Category Archives: Sermon Notes


Update: I felt this word so deeply this week that I decided to preach it. I’ve had some ask if we would have the audio available, so here it is.

Isaiah 53:5/6
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

I heard a pastor say “You don’t just read the Bible, you have to READ the Bible.”  Meaning you can’t just read it and understand it. You have to study it!  Rick Warren said last weekend in his teaching “40 days in the Word”: “The difference between reading and studying is, you use a pencil when you study”. So true!

Here’s something you can dive with me on.  Please comment and discuss! I’d love to see your point of view (without being critical, please).

When Isaiah prophesied of the coming Messiah “he was bruised for our iniquity”, there is much to be learned and understood from it. Why was Jesus bruised for iniquity?

We need to know what iniquity is before we can know why he was bruised for it.

1: Iniquity in the Old Testament was understood to be something that is carried with a man into Shoel (hell).  There was Yom Kippur, where a goat “carried” away iniquity to Shoel.  I read here today a good bit of history about this (go to the link, it’s a good read anyway on iniquity):

According to Jewish tradition there were two miracles associated with this goat.  The first was that the goat would be guided by God within one day to wander through the wilderness to that specific cliff, fall off, and diae a slow, painful death.  The second is that a scarlet thread used to confirm the goat’s death (it was broken in half: one piece was tied to the goat’s horns and the other was kept with the priests) would turn white so that the people knew the goat was dead…

2: Iniquity is what is inside of man (meaning mankind here) that is what our tendencies to sin are rooted in.  One man may have an issue with being a drunkard.  Another man may have no problem with drinking, but has is easily led to extra-marital sex acts (pornography, adultery, prostitution, etc).   I would describe iniquity as the sin inside of us that drives us to the ACTS of sin.  Iniquity isn’t something we can QUIT doing.  We can WORK iniquity (Jesus said “Depart from me you workers of iniquity” in Matthew 7:23). But iniquity isn’t the actual sin itself. It’s what we are “bent towards.”

Iniquity is just under the skin. When we sin, it’s not the iniquity that is seen by others, and that’s why we feel “judged” when they call it out.  The sin we commit comes from the iniquity underneath. Just quitting the actions don’t cut it though.  This is why so many people come to church week after week, cry tears of repentance in the altar (not that this is wrong!) and get back up and fall back into the same traps and fail to resist the same temptations that they fell into last week!

If you have the flu, you can treat the symptoms all you want, and “feel” better!  You can quit vomiting, sneezing, coughing, and may even bring your fever down. But the flu is still there!

In Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, God warns the Israelites about how he visits the iniquity on the generations! I’m not using this as a discourse to prove or disprove generational curses, but it’s interesting how this iniquity is not actual acts of sin!

Back to Isaiah – it is prophesied that Jesus would be BRUISED for our iniquity. I find it interesting that a bruise is under the skin.  It doesn’t release blood.  When you bleed under the skin it creates a bruise. When the Roman soldiers kicked and beat our Savior, it served a purpose. Jesus had to shed blood for the sin you CAN see.  But it wouldn’t have been complete if His blood didn’t cover what is underneath!

You CAN be free from what drives you to do the outward sins that are not pleasing to Him.  Don’t stop there! Give Him the iniquity that is in your life! The Father laid your iniquity on our Saviour to be carried away and remembered no more. Don’t just stop sinning, let Christs suffering do a complete work and in you so that your desire for those sins are carried away!

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Luke 19 1 He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich. 3 Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a [a]sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way. 5 When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6 And he hurried and came down and received Him [b]gladly. 7 When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, “He has gone [c]to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 8 Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I [d]will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I [e]will give back four times as much.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

1 Zaccheus wanted to see Jesus

 Matthew 5:8 God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.

Zaccheus’ name literally means “pure”!

His motive was pure.  He didn’t care about any selfish need. All he wanted to do was see Jesus with his eyes!

His faith was pure.

Matt 17:20 …”I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.
Zaccheus wanted Just a glimpse of Jesus – The woman with the issue of blood wanted just to touch of the hem of His garment – Jarius asked that he would just send a word… Faith a grain of mustard can move MOUNTAINS!

How bad do we want to experience Him?

Zaccheus, because he was a SHORT man ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree ahead of a crowd that hated his guts!

The most hated profession of Jesus’ time was the tax collector.  Tax collectors stole and cheated to obtain their own wealth.

The stereotype was that Zaccheus was the same. They would only see him the same.  Whether he became rich because of his profession is never confirmed in the story. All we know is he was guilty by association!

Are you willing to remove any obstacle that is in your way?

  • Every critic
  • Every excuse
  • Every lie that tells you that you aren’t good enough

2 Jesus wanted to see Zaccheus!

James 4:8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.

Jesus saw His desire, called him down and invited Himself to dinner!

When the religious world condemned him and labeled him, Jesus spent time with him.

Jesus wasn’t just passing by, He was coming FOR ZACCHEUS!

He isn’t just passing by… He’s paying YOU a visit!

Jesus is the friend that sticks closer than any brother.

He wants to be your friend

When Jesus proved to this tax collector that He was going to invest His time, He built a relationship

3 Jesus is now seen THROUGH Zaccheus!

Church history tells us that Zaccheus preached the gospel and traveled with Peter the Apostle.  He died a martyrs death for preaching the good news.

JESUS saw him differently

Isn’t it time to see others through Jesus eyes instead of identifying someone as a sterotype through our own experiences with those who have something in common with them?

Other races, socio-economic groups, professions.


Zaccheus did more than just see Jesus. He received the gift of life!  Because of the love Christ extended to Zaccheus, he pledged to do whatever it would take to make sure that his identity wasn’t in greed, but it was in the call and purpose of Christ.

Jesus wants to see you, and be seen through you!

Who will you extend grace to? Who do you know that is “bad news” but needs to see God’s grace at work?

Jesus risked His reputation to love Zaccheus.


While I was preaching this message, an older man who was shorter than I am pulled in the parking lot in front of The Refuge and totally distracted me.  He pressed his face against the glass to get a good look in. I lost my entire train of thought as I wondered why he was there.  He came in, and had a seat and we welcomed him.  As I was closing, he asked if he could share a prayer request and a “testimony”.  He shared how a friend of his has been diagnosed with cancer, and it didn’t look good for him.  Immediately, my mind put him into a stereotype.  Thankfully I wasn’t the only one though.  As he shared his friend’s story, he went on to say that God has provided for him financially, he was just asking Christian people to call on the Lord for him!  
What an illustration!  
Please pray for Mr French and his family.  Believe God for big things to happen, that cancer is defeated in his life, and that he puts his trust in the Lord for the rest of his life!

Embrace God’s Grace

Here are some points to remember and declare over your life from the message at The Refuge Sunday morning:


Eph 2: 8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.

His Grace is greater than my past

2 Cor 5:17 anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Eph 2:13 …but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,

You don’t have to worry about your past, it’s under the blood of Jesus Christ.  Under His blood your past doesn’t define your future.

Faith is what propels you to your future – Hebrews 11:1 – Faith is the evidence of Things not seen!

You stay in your past through condemnation.

His Grace is greater than my pain

2 Cor 12:7-10 7 even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.

8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

His grace is sufficient in weakness! Your heart may be broken, body wrecked with pain, and His grace is there to carry you through.

The grace of God can carry you through the most painful times of your life.

When you are mindful of His grace, those that cause you pain are met with the forgiveness and grace working in your life. When this is in place, We forget about our right to judge those who hurt us, and are encouraged by His grace that none of us deserve!

His Grace is greater than my performance

Romans 7:21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power[e] within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.

Paul, just like you and I fought between what we have every good thing we have intention to do, and the sinful nature that drives us to do the opposite.  Thank GOD, the answer is in Christ! His Grace is not affected by your performance.  Performance has no bearing on how much grace He has for you!  No matter how well, or how poorly you perform, His grace is given FREELY.

Next week we will talk about our Response to His Grace.

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