Category Archives: Sermon Notes

Eh…why not?

Well I thought it over, and I think for now I’ll still add links to my sermon notes on this blog. That way I don’t completely abandon it. Here’s this week’s notes



Galatians 3:15-25 (SN)

Galatians 3:15-25 – Pastor Mark Neely


Trading My Sorrows – Darrell Evans
Let’s Worship – Terry Clark
Did You Feel The Mountains Tremble? – Delirious?
Once Again – Matt Redman
10,000 Reasons – Matt Redman
Blessed Assurance – Traditional

So as we’ve seen, the Law is obviously inferior to Grace. There’s nothing that we can gain by being bound under it, and there’s joy in knowing that we are free. But why is it inferior? In this passage, Paul addresses that question. Basically, there’s three reasons that Grace is supreme.

1) Grace came first

God gave Abraham the promise way before he gave Moses the law. When someone makes a covenant, a third party cannot come in later and make a new covenant that overrides the first one. Even when the Mosaic law was in effect, God still operated by grace. He never changes, and his nature has always been the same. The means did not yet exist to free sinners, but salvation in the OT was still based on looking forward to the promised Messiah, and the justification that He would bring.

2) The Law came through a Mediator; Grace came directly

When God first established His covenant with Abraham, He did it directly. No third party, nothing. He even took Abraham out of the mix by doing it while Abraham slept. By contrast, He had to go through a mediator to give the law to Moses. According to Paul,

Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one.
(Galatians 3:19-20 ESV)

God felt that it was important enough to go to Abraham directly. He wanted all humanity to know that OUR WORKS DON’T MATTER!!! Goodness this theme comes up quite often in Galatians!

3) The Law is obsolete

Have you ever read those books of crazy laws? They’re filled with laws that are still on the books, but due to years of neglect and the changing culture have become completely irrelevant. The Mosaic law is sort of the same way. Due to Jesus’ work on the cross, we don’t have to be bound up by all of those restrictive rules and regulations (alliteration ftw!). We are free in Christ to live as He would please. It’s awesome!

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1 Samuel 4 (SN)

1 Samuel 4 – Pastor Mark Neely


Desert Song – Hillsong
Give Us Clean Hands – Charlie Hall
Refiner’s Fire – Brian Doerksen
From The Inside Out – Hillsong
It Is Well – Traditional

This chapter is one of the saddest chapters in 1 Samuel. The Philistines encamped against Israel, and Israel decided to go to battle without first seeking the Lord. That was their first mistake. In this first military encounter, they are thoroughly routed by the Philistines. You would think that they learned their lesson from the first battle, but they didn’t. They go back home, and get the ingenious idea to bring out the Ark of the Covenant. They figured that since it had worked in the past to defeat enemies, it would work again. This thinking was false, and in addition to being crushed again, the ark was captured.

The biggest thing we can learn from this mistake is that God can never be put into a box. The Israelites figured that they could just take their magic genie with them and it would all work out in the end. They had superstition in God, not faith in God. The thing is, God really doesn’t like to do things our way. In fact, He delights in doing things the opposite of our way. He can’t be put into a box either. They learned this the hard way.

But really how different are we? What’s the difference between what they did, and confining God to church? God does not exist to be a last resort when things get rough for us. True, He is an ever-present help in trouble, but He should always be on the forefront of our minds. I know that I’m often guilty of only resorting to prayer for “big” things, but God wants to be in constant communication.

The point: God is not a lucky charm; He’s God.

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John 4:43-54 (SN)

I know. I KNOW. I haven’t posted in like 2 weeks. I’M SORRY! There’s not really a decent excuse, besides that I’ve been busy going to class and doing homework and sleeping and generally being a college kid. I’ve had free time, kinda. And I know, I should’ve posted these right when I got them. I’m sorry. But here they are now, so at least you have them.

So this week we come to the story of the nobleman whose son was healed by Jesus. Pretty interesting stuff to look at here. This whole section revolves around faith, both the lack of it and the abundance of it.

In verses 43-45, we see a distinct lack of faith.

Vs 44 – For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in His own country.

Kinda reminds me of a child taking advice from his parents. He won’t listen when his parents say something, but if someone else comes along and says the SAME THING, all of a sudden it’s a brand new revelation! Don’t get me wrong, I’m terribly guilty of this too. My mom’s reading this and laughing right now. She knows.

The thing is, when we lack faith, we dishonor and disrespect Jesus Christ. That sounds really heavy, but think about it. He said He is the son of God. He more than proved it. To lack faith in Him is tantamount to calling Him a liar. Eesh. So the question we must ask ourselves is, where is our faith? Do I put my faith in myself, or Christ?

Then we see Jesus entering Galilee, and everybody’s super happy to see Him and they welcome Him in gladly. But the thing is, they only received Him because they saw His first miracle. They did not receive Him as Lord, but rather a show. They believed with their eyes, but they had no faith. Seeing is the opposite of faith (See Heb. 11:1).

Moving on to verses 46-54, we see the blessings that come from having faith.

Ok so now we see this nobleman from Capernaum coming to Jesus. His son is pert near dead, and this guy is desperate. He was out of options, and finally decided to come to Jesus. Isn’t that almost always how it goes? We get into a tough spot and we try to do everything we can on our own to fix it, and when all else fails, we pray. Why is it that Jesus ends up on the “last resort” list? (Ouch, I know.)

But at last he came to Jesus and implored Him, begged Him desperately to heal his son. He didn’t give up. Check this out, this guy knew that Jesus was capable of healing his son, and he continued asking Him for help. This was a demonstration of the guy’s faith. Now check out verse 50, Jesus is like “It’s cool, your kid’s fine. Go on home now.” and the guy just leaves. He didn’t need Jesus to physically come back to the house to heal his son, he was able to take Jesus at His word. The thing is, it’s not about the signs and wonders, it’s about believing. This man obeyed by faith, and his faith was manifested in his actions.

James 2:14, 17 – What does it profit, my brethren, if someone has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? …Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

At the end of the day, our faith isn’t about what we say, it’s about what we do.

Now after this incident, the man didn’t run back to see if his son was really ok. He trusted Jesus. So much so, in fact, that he stayed the night and didn’t go home until the next morning. He had received total peace from Jesus. But here’s the thing, it’s not important how much faith we have, but rather where we put our faith. Faith the size of a mustard seed can still move mountains (Matthew 17:20).

The object of our faith is manifested in our conduct. If you truly believe that Jesus is Lord, shouldn’t your life reflect it?

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1 Samuel 3 (SN)

1 Samuel 3 – Pastor Mark Neely


All Who Are Thirsty – Vineyard UK
10,000 Reasons – Matt Redman
The Stand – Hillsong United
I Surrender All – Traditional
10,000 Reasons (Reprise)

In this chapter, God calls Samuel to be His prophet, and teaches us some pretty cool things along the way. Since this is so late, I’ll keep it short and sweet.

First off, we see that God calls Samuel while he’s sleeping. Lesson to learn here: God calls us on His timing, not ours.

Next, we see that at first Samuel doesn’t recognize God’s voice; he thinks that it’s his surrogate father Eli’s voice. There’s a few things here. First, Samuel was raised in “church”. His whole life was devoted to the service of God. Somehow, he didn’t recognize God’s voice. Just because a person is “churched” does not mean that they know God. It is not until God calls a person that they can hear Him.

Finally, Eli figures out what’s up and tells Samuel to go back to bed and tell God, “Speak, for your servant hears”. Samuel hears God’s voice a third time, and responds. This goes to show that ultimately, man still has the responsibility to listen to God. We have to let God speak to us before He can work.

What did I take home? Take the time to listen to God. He wants to speak, I just need to listen.

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Galatians 3:1-3 (SN)

Galatians 3:1-5 – Pastor Mark Neely


All For You – Paul Baloche
Hosanna – Hillsong
Because of Your Love – Phil Wickham
Mighty to Save – Hillsong
Overcome – Jeremy Camp
Glorious – Paul Baloche

It seems like this grace thing is a recurring theme in Galatians. Oh wait that’s because it is!! Today we had three short verses to cover. Short, but jam-packed with great stuff.

O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

(Galatians 3:1-3 ESV)

Paul is rebuking the Galatians for trying to please God on their own. Because quite frankly, that’s completely impossible. The Galatians were trying to please God and earn His blessing by their works. They were trying to buy something that wasn’t for sale. God’s grace is a free gift, given by His Spirit. There’s nothing we can do to earn it.

Now that’s all stuff we’ve heard before, I’m sure. Here’s the part that I’d never really thought about before: when I feel guilty over failing to walk in the Spirit, that’s my flesh rearing up. It’s prideful. To regret failure implies that I think I could have done better. In reality, to succeed at all in any area of life is purely the work of God through His Spirit. Scripture is pretty clear here:

We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 ESV)

“Polluted garment” is putting it nicely. I’m just going to leave it at that. Anyways, if even my righteousness is so awful, why do I flip out when I screw up? There’s grace for that! God doesn’t want me to wallow in self-pity; He wants me to get up and trust Him to work in me. He’s the only One capable of changing me, period.

I say it again: God is the only One capable of changing me. Everything good in me comes from Him. This is what the Galatians failed to understand. I don’t want to make the same error; I want to live by the Spirit and not the flesh.

Soli Deo Gloria!

P.S. if your mind isn’t completely blown by that, go back and listen to that whole teaching, because my dad did a much better job of explaining it than I did. It’s not that long, and it’s totally worth every second.

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Sermon Notes: 1 Samuel Ch. 2

1 Samuel 2 – Pastor Mark Neely


Everlasting God – Brenton Brown
O Praise Him – David Crowder* Band
Victory – Gateway Worship
How Great Thou Art – Traditional
Desert Song – Hillsong United

Here we have Hannah giving thanks to God for the miracle of her conception. As we saw last week, she was barren, but God gave her a son.  In return, she dedicated him to a life of service in the temple. This praise that she has for God is pretty cool. She isn’t trying to interject anything of herself, she’s just telling everybody how awesome God is. She’s telling God how awesome He is. Here’s a few excerpts:

And Hannah prayed and said,
“My heart exults in the LORD; my horn is exalted in the LORD.
My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation.
“There is none holy like the LORD: for there is none besides you;
there is no rock like our God.

The LORD makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts.
He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap
to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor.

The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces;
against them he will thunder in heaven.
The LORD will judge the ends of the earth;
he will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed.”

A few themes:

1) There is nobody like God. Duh. He’s GOD. I need to be reminded of this though because it’s way too easy to forget.

2) God is in control at all times. On top of that, He doesn’t necessarily follow our expectations. In Hannah’s case, He gave her a child. In her praise, He takes the poor and makes them rich, giving them opportunities they would never have in and of themselves.

3) God is judge, and all will answer to Him. It’s interesting to note that Peninah (Hannah’s rival) is never heard from again from this point forward. Hannah continues to bear children, six in all.

So the really cool thing here is how Hannah praises God for who He is, even though the circumstances weren’t perfect for her. She knew that she was rarely going to see her firstborn son, but she also knew that God was going to get massive glory through it. Samuel turns out to be one of Israel’s greatest prophets.

Take home: praise God, even when circumstances don’t necessarily look perfect; God knows what He’s doing. And it’s going to be awesome.

The chapter has a bunch of other stuff about Eli’s sons really messing things up in the temple, but I think I’ll leave this post as it is for now.

Fact of Life: I don’t care how many times I sing it, How Great Thou Art is still my favorite ever. Seriously.

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Sermon Notes: John 4: 27-42

We pick up here right after the account of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well, and now we get to see the fallout from that. We have the reactions of the disciples, the woman, Jesus, and the Samaritans.

1) The reaction of the disciples.

The first reaction the disciples had was one of somewhat stunned awe. I mean think about it, here’s Jesus talking to a WOMAN. In Jewish culture, women were pretty much at the bottom of the totem pole. They were baby-making housekeeping machines, and that’s it. But they don’t question Him, they watched and respected Him.

Main point: We don’t always know what God is doing, but He does. Knowing His plan isn’t your job. If you knew what God was doing, there would be no need to trust Him with your life. His plan is better than anything we could possibly imagine.

2) The reaction of the woman.

When Jesus talks to the woman, the first thing she does is leave her water pot. Check this out, they didn’t have indoor plumbing, so the water pot was the only way that people could get water into their homes. If you don’t have a means of getting water, you’re gonna die. This lady straight* leaves her WHOLE LIFE at the well to go tell the world what just happened to her. That brings us to the second thing that she does as a direct result of her encounter with Jesus: she goes into the town and tells EVERYONE. Now think about it, she’s a woman. And not only that, but she’s a SAMARITAN woman. She doesn’t have a whole lot of *street cred. Her life is transformed by Jesus, and suddenly nothing matters except telling everyone what He did.

Main point: God’s desire for us is to leave our whole lives behind to follow after Him. He has so many blessings that He is waiting to pour out on us, but we have to let go of everything else and trust that His plan is infinitely better than what we could ever think of. When God gets a hold of us and transforms our lives, the natural byproduct is that we can’t shut up about it. Think about this: your life could be the only Bible that some people ever read. Does your life reflect that God has transformed you?

3) The reaction of Jesus.

So after this whole shindig, the disciples are like “hey, you should probably eat something…” and Jesus is like “Nah, it’s cool, I already did.” Notice here that Jesus and the disciples are talking about two completely different things: the disciples are talking about physical food, but Jesus is talking about spiritual food. Jesus’ satisfaction comes from doing the will of the Father. He’s not into the whole physical thing, His head is completely in the spiritual realm. Life isn’t about the things that are seen, but rather the things that are not seen.

1 Timothy 2: 3-4 – For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Main point: Our will should be to do the will of God. Life isn’t about the physical, it’s about the spiritual. When we get a hold of that, we can experience the joy that comes from living for the Kingdom of God.

4) The reaction of the Samaritans.

So the Samaritan woman runs into town, talking all about this Jesus guy. As soon as the others hear her testimony, they believe it. They ask Jesus to stick around for a few days, and they believe for themselves.

Main point: If we have truly been transformed by God, our natural response will be to tell others.

Final thought: It’s not about me, it’s about what God is doing.

*I’m sorry! I’m listening to Lecrae right now so I got my ghetto lingo goin

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Sermon Notes: 1 Samuel ch. 1

1 Samuel Ch. 1 – Pastor Mark Neely


Forever – Chris Tomlin
O Praise Him – David Crowder Band
Let Us Adore – ummm? It’s kind of old…
You Are God Alone – MercyMe
Come Thou Fount – Traditional Hymn

Tonight we started our run through the book of 1 Samuel. I’ll spare y’all the background behind the book and just hop straight into the content.

The book opens up with a guy named Elkanah who has two wives (hint: that’s trouble). One has children and the other (Hannah) is barren. Unfortunately for the wife who bears children, Elkanah loves Hannah much more. As consolation for her childlessness, he gives her more attention and stuff. So the childbearing wife makes it a point to get under Hannah’s skin and annoy her as much as humanly possible. Unfortunately for Hannah, she is very successful.

So the family goes to the temple to worship, and Hannah begins to pour out her heart to the Lord. In fact, she grieves so intensely, that the priest thinks that she’s drunk. Her mouth is moving but words aren’t coming out. Here’s point numero uno: when we pray, our words aren’t actually that important. What’s important is pouring out our hearts to God, surrendering to Him.

When the priest realizes that she’s just greiving, he offers her consolation. In fact, he blesses her. God hears Hannah’s prayer for children, and answers her. She gives birth to a baby boy, whom she names Samuel. To show her thankfulness to God, she offers up Samuel to His service. That must have been hard right there. She basically gives him over to the temple to raise, which means that she probably won’t see much of him for the rest of his life. Now I’m not a mother (captain obvious right there), but I can only imagine how hard that would be.

And here’s point numero dos: after she gives Samuel over to God, she begins to worship. This should be the default response to all situations in life. Hard times? Worship. Good times? Worship. Enjoying a piece of music? Worship. Getting dressed in the morning? Worship. God has ordained every circumstance in life, and everything fits perfectly into His master plan. In Hannah’s case, He used her barrenness to show how powerful He was. I don’t know what He’s got going on with the rough situations that I face, but I know that He’s doing it for a reason.

So I worship.

Easier said than done.

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Sermon Notes: 1 John 5:18-21

Finished the book of 1 John this week, so here’s the final bits of information from that. If you’re new to this, my note taking style is kinda confusing, so you can skip to the bottom for the main point if you want.

3 things we know:

  • Whoever is born of God does not sin.
  • We are of God. (Of: source, point of origin)
  • The Son of God has come and given us understanding so that we may KNOW God.

Sin (in context): as a pattern of life, habitual practice.

The Son of God came to keep us from (habitual) sin, to allow us into relationship with God. He protects us from the advances of the evil one.

You are of God, He needs your entire life.

  • Am I submitted to His will in all areas of my life?

Being of God is a thing that can never be lost.

We not only KNOW Him who is True, we are now IN Him through Jesus.

  • Everything comes back to Jesus.

Final thought: Guard yourselves from idols.

  • Make sure that there is NOTHING that will distract you.
  • Judges 17:4-18:4
  • Deuteronomy 6:10-12 –Make sure you don’t forget who saved you in the first place.

We are actively being opposed, there is a need for guarding.

  • Deuteronomy 12:3-5

Understand the Son

Understand the Life

Understand the implications of that Life.

Biggest thing I got this week: Christ protects us from the evil one, but that doesn’t mean that we can let our guard down. We can’t assume that we’re invincible from temptation, we must make a conscious effort to be in a constant state of surrender and submission to Christ.

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