“Doing the Unthinkable: Losing Jesus”

Losing Jesus Slide

Click here to watch this sermon while following along below!
Text: Luke 2:41-52
INTRODUCTION: It was mandatory for every Jewish male to return to Jerusalem at least once a year for the Passover unless they were physically incapable of making the trip. This feast lasted for 7 days. Jesus is now 12 years of age and has already gone through his bar mitzvah (where a boy at age 12 becomes a “Son of the Law”). This status means he has reached adult status concerning his obligations to the Law. It is on this trip to the Passover that Joseph and Mary do the unthinkable – they lose Jesus.
*Our text tells us that He was missing for 3 whole days. (V. 46)
FACT: Even though we love Him, it is possible to begin “following a far off” like Peter or to “get out of touch”, “loose contact”, like Mary & Joseph.
RESULT: Always the results bring sorrow and damage and a great waste in our lives.
THREE TRUTHS
I. IT CAN EASILY HAPPEN: (Vv. 43-44)
A. BY HARMLESS PREOCCUPATION: (V. 43)
BACKGROUND: There were lots of farewells to friends and family, plus all the packing of supplies and preparations for the 80 mile trip from Jerusalem to Nazareth. Needless to say those last few hours before traveling would begin were frantic, which is why they “knew not of it”, they didn’t realize that Jesus was not with them. Out of sight, out of mind!
NOTE: We can get so preoccupied with work, school, sports, jobs, etc. Get plugged in to a good church.
ILLUSTRATION: Pastor John Dees = His son went to Auburn. He went a nominal Christian and came back a fired-up Christian, not because of the university but because of his involvement in a good local church.
“Keep Your Eyes on Christ”
B. BY CARELESS SUPPOSITION: (V. 44)
NOTE: Unthinkable: They would make all these preparations for the trip and they forgot their son.
QUESTION: What plans are you making right now, business, move, dating, entertainment, etc., that you have forgotten to include Jesus?
BACKGROUND: Traveling would be very dangerous because of the crowds, animals, and bad people on the road. For protection the women would travel upfront and the men in the rear. This would be an even greater reason to make sure they knew where Jesus was.
They would have stopped for water and for meals which would have given the opportunity to check on Christ.
APPLICATION: We live such hectic lives; we begin our days supposing we have God’s blessings and power and approval in our lives but we haven’t been in the Word, or Prayer, or Worship, or Fellowship.
There are two examples I want to give you from the Word:
1) I Samuel 4: The Ark was captured by the Philistines: They thought they could just have the presence of the Ark and that would give them the victory over the enemy but they lost both the battle and the Ark. (4:22) “The glory is departed from Israel.”
2) Numbers 14:40-45 Early the next morning they set out for the highest point in the hill country, saying, “Now we are ready to go up to the land the Lord promised. Surely we have sinned!” But Moses said, “Why are you disobeying the Lord’s command? This will not succeed! Do not go up, because the Lord is not with you. You will be defeated by your enemies, for the Amalekites and the Canaanites will face you there. Because you have turned away from the Lord, he will not be with you and you will fall by the sword. Nevertheless, in their presumption they went up toward the highest point in the hill country, though neither Moses nor the ark of the Lord’s covenant moved from the camp. Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down and attacked them and beat them down all the way to Hormah.
The people had chosen to listen to the 10 negative spies and not go into the promise land. (Chapter 13) Now they realize they have sinned and will have to wander for 40 years so they decide to go now into the land because they presumed the Lord would be with them but He was not.
“How dangerous it is to just presume or suppose God is with us today because He was with us yesterday.”
APPLICATION: Some of you will presume you can serve God in college as easy as you did in high school. Now you have your parents, good friends and youth group but you won’t have this unless you go out and find it in a good local church.
II. IT WILL SERIOUSLY HINDER:
A. IT RETARDS PROGRESS: (V. 45)
* It is approximately 80 miles from Jerusalem to Nazareth.
1) They lost 3 days.
2) Now they will have to travel alone. This dangerous trip will no longer have the protection of the group.
I John 2:17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
Doing the will of God in our lives is all that lasts. Everything else we do doesn’t last. It is a loss of time and energy and resources.
I Corinthians 3:12-15 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
“Wood, hay and stubble” is living our lives outside the will of God. The “gold, silver and precious stones” is living our lives in God’s will. Our lives are nothing when we are not in the will of God.
B. IT RESULTS IN SADNESS: (V. 48) “sought thee sorrowing”
* Sorrow here expresses pain and grief. Their trip back to Jerusalem had to be full of grief. First, it was very dangerous. Second, their minds would have been running wild thinking about all that may have happened to Jesus. Third, the anger that Joseph and Mary were experiencing with themselves and each other. Fourth, their concern would have reached panic level.
STORY: When our son, Jeremy, was five we were at a camp meeting where 5-6,000 people were attending. We lost him in a split second. We were sitting outside and the next minute he was gone. He went into the service and went to the pulpit area looking for me. I was so scared I thought I would die. A preacher friend saw him and brought him to us.
STORY: We lost Devin at Disney World. He was with us and all of a sudden he was gone. He decided to go with his dad. Now, I don’t have the vocabulary to express the anxiety and grief we experienced in that 10 minutes.
FACT: Each of those incidents rendered me instantly ineffective, without peace of mind or joy. When we lose sight of Jesus, we lose our effectiveness, our peace and our joy.
FACT: Joseph and Mary left Jerusalem such a happy and fulfilled young couple but now they are broken and miserable.
III. IT PAINFULLY HUMILIATES:
* Can you imagine what they felt when they had to tell folks they had lost their son?
TRUTH: Joseph and Mary were the ones lost, not Jesus. (V. 49) And they didn’t know where to look for Him.
A. HE WAS ATTENDING THE HOUSE OF GOD. (V.46)
The House of God being where they found Him, implies the House of God was the last place they were looking. This reveals their lack of zeal for the House of God and their lack of understanding what Jesus came here to do. (V. 50)
ILLUSTRATION:
1) Jesus: “As His custom was” attend the House of Worship.
Luke 4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.

2) Paul: “As his manner was” to attend the House of Worship.

Acts 17:2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,
3) The Early Church = met daily to worship & fellowship.
Acts 2:46-47 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
4) The Church = admonished to not forsake the House of Worship.
Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
* That’s why it is so important to be active and involved in a local church.
B. HE WAS ENJOYING THE TRUTH OF GOD. (V. 46)
NOTE: At age 12, as a “Son of the Law”, He was considered fully accountable and responsible to live and obey the Word of God like every adult.
NOTE: (V. 52) This verse implies that Jesus “grew-up” physically, spiritually, socially, and emotionally. Philippians 2:6-8 tells us He laid aside much of His outward appearance and privilege of deity. Since He was to be the model, pattern and substitute for man, He had to empty himself and become like us. He had to study to learn. He had to pray to receive power and he had to learn obedience through suffering. (V. 51) “subject unto them” means He was obedient to His parents.
FACT: Spiritual growth only comes when we walk with Jesus in the Word. When we learn it and obey it, it changes our lives and our futures.
C. HE WAS PERFORMING THE WILL OF GOD. (V. 49)
* It seems like Joseph and Mary had lost sight of who Jesus was and what He would do. Had they forgotten His birth and the Angels and the Shepherd?
FACT: “You will always find Jesus where the will of the Father is being done.”
Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
CONCLUSION: 1) Students and Church: Don’t get so preoccupied with other things that your neglect your walk with God.  Don’t think you can live today off of yesterday’s grace and blessings. You have to continue in the Word, prayer, fellowship, and worship.  2) Students and Church: If you neglect your walk with God, your life will suffer loss and failure. Rather than experiencing joy you will be experiencing guilt and regret and defeat.  3) Students & Church: Your spiritual and moral failure will be painfully humiliating.
A. Get plugged in to a good church.
B. Stay in the Word of God personally and in worship.
C. Always do the will of God in your life. That is where you will find the blessings of God.
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Mother’s Day 2018: “Honoring Your Parents”

31719-cc_MothersDay_2016_7.1100w.tn_

Click here to watch this sermon while following along below!
Text: Ephesians 6:2-3 Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
INTRODUCTION: Why would God give us such a commandment?  Remember this is one of the Ten Commandments. This one has a promise to give us a blessed life “well with thee” and a long life “thou mayest live long on the earth”.  Here is why this commandment is so important.
1. EVERY PARENT IS FLAWED.  Your parents are flawed. Their parents are flawed. If you are a parent you are flawed. If your kids have kids, they will be flawed. There are no perfect parents. So, we have no excuse to not honor the position even if the person is flawed.
2. I WOULD NOT BE ALIVE WITHOUT THEM.  Sure, none of us would be here without a mother, but I want you to see that God chose your parents to be the tools to bring you into the world, to create you. Good, bad or indifferent, God used them.
3. GOD CHOSE THEIR DNA TO MAKE ME UNIQUE.  God chose their DNA to make you unique. God was there at conception, and He was involved in developing your body, your mind and your personality, while you were in your mother’s womb.
Psalm 139:13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. You developed even my inward parts (veins) and had your hand on me (covered me) in my mother’s womb.)
Psalm 139:16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.  – 1) unperfect = incomplete, 2) continuance = course of time; “He knew us before we were born and knew what He made us to be able to do.”
NOTE: That is why abortion is so wrong. It short circuits the will of God. Even before one is born, God has a plan for their lives. There are no accidental babies or parents. Your parents may not have planned you but God did.
Why we dedicate our babies! Even if they were conceived wrong!
The parents God gave me had just the exact DNA to create me. Any other two individuals and I wouldn’t be alive. They had the exact DNA structure and chromosomes to create us.
God was more interested in creating you than He was in their parenting. Your parents may have been good parents, bad parents, or terrible parents. They may have been absentee parents. They may have hurt you, but you could not exist without their DNA.
NOTE: We’re not all moms and many desire to be moms and for some reason that hasn’t happened yet, but we all had a mom and the Bible says we are to honor our mothers and fathers.
I. WE HONOR ALL MOTHERS TODAY.
NOTE: There are all kinds of moms. There are biological moms, step moms, single moms, adoptive moms, foster moms, and spiritual moms, and we honor all of these kinds of moms.
NOTE: The Bible gives us clear instructions on how we honor our parents at each stage of our lives.
II. HOW DO WE HONOR OUR PARENTS AT EACH STAGE OF OUR LIVES?
A. AS CHILDREN, WE HONOR OUR PARENTS BY:
1. OBEYING THEM:
* Obeying them means doing what they ask and by following instructions, and doing it willingly and cheerfully and immediately.
Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
NOTE: One of the greatest life skills we can teach our children is to obey those in authority over you. If they don’t learn to submit to authority, they will be miserable and unfruitful.
There is a difference between position and person. A person may be a jerk but you honor the position. You honor authorities. There are three authorities in our lives: the home, the church, the government. Each has a difference role in shaping our lives. If a child doesn’t learn this trait, they will never hold down a job, or be productive in society because there will always be someone over them.
B. AS YOUNG ADULTS, WE HONOR OUR PARENTS BY:
1. RESPECTING THEM:
Leviticus 19:3 Ye shall fear (respect) every man his mother, and his father…
Hebrews 12:9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence… (respect)
NOTE: Respect doesn’t mean you don’t see their weaknesses. The truth is, the older you get the more you realize they are flawed human beings. And as teens and young adults, their flaws are usually all you see.
God says respect them in spite of their flaws.
QUESTION: How do we respect them?
1) By accepting them: Realize both the good and bad and realize God gave them to you. They are your parents. Unless you were adopted, they didn’t get to choose you anymore than you chose them. So accept them.
2) By forgiving them: Forgive your parents for their weaknesses and faults because one day you will be a parent and need to be forgiven because you aren’t perfect.
NOTE: We show respect by how we talk to them.
2. LISTENING TO THEM:
* The Bible says we gain a lot of value by listening to our parents.
Proverbs 13:1 A wise son heareth his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.
ILLUSTRATION: When I got old enough to appreciate the wisdom of my parents, I found great value in getting their advice. When my dad got dementia, I felt like a valuable resource was removed from my life.
NOTE: As an adult, you aren’t Biblically bound to follow your parent’s advice but you are Biblically bound to listen respectfully. There is never a time in your life where you are permitted to be disrespectful to your parents.
ILLUSTRATION: I have noticed that even bad parents know what is best for their kids. So, it is wise to listen to them. “A broken clock is right twice a day”. So, don’t wait until your parents “have it all together” before you listen to them. They will never “have it all together” but they love and care about you and they want only the best for you, so be wise and listen to them.
Proverbs 23:22 Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.
God gave us our parents for a purpose. They are to help me become all that God wants me to be.
Proverbs 6:20-23 My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck. When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee. For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:
C. AS ADULTS, WE HONOR OUR PARENTS BY:
1. APPRECIATING THEM:
Proverbs 23:22 Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.
* “despise not” = means to appreciate.
QUESTION: What should I appreciate in my parents? There are so many things to appreciate but let me give you two.
a. APPRECIATE THEIR EFFORTS:
* Parenting is difficult; it is time consuming and it is demanding. Have you ever thought about how much easier their lives would have been if they hadn’t had you? Think about the stress you have put them through, they gray hairs you have put on their heads, the disappointments they have experienced, all because they wanted to be parents.
ILLUSTRATION: The Great Red Woods of California add a ring around their trunk every year. On good years, with a lot of water, the rings are thick but on the years there isn’t much water they are very, very thin. You can tell the years of “crisis” by the thin rings. Your parents have lots of thin and thick rings. So be appreciative!
b. APPRECIATE THEIR SACRIFICE:
* Think about the nights of sleep they lost taking care of you. Think about what it cost them financially to feed you, clothe you, educate you, and doctor you.
ILLUSTRATION: To raise a child to 18 years, the estimated cost is $249,000.00.
* They spend money on you that they could have spent on themselves. What could they have afforded if they hadn’t had you?
What kind of trips could they have taken? What kind of house could they have lived in? What kind of cards could they have driven? What kinds of clothes could they have worn? How much did they spend on food, braces, school, doctor visits, clothes, and 10,000 other things? Parenting is one of the most unselfish decisions that can ever be made. God help your miserable soul if you don’t appreciate them!! Because you reap what you sow! Make them happy and joyful that they are your parents!
Proverbs 23:25 Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice.
NOTE: Western Culture is the only culture in the world that doesn’t respect their elders. In Asia, Middle East and Africa the older you are the more respected you are.
* The Scripture is clear to us individually and as a church that we are value, treasure, and esteem our elderly, especially our parents.
FACT: If your parents are alive, they have an intense needs to know that they made an impact in your life. Express appreciation and affirm them regularly.  How?  1) Stay in touch with them. Every call is affirming them. Every visit shows you honor them.  2) Talk to them: Their lives aren’t complicated anymore and they are very interested in what is going on in your life. I promise you it won’t bore them. It makes them still feel important, connected and significant.
2. PROVIDING FOR THEM:
* Roles reverse: They took care of you and now you take care of them. Many times this is hard because you still have kids that depend on you.
NOTE: Parents are living longer and kids are taking much longer to grow up!
I Timothy 5:2-4 The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity. Honour widows that are widows indeed. (no family) But if any widow have children or nephews (relatives), let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite (repay) their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.
* So many are lost when their mate of 40 or 50 years dies. They need our help and this is why it is one of the 10 Commandments.
ILLUSTRATION: Even on the cross, Jesus took care of His mother. Joseph was dead and Jesus had taken care of her even though He had other siblings. Now, He tells John to take care of His mother. (John 19:25-27)
NOTE: God gives is a terrible warning.
I Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
We honor God when we honor our parents who used to take care of us. The parents that God used to create you. It was their DNA that God wanted to use to make you who you are.
SPECIAL NOTE: Those of you who had parents that hurt you. It is real but you have a life. 1) If they are dead, make your peace with it and with God.  2) If they are alive, talk to them, face the issues and ask them to “start a new relationship”. Stop the cycle of hate and hurt and don’t let it affect your children.
CONCLUSION: Today would be a great day to stop the bad cycles and to begin a new journey with our parents or our past.  For some it is a new day to begin as:
Children – Obey them.
Young Adults – Respect and listen to them.
Adults – Appreciate their efforts and sacrifice, provide for them.
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The Most High God: “Wants to Talk to You” Part 2

Most High God Sermon Series

Click here to watch this sermon while following along below!
Text: I John 4:1
INTRODUCTION: Last week we learned how God gives us impressions in our minds, but we must test them and make sure they are from God. Sometimes we can talk to ourselves (intelligent people). Sometimes Satan can talk to us.
I John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
IS THIS FROM:  Myself: Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.  God: Job 33:14 For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.  Satan: II Corinthians 11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
* 7 ways to know if God is talking to us…
* They form as a filter and if an impression doesn’t pass all seven tests you know it is not from God. If it does, you know absolutely, for certain, you’ve heard from God.
7 WAYS TO TEST AN IMPRESSION
1. DOES IT AGREE WITH THE BIBLE?
Luke 21:33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
* God will never tell you something that violates anything in the Word. NEVER. He will never tell you to IGNORE or DISOBEY anything in this book.
* God is consistent…He doesn’t say one thing one time and another thing another time.
* If we will listen to God’s Word, we will not get in trouble.
* God will never tell you to do something inconsistent with His Word.
NOTE: Most of God’s will for your life is here in the Word. You don’t even have to PRAY about it, JUST DO IT.
1) Church Attendance, 2) Tithing, 3) Witnessing
*When you build your life on the Word, you will not miss God’s will…If you don’t you will miss it most of the time.
2. DOES IT MAKE ME MORE LIKE CHRIST?
Romans 8:29 “…did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son… God’s goal for us!
Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Think and act like Jesus!
I Peter 2:21 “…leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” Do what He would do!

* Jesus is the standard we use to measure everything we do…It is God’s goal to make you like Jesus…not to be a god but to be godly.

* He wants us to have the same CHARACTER & QUALITIES that Jesus had in our lives and He would never tell you to do anything that would hinder His reaching that goal in your life.
James 3:14-17 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
* These are filters that you use to TEST the idea.
NOTE: His wisdom is peace loving. He wants harmony rather than conflict. If it promotes conflict, it probably isn’t from God.
His wisdom is pure. Is the thought pure? If not, it isn’t from God.
His wisdom is gentle; considerate of other people. Will it hurt them?
God doesn’t leave a trail of dead bodies in His wake!
His wisdom is easily intreated. It is submissive. It is humble. One who hears from God will not be arrogant or egotistical or self-righteous, but very humble and not putting everybody down.
His wisdom is full of mercy. It is gracious toward people and not judgmental.
If your Word from God makes you judgmental and critical, you didn’t hear from God.
QUESTIONS: 1) Does it square up with the Bible? 2) Does it make me more like Jesus?
3. DOES MY CHURCH FAMILY CONFIRM IT?
* When you got saved you began a relationship with Christ and you became part of His wonderful family, called The Church.
* God wants you to use wise, older, more mature, godly believers in that family to help you make major decisions in your life.
Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
* Wise people get help from older, godly, more mature believer, but fools just do their own things; trust their gut; just do it.
Ephesians 3:10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
* God has given “His wisdom” to “His church”.
NOTE: The reason so many people mess us is because they don’t seek “godly counsel” before they make major decisions.
* We must have someone who holds us accountable.
Proverbs 11:14 “…but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.”
NOTE: Lone Ranger Christians have so much failure in their lives.
* We need to be open to the checks and balances, the counsel and correction of truly mature believers in the body.

NOTE: If you don’t you will spend so much of your life constantly cleaning up messes you should have never made to begin with.

PROBLEM: Some people just keep asking until they find someone who agrees with them.
ILLUSTRATION: People go from church to church or pastor to pastor until someone says it’s ok. Some don’t seek counsel because they don’t want to be told they are wrong.
Proverbs 11:9 An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.
* If you have truly gotten a Word from God other Christians, who are godly and mature will confirm it. If they question it, you should too.
NOTE: If people around you who love you and walk with God and are in His Word, disagree with you, don’t do it.
4. IS IT CONSISTENT WITH HOW GOD HAS SHAPED YOU?

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

* We are not accidents. Before we were born, God made us for His purpose and His plan for our lives. God designed us for a specific purpose. We are not here by accident.
EXAMPLE: A chair is designed a certain way to fulfill a purpose – to sit on it. A microphone is designed differently and has a different purpose – to enhance speaking. If you sit on the microphone or talk into the chair, it doesn’t work.
S = Spiritual Gifts
H = Heart: your passions and desires; what turns you on & what doesn’t.
A = Abilities: natural talents; words, numbers, animals, music, mechanics…
P = Personality: 4 types: Extroverted, Introverted; work alone or with others
E = Experiences: Vocational, Spiritual, Educational, Painful
1) God has shaped you for a career, a ministry, a life…
2) He gave you your talents, abilities, personalities, etc. because He has created you for a purpose. EXPOUND
ILLUSTRATION: As the design of the chair reveals its purpose, your SHAPE reveals God’s purpose for your life.
1) If you are tone deaf, He hasn’t gifted you for music. To try and be a musician would be a waste of your life.
2) If you are good at planning, your ministry in life will be involved in planning.
3) If you are good at numbers…
QUESTION: You get an impression from God you should ask, is this consistent with how God has shaped me?
ILLUSTRATION: If I get an impression to teach math in high school and resign this church, I would know it isn’t from God. God would not have me doing something I wasn’t designed (SHAPE) for.
1) What are you good at?
2) What do you love?
NOTE: You can discover a lot about His will for your life by just looking at what you are good at.
Romans 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

* God has given each if us the ability to do certain things better than others.

* God will never contradict how He has designed you.

* If you get a leading that is contrary to your SHAPE, ignore it, it’s not from God.
5. DOES IT CONCERN MY RESPONSIBILITY?
* If it is not your responsibility, why would God talk to you about it?
BIBLE ILLUSTRATION: Peter asked Jesus how John would die. Jesus told him it was none of his business. Don’t worry about it.
* I don’t have to worry about God’s will for your life, only mine. Truth is, I have a hard enough time checking my own motive and impressions to make sure they are from God.

* When we listen for God’s voice, listen for ourselves, and no one else.

Romans 14:10, 13 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.
* Many well-meaning Christians have caused a lot of hurt because they thought God was talking to them about what somebody else should do.
EXAMPLES: 1) He told me you would get well. 2) He told me your secret sin. 3) He told me who you were to marry.
QUESTION: Does God ever speak to me about other people? Yes
3 Qualifications
1. God will use you to confirm what He has already said to them but it is very unlikely He would speak to you first. People have confirmed to me what God has been saying and many times they don’t even know it.
2. If God does speak to you to help someone else, He usually does it without you even knowing it. Why? Keep pride from coming into your life.
3. Trust God to speak to that person first before you talk to them. Why? It will become manipulation.
EXAMPLE: When I contacted Danny Holmes about coming on Staff, God had already been talking to Him.
6. IS IT CONVICTING RATHER THAN CONDEMNING?
* Conviction is from God: 1) He will show you what to change, 2) It is always specific: a behavior, an attitude, etc., 3) It always leads to change, repentance, and forgiveness.
*Condemnation is from the devil: 1) It just makes you feel bad, 2) It will be vague: you’re bad, no good, worthless… 3) It just discourages you which leads to defeat and feelings of worthlessness. Why try? I am no good.
PROBLEM: You may have had a parent you could not please no matter how hard you tried (grades, looks, etc.) so you look at God that way and you feel that no matter how hard you try, you can’t please Him.
NOTE: God never beats His kids up!
NOTE: As believers, our pasts are forgiven and gone. Our present and futures are also nailed to the cross. It is finished and paid for.
QUESTION: Should a Christian feel guilty? Yes, but only as long as it takes to say, “Lord, I’m sorry.”
NOTE: You can’t let God down or disappoint Him because He knows every sin we will ever commit.
I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
* Keep your accounts short with God.

NOTE: Before you sin, satan minimizes your sin. It’s no big deal. But after you sin, he maximizes it. You are worthless, no good, etc.

* When you sin, confess it. After you confess it, any guilt you feel after you confess it is not from God.
Revelation 12:10 “…for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
* God never tells us we are worthless or hopeless!
The differences between conviction and condemnation:
Conviction is from God, “you’ve sinned”. Condemnation is from satan, “you’re worthless”.
7. DO I SENSE GOD’S PEACE ABOUT IT?
I Corinthians 14:33 “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace…”
* If you’re feeling confusion, it is not from God. It may be from yourself, others, or the devil.
* If you’re feeling pressured or overwhelmed to make a major decision hastily, question it.
NOTE: There isn’t one example from scripture where God says, “rush” but he does talk about patience and being still and waiting on the Lord.
NOTE: The only time you will feel pressure is when God has told you to do something and you have procrastinated.
Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
* God’s voice will bring peace to your heart.
* Worry and anxiety are never from God. We are commanded not to worry.
NOTE: God doesn’t play games with us. It’s not a cat and mouse game. He wants you to know and do His will. To miss God’s voice on buying groceries is no big deal but to miss His voice on major decisions can destroy your life. God wants such a relationship with us where He can speak to us and we hear His voice.
KEY: The key is to walk closer and closer to God every day. Don’t let sin block your channel with God. Keep your heart hot and open to the voice of God and use these 7 filters and make sure it all lines up.
CONCLUSION:
1) Does it agree with the Bible?
2) Does it make me more like Jesus?
3) Does my church family confirm it?
4) Is it consistent with how God has shaped me?
5) Does it concern my responsibility?
6) Is it convicting rather than condemning?
7) Do I sense God’s peace about it?
Resources: John R. Rice Study Bible; Illustrations by Sermon Central; Rick Warren’s Pastors.com
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The Most High God: “Wants to Talk to You”

Most High God Sermon Series

Click here to watch this sermon while following along below!
Text: Luke 8:4-15
INTRODUCTION: One of the basic truths of Christianity is that GOD SPEAKS TO PEOPLE. All through scripture we read “thus saith the Lord”. God wants a personal relationship with us and that involves communication.
PROBLEM: Communication is often misunderstood. EXAMPLE: Husbands and wives either don’t hear or misunderstand. So, if we have difficulty with our spouse that we live with and can speak to face to face, wouldn’t you expect there to be some times difficulty in communicating with God?
DANGER: Those who run around and talk about how “God told me…” all the time and leave the idea that they always have a clear word from God. The truth is a lot of stupid things have been done in the name of God.
FACT: A lot of people think Pastors always have a direct line to God and always understand exactly what God is saying. The truth is we struggle just like you in hearing God speak. Now there are times without a doubt we hear God speak as He leads us and confirms His thoughts by His Word.
NOTE: The key to hearing God speak is attitude! Understand God wants to speak to you and you can hear Him if you will tune in.
Luke 8:8 …He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
EXAMPLE: This room is filled with radio waves. They are even going through our bodies but we don’t hear them because we aren’t tuned in. God may be trying to speak to you right now but your reception is turned off or fuzzy.
THE SOWER IS GOD: THE SEED IS THE WORD: THE SOIL IS MY MIND

NOTE: In the Middle East at that time they would broadcast the seed. They would throw it from side to side and it would fall on all types of soil. So Jesus uses a common practice of the people to teach them about their attitude in hearing God speak.

There are 4 kinds of attitudes represented by 4 types of soil. The kind of attitude you have determines your ability to hear God speak to you. These are not 4 different kinds of people, but 4 kinds of attitudes. We can even vary in our attitudes from time to time, from being very open to being very closed.
I. CULTIVATE AN OPEN MIND: (Vv. 5, 12)
* What I am talking about is not an audible voice but an impression in your mind that you know is from God, because it agrees with the Word of God.
*I have to want to hear from God or He will not be able to speak to me, and if my mind is closed off then God can’t get through to me.
Luke 8:5 A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.
Luke 8:12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
NOTE: The “way side” is the area in the field that has been used as a path to walk on. That is why it is very hard and narrow and would not be fertile or prepared to receive seed.
THE WAY SIDE (HARD PATH) REPRESENTS A CLOSED MIND:
*God sows the seed but it doesn’t connect with the soil because it isn’t prepared to receive seed. It is hard, closed off, and narrow. It is like someone who has already made up their minds and nothing will change that.

WHAT CAUSES A CLOSED MIND?

1. PRIDE: We think we don’t need God. We can run our lives ok without His interference. I will make my own decisions. I don’t need to pray.
God can’t say anything to us because our minds are closed. This is PRIDE.
2. FEAR: We are afraid of what He might say to us. He might ask us to do something we don’t want to do.
He might tell us something we don’t want to hear.
He might ask us to do something we don’t think we can do.
We are afraid if we do what God tells us to do it will take all of our freedom and fun away so we don’t’ pray.
3. BITTERNESS: We have experienced hurt in our lives and we blame God for it. Why did He allow it to happen? He is supposed to be a loving and caring and all powerful God. So why did He let this happen?
NOTE: We aren’t in Heaven yet. We are still on this earth and on this earth there is a lot of pain and suffering. See God gives all of us a free will to choose how we behave. Some choose to do wrong things and as a result innocent people suffer. God allows people to make bad choices. So when people hurt us we blame God and when we do we close our minds and hearts off from God.
1) Lose a loved one, 2) Verbal, emotional, physical abuse, 3) Molestation or rape, 4) betrayal of a spouse, 5) hurt from another Christian or a church; Don’t blame God for what people do.
QUESTION: Where was God when my son died? The same place He was when His Son died on the Cross.
TRUTH: We aren’t promised to be exempt from pain but I promise you He hurts when we hurt. So don’t run from God when you hurt, run to Him. If you run from Him, you are running from the only person who can help you.
The way side, hardened path is unfruitful. It produces a bitter and wasted life.
James 1:21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
Let God love you! Drop all your defenses and open your mind and heart to God.
II. ALLOCATE TIME TO LISTEN: (Vv. 6, 13)
“If we are to hear God speak to us we need to slow down and schedule our times with God.” We schedule vacations, trips, dates, etc. but do we plan time to hear God speak to us?
*We are in such a rush to our next assignment or project. If God wants to speak to us, He better do it quick. The result, we don’t hear God speak.
Luke 8:6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.
Luke 8:13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
Matthew 13:5-6 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
Matthew 13:21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
*THE ROCK/STONY PLACES (SHALLOW SOIL) REPRESENT A SUPERFICIAL MIND.
NOTE: This is not soil with rocks in it. In the Middle East, much of the land has top soil only 3-4 inches deep over a bedrock of limestone.
Plants can grow initially but there isn’t enough soil to produce a root system so when the heat comes it dies because of lack of soil & moisture.
So this superficial mind allows the word to sprout up, we get all excited but it doesn’t last. Problems come and we fall away. There is no change in our lives.
FACT: We forget 90% of what we hear in 72 hours. By Wednesday you won’t remember but 10% of what I am preaching unless you write it down and read it again later and then act on what you have learned. That’s why we give you notes.
“The shortest pencil is longer than the longest memory.”
ILLUSTRATION: I go to conferences and read books and articles to continue to learn but if I don’t act on what I am learning and write it down, I lose it.
EXAMPLE: How many of us believe the 10 Commandments? How many can name them? You can’t live them if you can’t name them. You are not retaining and are having to relearn because you are not writing it down and acting on it.
NOTE: “They received the Word with joy…but have no root.” You can be thrilled about something and not be transformed. You can be a Christian for 30 years and not have 30 years of learning and growing. You can start off great and not finish what you started. Enthusiasm is not enough. It takes commitment to grow and live out the truth we have learned. Why would God give us new truth if we haven’t lived out the old truth He has taught us?
III. ELIMINATE THE DISTRACTIONS: (Vv. 7, 14)
* We are so preoccupied by our daily living, careers, goals, bills, worries, etc. that our minds are so full we don’t give God a chance to speak to us.
ILLUSTRATION: Like making a call and the lines are busy. They are currently being used for someone or something else.
Luke 8:7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.
Luke 8:14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
*THE THORNS (SOIL WITH WEEDS) REPRESENT A PREOCCUPIED MIND:
*Seed sprouts up but is choked before it can mature and make fruit.
FACT: God has a plan and a purpose for our lives but if we are preoccupied with others things we can’t get direction from God. Jesus tells us of 3 types of weeds that distract our lives.
THREE TYPES OF WEEDS
1. CARES: (WORRIES)
*These cares are the daily problems and pressures of life.
* “Cares” = Greek word means to be pulled in different directions. That is the Biblical definition of worry.
* You can’t pray and worry at the same time. Worry distracts us.
2. RICHES:
*Idea of being so busy to make a living we forget to live. We get in a routine of working so hard to have things we are exhausted when it comes time to hear God speak to us. We are too busy to hear Him in the morning and too tired to hear Him in the evening.
3. PLEASURES:
NOTE: There is nothing wrong with pleasures. God gave us senses in order to enjoy pleasure. The problem comes when we are so preoccupied with having fun, we forget God.
1) Recreation takes the place of Worship and Bible Study.
2) While on vacations, we skip our quiet time with God.
3) There are so many things in our lives, like relationships, responsibilities, and activities that God gets crowded out of our lives.
DEFINITION: “A weed is anything that distracts me from making time to be with God.”
ILLUSTRATION: Have you ever noticed that weeds don’t require cultivation or watering? Flowers, on the other hand, require a lot of effort in order to grow. You have to water them, trim them, & fertilize them or they will not grow.
Weeds are a sign of neglect. So to have weeds in our lives, all we have to do is neglect time with God, worship services, Bible Studies, and fellowship with other Christians and the weeds will grow up immediately.
STORY: Our Missionary to South Africa, Henni Venter’s wife wrote in our ladies devotional how the people would wear a path to their place of prayer and Bible reading. If they neglected their prayer and Bible reading, weeds would grow back up in the path.
IV. COOPERATE WITH WHAT GOD SAYS: (V. 15)
*If you want God to talk to you, you have to be committed to obeying what He says. You can’t have God speak and then decide if you will do it or not. God talks to people who will do what He tells them to do. It is the attitude that I will obey God whether I understand it or not, or whether it makes sense or not. God wants only the best for me and I know I can trust Him.
Luke 8:15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
* “Keep it” = they not only hear the Word; they obey the Word. The result is a productive life.
James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
*THE GOOD GROUND REPRESENTS A WILLING HEART:
* You are willing to do whatever God says even before He says it. I want to hear God speak to me so I can do what He wants me to do with my life.
ILLUSTRATION: If I could take a spiritual brain scan today on your brain what would we find?
1) Would you have a closed mind? Would fear, pride or bitterness be keeping your mind closed?
2) Would you have a superficial mind? Would you be shallow in your commitment? Would you be lacking in substance and transformation and carry through?
3) Would you have a preoccupied mind? Would cares and riches and pleasures have you so preoccupied that you have no room or time for God to speak to you?
4) Would you have a willing mind? Would you be willing to do what He tells you to do? Would you want His plan and purpose for your life?
CONCLUSION: The devil will try and steal the seed of God’s Word that has been sown in your life today.
Here is how to keep that from happening. Begin to live out what you have learned today.
1) Start a daily quiet time with God. Begin reading or listening to the Word of God. Begin praying for yourself and your family and for others daily.
2) Make worship and Bible Study an every week experience. Guard your Sundays. Use your Sunday nights to grow deeper in learning the Word of God.
3) Begin to get involved in a ministry and start helping others and using what you are learning.

 

Resources: John R. Rice Study Bible; Illustrations by Sermon Central; Rick Warren’s Pastors.com
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The Most High God: “When the Higher Court Overrules”

Most High God Sermon Series

Click here to watch this sermon while following along below!
TEXT: Genesis 14:18-20
INTRODUCTION: Our legal system: Everyday “lower courts” make rulings that affect our lives. But, these rulings can be overturned or overruled by the higher courts. The local court can be overruled by the state court and the state can be overruled by the Supreme Court who is the highest court in our land.
I. THE MEANING OF THE TITLE “THE MOST HIGH GOD”:
* Like our Supreme Court, our God is the Most High God. He is the most powerful in all the universe as He controls all of our lives.
Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Daniel 7:14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
Ephesians 1:22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
* There is no one higher and no one greater than our God.
II. THE MESSENGERS OF “THE MOST HIGH GOD”:
Who all understood the greatness of The Most High God.
1. MOSES KNEW WHO HE WAS: (Genesis 14)

* Moses introduces us to Melchizedek who was the King of Salem and Priest of The Most High God.

* He blessed Abraham and Abraham was referred to as being from The Most High God.
* Abraham gave the tithe/tenth to The Most High God.
2. PAUL KNEW WHO HE WAS:
* He believed what Moses had said in Genesis 14.
Hebrews 7:1 For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;
3. NEBUCHADNEZZAR KNEW WHO HE WAS:
Daniel 3:26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.
* This is the King’s response after he sees the Hebrew boys cast into the fire.
First, he was astonished because he saw 4 men in the fire.
Second: He can’t believe they aren’t burned up, but are walking in the midst of the fire.
Third: The fourth man in the fire is like the Son of God.
* No wonder He calls them servants of The Most High God.
NOTE: King Nebuchadnezzar let his pride go to his head and God turned him out to live like an animal, until he understood that The Most High ruleth over men. When God gave him back his mind, listen to his testimony.
Daniel 4:34 And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:
Nebuchadnezzar’s Son, Belshazzar was a wicked man. God writes on the wall in the King’s Palace. When Daniel is brought in to tell the King what it said, he had this to say to the King:
Daniel 5:17-21 Then Daniel answered and said before the king, Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another; yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation. O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour: And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down. But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him: And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will.

* This isn’t some streak of bad luck, this is the work of The Most High God.

4. THE DEMONIAC AT GADARA:
Mark 5:7 And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.
* This man and his companion that Matthew tells us about were uncontrollable. No matter what was done to confine them; they were more powerful. They literally terrorized the whole area, until the Son of The Most High God showed up.
5. THE DEMON POSSESSED GIRL AT PHILIPPI:
Acts 16:16-17 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.
*Paul and Silas were obedient to take the Word of God to Macedonia. While in the city of Philipps this demon possessed girl, who made her masters rich by telling the future, was proclaiming loudly that they were servants of The Most High God.
*Heaven, hell, and everything in between knows how great The Most High God is.
III. THE MESSAGE OF “THE MOST HIGH GOD”:
* We deal with the “lower courts” in our lives every day. I John 2:15-17 (World, Flesh, Devil) “lust of the flesh, eyes, pride of life” – They tell us: 1) We can’t get well, 2) We can’t break that addiction, 3) You will never find the right person to marry, 4) You can’t have a heathy marriage, 5) You can’t have a child, 6) Your kids can’t turn out right, 7) You have done too much wrong; Your life is ruined, 8) You can’t ever get out of debt, 9) You can’t get that job, 10) You aren’t smart enough to get an education, etc.
Remember, don’t let lower courts verdicts discourage you because they are only temporary. Your case is being appealed. The Most High Judge is related to you, He isn’t a distant cousin; He is God, your Father. He is on your side.
Psalm 9:4 For thou hast maintained my right and my cause; thou satest in the throne judging right.
He has judged what was right on my behalf.
Isaiah 54:17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.
No matter what the weapon, God overrules on our behalf.
1. What you are dealing with is not permanent.
* Where you are is not who you are. It isn’t where you have to stay.
* Where you came from doesn’t have to limit where you are going to go.
* How you start isn’t how you have to finish.
God Will Overrule on Our Behalf
ILLUSTRATION: My brother and I followed the example of our dad. We were hooked on booze. My brother Jerry broke out of the mold and set a new standard. He raised his boys to serve God.
He led me to Christ, and God overruled the lower courts and we began living a new standard of life. One that honored and served Christ. Don’t settle for the lower court’s decision, let God overrule and set a new standard in your home.
ILLUSTRATION: My Life: 1) Three of us from the same church went to Bible College and folks said, “Doug won’t ever make it” but God overruled and I have an earned Doctorate. 2) The lower court said, “I was to die in a horse accident in June 2015” but the higher court said, “I’m not done with him yet.”
“Where you are is not permanent, the Higher Court is in control.”
STORY: A young man was working under his car and one of the jacks fell. The car fell on him and was crushing him. His cell phone was in his shirt pocket and it fell out and Siri asked, “What can I do for you?” She called 911 and they arrived in time to save his life.
2. God always has the final say!
* Job: Satan wanted to take his life and destroy him but God said, “You can’t have his life.” God had him in a controlled environment. God had him in the hollow of His hand. Satan is no match to our God.
* Jesus on the cross: The lower courts said, “He is dead, that’s the end of this man, Jesus” but the Higher Court raised Jesus out of the grave and gave to Him the keys of death and hell.
* Israel was in slavery for 100s of years. They thought that was their lot in life but God said, overruled. He not only brought them out He gave them their wages for all those years in slavery.
3. Many of us struggle with things that have been passed down to us.
* The enemy didn’t start with you, he started a long time ago setting the standard of failures, addictions, anger, and dysfunction in your family, but you don’t have to stay there. God can overrule on your behalf.
ILLUSTRATION: Isaac’s wife Rebecca was a deceiver. She deceived her blind husband and corrupted Jacob. Jacob deceived his brother Esau. When he runs for his life and lives with his uncle, Laban, Laban deceives him to work for 7 years and then gives him the wrong daughter to marry. He then has to work 7 more years for Rachel. One day Jacob humbled himself and got right and God gave him a son Joseph who was a man of integrity. God overruled!
NOTE: It may not have started with you but it can end with you. God can overrule the negative values and influences in your life and start over with you. Don’t accept things that are bad, and negative and pass them on to your family. Let it end with you today. Let God overrule.
4. God can even overrule our wrong choices.
* Jonah: Rebelled and went to Tarsus rather than Ninevah. God didn’t stop him from making the bad choices and even the consequences of those choices. Yes, the storm came and he was thrown overboard to drown but God picked him up with a whale and resurrected him the 3rd day on dry ground so Jonah could fulfill his destiny.
* Peter: Denied the Lord, but Jesus prayed for him.
5. Don’t accept the bad and negative rulings of the lower court, God wants to overrule on your behalf.
CONCLUSION: The Most High God is ready to overrule on our behalf.

 

 

Resources: John R. Rice Study Bible; Illustrations by Sermon Central; God Overrules by Joel Osteen; Bible Character Study
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Easter 2018: “Mary Magdalene – Last at the Cross; First at the Tomb”

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Click here to watch this sermon while following along below!
TEXT: Luke 8:1-3; John 20:10-18
INTRODUCTION: Luke’s gospel gives us some great insight into the life of this woman called Mary Magdalene. To be possessed by seven devils means she was probably raised in a home where her family was involved in the occult. It also implies as she reached adulthood she continued the practice. This situation alone would mean she was tormented all the time by these evil spirits but no one could help her. Then she met Jesus and He delivered her. She seems to live out what Jesus said in Luke 7:47.
Luke 7:47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
Today we look at her life in the light of the Cross and the Empty Tomb! We will find out why she was last at the cross and first at the tomb.
I. HER GRATEFUL HEART:
*Mary loved Jesus deeply as every believer ought to love Jesus. Her life was gloriously transformed by the Lord Jesus and in return she devoted her life, as should every Christian, to serving Him. Her relationship with Christ is one that every Christian should share with the Lord Jesus. After she met Jesus her life was never the same.
A. A Changed Life:
Mary is introduced with “other certain women” who had lives of pain and disease and demon possession. Their lives were in a mess until they met Jesus, but after Jesus changed their lives, they devoted their lives and livelihood to serving Him.
NOTE: Mary called Magdalene may have been in worse shape than the others.
Mark 16:9 Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.
Here Mark states that Jesus personally cast out 7 devils. Giving the number of how many devils were in her suggests her situation was worse than the others. It also tells us that the devil is no match for our Savior. Even the demon possessed man at Gadara with a legion (1000) of devils was no match for our Lord.
The truth is all of us who are saved were at one time controlled by satan until Christ came into our lives and set us free.
Ephesians 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
*Once Mary was set free, her life belonged to the One who changed her life. Her changed life resulted in:
B. A Committed Life:
*Luke lets us know that as Christ and the disciples were preaching from village to village the message of the Kingdom of God that those who were changed travelled with them as part of the team.
* “certain women” = God gives us three names, Mary, Joanna and Susanna and then He says, “many others” which refers to a good sized group. All of them had two things in common: 1) They had been changed by the Savior. 2) They were committed to serving out of a grateful heart. How did they serve?
* “ministered” = means to care for; to see after; to provide for.
* “substance” = refers to their possessions or property. They used their material wealth to provide the physical needs of Jesus, the disciples and everyone on the team.
FACT: A life committed to serving Christ is the norm. One who has been saved but isn’t serving is abnormal. Something is wrong. Our salvation should lead us to our service. The change He made in our lives should lead us to a committed life. If we are grateful, we should serve Him. Some of you have strayed from your service to Him. Let’s return today to a grateful heart because He has changed our lives.
SONG: “Alabaster Box”
II. HER GRIEVING HEART:
*We don’t hear of Mary Magdalene again until our Lord is being crucified.
John 19:25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.
She stood near the cross and watched His hours of suffering and His eventual death. She watched as they beat Him, as He carried His Cross to Calvary and as they nailed Him to that Cross. How she must have wept as she watched Him suffer such agony on that Cross. What caused her to stay at the Cross like Jesus’ mother, Mary? What caused her to want to be there for every minute He remained alive?
A. Her Doubtless Love:
*Her love brought her to the Cross and her presence at the Cross removed any doubt of her love.
*Love is not a noun, it is a verb. Love is more than words, it is action. Out actions prove the depth of our love.
Deuteronomy 6:5 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
The real proof that we love Him with all our heart, soul and might is declared by our actions. Mary’s staying by that cross revealed her love, without a doubt, for Jesus.
B. Her Endless Love:
* When we look at the cross there are significant names that are missing. John is there but where is Peter? Where are James and Matthew and the other disciples?
Matthew 26:56 But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.
* In a moment we will see a graphic portrayal of how Jesus suffered. We will see where He was beaten by the soldiers, how He carried His cross to Calvary and how He was nailed on that Cross and how He suffered and died for us. The questions is, “Would you have stayed by the cross?”
STORY: The great missionary, Hudson Taylor, was interviewing some young people who wanted to be missionaries. He asked them why they wanted to be missionaries. They gave answers like: 1) I want to reach people for Jesus. 2) People are dying without Christ and will go to hell and I want to warn them. 3) Most every answer was basically the same.
Hudson Taylor said, “Your motives are good but I am afraid all of you will fail in times of severe testing and tribulation and especially if you are confronted with death. The only motive that will enable you to remain true to Christ is II Corinthians 5:14, “…the love of Christ constraineth us…”
Our love for Christ will keep us at the foot of the Cross.”
Would you have stayed by the cross?
VIDEO & SONG: “Oh the Blood”

III. HER GLADDENED HEART:

* The next time we see Mary in the scriptures is from our text in John 20:1. The 1st day of the week, Mary goes to the tomb. It is still dark and she finds the stone rolled away and she did like most us would, she seemed to panic.
* She assumes His body has been stolen so she runs and tells Peter and the other disciples. There is a foot race between Peter and John to the tomb. John gets there first but doesn’t go in. Peter goes in and finds the grave clothes are there but Jesus is gone.
NOTE: John 20:8-9 implies that John went into the tomb and saw the body was gone and believed what Mary had said, “They have stolen His body.” Then verse 29 says, “They still had not understood how He had taught them that He would die but on the 3rd day, He would rise again from the dead.”
* They leave and Mary stays behind:
1) She stood outside the tomb/sepulcher weeping. The word weeping means, “cry out with a loud lamentation”. (V. 11)
2) She looks into the empty tomb and sees two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet where the body of Jesus had lain. (V. 12)
3) (V. 13) They ask why she is crying and she still thinks they have stolen His body.
4) (V. 14-17) Jesus appears to her but she thinks He is the gardener and asks if he is the one who took Jesus’ body. Then Jesus mentions her name, “Mary” and her eyes are opened and she calls Him master. He tells her not to touch Him but go and tell the disciples. The phrase “touch me not” literally means, “don’t cling to me”. Mary would have wrapped her arms around Him and hung on for dear life but He has a job for her to do.
5) Mary goes to the disciples and tells them, “I have seen the Lord.” (V. 18)
SONG: “I’ve Just Seen Jesus” (Al & Jennifer)
NOTE: Seeing Jesus alive is the heart of Christianity and God makes it real clear that not only Mary and the disciples but many others saw Him alive by many infallible proofs during those 40 days after His resurrection and before He ascended back to Heaven.
Acts 1:3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
I Corinthians 15:5-8 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
a) The resurrection changed these men from cowards to courageous followers of Christ even to their death.
b) These 500 people, many were still alive when Paul wrote I Corinthians. They were eye witnesses.
* That is why Luke says, “We have infallible proof of Christ’s resurrection.”
STORY: Some missionaries from Bangladesh were showing the “Jesus film” to several hundred villagers who had never heard the life story of Jesus. They were enthralled, captivated, by the life of Christ. They had never known of anyone so good, kind or loving. Then the scene turned to the torture, beating and crucifixion. They began to weep loudly and some began yelling, “no you can’t do that to Him” and chaos broke out. They demanded the people to stop. When suddenly a young man jumped up and screamed, “Do not be afraid. He gets up again. I’ve seen it before.”
That is our Easter message: I have seen the Lord! He gets up again! Don’t be afraid.
SONG: “The Lamb Has Overcome”
CONCLUSION: I was reading this past week how Peter was ridiculed for his failure in denying our Lord. The writer said, “From that time on in Jerusalem every time Simon Peter would walk by some of his enemies they would crow like a rooster.” They never let him forget his failure.
Our Lord went out of His way in Mark 16 to make sure Peter knew he was wanted and invited with the other disciples to meet Him in Galilee (Mark 16:7)

He has gone out of His way today to speak to all of us through His Spirit that our failures aren’t fatal or final but we can come to Him. If we refuse to come, they will be fatal and final.

Resources: John R. Rice Study Bible; Illustrations by Sermon Central; Easter’s Good News by Jerry Vines; Mary Magdalene by Ken Trivette; Easter’s Questions by David Dykes
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DBC’s DNA: “Why My Bible is Like No Other Book”

DBC DNA Sermon Series

 

 

 

Click here to watch this sermon while following along below!
TEXT: Various Scriptures
INTRODUCTION:
If I say, “I believe the Bible is the Word of God”, that is good, but it isn’t the Word of God because I believe it is. Just because I believe something doesn’t make it true.
The truth is, “Christians don’t believe the Bible is the Word of God by mere blind faith.” Faith as taught in the Bible is not blind faith. Faith is rooted in evidence, Heb. 11:1, and faith is rooted in truth, Titus 1:1.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Titus 1:1 …acknowledging of the truth…
So, what evidence do we have that the Bible is like no other book, God’s Book, the very Word of God? There are many evidences but today we will look at five.
Trivia:
1) The Bible is the bestselling book in the history of the world.
2) The Bible is the most shoplifted book in the history of the world.
ILLUSTRATION: Philippines: The proclaimers are being stolen out of the Christian churches by the Muslims. They are playing the Word of God in their Mosque.
3) This Book has 66 books wrapped up in one and it contains approximately 773,692 words.
4) An average reader could read this book in 70 hours aloud.
5) The Bible is written by all sorts of different people; politicians, statesmen, farmers, shepherds, fisherman, peasants, musicians, poets, doctors and even a tax collector.
6) It is written from 13 different countries on three different continents: Asia, Africa, and Europe.
7) It is written over a period of 1,500 years, by people from all different walks of life and it has amazing accuracy and consistency and it speaks to everything we need to know in order to live an abundant life on earth and Heaven when we die.
I. THE BIBLE’S PERSONAL CLAIMS:
* Over 3,800 times the Bible declares that it is nothing less than the Word of God. Over and over it declares, “thus saith the Lord” or “God said”. It isn’t just the thoughts of God, it is the very words of God that are inspired (God-breathed).
* If the Bible was only partially inspired then the reader becomes the judge of what is inspired or not. It is all inspired. The Christians who read Paul’s letters acknowledge they are from God.
1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
2 Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
ILLUSTRATION: These holy men who made the claim that they were writing the very words of God, “were these men trustworthy?” Yes: History documents that these men defended the integrity of the Bible at great personal sacrifice, and many even died for the Word.
Jeremiah’s own family rejected him and others tried to kill him: (Jer. 11:1-3; 21; 12:6).
Was Jeremiah a glutton for unnecessary punishment, or did he have the truth?
Men like David, Moses, Joshua, Daniel, Nehemiah and the apostles are proven by history to be men of integrity, reliable men. Plus many of them even died for believing what they wrote was the Word of God. They had nothing to gain financially, yet they were willing to suffer for what they wrote because it is the Word of God.
STORY: Simon Greenleaf, one of the founders of Harvard Law School, was a skeptic until he examined the evidences for the Resurrection and how the Apostles were willing to die for the truths they wrote, he said, “The annals of military warfare afford scarcely an example of like heroic constancy, patience, and unflinching courage. They had every possible motive to review carefully the grounds of their faith, and the evidences of the great facts and truths which they asserted.”
* Even a careless reader of the Bible soon discovers that the human authors of scripture believed they were recording the God-breathed Word. Either these men were deceived and crazy or what they embraced was true.
II. THE BIBLE’S PROVEN ACCURACY:
Dr. William Ramsay (considered one the world’s most eminent scholars) at one time was very critical of the Bible, after studying the writing of Dr. Luke, concluded that Luke was one of the world’s greatest historians.
QUOTE: “I take the view that Luke’s history is unsurpassed in regards to its trustworthiness. You may press the words of Luke in a degree beyond any other historian, and they will stand the keenest scrutiny and the hardest treatment. Luke is a historian of the first rank. This author should be placed along with the greatest of historians.”
Luke 1:1-4 Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.
Examples of Proven Accuracy:
Luke 2:1-2 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
Luke states the birth of Christ took place when Cyrenius was governor. Critics knew Jesus was born before the death of Herod and history shows Cyrenius was governor after Herod’s death. But, archeologists discovered that Cyrenius was governor twice. The first time, was when Christ was born and the second, after the death of Herod.
Daniel 6 = Belshazzar
He is the King who witnessed the mysterious handwriting on the wall. Daniel read him the message from God that said his kingdom would fall and go to the Medes & Persians. Critics said this was a made up story because Na-bo-ni-dus was the last king of Babylon. Later it was discovered that Na-bo-ni-dus was the father of Belshazzar and they reigned as co-regents. That is why Belshazzar promised Daniel he would make him “the third ruler in the kingdom.”
Daniel 5:7 The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. And the king spake, and said to the wise men of Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and shew me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.
Hittites:

Numbers 13:29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.

These people are mentioned 48 times in scriptures but it wasn’t until 1876 that the vast empire of the ancient Hittites was uncovered. Bible critics said no people called Hittites ever existed but now man knows they were as great as Egypt and Assyria.
NOTE: In the year 1806, the French Institute of Science listed no less than 80 historical/archeological/geological errors in the Bible. By 1940 every single accusation on the list was proven wrong.
NOTE: The Bible is a historically accurate record because it is inspired by the one true omniscient God who infallibly recorded the past.
III. THE BIBLE’S SUPERNATURAL CONSTRUCTION:
CHALLENGE: Have 10 different authors to write a book about the same general subject, independently of one another and then see if they contradict each other on any of the names, dates or message of the subject.
NOTE: Yet the Bible had as many as 40 different authors, over a 1500 year span, from 3 continents, using 3 different languages, Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic (Aramaic is only used a few chapters in the O.T. and only a few sentences in N.T.), from a wide variety of backgrounds and professions and most of them never met and were unfamiliar of each other’s writings and yet the Bible is a unified book of 66 different books without a single contradiction. There is a perfect unity from Genesis to Revelation. The only explanation is that behind these 40 authors (holy men of God) was one divine author, God the Holy Spirit.
FACT: The Quran was compiled by one man, Zaidibn Thabit (Za-aid-e-bin-tha-beet), under the direction of Mohammed’s father-in-law. In A.D. 650 a group of Arab scholars produced a unified version based on Uthman’s Copy (3rd successor of Mohammed) and destroyed all variant copies to preserve the unity of the Koran.
IV. THE BIBLE’S PROPHETIC NATURE:
ILLUSTRATION: What if someone told you, 300 years from now on a certain day that your great, great, great, great grandson would be crossing the Tennessee River Bridge on I-65 and be hit by a blue pick-up truck driven by a woman named Sue with a 52-KM34 license plate and it happened exactly that way?
No one has ever foretold the future 100s of years in advance with minute details where the predictions came true, except the writers of the Bible. Only God, who knows all, can accurately and specifically foretell the future.
Isaiah 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
NOTE: Critics say that Jesus, who knew the O.T., just arranged to have prophecies fulfilled so that He could look like He was the Messiah.
Do you think Jesus arranged:
1. To be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2)?
2. For the prophet Isaiah to describe His virgin birth (Isa. 7:9)?
3. For the prophet Isaiah to describe His death by crucifixion (Isa. 53) centuries before it was used as a form of execution? Yet, this was given 700 years before Christ left Heaven and was born in Bethlehem.
4. For King David, 1000 years before His birth, to describe His death as if David was watching it happen (Ps. 22)?
5. To be crucified between two thieves (Isa. 53:2)?
6. To have Judas to betray him for 30 pieces of silver over 500 years before it happened (Zech. 11:12)?
7. To tell how he would enter Jerusalem riding on a donkey (Zech. 9:9)?
8. That at his trial he would be falsely accused (Ps. 35:11)?
QUESTION: Why, was all this done and so many more (over 300) prophecies that Jesus Christ fulfilled the 1st time He came into this world?
Matthew 26:56 But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled….
FACT: There are no verifiable prophecies in the Koran, Book of Mormon, or the Hindu Upanishads (U-pan-i-shads), or any other religious or secular book. Only the Bible has fulfilled prophecies.
FACT: The secular works of Nos-tra-da-mus have his so called prophecies, and if you examine them they are so vague and broad they could apply to 100s of different scenarios. The few times he was specific he was always proven wrong, like the prediction that the world would end in 1999.
* Holy men of God wrote this book and its evidence proves it was uniquely inspired by God.
V. THE BIBLE’S PRESERVATION:
Psalm 119:160 Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.
Isaiah 40:8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
FACT: Those who say the Bible is unreliable because it has been copied and translated so many times through the centuries. This is so quickly refuted when examining the manuscript evidence.
Julius Caesar’s “The Gallic Wars” tells of his battles from 58 to 51 B.C. There are only 10 remaining copies, with the earliest dating some 900 years after the original.

Homer’s “Odyssey”, the first complete copy, is 2,200 years after the original.

Work of Catullus, we have three copies with the earliest dating back 1600 years after the original.
The Bible is unsurpassed by no other ancient work in history. There exist over 5,500 copies of the N.T. that contains all or part of the Greek text with copies dating as early as 120 A.D. (Ken Ham). “In the early years of Christianity the Bible was translated into many other languages and we have over 18,000 copies further authenticating the reliable transmission of scripture. There exist some 86,000 citations from early writers, of the scriptures in their works.” (Ken Ham)
The O.T. manuscripts have been further confirmed through the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1949. The vast majority were just copies of the books of the O.T. from 250-150 B.C. A copy or portion of nearly every O.T book was found. A complete copy of Isaiah was discovered providing a manuscript dating 100 years before Christ. When compared with copies dating 900 years after Christ, there was a difference of only 17 letters; most were how a word was spelled differently. None of the Dead Sea Scrolls had differences that changed the meanings of how they were originally recorded. There is more support for the reliability of the biblical manuscripts than any other writings of the ancient world. (Ken Ham)

NOTE: The Bible has been laughed at, scorned, burned, treated as contraband and even had laws made against it and yet the Bible stands. The Bible is an indestructible book because God has promised to preserve it.

Isaiah 40:8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
FACT: You have 2 choices today. 1) God inspired holy men to write the very words of God. 2) It was written by men. If so, you must conclude they were either good or bad men. If you say they were good, then they forfeit their goodness because they have lied and deceived by saying, “thus saith the Lord”. If they were bad, it seems highly unlikely that they would write a book that condemns sin and commends good and condemns unbelievers to an eternity in hell.
The only true and honest conclusion is that God wrote this book through holy men that He chose to write the inspired, God-breathed, Word of God.
NOTE: Every other religion or religious writings claim a person can go to Heaven by good works, how he lives. But, the Bible and true Christianity teach that a man cannot save himself by his good works and the penalty for sin is death, and Christ became the substitute for our punishment and payment of sin on the cross and that through faith in Christ we can be totally and completely forgiven of our sins. That is why the Bible says, “Christ is the only way to God.”
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
CONCLUSION: “If each member of our church could do one thing that would change the world, what would that one thing be?” Would it be to be generous so we could help so many people financially? Would it be to become mission minded and tell the entire world about Jesus? Would it be to become great people of prayer? Would it be that you would live a very godly life? Would it be that would be full of the joy of God? Would it be for you to be incredible parents?
“I WOULD HAVE YOU DAILY READ GOD’S WORD, AND NOT JUST READ IT BUT DO WHAT IT SAYS, ‘BECAUSE IF YOU DO, ALL OF THESE OTHER THINGS WOULD HAPPEN.’”
**Resources used for this sermon include pastors.com, Expedition Bible, Apologetics by Frank Turek (Saddle Back), John R. Rice Study Bible, Sermon Central, LifeChurch.tv: Ken Ham and Bodie Hodge, “How Do We Know the Bible is True.” **
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DBC’s DNA: “Why the Bible is the Authority of Our Lives and Church”

DBC DNA Sermon Series

Click here to watch this sermon while following along below!
Text: Psalm 119:133; Hebrews 4:12
Psalm 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
INTRODUCTION:
Today we will affirm how the Bible is the Word of God, even from unsaved Historians, and that we can trust the Bible to be the authority of our lives and our church.
ARGUMENTS OF NON-BELIEVERS
1. We have no proof that Jesus even existed except for the Bible!
Richard Dawkins, in his book, “The God Delusion” says, “Professor G.A. Wills of London University says that a study of history gives a serious historical case that Jesus never existed.”

2. Jesus isn’t God! He was a good man but not God.

Emperor Constantine invented the idea that Jesus is actually God in the 4th Century. He elevated Jesus from being a good Jewish teacher to being God. Under his instructions the Nicene Council of 425, 4th Century, declared Jesus to be God and not just a man.

3. In the Greek N.T. there are some 136,000 words. Of all the different manuscripts, when composed there is between 300,000-400,000 variances in those manuscripts. How do you explain that?

“So when you are challenged to why you believe the Bible is true what will you say?” We will answer all three of these arguments.

HOW TO KNOW THE BIBLE IS TRUE: THREE TESTS HISTORIANS APPLY TO ANCIENT BOOKS:

I. THE HONESTY TEST

Did the writer care about truth and were they honest in making sure what they said was true?

Luke 1:1-4 Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.

Does this sound like someone who cares about truth?

Some say the story of Christ is just a myth. Listen to what Peter said who spent years with Christ.

II Peter 1:16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
Observe the “senses” John uses when he tells us about Jesus Christ.

I John 1:1-4 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

ILLUSTRATION: When people make up lies & stories they leave them vague. They are intentionally vague because they can’t prove their story to be true. If they give a lot of detail you had better check them out.

EXAMPLE: Evolution: Big Bang…but where are the details?

QUOTE: “If all of creation came from a “Big Bang” then God is the Big Banger.”

NOTE: Look at the details:

Luke 3:1-2 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.

NOTE: 15th year, not 14th or 16th…15th! When, during the reign of Tiberius Caesar….details.
If it wasn’t true, skeptics could prove it wrong and discredit it.

FACT: Even skeptical scholars believe Luke is an incredibly accurate historian. He cared about truth and details.

SIGNS OF CREDIBLE TESTIMONY:

1. CRITERION OF EMBARRASSMENT: IF THEY CARE ABOUT TRUTH, THEY WILL PRESENT FACTS AND INFORMATION EVEN THOUGH IT MAKES THEM LOOK BAD.

EXAMPLE: “No one likes to make themselves look bad, they lie to make themselves look good.”

QUESTION: Do the gospel writers say things that make themselves look bad?

1. Peter told how he denied Christ. (IN ALL 4 GOSPELS)
2. Told how Jesus called Peter, satan, told him to get behind him. (Matthew and Mark)
3. How they argued over who was the greatest among themselves. (Mark 9:34; Luke 22:24)
4. After many teaching sessions, they privately asked Jesus to explain what He had taught because they did not understand. Were they dumb? (Matt, Mark and Luke)
5. How they slept in the Garden when Jesus needed them to pray: (Matthew, Mark and Luke)
6. How after His arrest they ALL forsook him. (Matthew 26:56)
7. Paul: Killing Christians, conflict with Barnabas, conflict with Simon Peter.
8. Resurrection Day: Women discover the empty tomb. Why is that odd? In that culture, women were not educated and could not testify in a court of law, so their testimony would have been considered worthless. (All 4 gospels)

“If you were not interested in truth and details you sure wouldn’t tell the resurrection story that way.”

2. CRITERION OF DEATH: THEY WERE WILLING TO DIE FOR WHAT THEY BELIEVED. “The Resurrection of Jesus Christ”

5: Peter, Andrew, Phillip, Simon the Zealot, Thaddeus (Judas, son of James) were crucified.
1: Bartholomew was beaten to death then crucified upside down
1: James beheaded by Herod
1: Matthew/Levi died in Ethiopia, chopped to death by an axe.
1: Mathias was stoned to death
1: Judas hung himself
1: Thomas was thrust through 4 times with a spear
1: John lived to an old age and his body was never found.
Two more: Both were Anti-Jesus before their conversion (John 7:5): 1) James, ½ brother to Jesus and 2) Paul “Both willingly laid down their lives for Christ.”

“What more could these writers do to convince us that what they told us about Jesus Christ is true.”
“They cared about truth.”

II. THE TELEPHONE TEST

Game: One person tells a phrase, and then the next person repeats it, on and on until the last person quotes the phrase out loud. Information is lost as it is passed from one to another.
In this game, 1) the less people involved and 2) the less time lost between times of sharing, the greater chance for accuracy.

NOTE: before the printing press, everything was written by hand. As the paper or skins they wrote on faded or disintegrated they would recopy. Over and over and over they had to recopy. The longer the generations passed the greater chance for error.

NOTE: 2,000 years have passed. Do we have reason to believe what has been passed down to us is accurate?

Textual critics ask 2 questions:
1. How much time do we have between the time it was actually written to the copies you have in front of you?

REMEMBER: The original would disintegrate or fade, then it would have to be recopied before it was lost…repeated from generation to generation.

So, the questions is, how close can we get back to the original? The more generations that pass, the greater chance of error.

2. How many manuscripts or portions do we have?

ILLUSTRATION: HOW MANY COPIES OR PORTIONS TO RECONSTRUCT FROM
1. WRITINGS OF CAESAR 10 MANUSCRIPTS
2. PLATO’S TETRALOGIES 7 MANUSCRIPTS
3. TACITUS 20 MANUSCRIPTS (MOST RELIABLE ROMAN HISTORIAN)
4. POEM: ILIAD OF HOMER 643 MANUSCRIPTS
5. NEW TESTAMENT 24,633 MANUSCRIPTS

ILLUSTRATION: TIME TABLE FROM ORIGINAL, TO THE FIRST KNOWN COPIES
1. PLINY THE YOUNGER 750 YR. GAP (ROMAN HISTORIES)
From the time between him writing it and the copy or portions we presently have.
2. PLATO’S TETRALOGIES 1200 YR. GAP
“Do you think secular scholars are skeptical about reconstructing what they wrote?” NO!
3. WRITINGS OF CAESAR 1000 YR. GAP
4. NEW TESTAMENT 50 YR. GAP

QUOTE: Dan Wallace: Dallas Theological Seminary: “We have more and earlier manuscripts about the person of Jesus Christ than we do of anyone else in ancient history, including Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great! There are not too many skeptics of these guys:
“We have more evidence that Jesus existed than any other person in the ancient world, that no one ever questions their existence.”

ANSWER
REMEMBER: Basically 136,000 words in Greek N.T. and there are 300,000-400,000 variances: Here is your answer:
1. 75-85% is just spelling: Ex. John, Johnn = 2Ns
2. Other: Ex. Book of Mark: Some scribes used the word “He” in many places instead of using the name Jesus…others wrote in the name Jesus.
3. Fact: A) Some of the variants don’t take away the meaning of the text, in fact some help give clarity. B) Less than 1% of all variants have anything to do with central doctrines or important events. C) What this means: even if you are a skeptic and not a Christian, if you apply these Tests (Honesty, Telephone) you have to conclude that what we hold in our hands as N.T. Scripture is what the disciples first wrote down 2,000 years ago. There is more evidence for Jesus and his claims than any of his contemporaries, even though they had far more secular power and position and prominence than Jesus.

III. THE CORROBORATION TEST: EVIDENCE OUTSIDE THE DOCUMENT THAT SUPPORTS OR CONFIRMS THE CLAIMS OF THE DOCUMENT

A. HISTORIANS
These scholars are very careful, detailed, and even considered boring by those who are looking for a “headline”. Jesus is gay, Jesus had an affair with Mary Magdalene.”
They deal with only what they can prove without adding drama or exaggeration.
“THERE ARE 10 NON-CHRISTIAN SOURCES THAT REFERENCE JESUS AND WHO HE CLAIMS TO BE.”
1. Thallas: Historian who wrote Koine Greek: Some believe his works give the earliest reference to the historical Jesus, some 20 years after his crucifixion.
2. Mara-bar-Serapion: Stoic Philosopher, writing from prison, refers to the crucifixion of Jesus, “the execution of the wise king of the Jews.”
3. Josephus: Jewish Historian: refers to Jesus two times: 1) As the famous teacher and healer 2) As the brother of James who was executed and that Jesus was referred to by the title Christ.
4. Tacitus: Considered the greatest Roman Historian: confirms Jesus was executed under direction of Pontius Pilot.
5. Pliny the Younger: 61-112 A.D.: Lawyer, Author and Magistrate of Ancient Rome: He executed Christians for their worship and belief in Jesus Christ.
6. Suetonius = Roman Historian: 69-122 A.D. Referred to Christians and Jesus Christ in his work, “Lives of the 12 Caesars”.
7. Lucian of Samosata: Satirist: Comedian A.D. 125-180
8. Celsus: Greek Philosopher: in all of his 1st books addresses the person, Jesus, as “Chresto”
9. Talmud: Jewish Law Book
10. Jewish Bible

ANSWER
FACT: Jesus existence, fame as a teacher and healer and crucifixion under Pontius Pilot and being called by the title “Christ” would be regarded as beyond reasonable doubt by virtually all professional historians in any reputable university around the world.
Example of today’s atheist: Richard Dawkins: “The God Delusion”: He claims that Jesus Christ did not even exist. His authority that he uses is Professor G.A. Willis of London University. WOW! What he doesn’t tell you is Professor Willis is a professor of music, not a historian….something fishy about these “new atheists”.

B. MULTIPLE ATTESTATIONS
Historians regard the Gospels as a very important source for our knowledge of historical Jesus.
KEY: The N.T. is a collection of sources from different writers over the span of many years.
The writers wrote independently of each other. They did not write in collusion with each other. Even the skeptics accept this fact.
Because these different sources say roughly the same thing about persons and events, that makes their teaching more believable and historically reliable.

C. EARLY EVIDENCE
Some skeptics say the N.T. was written 100’s of years after the life and death of Christ. That is not true!!

NOTE: The oldest book (written test) is St. John. It was written in 90 A.D. That is 57 years after Christ’s death.

INCREDIBLE: “Oral Teaching”: What followers of Christ believed and taught before the books of the N.T. were written.

I Corinthians 15:3-5 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:

The Gospel: The death, burial and resurrection is believed to have been taught within months after the death and resurrection of Christ. Scholars and historians place this around 35 A.D.

FACT: As Paul quotes the “Gospel” and puts it into print, it proves that the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Christ was not from a legend growing up over time, but was written in the N.T.

QUESTION: Why is that so important?
How long after Christ’s death was the literature of Christ written? That is the issue!! (50 years)

1. Mohammed: founder of Islamic faith: the earliest biography of him was written around 760 A.D. That is 125 years after his death.

2. Buddha: the earliest records of his life were written 350 years after his death.
“All Islamic and Buddhist scholars agree.”

D. ARCHAEOLOGY
Pool of Bethesda: John 5 “Pool 5 columns holding up the porches over the pool.

Pool of Siloam: John 9: Dug all around in the Siloam district of the city but could not find the pool. June 2004 while working on the sewage in the old city, they accidentally uncovered the steps leading down to the pool.

ANSWER
Remember I began by telling you the teaching that Christ was God was invented in 425 by Constantine at the Council of Nicene, in the 4th Century. Jesus was just a man. Dan Brown used this information to write “The Da Vinci Code”.

Nov. 8, 2005: In Megiddo, when adding onto a prison, they found a house (renovated into a church) that is the oldest church in Israel. It pre-dates Constantine and the Nicene Council by more than a century. On the floor of this house/church is a Mosaic 580 sq. ft. This Mosaic has fish symbols and Gr. Inscription that these believers worshipped the God, Jesus Christ.

Most people aren’t free: Enslaved to Past, Habits, Fears, Expectations of Others, Finances, Bitterness and Can’t Forgive, Own Desires, and don’t know how to change, things you don’t like about yourself but you can’t change.

“Know the truth, the truth will set you free.”

CONCLUSION: ALL OF THESE FACTS ARE GREAT, BUT THE MOST COMPELLING FACT IS, THE BIBLE HAS CHANGED MY LIFE.

John 8:31-32 “…If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

John 14:6 “…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

1) You can’t just straddle the fence.
2) You can’t just be impartial about Jesus.
3) If Jesus isn’t who He said He was, then let’s go home: Close churches, hospitals, and schools because they were all started by Christians. First school and hospital and church!
4) If He is the way, truth and life, you owe him your life. You owe Him your worship.
ILLUSTRATION: My name is Doug Ripley.
I am a good teacher: ok, I buy that.
I am a godly man: ok, maybe.
I am a Prophet of God: ok, speaks God’s Word.
I am the Son of God, the only way to Heaven: That changes the situation: Jesus is either the biggest con-man or the Son of God.
I’m betting my life that the Bible is true. What are you betting your life on?
1. Don’t let blood be thicker that Bible.
2. Don’t let money be more valuable than Bible.
3. Don’t let sin be more exciting than Bible.
4. Don’t let career be more important than Bible.
5. Don’t let anything or anyone take your Bible away from you!

 

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DBC’s DNA: Why Getting the Donkey is Such a Big Deal: “The Great Commission”

DBC DNA Sermon Series

Click here to watch this sermon while following along below!
Text: Luke 19:29-40
INTRODUCTION: All scripture has 3 applications.
1) Historical: This really happened. These disciples went to this home and unloosened a donkey to take back to Jesus. When asked, “What are you doing? They said the Lord needs him.
2) Spiritual: We need to obey the Lord even when it doesn’t seem right. God will have to take care of the details.
3) Doctrinal: He will show us the “Great Commission” in this text.
All Four Gospels Contain This Story
1) Matthew 21:1-11 – Here the colt is called an ass.
2) Mark 11:1-11
3) John 12:12-15 – Here the animal is called an ass’ colt.
* When all four Gospels tell the same story, we must pay close attention.
I. THE DISCIPLES’ RESPONSIBILITY WAS TO OBEY: (Vv. 29-30)
A. THEY HAD TO LEAVE: (V. 29) “he sent two of his disciples”
1. THIS OBEDIENCE REQUIRED ACTION: (V. 30) “Go ye”

FACT: The phrase “go ye” will always be associated with the context of evangelism and The Great Commission.

Matthew 28:19 “Go ye therefore and teach all nations.”

Mark 16:15 “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel.”

APPLICATION: God has called all of us to share our faith so get prepared and learn how and do it.

2. THEIR OBEDIENCE REQUIRED GOING TO A CERTAIN AREA: (V. 30) “the village over against you”

NOTE: That phrase means the area directly in front of you. They understood this because they didn’t ask where they were to go.

FACT: We are to evangelize those in front of you. Those we are around daily and those God brings in front of us in our daily lives. Those where we work, where we live, where we play, where we go to school, are our mission field.
John 4:35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
Our Jerusalem is a fertile mission field. God has prepared these people for you to talk to them about Christ and salvation.
STORY: When I got saved as a senior in high school, one of the students who I had gone to school with since the 1st grade came up to be and said, “Please forgive me.” I have been a Christian for many years but I never witnessed to you because I thought you would not want Christ and Christianity.” You will never know who is ready if you don’t ask them.
3. THEIR OBEDIENCE CAUSED ANTICIPATION: (V. 30) “at your entering ye shall find.”
FACT: The find is God’s responsibility. My responsibility is to go and God will do the rest.
TRUTH:  Mark 11:4-6 And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him. And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt? And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go.
* “door” – John 10:9  I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
* “two ways meet” – Matthew 7:13-14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
NOTE: They go and they find and they loose the colt (donkey). It is all possible because God had directed them and prepared the way.
QUOTE: “Witnessing is going in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving all the results up to God.”
4. THROUGH OBEYING THEY FIND THE ANIMAL: (V. 30) “a colt tied”
Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
PICTURE: This donkey (ass) is a picture of an unsaved man.
Job 11:12 For vain men would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass’s colt.
* Man is “like” a donkey. They are loud, stubborn, and they keep everything around them stirred up.
Exodus 13:13 And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break his neck: and all the firstborn of man among thy children shalt thou redeem.
Exodus 34:20 But the firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb: and if thou redeem him not, then shalt thou break his neck. All the firstborn of thy sons thou shalt redeem. And none shall appear before me empty.
The ass had to be redeemed by a lamb or he was to die with a broken neck. So, Judas is a picture of an unsaved man who went out and hanged himself (broke his neck).
John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
The ass and ox were not to be hooked to a plow together.
Deuteronomy 22:10 Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together.
TRUTH: “never man sat” (V. 30) He had not ever been ridden or trained. We are to go to those who have never been saved. We are to reach the lost.
Romans 15:20 Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation:
So much church growth today is transfer growth rather than through evangelism. We must get back to evangelism.
B. THEY HAD TO LOOSE HIM: (V. 30) This is what the Gospel does. We are to present the Gospel and God does the rest.
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
Romans 6:18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
C. THEY HAD TO LEAD HIM BACK TO JESUS: (V. 30) “bring him hither”
NOTE: This is the first step in discipleship. It isn’t enough just to find the donkey and loose him, we have to get him to Jesus. That is discipleship. We are to bring him to Christ’s body the church. We can’t by-pass the church and ever make disciples.
Ephesians 1:22-23 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
Matthew 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
NOTE: Our job is to “lead him” and not ride him; that is the Lord’s job. We get them to the Lord and His body then He will supernaturally ride him and domesticate him.
FACT: Horses all look good in the fields but you don’t know if they have been domesticated until you get on one. You will find out real fast if the Lord has tamed him.
II. THE DISCIPLES’ REASON FOR GOING: (V. 31) “the Lord hath need of him”
* Our Lord still desires to have worshippers. God has a plan for all our lives and we will only know in eternity what God will do with the next person we lead to Christ.
A. THE REACTION OF SOME: (V. 33) “Why loose ye the colt?”
* Just leave people alone! Their lives are none of our business! We can’t do that if we really believe there is a hell and that our Lord has commanded us to take the Gospel to the world.
STORY: A Christian man came up to a well-dressed lady in a hotel lobby. He spoke to her about Christ and the Gospel. After their conversation her husband came back into the lobby and asked his wife what was that man saying? She told him and he said, “Did you tell him it was none of his business?” Her reply was, “If you could have seen the look on his face and heard the sound of his voice, you would have believed it was his business.”
B. THE RESPONSE OF THE DISCIPLES: (V. 35) “they brought him to Jesus”
* These disciples had no power or persuasion over the owners of this donkey. Their job was to go and loose him and bring him to Jesus. All of the details the Lord had to work out.
*Our job is to obey. His job is to bring the results.
C. THE RIDING OF THE COLT: V. 35) “they set Jesus thereon”
* Here is an untrained donkey that has never been ridden but when Jesus sets on him he is completely trained. He is as gentle as a lamb.
* Our Jesus changes things. He can change anything or anyone.
D. THE REJOICING OF THE PEOPLE: (Vv. 36-40)
* Here is always the outcome of obedience. Of all the disciples who were rejoicing, which two do you think rejoiced the most?
CONCLUSION: We have a job to do and it begins at home:
Matthew 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
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DBC’s DNA: “Why Missions is a Big Deal”

DBC DNA Sermon Series

Click here to watch this sermon while following along below!
TEXT: Survey of Acts 1-13

INTRODUCTION: You have heard me say many times, the two greatest mistakes I made in my 1st pastorate were 1) I did not empower or build the ministry on my people. I tried to do it all. 2) I did not give them a world vision. My last two years I tried to correct my mistakes but when I came here to be your pastor the very first thing I began to do was 1) Empower you to do the ministry, 2) Give you a world vision.

Any church whose foundation is “Built on the Word of God and on the People of God with a Vision to Reach the World” will be stable and healthy for many years to come.

But what happens if a church doesn’t have a vision to reach the world? The Jerusalem Church is the greatest example of a church that had everything you need to reach the world but they disobediently chose not to.

Here is What They Had:

I. THEY HAD A MANDATE BUT NO MISSION: (Acts 1)

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

This is the repeated and clarified commission that Jesus gave some 40 days earlier in Matthew 28 and Mark 16. They received Power, the Holy Ghost, to be witnesses both (at the same time) in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the Ends of the Earth (home & foreign missions).

II. THEY HAD A MULTITUDE BUT NO MISSION: (Acts 2)

Acts 2:6, 41 …the multitude came together…and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

* They had more than enough people to get the job done. These 3,000 added to those who were already following the Lord gave them an army of workers, yet they didn’t do the mission.

III. THEY HAD THE MIRACLES BUT NO MISSION: (Acts 3)

Acts 3:1-8 Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.

The Power and Presence of God was with them just like He promised and still they didn’t do the mission.

IV. THEY HAD THE MONEY BUT NO MISSION: (Acts 4)

Acts 4:34-37 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

Can you imagine having a multitude of people who were willing to give like those people? No one had a need that wasn’t met. The people were giving willingly and God was blessing mightily. No one could say, “if we had the money we could do such and such.” They had the money, but they didn’t do the Mission!

Here are the Results of What Happens When a Church Has No Mission:

I. THEY BECOME A SINNING CHURCH: (Acts 5)

Acts 5:1-11 = Ananias & Sapphira, his wife lie about their giving. They wanted it to look like they gave more than they really gave, even though they were not required to give anything.

* No church stays spiritual and healthy if it doesn’t do Missions. There are always consequences to disobedience.

II. THEY BECOME A STRIVING CHURCH: (Acts 6)

Acts 6:1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.

* If we don’t do Missions we begin to look inward rather than outward and we become selfish and self-centered.

* Rather than fighting the devil and pulling together for the mission, they are fighting each other and pulling away from each other and the mission is not getting done.

III. THEY BECOME A STONED CHURCH: (Acts 7)

Acts 7:57-58 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.

* They allow Steven to be martyred without raising a finger to help him. Their hearts had become hard and cold as a stone.

*The devil is winning from the inside. The Apostles are distracted from prayer and teaching the Word. The unity of the fellowship is gone and they aren’t even standing up for one another. No wonder they are not doing Missions.

IV. THEY BECOME A SCATTERED CHURCH: (Acts 8)

Acts 8:1  And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.

“If the church doesn’t do Acts 1:8, they become an Acts 8:1 church.” They were to send out Missionaries all over the world but they didn’t so God scattered them. That is what they should have done and been blessed for it. They didn’t do it and they were scattered. God sent them out. Phillip goes to Samaria (8:5-8) and others were scattered, all but the Apostles.

* God will do His work with us or without us. But if He does it without us, we miss the blessings and experience the pain of losing rather than the joy of sending.

Proverbs 11:24-26 There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself. He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it.

Chapters 9 & 10 are Parenthetical Chapters: The Jew Missed His Opportunity so God is Going to Use the Gentile.

NOTE: Chapter 9 – We have the conversion of Saul who will be the apostle to the Gentiles.

NOTE: Chapter 10 – the Gentiles need to receive the Gospel, so the Holy Spirit has to work on Peter’s heart so he will go to the Gentile home of Cornelius because Peter has the keys to the Kingdom.

Matthew 16:19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

* When he gets there the Gentile received the Holy Spirit just like the Jews did at Pentecost. Peter brings brethren with him from Jerusalem who are witnesses of God’s work among the Gentile as well.

Acts 11:15-18 And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.

* Now that the Jerusalem Church has been scattered, what kind of church will God raise up to do His mission?

V. GOD RAISES UP A SACRIFICIAL CHURCH: (Acts 11)

Acts 11:19-21 Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only. And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.

* We are introduced to the Antioch Church. After many are converted, the Jerusalem Church sends Barnabas to disciple and train these new believers. Once he gets there he realizes he needs help so he goes to Tarsus and gets Paul who had been planting Gentile churches for 8 years. Paul returns and helps Barnabas. This church is our model New Testament Church.

There are three things this church is noted for:

1) They were called Christians (little Christs):

Acts 11:26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

2) They were willing to support Missions: They do Missions!!

Acts 11:29-30 Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea: Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.

NOTE: Paul calls the Jerusalem church the “Poor Saints”.

Romans 15:26 For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.

FACT: When you don’t do Missions, God will take His resources that He has given us and give them to someone else who will do His mission.

3) They send out missionaries: They do Missions!!

Acts 13:1-5 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.

This is why Antioch is our model New Testament Church. They do His missions and they receive what the Jerusalem Church had only they used it. Our line of Christianity and our Bibles can be traced all the way back to Antioch.

CONCLUSION: So, we must do missions. The day we stop and focus on ourselves and not others, the blessings will be removed and we will die.

NOTE: So many preachers & church leaders literally lead their churches to not do Missions or to just send a couple of offerings in a year because they are afraid if they really go after Missions, they will not have enough money and resources to operate as a church. Foolish thinking!

QUOTE: “When the tide of Missions comes in, all the boats in the Harbor rise.”

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