Sweden – Linda Johnson

A good day was had by all this past Saturday, especially Pastor Josh.  He got out his old Grandpa Roy’s ‘92 truck and drove it all day while he got about the business of getting things done. First, it was messing with the cows. Then, he ran down by the church to get a few things ready for the church hayride that night. Then he and a church member went after the hay and loaded it in the bed of the old truck.

Time for a break so they took themselves to breakfast. Then it was back to church to get out the tables, make sure everything was under control. Time to go back home, the four-year-old’s birthday party was that day. Six o’clock was already here. He ran out and jumped into the old truck and headed back for church. Pretty soon he was pulling into the churchyard. All day in Grandpa’s truck, what a treat.

Well, it was a treat, but come Sunday morning, Pastor Josh decided to take his new Chevy truck. The one that had a tilt steering wheel, softer seats, more elbow room, bigger cab, nicer sound system. His new truck was a lot more comfortable. And life is all about being comfortable, having the nice things.

That was the opening of the sermon. Like the expert fisherman he is, he had set the hook. We all saw the old truck Saturday night.  Little did we know that it was going to lead us right into his sermon. The story was about the physical side of life. And like the physical side, one day all of that stuff that we have that makes life comfortable will  belong to someone else. The body will draw its’ last breath.

What he wanted to know was– Are we doing as much for the inside of ourselves as we’re doing for the outside? How’s the soul going to fare when it’s time for an accounting? There’s a story in Luke 11 beginning at verse 45. Jesus has just been invited to dine with a Pharisee. Obviously others are there also. Right off the bat, the Pharisees take particular notice that Jesus didn’t wash before dinner.  Jesus warns them that while they’re making a fuss over what is on the outside, they’re not tending to the things which are on the inside. Appearances are deceiving. On the outside they appear godly, but on the inside they’re wicked.

The religious experts in the law take issue and Jesus goes after them.  He recites chapter and verse their deeds and deeds of their fathers.  Chapter 12 continues with a warning to beware of the Pharisees.  Also, there is a day coming when everything will be revealed. Verse 4 and 5 say, “…Be not afraid of them that can kill the body…Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell…”

In this same passage Jesus calls the Pharisees hypocrites. Pastor Josh recited an old saying that a hypocrite was someone that went to church on Sunday and lived like the devil the rest of the week.  Sometimes people use the excuse that they won’t go to church because people there are hypocrites.  Pastor Josh responded that he would rather spend a few hours on Sunday with hypocrites than spend eternity in hell with them.

People love the finer things in life but like Matthew 6:19-20 tells us that things here on this earth are transitory, here today and gone tomorrow.  Rather, lay up treasures for yourself in heaven.  The treasure that is valued is the treasure of the heart. Be careful about what is important to you.  When it’s over, it’s like the passage in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:  Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.  For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”  

You can visit us at our website swedenchurch.com.  It is complete with audios of  the sermons.  Pastor Strong can also be heard on our radio program Sunday mornings.  Better yet, come and hear Brother Josh live.  Sunday morning service begins at 11 a.m. (Sunday school is at 10 a.m.) and evening service begins at 6 p.m.  Bible study is Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m. except for our business meeting which is held the second Wednesday of each month.  Sweden Church is east of Ava about 10 miles on Highway 14 and then left onto 14-219 a quarter-mile.