Q & A with Pastor Jon – “How do our prayers affect God’s Will?”

My teaching notes for Wednesday night, Jan. 19th. Remember, these are my personal study notes and not a manuscript of the teaching. They are provided as a listening guide each week. The church provides a live stream of the service each Wednesday at 6:30 on Facebook. We also provide the services through YouTube. You can find our Worship Guides, Family Devotional Guides, Prayer Lists, and other resources at our Church Website.

This question addresses the impact and effectiveness of our prayers.

  • Do our prayers really matter?
  • How do our prayers and God’s will relate?

Consider the two extremes

  1. God is sovereign and so our prayers do not matter.
  2. God is limited by our prayers.

It would appear we either sacrifice God’s sovereignty or we sacrifice our responsibility/free will

Consider what Scripture teaches:

  • Eph 1:11 – Works all things according to the counsel of His will.
  • Psalm 103:19 -His kingdom rules overall.
  • James 4:2 – You do have because you do not ask.
  • James 5:16 – The prayer of a righteous man avails much
  • Matt. 7:7-8 – Ask and you will receive

REMEMBER… all of Scripture fits together.  Verses do not cancel each other out.

  • God is absolutely in control of every aspect of the universe that HE CREATED.
  • My prayers really do matter
    • They avail much.
    • I do not have because I do not ask

To me the issue is not the effectiveness of our prayers, but the condition of the heart of the one praying.

  • RIGHTEOUS MAN (pure heart, motives, desires) avails much.
  • Why am I praying?
    • Prayer is not a grocery list
    • Prayer is not informing God what we think is best
    • Prayer is not asking for something and then knowing we will question the outcome… if not of our choosing.

Prayer is not getting God on my agenda, but rather ME GETTING ON GOD’S AGENDA

  • God hears my words and knows my heart.
  • He knows and does what is BEST

Matthew 6:9-13 – Lord’s Prayer

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread,12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.


  • His Holiness – v. 9
  • His Reign – v. 10a
  • His Rule and Purpose – v. 10b

OUR NEEDS – vv. 11-13

  • Our Physical – v. 11
  • Our Spiritual – vv. 12-13
  • God knows what we need before we ask. v. 8

A few closing thoughts:

  • Do I believe God is completely in control of all His creation? Yes I do.
  • Do I believe God has a plan and will complete His plan perfectly? Yes I do
  • Do I believe God commands us to pray and pray with expectation? Yes I do
  • Do I believe my prayers matter? Yes I do.
  • We pray with expectation because WE KNOW WHO GOD IS.
    • What good would praying do if we did not think God was really God?
      • Our belief, trust and confidence in Him
    • Because of His attributes it gives us the confidence to pray.
    • The more I “biblically” pray the more I can embrace the hope of God’s will.
      • His will not my will
  • It takes praying as a true child of God. As a child cries out to their earthly father, we too should cry out in hope and dependence to our Heavenly Father.
    • Our dependence upon Him for everything.
  • Praying with POWER, PURPOSE and PASSION
    • Takes Belief, Trust, Confidence and Dependence
    • We pray for the lost because we know God is the redeemer of souls.
    • We pray for the sick because we know God is the great healer.
    • We pray for the discouraged because we know God is the great God of comfort.

1 Corinthians 4:1-5 – “Faithful Servants”

My sermon notes for Sunday morning, Jan. 16th.  Remember, these are my personal study notes and not a manuscript of the sermon. They are provided to help you follow the sermon as you listen each week. The church provides a live stream of the service each Sunday at 10:30 on Facebook at Tabernacle Facebook Page. We also provide the services through YouTube by Sunday afternoon at TAB YouTube.  You can also find our Worship Guides, Family Devotional Guides, Prayer List and other resources at our Church Website.

1 Corinthians 4:1-5

[1] This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. [2] Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. [3] But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. [4] For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. [5] Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God. (ESV)


  • This portion of Scripture (1:10-4:41) is dealing with the division within the church.
  • In this section vv.4:1-21 Paul stresses the importance of our SERVICE to the Lord and His work.
  • The division was because they had lost their focus and direction.  A great way to stay focused…SERVE THE LORD AND HIS CHURCH
  • Today we consider the life of a FAITHFUL SERVANT

How are we Regarded?v. 1

Servants and Stewards


  • Under rower – under the authority of others
  • Lowly position.

Servants under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Serving him.
  • To serve Christ is to be “servants of the Word”
  • Luke 1:2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, (ESV)

Paul gives a great description of the servant’s life

  • 2 Corinthians 6:4–10[4] but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, [5] beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; [6] by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; [7] by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; [8] through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; [9] as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; [10] as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything. (ESV)


  • Household manager
  • Responsibility of the belongings of others
  • 1 Peter 4:10–11[10] As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: [11] whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (ESV)

Steward of the mysteries of God

  • Hidden, only known by divine revelation
  • Managing what God has given us.
    • His Divine Truth as revealed in Scripture
    • THE WORD
  • God is known as the Word is proclaimed.
    • Taught, Shared and lived Out

How will we be Found? – v. 2


Required to be found faithful

  • Loyal/Faithful to one’s master
    • MORE THAN…I go to church, I believe in God, I do good things
  • Faithful with the divine truth given us
  • Faithful with our mission
  • Faithful with our life… our character…above reproach
  • Titus 1:7–9 For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, [8] but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. [9] He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. (ESV)

As stewards… what God has GIVEN US to manage

  • Too often we look for what we do not have
  • We need to realize what GOD HAS GIVEN US and be SATISFIED! (Content)
    • The Spirit – The Holy Spirit abides within us
    • The Word – Preserved and Perfect
    • Divine Power and Purpose – The Sovereign God of the Universe has saved us and called us.
    • Unique Giftedness (you be you!!!!)

Who will Judge us? – vv. 3-5

The Lord

There are two ways to consider this:

  • Do not get discouraged as the world wrongly accuses and judges you… God sees your heart.
  • DO BECOME CONVICTED if you think you can live a hypocritical life and fool the world… GOD IS NOT FOOLED
  • Galatians 6:7–9Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. [8] For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. [9] And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (ESV)

Who judges the faithfulness of our life (the eternal impact of our ministry)

  • No person
  • No Earthly Court
  • Not Even myself

King Jesus alone is the judge of the impact of my life and ministry

  • He knows my heart
  • He knows my motives
  • He knows the impact that has been made

We too often focus on the here and now, but remember that it is the Lord that sees ALL THINGS from a heavenly perspective.

The key is living out 1 Cor. 10:31So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (ESV)

Q & A with Pastor Jon- “What is Calvinism?”

My teaching notes for Wednesday night, Jan. 12th. Remember, these are my personal study notes and not a manuscript of the teaching. They are provided to help you follow the sermon as you listen each week. The church provides a live stream of the service each Wednesday at 6:30 on Facebook at Tabernacle Facebook Page. We also provide the services through YouTube later in the week at TAB YouTube. You can also find our Worship Guides, Family Devotional Guides, Prayer Lists and other resources at our Church Website.

Tonight’s Question:

Can you please discuss Calvinism on a kindergarten level?

The question I am answering tonight originated from an article posted on Facebook a few weeks ago.

Romans 8:28–30 - [28] And we know that for those who love God all
things work together for good, for those who are called according to his
purpose. [29] For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to
be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn
among many brothers. [30] And those whom he predestined he also called,
and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified
he also glorified. (ESV)
  • Foreknew, Predestined, Called, Justified, Glorified
Intro Thoughts:
  • Calvinism can be a very divisive subject.
  • It is basically trying to work out the process and means of salvation.
  • God’s Sovereignty and Our Free Will (Our Responsibility)
    • These are not enemies they are friends, therefore they do not need to be reconciled.
    • 1 Tim. 2:1-4; Eph. 1:1-6; John 3:16; John 6:36-40, 44, 47-48; Acts 2:22-23
  • Calvinism is not a new term or new doctrine for Baptist churches.
  • Calvinism is not a bad word (if defined correctly).
  • Our convention has a rich history of churches that consider themselves very Calvinistic. One of the first Baptist churches in the South was Calvinistic. First Baptist Church of Charleston, SC -1696
  • Our SBC colleges and seminaries have Calvinist professors on staff.
  • The key is defining and understanding what is meant by Calvinism.
    • People define the word differently.
    • A great example is how we define others in the political arena.
A Definition
  • The theological system of Calvin and his followers marked by strong emphasis on the sovereignty of God, the depravity of humankind, and the doctrine of predestination. (Merriam-Webster)
  • Calvinism is the theological system associated with the Reformer John Calvin that emphasizes the rule of God over all things as reflected in its understanding of Scripture, God, humanity, salvation, and the
    church. In popular vernacular, Calvinism often refers to the Five Points of Calvinistic doctrine regarding salvation, which make up the acrostic TULIP. In its broader sense, Calvinism is associated with Reformed theology. https://www.theopedia.com/calvinism
My Perspective on Calvinism:
  • I had never considered the term until I began college pursuing my theological education. Over the years I have studied and mediated quite a bit on this deep subject.
  • I am very Calvinistic in my thinking, but I INTENTIONALLY stay away from camps and labels. (Not because I am afraid of what people may think, but rather because we define terms so differently)
  • It can be divisive because churches can have members within their congregation that have different church backgrounds. We can become a melting pot of different beliefs and backgrounds. (This is not necessarily good. We must remember… we are a Baptist Church)
    • Methodist/Holiness/Wesleyan are Arminian under the influence of John Wesley.
    • Presbyterians/Primitive Baptist/Reformed Churches are Calvinist in their doctrine.
    • Southern Baptist are unique. We are a denomination, yet each church is autonomous. Our guiding doctrinal statement is the Baptist Faith and Message as part of our Constitution. (This is an umbrella that allows both Calvinists and Non-Calvinists to be part of the SBC)
  • There has been a heightened interest and resurgence in Calvinistic theology in the past 40 plus years in our denomination. Many of our younger pastors are leaning toward a more Calvinistic view of salvation.
    • Due to the battle over inerrancy and the conservative resurgence which sparked an increase of diligent study of the Word.
    • There is a growing emphasis for a more “meaningful membership” in our church. Over the years the conventions zeal for evangelism produced churches with large memberships but much fewer numbers of active and serving members.
    • Too much of an emphasis on numbers and decisions (Obviously we want to see people come to faith in Christ, but If we have inflated membership roles and those people are not growing daily in their faith in Christ… Then we have a problem)
  • A greater access to preaching and teaching due to the internet.
What Next:
  • Study the Word.  Remember, the Bible fits together perfectly.
  • Let God by God.
    • Deut. 29:29 “The secret things belong to God”
    • Remember… He is all loving, all powerful and all wise.
    • Trusting God, By Jerry Bridges (A great book)
  • When we consider the ministry of evangelism and discipleship…focus on what you have control over.
    • Preaching the Word
    • Sharing the Gospel
    • Trusting in the power of the Holy Spirit
(We will continue this conversation in the near future on Wed Nights as we DIG DEEPER into Key Doctrines of Our Faith)

1 Corinthians 3:18-23 “Our Dependency on Christ”

My sermon notes for Sunday morning, Jan. 9th.  Remember, these are my personal study notes and not a manuscript of the sermon. They are provided to help you follow the sermon as you listen each week. The church provides a live stream of the service each Sunday at 10:30 on Facebook at Tabernacle Facebook Page. We also provide the services through YouTube by Sunday afternoon at TAB YouTube.  You can also find our Worship Guides, Family Devotional Guides, Prayer List and other resources at our Church Website.

1 Corinthians 3:18–23

[18] Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. [19] For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” [20] and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” [21] So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, [22] whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, [23] and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. (ESV)


  • division in the church is because of lack of focus and direction
  • If the church has lost their way… we have lost our way
  • The believers within the church had lost their focus and direction
  • Do not depend on the wisdom of the world, but depend on Christ
  • Not on man or the ways of the world, BUT ON CHRIST

Do not believe the lies of the world – v. 18

Let no one deceive himself

  • Deception – a lie.  Not the whole truth
  • Deception starts in the mind

Our mind is crucial

  • Theologically, the mind is seen as the center for the power of reason, (The Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms)
  • Thoughts produced by our brain (Holman treasury of key Bible words: 200 Greek and 200 Hebrew words defined and explained)
  • How we reason, think, and process the world around us.  OUR THINKING DICTATES OUR DOING

Colossians 2:8 – See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. (ESV)

Romans 8:5–6 – [5] For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. [6] For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. (ESV)

Romans 12:1–2 – [1] I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. [2] Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (ESV)

Philippians 2:5 – Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, (ESV)

We must get our thinking right

  • We DO need help
  • We CANNOT do life on our own

Think less of yourself – v. 18b

  • Become as a fool (think different from the world)
  • Become wise (divine thinking… the mind of Christ)

Keys to divine wisdom

  • Transform your mind with the Word of God
    • Read thoughtfully and devotionally
    • Not academically or legalistically
  • Transform your mind with communion with God by prayer and meditation
  • Set your mind on the things of God and not of the world

v. 18 is the exhortation… vv. 19-20 is the theological reason behind the exhortation.

Trust in the promises of God – vv. 19-20

Two Key thoughts

The message of the Cross is folly to the world (1:18)

  • Foolishness, makes no sense
  • The gospel
    • God, Man, Christ
    • Repentance and Faith
  • There is no absolute truth to the world
    • That is why we do not look to the world for truth
    • Ephesians 4:11–16 – [11] And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, [12] to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, [13] until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, [14] so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. [15] Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, [16] from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (ESV)

The way of the world is futile to God

  • Empty, useless

Embrace the gifts of your salvation– vv. 21-23

The theology of vv. 19-20 leads to the doxology of vv. 21-23

  • Sound doctrine always leads to praise to the creator!

Do not boast in man

  • What they have is folly and futile

All things are yours

  • the benefits of redemptions