer, our enemy wants to discourage is our enemy wants to distract us of the enemy wants to isolate us as Bonhoeffer is saying to isolate us rather than to receive the lighting of the word of God in our lives and so we needs to agonize in prayer every day.
Pray part of the Lord's prayer. You will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Lord today I want to do your will, your will is done in heaven, may I today this day.
Do your will pray for graduating graduates you trust in God for the future of verse was up there from Proverbs 3 to trust in the Lord with all of your heart. Helen Keller said life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
Don't settle for mediocrity.
Don't settle for nothing done just be like one of the thousands of other students just following the floor, take a stand for Jesus Christ. Be strong. Step out with Christ in this wonderful adventure of faith. I can personally testify. It will bring you a life of joy, a life of rich experiences. Yes, a life of surprising turns in the road but seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you. Notice how Paul ends, and that is a prayer I have for you graduates for each one of us. The God of peace be with you all. A man Paul has said in chapter 5, verse one being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Perhaps some of you graduates going to peace with God. You've never yet received Christ as your Savior. You may have gone through their youth ministry you may have come to Calvary church all your life, what you don't know Christ personally. A challenger do you know him of you being justified by faith of your sins be forgiven, being justified by faith, says Paul, we have peace with God. Yes, that is, in terms of our relationship with God or justification. But Paul wants for the Romans I want for you graduates of and for all of us. But the God of peace will be with you is you who could you have the God of peace each day by doing his will by making sure that everything I do is in accordance with his will be the Lord help us. Father, thank you for this passage of Scripture that would like to very very quickly and I pray that the God of peace will be on their graduates that they will live. God centered life's pray that for each one of us in Christ name