Simple Church, For His Glory
by Jason Southerland on May 20th, 2017

1 Peter 1:22-25  “Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. For,
ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS, AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS.  THE GRASS WITHERS, AND THE FLOWER FALLS OFF, BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER." 
And this is the word which was preached to you."
     In responding to God’s Word, the Christian purified his life and entered into a life that is continually obedient to God’s truth.  Therefore, our lives, as believers, should be continually moving into greater purity and holiness.  Sometimes I need to ask - Is this my direction?  How have I been approaching God? 


As this passage reminds us, one of the key realities and goals of holy living is brotherly love.  Jesus said we could recognize His disciples by their love one for another.  When we entered into the people and family of God, we entered into a community where our Father’s expectation is a sincere family love.  This is achieved as we are devoted to loving others.  Again, I can check up on myself by asking - Is this something I desire and work toward? Is this how I view the believers around me?  Do I interact with those around me in love?  Real love demonstrates the eternal, recreated life in you and is the beautiful glory of God that will last into eternity.  Seek after a life that shines the love of God.  God’s word is the imperishable, living, and enduring source of God’s truth, which brought us eternal life and brings us life and knowledge of God. It is God’s chosen means to communicate with His children.  Treasure His Word and guard your time in it.
Ironically, one time when Christians are most tempted to depart from a spirit of love toward others is in theological “discussions” that may sometimes heat up.  It is important to remember that neither our arguments nor our life examples will bring new life to an unbeliever, but only the powerful words of God Himself.  We still have these words preserved today in Scripture. Study, memorize, and share them!

Find the full sermon at www.gfow.us or better yet, come visit on Sunday!  

by Jason Southerland on May 12th, 2017

​1 Peter 1:17-21  “If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God."

     Like a loving father, God is active in the lives of His children and disciplines them without favoritism. As Christians, we should determine to conduct our lives in holiness because we would rather have the blessings of God than His discipline!  We were ransomed out of a useless way of life to serve His household, and the cost was far greater than earthly riches.  If I paid a bunch of money for something that might communicate to you that it is valuable to me.  However, if I told you I gave up my son’s life for something, you would be shocked at the huge value I had placed on it.  God sacrificed the extremely valuable, sinless, blameless, and morally pure life of Christ and paid our debt so that we can be saved!  This is extreme love – and extreme value that God places on our salvation.  This is a debt we can never repay.  It is a huge and gracious gift.  We must conduct our lives in fear of displeasing our Father since we know how much was spent to bring us into His family.

Find the full sermon at www.gfow.us or better yet, come visit on Sunday!  

by Jason Southerland on May 4th, 2017

​1 Peter 1:14-16  “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, "YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY."

     Holiness is a big word.  It means to be set apart for God’s purposes.  In the last post, we saw how we were supposed to be ready for the fight.  In this part of the passage, we find out we are supposed to be holy!  I will tell you when I read passages about holiness, I think about God. I don’t really think of myself as being holy.  It is possible I could maybe think of other people that seem to really have it together for the things of God – but that is not where the passage directs us.  We are not to compare our lives before God with other believers.  Our goal is to be holy as God is holy in His very character.  Wow, we are supposed to look to God for the example of holiness - that is a big job!  We compare ourselves to Him, delighting in imitating and becoming more like Him!  As God’s children, now that we know the truth, our former desires no longer mold and influence us.  Rather, we are molded and influenced by the Holy God who called us to salvation and into His family. Therefore, we resolve to be holy and reflect His beautiful character in every aspect of our lives!  What an amazing charter for the Christian life – we can’t do it without the amazing work of God in our lives.

Find the full sermon at www.gfow.us or better yet, come visit on Sunday!  

by Jason Southerland on April 27th, 2017

​1 Peter 1:13-16  “Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, "Y OU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY."

     In the last post, we saw how the work of God for the salvation of His people is an exciting story that the prophets and angels long to look into!  This verse opens up with “Therefore”, so we know it is reflecting back to the thought of that work of salvation God has done for Christians.  So, in light of the wonderful story of salvation, and because of it, we are to be ready for the fight!  It is like the military.  When the military is not actively fighting, they are working on training and making sure they are always ready for the fight.  Although we are saved and we rest in His grace, our time on earth is not our promised rest.  We must intentionally keep our minds ready to work and fight against sin and live lives that are separated from the world.  Then we will be ready to be used for God’s purposes of glory!  In our struggle on earth, we must place our hope completely on the grace promised at His second coming.  It is this future reality that gives us the motive for our present lives of holiness.

Find the full sermon at www.gfow.us or better yet, come visit on Sunday!  

by Jason Southerland on April 18th, 2017

​What I Learned at Church – Grace Fellowship of Waxahachie

1 Peter 1:10-12  “As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven-things into which angels long to look.”

     Often times on my commute into work, I listen to audio books on the drive.  Sometimes I’m listening to a great book, and I get to something really exciting and I’m on the edge of my seat to find out what happens – and then I get to work!  NO!! Maybe at lunch I’ll try to squeeze in a few minutes to find out a little more of the story!  That is what I think this passage describes about how the prophets and angels feel about longing to look into the things that God is doing!  The blessings of salvation that Christians experience because of the work of Christ are such a marvelous work of God that prophets of old longed to know and angels still stoop to watch – kind of like me longing to hear that next chapter...  The prophets and angels are looking in from the outside.  How much more can Christians personally rejoice and praise God as those who have received His grace first hand?  Christian, do not take your salvation for granted but treasure it as the precious and fortunate gift that it is!  Then go ahead and take the time to read that next chapter in God’s Word – it is a wonderfully exciting story! 

Find the full sermon at www.gfow.us or better yet, come visit on Sunday!  

by Jason Southerland on April 11th, 2017

​What I Learned at Church – Grace Fellowship of Waxahachie

“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls; ”  - Peter 1:6-9
     Our joy is based not on our immediate circumstances – but on God granting us salvation, which is demonstrated to us through our enduring faith. This reality cannot be changed; it will not end, and it will only increase, as we will one day see Him face-to-face.  Therefore, because our joy is based on something permanent – it can persist through trials.  As everyone knows, even though our joy of life with God does not cease, this does not mean that we do not suffer real pain and sorrow in the trials of life!  These trials are common to everyone and are part of life. They are limited, various, and can cause distress, but they have the purpose of demonstrating our faith in Christ above all else.
     Enduring faith is more valuable than the purest gold, because the one who has faith will bring praise, glory, and honor to God through his or her life.  Our lives with Jesus are characterized by love, faith, and inexpressible and glorious joy because we are receiving the huge benefits of the salvation of our lives.

You can find the full sermon at www.gfow.us or better yet, come visit on Sunday!

by Jason Southerland on April 4th, 2017

​What I Learned at Church – Grace Fellowship of Waxahachie

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. ”    - 1 Peter 1:3-5

     This verse begins with saying God is to be blessed…  I have always kind of wondered what that means.  I mean, I know God blesses me, but how in the world would I bless God?  The blessing that we show to God is our praise of Him.  When we speak of His incredible works toward us, we bless Him.  When we express our love for Him and our gratefulness to Him for His many blessings, we bless Him.  This verse is specifically speaking of the greatest of those works toward us that God has done for Christians – and that is when He caused us to be born again through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  How could there be anything greater?  God has bestowed great and extensive mercy on us and satisfied our need to be born again and given new life.  This is not of ourselves; it is a gift of God’s mercy.  At the point of salvation, we are taken from being an enemy of God, against Him in every way.  Then we are not only forgiven – which is in itself remarkable – but beyond even being forgiven, we become His child – His heir, to receive an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and won’t fade.  What a truly remarkable blessing we have been given!  The verse goes on to remind us that this blessing is reserved for us in heaven!  Eternal life is protected by God in His power demonstrated through our enduring faith. He will keep us until the end. This is not of ourselves; it is a gift of God’s amazing mercy on us.  Let’s think on this, talk of this, and bless God in this today. 

If you need more information about this marvelous gift that God makes available for us, please contact us through our website.  You can also find the full sermon at www.gfow.us and you can also come visit on Sunday! 

by Jason Southerland on March 28th, 2017

​What I Learned at Church – Grace Fellowship of Waxahachie

1 Peter 1:1-2  “ Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure. “
     It is interesting to note here that Peter refers to his readers as “Aliens”.  The word “alien” stirs up all kinds of images in our minds – most related to movies like “ET” (sorry, I’m a child of the 80s!)  But the funny thing in all the alien movies is that it is very clear that the alien is way different than anyone around and is clearly out of place in the world we see around us.  The word “alien” in this passage is an important reminder of how we are aliens in this world.  We do not exactly fit in.  We do not share the values or customs of the world around us.  We long for the coming world that reflects God’s character.  We enjoy God’s creation and His blessings in this life, but our true home is yet to come.  We must have the perspective that this is not all there is - We get to look forward to so much more! 
     Peter writes to believers living over a large geographic area that contains different languages, cultures, and false religions.  The Biblical message addresses the common need of man for salvation and life.  That is a truth that is applicable in every culture.  May we not grow accustomed to this world where we are aliens, but may we embrace the Lord Jesus and go to Him for salvation and eternal life.  We will find that is where we really belong.
 
Find the full sermon at www.gfow.us or better yet, come visit on Sunday!  

by Jason Southerland on March 21st, 2017

​What I Learned at Church – Grace Fellowship of Waxahachie

1 Peter 1:1-2  “ Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure. “
     Often, when we meet someone new, one of the questions asked early in the conversation is, “So, what do you do?”  It is strange how we tend to characterize ourselves and identify ourselves by our job, or by what activity or vocation occupies our time.  As the Book of Peter opens, we see that Peter views and identifies himself in terms of how he serves Jesus as a part of the Kingdom of God.  Do we see ourselves as someone chosen by an employment interview panel for a certain role at our place of employment?  Or do we see ourselves, as Peter did, as someone chosen by God to be an active part of His Kingdom?  Peter is not the same man that he was before he came to know Jesus.  Who are you? How do you see yourself?  Are your value and identity found in who you are in Christ and as part of His Kingdom? 
     It is interesting that in this context, Peter wishes them grace and peace.  If you are like me, you really want to find grace and peace in the way you identify with your employment.  However, it is important to notice that Peter is saying these things in the context of the fact that we are chosen by God to do His work. 
- Jason Southerland
Find the full sermon at www.gfow.us or better yet, come visit on Sunday!  





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