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Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 7:7-13

"Here I Raise My Ebenezer"

 

Intro.

1.  1 Sam. 4:1-11: Israel had been occupied by Philistines; Went to battle near Ebenezer and 4,000 Israelites killed. They brought the ark to the camp (thinking it would insure victory). Instead, Israel was defeated and the ark captured in great humiliation (30k died).

2.  God afflicted the Philistines for 7 mo. and they returned ark. 20 yrs. later, Samuel led the people in repentance - Another battle - Victory.

3.  1 Sam. 7:12: Memorial stone honored God's help: Ebenezer - "The stone of help", 1 Sam. 7:3, 8-9, 13.

4.  Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing: ("Here I raise my Ebenezer; Here by Thy great help Iíve come; And I hope, by Thy good pleasure, Safely to arrive at home."). Praises God with recognition and honor as the One on whom we rely.

5.  Let us "raise our Ebenezer" in honor of our great God!

 

I.  LIFE ITSELF. (Here by Thy great help I've come)

  A.  God is our Creator, Provider and Sustainer, Acts 17:24-28; 14:15; 7:50; cf. Col. 1:17.

    1.  Every advantage, ability and opportunity is from Him Jas. 1:17.

    2.  Faith in Him eliminates anxiety, Matt. 6:25-34; 7:7-11.

  B.  Raise Our Ebenezer: God is our Helper in Life.

    1.  His purposes must prevail in our lives (Eccl. 12:13).

    2.  They forgot God and elevated themselves, Rom. 1:18-23.

    3.  Remember God by humbly obeying Him, Deut. 8:11-20 (11, 16).

    4.  Repent of sin and worship Him, Acts 17:29-31.

       -God must be thanked, respected and given glory for His help in life.

 

II.  SALVATION FROM SIN. (Here by Thy great help I've come)

  A.  We Need Saving from Our Sins, Rom. 3:23; 6:23 (Jer. 10:23).

  B.  Our Salvation is from God, 2 Tim. 1:9; Titus 3:4-7.

    1.  Weak - Powerless to save ourselves, Rom. 5:6.

    2.  God's grace toward powerless sinners, Eph. 2:1-9.

    3.  Plan of salvation is God offering life to you.

  C.  We Must Live and Promote a New Way of Life, Tit. 2:11-12; Eph. 4:17-24.

    1.  We "raise our Ebenezer" with new life in Christ; Acknowledging His power and presence in our lives. (Gal. 2:20; 1 Cor. 15:57)

    2.  Account yourself to be dead to sin and alive to God, Rom. 6:11.

 

III. THIS CHURCH. (Here by Thy great help I've come)

  A.  Christ is in the Midst of the Churches, Rev. 1:12-13, 20; 2:1.

    1.  He knows them and is present to bless and/or curse (Rev. 2-3).

    2.  The blessings this church enjoys must be regarded as from the hand of God and not as the result of any superiority of those who compose this church, Phil. 1:3-6; 2:12-13; 4:19-20.

  B.  Blessings from God's Hand in this Church. (Here we raise our Ebenezer)

    1.  Consistency in giving has increased our gospel work.

      a.  Provides a meeting place for our worship.

      b.  Provides 85% of local preacher support; gospel meetings.

    2.  Unity of the church, 1 Cor. 1:10.

      a.  My experience has seen a consistent spirit of diligence toward maintaining unity in truth, Eph. 4:3.

      b.  Spats, etc. happen: But by keeping good hearts and scriptural approaches to one another, godliness and unity in truth prevails, Matt. 5:9.

    3.  Scriptural leadership (elders) and faithful service, Heb. 13:17.

    4.  Work of every member is strengthening the church, Eph. 4:15-16.

      a.  Young men: preaching, other public roles in worship.

      b.  Young women: studying and exhorting each other.

      c.  Older women: teaching and setting good examples.

      d.  Older men: A steady hand of wisdom and truth.

      e.  Teaching: Majority of you are teaching here and/or privately.

      f.  Visiting those shut in and each other.

      g.  Worship service participation: Always been strong.

      h.  Bible knowledge: Being used to improve lives.

      i.  Standing for truth on difficult but vital topics.

    5.  God must be thanked, respected and honored for His help that blesses this church. cf. Eph. 3:20-21

 

Conclusion

1.  Psa. 121: God has the power and the will to help us (1-2). He is vigilant (3-4); protective (5-6); guardian and preserver (7-8).

2.  Like Israel in the days of Samuel, we must never forget that it is by God's help (grace) that we are what we are (1 Cor. 15:10).