It was a beautiful Sunday to be in God's house at Mill Creek Baptist Church. Special prayers were requested for many as Doug Cory opened our service with prayer.
In announcements, the business meeting will be held next Sunday evening at 6:30 p.m.
The adult Sunday school class began the study of the book of Job with the story of Job and how he suffered unimaginable adversity and yet never stopped trusting in God's power, wisdom and compassion. Scripture for the lesson was from Job 1:8-22. The lesson taught us that "Satan seeks opportunities to attack God's faithful followers, believers are not immune from experiencing calamity and loss, and believers can worship God even in the midst of life's challenges, knowing that He is sovereign."
Linda Abercrombie shared a devotional, "Treasures out of Darkness," and read Isaiah 60:8-9. "Whatever suffering you are enduring, ask God to bring you out of it and give you treasures of wisdom and faith."
With Susan Cory at the piano, congregational hymns included "I Shall Not Be Moved," with special music from Karen Gardner, who sang "One Day At a Time."
Rick Lett asked God's blessing upon the offertory and he and Tyrel Lett served as ushers.
"Stereotype" was the title of Sunday's message, with Scripture from Acts 10:34, "Then Peter opened his mouth and said: "In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality."
Our Pastor, Brother Mark Hall, told us that God plays no favorites. "It doesn't matter who you are, He has no respect of persons."
As he talked about why people get stereotyped, he told us that, usually, it is because there is always a little truth in it, we just run it into the ground. Brother Mark talked about how the world stereotypes church members.
"The world may see church members as upright, critical, negative, condemning and complaining. Maybe they are a little more accurate than we might want to admit."
He asked what we thought the most important verse in the Bible was: John 3:16 was the answer and the second one, is John 3:17 where Jesus says, "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."
Brother Mark told us that it is not our job to condemn the world. "If God doesn't, why do we? Hunters hunt, fishermen fish, golfers golf and sinners sin. Why are we shocked when we see people sin?" Brother Mark told us that the difference is in John 3:18 where Jesus says, "He who believes in Him in not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotton Son of God." After reading that verse, Brother Mark asked "Why then, do we waste our time condemning people who are already condemned?"
Brother Mark read John 8:1-12 as he talked about the woman caught in adultery and Jesus forgiving her. He reminded us that God hates the sin, but not the sinner. In verse 9, Jesus told the people, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." No one did and in verses 11-12, Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more. I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."
Brother Mark reminded us that God loves everyone and has no respect of persons. As he talked about John 8 in the Scripture, he told us that there are three things "that make Jesus so cool." First, He doesn't condemn. "Jesus loved the adulterous woman even though he didn't love the sin," as he referred to John 8:11-12.
Second, Brother Mark told us that Jesus doesn't compromise. "Sin is sin. Jesus loves the sinner, but not the sin. Hypocrites compromise sin. The world will respect you when you don't compromise what you believe. Excuses don't justify us for what we did. When you compromise your sin, you ruin your witness."
And third, what Jesus does have is compassion. Brother Mark said, "Jesus is full of compassion. If you are lacking that today, ask God to put compassion in your heart. Compassion is to your church what fertilizer is to your pasture to see it grow. Compassion is not just for those you deem worthy. Jesus had compassion on the adulterous woman. That's what makes Him so cool. If you lack compassion, you will never be the witness you need to be. Jesus loved her in spite of what she had done. Sinners sin, but don't let your compassion for them fly out the window. Drop the rocks and don't throw the stones. Jesus is the light of life. Get rid of the rocks and get out the compassion. Sinners don't have to carry shame and humiliation, give it to God. He doesn't love the sin, but he loves the sinner."
"Lord, I'm Coming Home" was the hymn of invitation, and Doug gave the benediction.
We invite you to worship with us Sunday mornings at Mill Creek Baptist Church located 3½ miles east of Noel just off Highway 90. Sunday school begins at 10 a.m. and worship service at 11 a.m. Everyone is welcome.
Opinions expressed are those of the author.