Sermons

Carson Long

Carson Long
Role: Pastoral Resident

Latest sermons by this teacher

Understanding Shame and the Glory of the Cross
Sun, Jan 02, 2022
Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. - Psalm 34:5 (ESV) The Lord has given many great and precious promises to us as believers in Jesus Christ - one of which is our freedom from shame. Shame is a prominent part of our experience as human beings in a fallen world. We sense it every day, even when the word is not spoken. It is a multi-faceted experience that appears many times in Scripture yet remains misunderstood today. Our freedom from shame is so central to our hope, the hope of our standing before God in shameless perfection at his coming, because of what Christ has done for us and in the hope of the resurrection. Shame is also part of our daily experience in the struggle against sin and in our walk with Christ. Often times we are aware of our own experience and what God says is true, but our experience feels out of sync with what we know from Scripture. As we grow closer to the Lord, what we know becomes increasingly what we experience. I want to look with you at what God says about shame, particularly the cross of Christ and the shame Christ bore for us. My prayer is that we will grow in knowing our freedom from shame. We are free. God has blessed us in the heavens with every spiritual blessing in Christ. I hope you’ll plan to join us on Sunday at 10 am, in person or online, to unpack the blessing of freedom from shame and the glory of the cross.
Purity and Joy in the Day of the Lord
Sun, Dec 12, 2021
“Therefore wait for me,” declares the Lord, “for the day when I rise up to seize the prey. For my decision is to gather nations, to assemble kingdoms, to pour out upon them my indignation, all my burning anger; for in the fire of my jealousy all the earth shall be consumed. “For at that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call upon the name of the Lord and serve him with one accord. From beyond the rivers of Cush my worshipers, the daughter of my dispersed ones, shall bring my offering. - Zephaniah 3:8-10 (ESV) The consistent pattern of the all-powerful, holy, and righteous God is that he comes to save and to judge, neither of which can be separated. The times of his coming are often called by the prophets "the day of the Lord." Zephaniah the prophet tells us of the coming advents (arrivals) of God, but specifically in Zephaniah, part of God's saving is to purify his people who are scattered among the nations in division and spiritual exile. He is preparing people who are ready for the Messiah's earthly reign. The Lord is near, Paul tells us. He will cleanse, just as he is clean. As the dross is removed, all that is left is a people who long for God, who worship him in joy and splendor and unity because judgment against them has been removed. And remarkably, the righteous God takes pleasure and joy in his people who were once unholy and separate from him. I invite you to read Zephaniah chapter 3 in preparation for Sunday morning at 10am (in person or online) as we consider the arrivals of our Messiah and how God wishes to stir our hearts and minds to anticipation and acceptance of what God has and will accomplish in Christ.
Heb 9 1-14
Fri, Aug 13, 2021
He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. - Hebrews 9:12 (ESV) Why couldn't God wave his hand and remove our sin? The short answer is that this would make Him like an unjust judge who turns a blind eye in the courtroom. God is just and must punish sin. Sin requires death. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin. Because of sin, the wrath of God remained over every human being and the only way to remove this wrath was through redemption. A price had to be paid. No one else could pay. The blood of animals is ultimately insufficient. The Son of God had to die for us. Those who believe in Him are redeemed. His blood speaks a better word; it is effective and sufficient for full atonement for you and me. Thus, he secured for us an eternal redemption. Please plan to join us on Sunday at 10am or online to saturate ourselves in this wonderful truth and how it brings freedom to our conscience!
Christ, the New Covenant, and Better Promises
Sun, Aug 08, 2021
In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. - Hebrews 8:13 (ESV) Jeremiah the prophet speaks astounding words to those in exile - there will come a day when God will make a new covenant with his beloved people. When something new comes, the old is obsolete. It is no longer valid or effective. The newness of the new covenant is so astounding and final that it gives us an unwavering hope in the faithfulness of God to save, redeem, transform, and usher us into his eternal presence at the end of this age. Join us this Sunday at 10am either in person or online as we return to our study of Hebrews (Chapter 8) and meditate on the incredible promises of the new covenant, secured for us in Jesus Christ.
Fighting the Spiritual Forces of Evil
Sun, Jul 18, 2021
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. - Ephesians 6:11-12 (ESV) As we continue in our study of the EFCA Statement of Faith, Article 8 tells us, "With God's Word, the Spirit's power, and fervent prayer in Christ's name, we are to combat the spiritual forces of evil." So often we are prone to the deception that what we see with our physical eyes is all there is. However, the Bible tells us that a great conflict is occurring between God and all who oppose him, both natural and supernatural. The enemy has a plan: "...the god of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." (2 Corinthians 4:4) As those who have had the veil removed, we now see the conflict between God and those who oppose him. In this conflict we have a role to play. Now that he has saved us, God has not left us to ourselves. We have been brought into the kingdom of light, the heavenly kingdom that will one day be established on this earth. Until then we are equipped and called to combat the spiritual forces of evil with God's help. We have a great Savior, at the helm, praying for our protection (John 17:15), and He has already won the victory.
Church Ordinances
Sun, Jun 27, 2021
"The Lord Jesus mandated two ordinances, baptism and the Lord's Supper, which visibly and tangibly express the gospel Though they are not the means of salvation, when celebrated by the church in genuine faith, these ordinances confirm and nourish the believer." EFCA Statement of Faith The Lord Jesus has graciously given us Baptism and the Lord's Supper to practice joyfully until the day of our salvation, when Christ returns. Consider these questions: What does it mean that these ordinances 'visibly and tangibly express the gospel'? How would you define their significance? What might it mean that 'these ordinances confirm and nourish the believer'? Have you repented and put your trust in Christ for the forgiveness of sins, but have yet to be baptized? Is the meaning of the Lord's Supper a bit fuzzy to you? Join us this Sunday as we solidify our understanding of these ordinances, handed down to us from our Lord Jesus, and may God move us into a greater appreciation for the glorious grace of salvation.
Apostasy and the Perseverance of Faith
Sun, Apr 25, 2021
Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation. For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Hebrews 6:9–12 (ESV) How do you get someone to move forward in life? Leaders, mentors, and parents often are working on a delicate balance of help, encouragement, and punishment. If you help and encourage all the time you risk never showing the danger and difficulty in error and the growth that failure brings. However if you punish and chide all the time, you risk discouragement and bitterness from those under your care. How you figure out the balance is part of the delicate art of leadership. This week we continue in the third warning passage from the writer of Hebrews. He is poking at the recipients to consider their life and pursuit of Christ and he is calling us to consider the same. We want to encourage you to take a few minutes to read through Hebrews 6 to prepare your heart and mind.
A Sympathetic High Priest
Sun, Mar 28, 2021
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:12–13 (ESV) As a Sunday school kid, we had 'sword drills'. They were the churchy equivalent of a playground game. A group of kids would sit in a row, Bibles at the ready, and a Bible reference would be called out. It would be a race to find it first, then stand up and read it. You had to know your Bible cover to cover, have quick hands, and a sense of the relative placement of the books. Tabs and bookmarks were cheating. Honestly, I was not very good at it and more than a few pages of my Bible were ripped in my failed attempts at speed. The above verses were the inspiration for the title. After all, you want to be quick with a sword. A sword is used to slice and dice. It's not a very comforting image and it's not meant to be. God's Words are true and piercing. They speak truth to us and cut through the darkness even the darkness we try to hide. That's what the law does. The writer of the book of Hebrews wants us to not just know the place and purpose of the law, but something (or someone) who meets that law with a comforting and glorious reality. Take a few minutes to read through Hebrews 4.
God's Sabbath Rest
Sun, Mar 21, 2021
So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. Hebrews 4:9–11 (ESV) I have a confession. I'm bad at resting. I can't sit still. Work and projects are a regular part of life. When the writer of Hebrews begins to talk about rest, I know that I need it but I'm honestly not sure how best to get there. After all the nation of Israel wandered around for 40 years trying to find it. What hope do I have? This week Carson will be opening up Hebrews 4 and we will discover that this rest is not a vacation or some time off or even a Sunday afternoon nap (as great as those are). It's something that is far more important and permanent. Take a few minutes to read through Hebrews 4 to prepare your heart and mind to find this permanent and ultimate rest.
 The Son of God is Better than the Angels
Sun, Feb 14, 2021
But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.” Hebrews 1:8–9 (ESV) How do you think about the unseen world? I don't just mean germs and viruses. I am talking about the spiritual unseen world. For some we write it off. When we can't see it, we don't think it exists. It might seem mysterious and untestable. For others the spiritual world seems to be everywhere. Both the blessings and difficulties are seen as being affected by these beings. The Bible tells us that what we see is not all there is. There are other beings that God created. It also tells us we need to keep them in the right perspective. This week we continue looking at Hebrews 1. In this chapter the writer asks us to consider the place and purpose of angels against the place of Christ. Take a few minutes before Sunday to read through the passage. It's got a lot of connections to other parts of Scripture.
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