Walking Dead

THE WALKING DEAD PART 1 – WAKING THE DEAD (WAKING A ZOMBIE GENERATION)
  1. WHAT IS A ZOMBIE:
    1. A deceased human being who has partially returned to life due to undeterminable causes.
    2. The brain retains base facilities. In its near-mindless state, It grasps no remains of emotion, personality, or sensation of pain.
    3. The rotting bodies of the undead operate on a fraction of the level at which our bodies normally function.
    4. ZONED out. Sleep like state.
    5. Numb to the world around them.
    6. Their pursuit – eat living humans – once bitten by a zombie you die and become a zombie.
    7. This correlation of a zombie world is SOOO similar to the world we live in today.
    8. TODAY – Millions of humans walk among us – who are the walking dead.
Jesus Described them:
Matthew 23:27-28 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

j. They look normal on the outside – but INSIDE – full of death.

k. Today – we are going to take a look at where this ALL BEGAN.

  PART 1:  W-A-K-I-N-G THE DEAD! Turn in your Bibles to Romans 5 & Ephesians 2. Romans 5:12-14 (NLT)  When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. 13 Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break. 14 Still, everyone died—from the time of Adam to the time of Moses—even those who did not disobey an explicit commandment of God, as Adam did. Now Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come.
  1. We have all been infected and are spiritually
  2. Great Grandpa Adam was the first zombie of death.
  3. God said – “If you eat of the tree you will die.” Spiritual death – separation from God.
  4. He chose to sin – to disobey God.
  5. Adam was bitten by SIN and DEATH.
  6. That sin nature and spiritual death will be passed on to everyone.
  7. We have all been infected!
  8. WE ARE BORN WITH IT
  9. THIS NATURE INFECTS EVERYTHING WE DO
  • EX: Toddler – “MINE!  My toy!”  Who taught him that?
  • EX: Dallas Cowboy – why would he shop lift when he makes a truckload of money??  Sin nature – infection from Adam.
  1. PAUL describes it this way in Ephesians 2

Ephesians 2:1-3  As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. We were at one time or maybe some here today – are WALKING DEAD.

2. It’s time to wake up! (Snap out of it)
  1. The problem is people don’t know when they are falling asleep.
  2. EX: ME at kid movies – I would fall asleep.
  • KIM: “Wake up!”
  • ME: “I wasn’t asleep”
  • KIM: “You were snoring!”
People who only KNOW DARKNESS think it is normal and that everyone lives in darkness.
 
1 Peter 2:9 says that God. . . “called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

Ephesian 5:14—  “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead and Christ will shine on you.” 1 Corinthians 15:34  (AMP)  Awake [from your drunken stupor and return] to sober sense and your right minds, and sin no more. For some of you have not the knowledge of God [you are utterly and willfully and disgracefully ignorant, and continue to be so, lacking the sense of God’s presence and all true knowledge of Him]. I say this to your shame.

  1. Some here – LOST/ IN DARKNESS: I have good news!!!
There is a better way!
You don’t have to live and be miserable!
Guilt, shame, frustration, anger, pain, are NOT NORMAL!
NOT God’s plan for humans!
2. Some here – WANDERED BACK INTO THE DARKNESS
Picked up old ways, habits, and nature
If you are alive and acting like you’re dead, wake up!
Stop acting like a dead man, and realize you are a child of the King!
WAKE UP to righteousness
WAKE UP – you are a new person in Christ Jesus
Stop living beneath your potential.
 

GOD’S PLAN FOR DELIVERANCE: Romans 5:15-19 (NLT)  But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. 16 And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. 17 For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. 18 Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. 19 Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.     HERE IS WHAT IT ALL COMES DOWN TO:

3. We all must choose life or death.
 

Deuteronomy 30:19-20 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life . . .   Ephesians 2:4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.   And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.   For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.   CLOSE:

“But I’m not ready to make that choice????”
By not choosing life you have made the decision to choose death.
If we – CHOOSE ONE BIRTH – we die twice – natural death and eternal death in hell,
If we CHOOSE TWO BIRTHS – we only die once. A physical death – but we LIVE with Christ for all of eternity.

 LIFE IS TOO GOOD NOT TO LIVE!!!!!

Jesus didn’t die so you could just get by – He gave his life – his ALL – so you could LIVE, rule and reign as sons and daughters of the most high God.

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Believe

BELIEVE Part 1:  What About Doubt? Doubt: To be uncertain and undecided about.  To distrust or disbelieve, suspicion.

  • Doubt is the beginning of real, sincere, and grounded

Turn in your Bibles to Luke 24 & John 20 Luke 24:36-37  While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”  37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. Luke 24:38-40 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”  40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. John 20:24  Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.

  • Doubt is a bi-product of neglecting our time with Jesus.

John 20:25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”  But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

  • Second hand faith will always leave us doubting.

Acts 1:3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. John 20:26  A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” John 20:27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Psalms 103:2-5   Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,  5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

  • Our doubts subside when we have an encounter with Jesus.

John 20:28-29 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”  29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Luke 24:32  “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

  • The winner between FAITH and DOUBT is determined by which one we choose to act upon.

John 11:25-26  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe?


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Legends of Faith

Part 1:  Noah
Life Lesson:  One person can make a difference!

Genesis 6:5-8 The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.6 The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

  1. We can make a difference for our
 
Genesis 7:1 The Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation.
Acts 16:31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”
 
  1. We can make a difference for our

 

Acts 13:36 “Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed.
  1. We can make a difference for

 

2 Chronicles 16:9 NKJV For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. . .

  Ezekiel 22:30 “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.” IF NOAH COULD SPEAK

  • Don’t be afraid to stand out in the crowd.”

Proverbs 29:25 Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.

  • “Don’t be afraid to do something for the first time.”

Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.

  • “Don’t be afraid when the storms God is faithful to his promise.”

Psalms 91 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” 3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. 9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, 10 no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. 14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

  • “When you see a rainbow, remember that one person can make a difference.”

Matthew 28:20 NLT . . . “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” 2 Peter 3:6-9   By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.


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Get Out of that Pit

Life in the Pit

You don’t have to stay there. Even if you’ve been there your whole life, you can call it a day. Even if you deserve the pit you live in, you’re still not stuck there. Maybe you’re the noble type trying to make the best of your pit. You keep wondering why you can’t get satisfied there. Why you aren’t mature enough to be content where you are. After all, didn’t the apostle Paul tell us that we should learn to be content in any circumstance?

Has it occurred to you that maybe a pit is one place where you’re not supposed to be content? Maybe you should thank God you’re not. Some things weren’t meant to be accepted. A pit is one of them. Quit trying to make the best of it. It’s time to get out. When Christ said, “Come, follow me,” inherent in His invitation to come was the equivalent invitation to leave. The laws of physics tell you that if you try to go one place without leaving another, you’re in for a pretty severe stretch. And you can only do the splits so long.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about picking up and leaving a physical place—although that may ultimately prove necessary. And if you’re married, Lord help me, I’m certainly not talking about leaving your spouse. I’m talking about leaving a dwelling far more intimate than the place where you get your mail—I’m talking about a shadowy home of the heart, mind, and soul so close and personal that, like mud on the set of tires, we drag it along wherever our physical circumstances move us.

No matter where we go, a pit can always fit. On any path we can spin our wheels and throw mud until we dig a ditch right into the middle of an otherwise decent job or relationship. Soon our hearts sink with the dismal realization that we’re no better off in our new situation. The scenery around us may have changed, but we’re still living in that same old pit. We start scrambling to figure out how we’re going to dump an unpleasant person or position when the real solution may be to dump that pit we dragged in. The problem is the pit can be so close we can’t see it.

My man, our two dogs, and I just got home from a seventeen- hundred-mile road trip sewing five states together like a patchwork quilt. It’s something we do several times a year. For hours on end Beanie sniffs the air conditioner in search of game birds (Beanie is one of the dogs, not the man) and Sunny never quits smiling unless she needs to scratch. The glee rolls on and the miles roll by until someone gets a little cranky. I’ll not name names, but God forgives the lapses and has even extended many a tender mercy by providing a timely respite from the open road. He shows us all sorts of favor, like causing espresso bars to pop up in places so remote I end up wondering later if they were really there at all. I figure they were mirages we’d never find again in a million years. But as long as the refreshment hits the spot, I don’t care if it’s all in my mind. I’ve had the best medium-dry cappuccinos in the world in places so far out that an extra shot is what you take when you missed the deer the first time.

Unfortunately, our traveling snobbery only goes as far as our coffee. When you insist on traveling cross-country with two sizable canines, you get to save your cash on motel rooms. We mostly stay in lodgings that have numbers in the names. No matter what the chain, all discount rooms are nearly identical, with angular double beds covered by the same navy-blue spreads ordered from a catalog back in ’72. The stitching has long since come undone, and when you turn over in the bed your little toes get tangled in the loose threads. I sleep between Keith (that’s my man) and Beanie and, from the sound of things, each has a deviated septum. I respond by turning up the air conditioning unit which, in turn, responds by freezing up and shutting down.

A traveler at heart, I still wake up happy and start my abbreviated morning routine. The shampoo comes in a small single-serving pouch I have to open with my teeth. I spit out what gets in my mouth and quickly lather the rest of it on my head. I have a mass of hair so, understandably, I can’t spare a drop. Keith ends up having to use the generic white bar soap on his hair. It tends to leave a film, but it’s a small price for him to pay for my hair. Particularly small compared to what he pays for me to maintain my highlights. He can wear a baseball cap anyway.

Folks who know how much we travel sometimes ask me why we don’t get an RV. The answer, in a word: the bathroom. (Or is that two words?) The small space and lack of fresh air in an RV makes the presence of a bathroom so…well… inescapable. They say you get used to it, but do I really want to? What does it mean when we no longer notice that smell? Nope, the way I see it, we were not meant to get used to some things.

Like living in a pit.

But unfortunately, we do. We can grow so accustomed to the surroundings of our pit that we wouldn’t think of moving on without it.


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Charged

CHARGED Part 1: Charged With Power Baptism of the Holy Spirit Introduction Matthew 19:13  NLT  13 One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. 14 But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” 15 And he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left.

  • In our culture today – I believe we have an all new awareness to power.
  • With these personal computers/phones we carry – we each have become more highly aware of what percentage we are charged to.
  • EX: The dreaded 20% left – shift to low power mode!
  • EX: Modern tools, gadgets, devices – function off of a rechargeable battery
  1. Flashlight
  2. Phone
  3. Ipad
  4. Computer
  5. Tools
  6. Vacuums
  • It is symbolic of our Christian walk in this life.
    1. One day we are soaring in our walk with God
    2. Two days later we feel lifeless and empty
    3. WHAT HAPPENED?
    4. We forgot to recharge our spiritual batteries!!
  • Today: Too many Christians are trying to fulfill the mission of Christ without the power.  Without being fully charged!

2 Timothy 3:1-5 NIV But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.   1 Corinthians 4:20  For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.

  • Today I am going to be teach very fundamental truths about walking in the charged power of God.
  • Some churches and church leaders don’t / won’t talk about it. Many even believe in it the spirit filled life – but they are reserved, timid, and shy away from it.
  • BALANCE: FROM DAY ONE I HAVE SAID –   We want the authentic power and presence of God without being weird, spooky, or flakey.

AS PASTOR OF THIS CHURCH:

We are going to embrace the ENTIRE Bible as God’s Instruction book and blue print for our lives.
  1. We are going to rightly divide the scripture and walk down the middle of the road.
  2. QUESTION: How many of you believe the entire Bible?  That ALL of this book is intended for our benefit?
  3. GOAL: Grow deeper, Stretch HIGHER, Go further in our walk with Jesus like never before!

CHALLENGING SUBJECT FOR SOME:

  1. We tend to be critical or negative towards things we don’t understand.
  2. What we don’t understand – we tend to prescribe as weird, not of God, or even call it of the devil.
  3. Fear is the result of the unknown.
  4. Confusion due to varying beliefs, misinterpretations, etc..
  5. Open your heart today – and the next few Sundays
  6. CURIOUS: How many of you have been baptized with the Holy Spirit and pray in other tongues as part of your prayer life. 

TODAY – Charged With Power!!!

  1. Throughout Jesus’ ministry we see him functioning in the power of God.

LET’S LOOK AT THE LIFE OF JESUS   John 6:38 NLT   For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will.    Matthew 4:23 NLT Jesus traveled throughout the region of Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness.   Acts 10:38  NLT And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.   John 14:12  NLT   “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.    Hebrews 13:8 NLT  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

2. The power of God enables us to fulfill the mission of Jesus.

Jesus told us where it would come from . . . .   John 16:5-7  NLT   “But now I am going away to the one who sent me, and not one of you is asking where I am going. Instead, you grieve because of what I’ve told you. But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate (Helper / comforter/ teacher/ standby/ Holy Spirit) won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you.    John 16:13-15  NLT 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.    14 He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me.  15 All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’

  • The crucifixion and resurrection take place
  • Jesus meets with the disciples.

John 20:21-22    Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” 

  • DISCIPLES WERE BORN AGAIN!!
  • The Spirit WITHIN
  1. We receive the Holy Spirit when we are born again.
  2. A Deposit is made.
  3. GOD SAYS: “I want to move in with you!!”
  4. Holy Spirit is deposited on the inside of us.
  5. He lives within us and is our advocate, comforter, our helper.

 

  1. God’s love you is so great he didn’t want you to be alone.

CHARGED – With Disciples Again   ACTS 1:4-5 NLT  Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before.John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

  1. Jesus challenged us to take a secondary step of faith after salvation.

 

  1. Symbolism of the two baptisms
  2. He told the disciples to WAIT!!!!!
  3. Don’t pass GO. Don’t pray for the sick, don’t witness.
  4. WHY????
  5. EX: Lightbulb – Without power it cannot fulfill it’s purpose and destiny.

 

  1. The baptism of the Holy Spirit was a prerequisite for operating and flowing in the power of God.

 

  1. EX: light bulb –  The power is what gives it PURPOSE!!!!

 

  1. YOU fulfill your purpose when empowered by the Holy Spirit!!

ACTS 1:8 NLT   But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”   GREEK: “Dunamis:”  force, specifically miraculous power, ability, abundance, power, strength, (mighty worker of miracles)           Acts 6:8  Stephen full of faith and power did great wonders and miracles

  1. BEFORE you go and witness to tell others about me
  2. BEFORE you go and lay hands on the sick
  3. BEFORE you begin to minister . . .
  4. BE – BAPTIZED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT
  5. The Spirit within comes upon us to empower us to do the works of Jesus.

 

  1. Release the power within!
  2. Release the power of grace to strengthen you when you are weak.
  3. Release the power in prayer.

 

  1. SOOOOO . . . the disciples wait . . . not too long . . .

ACTS 2:1-4 NLT   On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place.Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting.    Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And EVERYONE present was FILLED with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages (tongues), as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.

  1. Greek: “Filled”  — To fill, to be permeated, saturated, drenched, To fulfill, supply. 
  2. The gift of the Holy Spirit is intended for EVERY follower of Christ.
  3. This was NOT a one-time experience to a select group of people or considered optional.
  4. Remember what we said about Salvation – We receive the Holy Spirit

  Two things happen: We release the Holy Spirit and power to flow through us and we receive the ability to communicate with God in a supernatural language.

  1. Withdrawal / Fountain

John 7:38-39 NLT   Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”    39 (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)   [PARAPHRASE] Acts 2:5-   NLT At that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem.When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers.   They were completely amazed. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages!    Here we are—Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia, 10 Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the areas of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans, and Arabs. And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!”    (15 different languages) 12 They stood there amazed and perplexed. “What can this mean?” they asked each other.   13 But others in the crowd ridiculed them, saying, “They’re just drunk, that’s all!”   Peter Preaches to the Crowd 14 Then Peter stepped forward with the eleven other apostles and shouted to the crowd, “Listen carefully, all of you, fellow Jews and residents of Jerusalem! Make no mistake about this.    PPT- V15  15 These people are not drunk, as some of you are assuming. Nine o’clock in the morning is much too early for that. 16 No, what you see was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel:   17 ‘In the last days,’ God says,     ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy.     Your young men will see visions,     and your old men will dream dreams. 18 In those days I will pour out my Spirit     even on my servants—men and women alike—     and they will prophesy.     Acts 2:37-39  NLT   37 Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” 38 Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.    39 This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away—all who have been called by the Lord our God.”   VERSE 41:  Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all.   EX:  Peter: 

  • Who denied Christ 3X,
  • Get behind me Satan,
  • walked on water but sunk,

We only see evidence of the power of God and miracles taking place AFTER this spiritual baptism.

ONLY REQUIREMENT – BORN AGAIN

SPIRIT WITHIN —- SPIRIT UPON  —

SALVATION – Spirit within.

Secondary experience — ACTS 2:1-13 ALL Filled

The gift continues to flow . . .

  1. Acts 4:31 NLT After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness.
  2. Acts 5:12-16  Many Miraculous signs and wonders, healings)
  • The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. More and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. People brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by.
  • ALL OF THEM WERE HEALED

     (paraphrase)  Acts 8:5-8 NLT  (Phillip in Samaria – many miraculous signs)   Philip, for example, went to the city of Samaria and told the people there about the Messiah. Crowds listened intently to Philip because they were eager to hear his message and see the miraculous signs he did.    Many evil spirits were cast out, screaming as they left their victims. And many who had been paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was great joy in that city.   Acts 8:14-19  NLT  14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that the people of Samaria had accepted God’s message, they sent Peter and John there. 15 As soon as they arrived, they prayed for these new believers to receive the Holy Spirit.    16 The Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them, for they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John laid their hands upon these believers, and they received the Holy Spirit.   18 When Simon saw (what did he see?) that the Spirit was given when the apostles laid their hands on people, he offered them money to buy this power. 19 “Let me have this power, too,” he exclaimed, “so that when I lay my hands on people, they will receive the Holy Spirit!”

  1. Acts 9  Saul’s conversion  4 YEARS LATER
    1. 10 Ananias – Lord tells him to go and pray for Saul.
    2. 17 Saul site restored – filled with the Spirit

Acts 9:17-18   NLT  So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Instantly something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized.

  1. Acts 10 Cornelius – God fearing man / Gentiles receive
  2. Calls all of his relatives and friends

  17 YEARS AFTER CHRIST DEPARTURE   Acts 10:44-48  NLT  44 Even as Peter was saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the message. 45 The Jewish believers who came with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles, too.46 For they heard them speaking in other tongues and praising God.   Then Peter asked, 47 “Can anyone object to their being baptized, now that they have received the Holy Spirit just as we did?” 48 So he gave orders for them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Afterward Cornelius asked him to stay with them for several days. ACTS 19:1-6 – PAUL

24 YEARS AFTER CHRIST DEPARTURE   While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior regions until he reached Ephesus, on the coast, where he found several believers. “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” he asked them.   “No,” they replied, “we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”  “Then what baptism did you experience?” he asked. And they replied, “The baptism of John.”   Paul said, “John’s baptism called for repentance from sin. But John himself told the people to believe in the one who would come later, meaning Jesus.”   As soon as they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.Then when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in other tongues and prophesied.   It happened throughout the Book of Acts – to all who believe and accept this gift!   The Apostle Paul devotes an entire portion of scripture to bring clarity and understanding. 
 
You must be born again:  Receive the Holy Spirit to live within you by making Jesus Christ the Lord of your life.
Ask God for it.
 

Luke 11:9-13 NLT   “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.10 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 “You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead?12 Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not!  13 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”

  1. HEAD:  PRAY and ask God to fill you with his Holy Spirit and power.
  2. HEART: Believe God’s Spirit and anointing are upon you.  Devils are afraid of you.  Sickness is intimidated when you’re around.  You are soaked, drenched and saturated by the Holy Spirit.
  3. HANDS: Begin to live and allow God’s power to freely flow through you to minister to others.  “Can I pray for you?”

  PERSONALLY:  I had grown up in church.  I had heard for years – make Jesus the Lord of your life and live for HIM.

  1. I was a good Christian.  But there was no life or excitement.  Dull and flat
  2. There was no fire and passion!
  3. AGE 0F 16 – SOMETHING RADICALLY CHANGED MY LIFE.
  4. For the last 40+ years it has – transformed
  • my prayer life,
  • my worship time,
  • my connection with God
  • hearing and knowing HIS voice
  • Communication –
    • Wouldn’t be married to Kim, have my 3 kids, pastor this church
    • DIVINE CONNECTION
  • ministry to others.
  • 2nd only to my decision for Jesus Christ – most powerful experience.
  1. THIS WAS — The day I was baptized in the holy spirit my life radically changed forever.
  2. I was 16 years old. Heard about the power of God.  This “Baptism of the Holy Spirit”
    1. Not a lot of churches teach on it – or walk in the power of it.
    2. BUT – WE ARE GOING TO ADDRESS IT HEAD ON!
    3. I want to teach the WHOLE Bible – not just parts of it!
    4. ABOUT: “Taking your walk with God to the next level”
  3. I was hungry – “I WANT IT!!!!!”
  4. I was told by some – that speaking of tongues was of the devil?
  5. PEACE – burned in my heart.
  • What good is a gun with no bullets?
  • How effective is a car without gas?
  • How useful is a drill without a battery?
  • How will a lightbulb ever reach its fullest potential without power??

HOW EFFECTIVE / USEFUL  IS A CHRISTIAN WITHOUT THE POWER AND PRESENCE OF GOD?


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Press On

Press On 

Part 1: A CHAMPION IN THE MAKING
  1. Our foundational text for the series is

Philippians 3:14  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

  1. Open in your Bibles to Philippians 1
  2. A Champion in the Making
    1. A champion is the result of years of dedication, discipline, and hard work.
      • I want to be a champion of the FAITH!
      • So how do we do that? Become that?  What are we pressing on for?
      • Can you handle going a little deep today? Load you up with some WORD?
      • Let’s begin reading chapter one

      Philippians 1:1-6 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons: 2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Thanksgiving and Prayer 3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. 

      • Many Christians never mature past the initial salvation experience.
      1. WHAT DOES THAT PROCESS LOOK LIKE?
      1. How many of you have invited Jesus to be the Lord of your life?
      1. SALVATION: That is our starting line – not the finish line.
      1. The individual who says, “I gave my life to Jesus” and never takes another step forward in their spiritual journey is MISSING OUT on all God has for them.
      • “I have my ticket to heaven!”
      • There is sooo much more!
      • Let’s look at how this process is defined in Chapter 2:

       Philippians 2: 12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

      • Does this mean we need to “WORK” for our salvation?
      • NO! Salvation is a free gift.
      • Listen how the Amplified Bible reads

      Philippians 2:12 AMP  So then, my dear ones, just as you have always obeyed [my instructions with enthusiasm], not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence, continue to work out your salvation [that is, cultivate it, bring it to full effect, actively pursue spiritual maturity] with awe-inspired fear and trembling [using serious caution and critical self-evaluation to avoid anything that might offend God or discredit the name of Christ]. SPIRITUAL GROWTH IMMATURE:  Hebrews 5:12-13 NLT  12 You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. 13 For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. MATURE: Ephesians 4:11-15  So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.  Verse 13:  MSG:  become fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ. Verse 13:  NLT  measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.

      1. What is the mature body?
      • Spiritual maturity is evidenced by our resemblance to Christ.
      • That the “BODY” resembles the “HEAD”
      • The more mature I am – the more like Christ I live.
      • I strip off the works of darkness and the flesh.

        Hebrews 12:1  Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,

      1. Infants – don’t know the difference of right from wrong.
      1. Infants — are tossed back and forth in their faith.

      Colossians 4:12  Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. BACK TO WHERE WE STARTED: Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  Here is the goal: Philippians 1:9-11 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. RESULT OF COMPLETION & MATURITY:

      1. Your Love may abound in knowledge and depth!
      1. Discern what is best – right from wrong.
      1. Live pure and blameless.
      1. Filled with the fruit of righteousness.

      Galatians 5:22-24   But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

      • The Bible is our source for growth and maturity.
      1. The Bible is like an instruction Without it all the pieces of life don’t fit together.

      2 Timothy 3:16 (NLV)  All the Holy Writings are God-given and are made alive by Him. Man is helped when he is taught God’s Word. It shows what is wrong. It changes the way of a man’s life. It shows him how to be right with God. Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth

      1. The Bible is like a Without it, you’ll wander and get lost in the darkness.

      Psalms 119:105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

      1. The Bible is like a Without it you’ll be captured or killed.

      Ephesians 6:17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

      1. The Bible is like a mirror. Without it you’ll never see your flaws or change how you act.

      James 1:23-25  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

      1. The Bible is like food and water. Without it you’ll starve and die in the desert.

      Psalms 1:1-3  Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers. CLOSE: Philippians 3:14  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

      1. Press into God’s Word and allow God to complete the work He has begun.
      1. How much time could you give to read it?
      1. 1440 Minutes in a 24-hour day – could you surrender 5-10 Minutes?? 14 Minutes = 1% of our day??
      1. NEXT WEEK – PART 2: ADVANCING THROUGH THE PAIN (and turmoil of life)

      INVITATION

      1. This entire spiritual journey begins by accepting God’s salvation for you.
      1. SALVATION: “It’s like deliverance from death row and the guillotine . . . to being adopted by the king and become a part of the royal family.
      1. With all of the rights, privileges, and benefits.
      2. SNIPER FIRE

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The God Questions

Over the past twenty years, Hal Seed has done surveys to see what questions people have asked about God. The top six questions are:

  1. Is God real?
  2. Is the Bible true?
  3. Don’t all roads lead to heaven?
  4. How can a good God allow suffering?
  5. Which is right: evolution or creation?
  6. What happens when I die?

  Let’s start our investigation by looking back about three thousand years. Psalm 19 is a poem, a song lyric written by King David of Israel; around 1000 BC David was a victorious general and a king who led his country to economic prosperity, geographic expansion, and nationwide unity. He moved his country from the Stone Age to the Bronze Age. He was an innovator and a man’s man. As David reflected on the universe and the existence of God, he began with this statement. The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. (Psalm 19:1)  David continued on the same thread in the following verses. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. (Psalm 19:2–4)  Day and night, the sun and its daily consistency and the heat it provides to the world—it all points to this God. This beautiful, masterful universe screams of the existence of God!   “Think of a time you were impressed by the earth’s beauty. Maybe it was a camping trip where the stars blanketed the sky or a field of wildflowers that burst with color. This breathtaking moment was put together by a God who loves you! Is there a God? The stars say there is! But, everyone wonders about God from time to time because believing in God requires faith.  The Bible says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). If you think faith is for the weak, think about all the times you use faith on a daily basis. You put money in the stock market, with faith that you won’t lose it all. You take a job with a company, in faith that they’ll pay you every couple weeks. You get married, believing you’ll live in a committed relationship for a very long time. You got up this morning, having faith that there would be enough air to breathe for you to make it through the day. All day long, you’re using faith. But that doesn’t mean we have to express faith blindly. We invest in the market after reading a company’s prospectus. We accept a job after interviewing with the boss. We get married after getting to know the other person and meeting his/her family. We believe there’ll be enough air to breathe because there was enough air yesterday and the day before and the day before that. Our faith is based on reasoning, facts, and prior experience. God set it up that way. He has made a world of vast and complex logical and scientific structure and He made creation so beautiful and masterful that merely looking at the stars can make you wonder at who this God is! The heavens declare the glory of God. They are telling you that God is real. Creation is one of our first evidences of the existence of God. So, for those of you who came in today curious about His existence or for those of you who get asked questions by your co-workers, take note. Today, we are going to focus on three of the five classical arguments for the existence of God that philosophers have propositionally and logically argued for centuries. Pointers to God’s Existence

  1. The Teleological Argument: The existence of “stuff”

Stuff exists, which creates a huge problem for the atheist. If nothing exists, then we don’t have to explain it. But the minute we acknowledge that something is real, we have to come up with an explanation for how it got there. The universe exists. It’s real. We live in it. We see it, hear it, feel it, and breathe its air. Where did all this stuff we feel, hear, breathe, and smell come from? Let’s use logic. The law of cause and effect teaches us: For every effect, there has to be a cause. I’m wearing a watch. How did that get there? I put it on my wrist this morning. It says, “M-O-V-A-D-O” on it. How did those little letters get there? Someone must have inscribed them on it. (Author’s Note: Elaborate on the intricacies of your watch or another accessory/item of clothing you are wearing.) Cause and effect. For every effect—every thing that exists—there has to be something that caused it to exist. That’s the teleological argument philosophers have upheld for years.  Now, here’s a second philosophical argument for the existence of God. It’s called:

  1. The Cosmological Argument: The nature of “stuff”

This is also called the Argument from Contingency. The universe is a huge, complex, marvelously well-ordered place. Since it exists, you have to explain where it came from. One possible explanation for how something got here is that it was self-created. It came from itself. But that doesn’t follow logically. You know why? Because scientists who study this sort of thing tell us that just about everything in the universe is contingent.  Which means, it’s dependent on something else in order to exist. Take trees, for example. They need air to exist, air to survive, air to have been created in the first place. Trees are contingent on air. (Author’s Note: Use your favorite sports team in this example.) Or the Chargers. The Chargers need players to exist. They need a league to play in, and an owner to pay them. And raving fans who will cheer them on, even though they break our hearts almost every year. The Chargers are contingentOr the earth. The earth needs the sun. The sun needs the solar system, gravity, and a whole host of photo- and electro-chemical reactions to be able to exist. Nothing we observe around us is self-caused or self-reliant. In fact, it’s easy to conclude that everything we see around us did not exist at one time, now it exists, and it probably will not exist forever. So, if everything we observe is dependent on something else, and not independent or self-caused, the principle of dependency asks, If all that exists is dependent, fragile, and temporary, who or what is responsible for all these dependent objects and beings? Philosophers go through all sorts of mental gymnastics to try to answer this question. But, let’s look at it from a different perspective: In your mind, get way, way away from the universe, zoom out from it, and then take everything in the universe and draw a circle around it—a circle like this. (Hold up Hula-Hoop.) All the galaxies, solar systems, planets, black holes. Shrink the whole thing down to fit inside this circle. The universe, the stars, the planets, our world, and we are all inside the circle. Everything inside this circle is dependent. It relies on something beside itself for existence. According to the second law of thermodynamics, known as the law of entropy, it’s slowly headed toward non-existence. So, not only does it need something or someone in order to exist, but also it will, at some point, stop existing.   So, the big question is, “Where might the thing that caused all this dependent stuff to exist in the first place be located?” Inside the circle, or outside of it? Which explanation makes most sense? If everything that exists inside the circle is fragile, temporary, and dependent, how likely is it that the cause of all these things originated inside the circle of contingency? Doesn’t a thinking person have to conclude that everything that exists inside the circle exists because of something outside the circle? And, by contrast, whatever is outside that circle must be independent, self-caused, and self-reliant, which would make it eternal with no beginning and no end. Unlimited. All-powerful. Which is part of why the Bible says in Psalm 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”  See what God is saying here? “The things that I created and hold together every second of the day are to point you to Me. You can see My existence all over the universe!” Let’s take this one step further. Instead of looking at the big picture of the universe as a whole, let’s zoom back in and look at a couple of small pictures and the way they fit together. Let’s start with one of these. (Pull out a Pepsi can or a can of your favorite carbonated beverage.) Have you ever wondered how this got to be the way it is? Where it came from, or how it was formed? Let me tell you about it. Millennia ago, a massive explosion came out of nothing and nowhere, and sent a gargantuan rock spinning through space. As it cooled, a brown, sweet, bubbly liquid formed on its surface. As time passed, aluminum crept out of the water and shaped itself into these dimensions . . . which just happened to be the right shape and size for a human hand, which would develop a few million years later. Over time, this thing formed itself a one-time retractable lid, then a crease started to appear a bit off-center on the top of the lid, and out of it grew a (click the lid open) pull tab. Centuries later, red, white, and blue paint fell from the sky and clung to this thing, forming the letters P-E-P-S-I on its surface. Obviously, these five letters have a deeper meaning to them, because you see them everywhere. (In fact, if you think about it, you’ll realize that this logo is one of the primordial resonance frequencies of the universe. After all, it’s everywhere. Some have even described the sensation it produces as “the joy of cola.” Others have called it “the choice of a new generation,” but it’s been around for ages.) The really cool part is that the primordial force that generated this pattern even thought to put a little trademark symbol next to it. Question: How many scientific explanations about the nature of matter and the origins of the universe would I have to give to convince you that this happened by chance? What are the odds that something this complex and this coincidentally useful, comfortable, attractive, and might I add delicious (take a sip) came about as a result of a random collision of molecules? It’s too carefully designed to be chance or coincidence, wouldn’t you agree? And this is just a Pepsi can. My conclusion? Some very smart people who knew what they were doing did some thinking to come up with this. How did I conclude that? It is only reasonable to be able to reconstruct certain attributes of the designer by studying his design. Now, let’s look at a banana. Check this out. (Hold up the banana. If you have given one to everyone in the audience, ask them to pick theirs up as well.) The far side of a banana has three ridges, and the close side has two ridges. (Usually this is so, but not always, because unlike the Pepsi can designer, the banana designer is innovative and creative and loves variety and didn’t want to settle for factory or cookie-cutter replicas. So every banana is unique, but they’re all the same in the ways that really matter.) Notice how neatly the banana fits in your hand. It’s kind of like it was made for it. Feel how it’s been thoughtfully made with a nonslip surface. It comes with a time-sensitive indicator on the outside to let you know the condition of the contents before you even open it. Green means keep going, yellow means slow down and eat it, black means . . . banana bread! The top contains a thoughtfully made pull tab for convenient opening. Pull firmly on the tab and see how there are perforations on the wrapper (peel open your banana) so that it will peel into four pieces and hang gracefully over the hand. This wrapper is environmentally sound, made completely of biodegradable substances that in time enrich the soil it nestles in. If left uneaten, this, like every other fruit, has pre-programmed orders to dissolve into the ground so that a new fruit-bearing plant can gain nutrients from it, making it a virtually inexhaustible food-producing source. The fruit is the perfect size and shape for the human mouth, with a point on the top for easy entry (demonstrate). The banana is full of body-building calories and is easy for the stomach to digest. And the Maker of the banana has even curved it toward the face to make the whole eating process easier. Remember how Psalm 19 said that the heavens declare the glory of God? I would argue that the tropical jungles do, too. They not only declare that God exists, but they give us hints of what He must be like. To design something so intricate and delicate and beautiful and superior as this, whoever created the banana must be smart and thoughtful and creative and superior. He must be loving because He designed His creation around the needs of His creatures. How smart do you suppose you’d have to be to design and create one of these from scratch? Friends, this banana tells us something about God’s power and prowess. And, if you want a verse to share with a friend, should they ever ask you how you know there is a God, you can turn them to Romans 1:20, which says, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”  If they just stop, look around, and think. Here’s a third argument for the existence of God. It’s called:

  1. The Moral Argument: My sense of right and wrong

How many of you have been following President Obama’s nomination/selection of the new Supreme Court Justice? Why do we care so much about who does and doesn’t get on the Supreme Court? (Update with current topic in the news.) One reason is because we all carry within us a sense of right and wrong. A sense that certain things are right and should be done, and certain things are wrong and shouldn’t be done. And a judge has to rule on those things.

  1. S. Lewis stated in his book Mere Christianity, “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”

Anthropologists tell us that’s a universal phenomenon. Morals can vary from person to person and society to society, but every person has them. Now, here’s the interesting part: How many of you have ever done what you believed was wrong? You betrayed your own sense of morals? [Raise hands.] Anthropologists tell us that’s a universal phenomenon as well—that all people admit they have within them a moral standard, and that they haven’t lived up to their moral standard. Because their moral standard is actually higher than they are. How do you explain that? How do you explain that all of us have within us a sense of morals that are beyond us? Most who have thought about it eventually conclude that the most reasonable explanation is that our morals were not self-invented, but rather they came from a higher moral source. And, if you want a verse to demonstrate this, Romans 2:14–15 says, “Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.”  Now, let’s put a few things together. The circle of contingency leads us to conclude that the universe was created by an uncreated creator: an unlimited, eternal, all-powerful being. Even in the details of the universe, like the banana, we see that the Creator is very smart, creative, thoughtful, and cares about His creation. He put great beauty and care into His creation, so He must at least have the capacity to be smart and beautiful and creative and caring. Our own hearts demonstrate to us that the Creator surpasses us in morals, or He wouldn’t have been able to create morals that were higher than we are. Put all those together and you have an eternal, powerful, smart, beautiful, loving, moral Creator. And that comes very close to a working definition of God, doesn’t it, friends? And, compare this to the alternative: Non-Creationists see all this and believe the world came about by random chance, the evolution of molecules, and the survival of the fittest. Which takes more faith? I would argue that it takes more faith to believe that there is no God than to believe that there is one The Bible claims that this God who exists revealed Himself in three ways: He revealed Himself to us through His creation; He told us about Himself in the Bible—we’ll get into that next week; and He showed us Himself by coming to earth in the form of a man named Jesus. Why would He do that? Because He loves us. (Author’s note: Share a personal story of a time you realized God loved you.) When I was thirteen years old, my parents divorced and my dad moved out. He moved away from me. But he loved me so much that he made a special point of taking me out to dinner every Tuesday night. Tuesday night was our night. Every Tuesday night we’d find a great steak house and have steak together. I realized that, like my father, God came to me because He wanted a relationship with me. The Bible says that God created the world and said that it was “good” (Genesis 1:10). But, sin entered the world when humankind chose to disobey the moral law God had set up. They ate the fruit of the only tree forbidden from them, and in doing so, they broke their perfect relationship with God. The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Because of sin and death being a part of our world, many people are blind to the truth that there is a God and that this God loves them. In order to show His love for the world, God sent His Son, Jesus. He died on the cross and paid for our sins, so that we could be forgiven, receive eternal life, and have a restored relationship with God. Would you like to have a relationship with this God we’ve learned about? (Conclusion) Maybe today, what I’ve said has made sense to you. Maybe you’d be willing to admit that God really does exist and that He’s the Creator, even of you! If He created you, then you belong to Him. So, when He asks you if you would like a relationship with Him, He’s inviting you to come home. Would you like to do that? Would you like to begin a relationship with God? The Bible says that God forgives and restores all who believe in Him and receive the gift of life that Jesus paid for on the cross. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:12) So, what would keep you from inviting Him to direct your life starting today? Fear? Pride? Lack of control? I think the pivotal issue, for many of us, is not “Is God real?” The pivotal issue is “Can I trust Him?” God created the world and has sustained every fiber of every thing from the beginning of time. He gave up His very life to bring us back into relationship with Him. He is preparing an amazing place in heaven for all who believe in Him, and He is coming back to make the world right someday. So, if your question is “Can I trust Him?” the answer is, “Unequivocally, yes! Look around! The heavens declare the glory of God! He has shown himself to be trustworthy with the entire universe, so why not trust Him to direct your life?” For those of you who are ready to come into a relationship with God . . . (Author’s Note: Provide instructions about how you would like to pray with them to receive salvation.) For those of you who have already come into a relationship with God, how should we respond to this truth of God’s existence?

  • We worship Him for how He has revealed Himself.
  • We prepare ourselves to explain, logically, why we have faith in the existence of God.

Let’s pray.


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Finding Your Ministry

FINDING YOUR MINISTRY – PART ONE

The church of the living God is a sleeping giant, and if she ever wakes up, she will be an unstoppable force in the world!

It is not God’s will for us to just come to church two times a week, pay our tithes, and say a few prayers. God has far greater expectations for each of us than that! God expects each of us to use our gifts and talents in the ministry! And if we ever awaken and unleash the massive amounts of talent, creativity, and enthusiasm that is laying dormant right now, this church would explode at an unbelievable rate of growth!

Does anyone believe that?

This church is not going to be a church where you can come and hide in the crowd, or fall in between the cracks! That is not biblical in any aspect…We intend to plug you into the plan of God for your life!

In the coming weeks, I want to equip you to have a clear and precise understanding of your ministry!

Yes, that is right…, “Your ministry!”

Every believer is not a pastor, every believer is not a preacher, but every believer is called into the ministry!

I want to read my text again right now…

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.

God has created us for the purpose of good works, and we are instructed to walk in them…that is how we are to live our lives!

Eph 4:12 …to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.

The church leadership is instructed to prepare people for works of service so that the Church of God can be built up!

Service in the body of Christ is not an option, it is not voluntary…but we have all been drafted or called into His service!

Jesus said in….

Matthew 20:26-28 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. 

Jesus came into this world not to be served, but to serve…. Since Jesus was a servant…then we must also be servants…. service is the defining characteristic of our Christian walk!

We believers have a wonderful heritage that we must never forsake…yet at the same time, we can never reduce our Christianity to a set of beliefs and rules…there is a great danger in doing that!

When we start living according to a set of rules and judging according to those rules, we are not ministering to anybody, nor will we win anybody to Christ…in fact, Jesus called this Pharisaical practice just a bunch of filthy rags!

We experience our salvation by believing and obeying the Gospel; we experience our life and ministry in Jesus Christ by serving Him…service is the defining characteristic!

Luke 9:23-25 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?

Notice that it says any man…

Each and every one of us has different talents, abilities and gifts…yet, we are all called to follow the Lord and serve Him.

Our responsibility to the Lord is to be faithful to our calling and gifts…

1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

One of the things we are facing today is that we don’t have a clear understanding of our calling and gifts as individuals!

As we go through this series, I will be helping each and every one of you to find your ministry…and your calling!

The Bible says…

2 Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 

The message translation puts it this way…

2 Tim 1:9 who first saved us and then called us to this holy work. We had nothing to do with it. It was all his idea, a gift prepared for us in Jesus long before we knew anything about it.

God has had a higher purpose for your life, long before you knew anything about it…in fact, before this world even began, God had a calling on your life!

How many of you want to know what that calling is?

And God wants you to know!

Whatever area you are called to minister in is important! 

There are no big I’s and little u’s in the body of Christ! There are no insignificant ministries…every ministry is important!

The Bible says in…

1 Corinthians 12:18-22 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:

1 Corinthians 12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

God places us where it pleases Him…we are not all the same; God knows that, He made us!

  • The eye doesn’t do the same thing as the toe.
  • The hand doesn’t do the same thing as the foot.
…but each is necessary for the body to function properly!

We don’t understand how important some of these smaller parts are until we have to go without! In the church, we need every member of the body to do their part so that the whole body functions as God intended it to!  Each one of you is as important as the next person!  Don’t ever think that your ministry is too small or insignificant to be meaningful to the church…your ministry is important, and without it the whole body would suffer! Not only is every ministry important, but each ministry is interdependent upon another! It is for your sake as well as mine…

  • Elijah needed the widow woman to bring him food…and the widow woman needed Elijah to bring her family hope!
  • We are in this together!

Beyond the importance of you knowing your ministry, beyond the importance of you knowing your calling…. you need to know that your ministry involves others… If is for your sake as well as theirs!

  • No ministry is independent of the others.
  • There is no single ministry in God’s church that can accomplish everything that God has called the church to do…so we must depend and cooperate with one another.
  • That is why we have just spent ten weeks talking about relationships.
  • The church is like a jigsaw puzzle, each piece is intertwined with the next, and we need each piece to complete the picture.
  • And so our ministries and callings have to be fulfilled with the right attitudes and spirits.

Peter let us know what the spirit was… 1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: It all has to point to Christ, it all has to give God glory! It all has to work in a greater fashion for the purpose of the Kingdom! Let’s be open minded to what God has in store for each of us in this hour…like Jim Smith said on Sunday…let’s take the blinders off…there is a higher purpose for each of us! And God wants you to know what that purpose is! When God created animals, he gave each of them a specific area of expertise.

  • Birds fly.
  • Fish swim.
  • Deer run.
  • Kangaroo’s hop.
  • Snakes slither.
  • Moles burrow under the ground.

Some animal’s are designed to hunt and kill, others are designed to gather and store! Each and every animal has a distinctive role to play based on the way they were created by God. I believe the same is true with humans…each of us was uniquely designed and shaped by God to accomplish certain things for the kingdom! Acts 15:18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. God has a specific plan for you and has designed you just the way you are so that you can fulfill that plan!

  • You may think that you are not good enough.
  • You may think that you are not talented enough.
  • You may think that your personality doesn’t fit the work of the ministry.

But I believe that God designed you just the way you are so that you can fulfill a specific role in His kingdom! In the coming weeks, we are going to be sharing some things with you that will help you to better understand how God is going to use each of you in a specific fashion.


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Freedom Galatians Series

Freedom the book of Galatians Part 1: Living in the Tree of Life
 
HISTORY OF GALATIANS
  1. Written by the Apostle Paul – He was a church planter.a
  2. His vision and mission was to bring the Gospel to the non Jewish (Gentile) community.
  3. Paul was through Galatia on all three missionary journeys.
  4. Went to the area that we know as modern day Turkey
  5. He would write letters – “Epistles” to the churches where he had been.
  6. Some books were written to a certain person – like Timothy. Others to the churches.
  7. This letter was not written to one specific church but to the “churches of Galatia.”
  8. The books he wrote by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit were focused on solid doctrine and teaching on how to live the Christian life.
  9. The purpose of this letter was to tackle some challenges that had developed after Paul left and some of the (Jewish) Christians from Jerusalem had come to the region and had began to teach about the works of the law.
  10. They were attempting to get the gentiles (non Jews) to practice some of the Jewish traditions, and observing special days, months, seasons, and holidays,
  11. One of the main ones being circumcision.
 
Refer to (Galatians 1:1-5)
 
Two Gospels
Refer to (Galatians 1:6-7)
  • The Jewish Christians had been circumcised on the 8th day – they came to these new Christians in the region of Galatia and were attempting to convince them that in order to be “in this Christian club” – you have to be circumcised.
 
  • Now remember – Jewish law had the baby’s circumcised on the 8th They were babies and don’t remember it! Now they are telling GROWN men – We need to do surgery on your man parts!!!
  • In Acts 15 – They actually had a debate in Jerusalem on the subject!
  • What was happening THEN – that happens still happens TODAY: People were finding FREEDOM and victory in the GRACE of God and this new found faith in Jesus.
  • Then RELIGION attempts to creep back in and put people who have been set free from SIN and put them into a religious bondage of guilt and works.
 
Galatians 1:7b Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.
 
  • This is what we want to talk about today.
  • It is easy to turn what Jesus has done for us but what WE can do for ourselves.
  • Turns into dead religion.
  • One is based on rules = RELIGION (Man’s attempt to get to God)
  • One is based on a relationship. You have fallen in love with Jesus who has decided to “pay
your bill.”
  • Someone has to pay for your sins – you? Or allow Jesus?
  • It’s very easy to go back into this “other Gospel.”
  • Paul then challenges their MOTIVES in verse 10
 
Galatians 1:10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
 
Key Question:
How am I going to become godly?
What is going to be my approach to godliness?
Even in Christianity we can get messed up and pervert the Gospel.
This message is SO foundational it shows up in the first story of the Bible!
 
NOTE: This question is foundational. The devil appealed how to be “Godly” to Eve.
 
Refer to (Genesis Chapter 2)
 
(Genesis 2:8-9) Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground–trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
 
  • There were two trees
  • 2nd one was the choice to eat from the knowledge of good”
  • Look at Verse 16 & 17
 
(Genesis 2:16-17) And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
 
(Genesis 3:1-7) Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
 
Watch what the devil says next. You heard it wrong! It’s not true! Attempting to pull her from the TRUTH of God’s Word.
 
4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be LIKE God, knowing good and evil.”
  • The devil did not appeal to her desire to be rebellious or SINFUL!
  • He appealed to her desire to be GODLY. To be like God!!
  • “My way is better.”
  • “You’ll know good from evil” “And you can control your own godliness.”
  • Eve buys into the LIE…
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
  • What was the result? Loss of innocence and shame!
Let me explain it three different ways to bring some clarity on this subject!
 
One focuses on what you do.
Example: Not thinking about what you read in the Bible, but how many chapters you read. Or how long you have been going to church. “I pray every morning”.
The goal is what YOU do
 
One focuses on what Jesus has done.
When I read my Bible I’m not focused on HOW MUCH I have read, but how much of Jesus I can find!
Lord I’m looking for you and how to get closer to you!”
 
(John 5:39-40) You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”
 
Example: Not to read the Bible, but to EXPERIENCE the Bible
OUR GOAL is to get close to Jesus!
 
One focuses on getting God’s approval.
Gallup Pole did a study – Found that America has different views of God based upon geographically.
In the south – They believe God is mad at you and hard to please.
You don’t need to GET God’s approval, He loves you.
One focuses on receiving God’s love.
God already knows your sin life, and He still loves you. Don’t confuse the fact that He does not like your sin, but He LOVES you.
Your view of God, will determine your relationship with God.
 
How you SEE Him will determine how you interact with Him!
EX: Some of you came into service today and during our time of worship you held back. You didn’t sing, clap, or lift your hands because you sinned this week or even this morning and YOU THINK God is MAD at you . . . “So I better keep my distance!”
 
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
 
He didn’t wait for you to change to start loving you! He started loving you so you could change!!
 
You don’t have to get your act together to get God, you get to God to get your act together.
See the difference???
He wants you to come as close as you can.
1 John 4:19 We love because He first loved us.
You have to decide which TREE you are going to eat from?? Tree of Life? Tree of religion and works?
 
One focuses on external duty.
 
One focuses on internal desire.
It’s a delight to serve God
We don’t do it because we WANT to not because we HAVE to.
 
1 John 5:3 This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.
 
Oh yes they are —-if you’re not in love with God!!!!
 
That Bible will be the hardest thing you have ever done in your life!
 
If you’re in love with God —- it’s the greatest JOY of your life to do what is written there.
 
Everything changes because of LOVE.
 
We all have to ask ourselves — are we serving out of duty or out of DELIGHT?
 
1 Jon 5: 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
 
His commands are not burdensome, when you are IN LOVE with God.
 
How do I eat form the “right” tree?? How to eat from the tree of life everyday.
 
Our goal is to live and eat from the living Tree of Life!
 
LIVING IN THE TREE OF LIFE
 
  1. Fall in love with Jesus
    1. How do I fall in love?
      • Two things make me fall in love with Jesus.
      • 1) Who He is (love). . .
      • 2) What He has done!
  • Nobody else has ever volunteered to pay for my sin!
I am grateful for the gift of life and FREEDOM Jesus has given to me.
We don’t need you being religious in here, we need you in love.
 
John 14:15 If you love me, you will obey what I command.
  • For years I read this from the wrong tree. Here is how I read it: “If you love me you’ll prove to me that you love me by being a good person and doing what I told you to do.”
  • FROM THE TREE OF LIFE: “If you love me . . . YOU WILL.”
  • You’ll want to!!
  • This verse dose not mean you wake up every morning and slap your wrist that you need to be good and don’t sin.
QUESTION – Which side of the comma are you living on?? The LOVE side or the OBEY side?
 
Too many people start on the command side – thinking that will cause God to love them.
 
WAKE UP- The devil’s goal is to separate you from God!!!
 
  1. Don’t allow condemnation.
    1. The devil works overtime to condemn you
    2. The temptation will be to go back into performance based religion.
    3. And what you need to do is come back into a deep relationship with Jesus.
 
Best way to identify which TREE you are living in??? Is based upon how you view other people’s sin.
 
Romans 8:1-2 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
 
Here is the KEY . . .
 
  1. Make the choice every day.
    1. I’m going to seek you God every day!
 
Deuteronomy 30:19 This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life.

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Ephesians: Inside Look

EPHESIANS – AN INSIDE LOOK

PART 1:  A DIVINE ENCOUNTER

One of the greatest roadblocks, deterrents, and hindrances to people living and having a daily walk with God is a feeling of worthlessness, NOT GOOD ENOUGH, guilty, shame, etc…
  • RESULT: We stay away from God.  We avoid Him and anything related to Him.
  • MYTH: HE makes me feel that way when I get around him.  Not him at all.

In the same way – our enemy tries to deceive us, instill FEAR – to keep us MISGUEDED in our walk with God.

John 8:44 – Devil is a LIAR

GOAL TODAY: 

  1. TAKE OF THE BLINDFOLD, OPEN YOUR EYES, & INVITE YOU INTO HIS PRESENCE.
  1. TO HAVE A DIVINE ENCOUNTER
  1. I want you to leave here today with such a confidence, peace, and assurance in your relationship with GOD.

Ephesians 1:3-14

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:  Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. 11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

CHOSEN

 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.

Verse 11 In him we were also chosen,

  1. Remember back to the local school playground – going to pick teams.
  2. Remember the fear of NOT being chosen. Or the “I’ll guess we take you.” Guy!
  1. GREEK: “To choose – to pick out.”
  1. DEF: Miriam Webster says:: Having been selected as the best or most appropriate.  One who is the object of choice or of divine favor: an elect person.
WHAT IS GOD SAYING????
 
  1. “I want a relationship with you!”
  1. “I prefer, desire, select, and pick you!”
  • John 15:16  You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.
  • Among the billions of people that have lived, are alive today, and will be born tomorrow, I want to know you, spend time with you, be with you,

Now here is the beauty of HIS decision:’

  1. We say – “How could he choose me, love me, the way I am, the things I have done??”
  1. God didn’t choose you because you were good or felt sorry for you.
  2. Verse 4: For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
  1. Before you were conceived.
  1. We chose him before we ever knew anything about him!!! – Unconditional LOVE
  1. God said, “I want a relationship with you!
  1. The number one reason you EXIST – is God wants a relationship with you.

Let’s keep reading. . .

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—

11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,

(2)  PREDESTINED / PREDESTINATION

 Two opposing views on predestination: 

Calvinism:  John Calvin, an early 16th century theologian who was instrumental in the Protestant reformation. This set of beliefs is also referred to as “reformed theology”.

  • God has already chosen who will go to heaven and hell and man is saved by the will of God without Those predestined cannot be lost. Those who are lost cannot be saved.

Arminianism:  Jacobus Arminius. Arminius was a Dutch pastor and theologian in the late 16th and early 17th century who disputed many of Calvin’s conclusions. His most well-known follower was John Wesley, who became the leader of the Methodist movement. 

  • Man has a free will. Salvation is by grace alone and God’s election and predestination are conditional upon our choice to put our faith in Jesus Christ.  (*This is what we believe at RFC)

 

The word predestination is composed of two parts:

  • “Pre” meaning “before” and
  • “destination” meaning “point of final arrival.”
  • To predestine something is to determine beforehand where it will end up.
  • Actual Greek word proorizo (pro-or-id’-zo)
  • and means to “predetermine / predesign.”
  • Romans 8:29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son,
  • Verse 5 is telling us God had a plan for us to be His children. The new birth was part of His eternal plan so He could have a whole family as precious to Him as His firstborn Son, Jesus Christ. 
  • EX: BLUEPRINTS 
  • It does not mean God has your life planned ahead for you and you have no say about it.
  • Your will is precious to God because you were made in His image. 
  • God’s sovereignty is dependent upon man’s

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

We are predestined for what??? Chosen / Predestined . . .

(3) ADOPTED (DIVINE ENCOUNTER)

VERSE For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—

GOD DIDN’T INHERIT YOU!  He chose you and has adopted you!

His predesign – is to choose you, request to adopt you as his son and daughter.

What does this mean?? Eternal!!!

  • God wants to make it permanent!

We need to stop seeing ourselves as foster kids, temporary – and visitors in his presence.

Abba Father – Daddy.

When we are adopted – means we take his name!! 

We get all the benefits, privileges, and inheritance as his biological kids

  • What He will do for Jesus He will do for you.

Romans 8:16-17 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

  • He desires us to walk in our inheritance as His children. 

Colossians 1:12-13  And giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,

Bible – tells us he does not show favoritism.  He is no respector of persons.

THINK ABOUT IT:

  1. Your DAD has unlimited power and ability.
  1. Your DAD has already declared in His written Word and promises to us – that he will provide.
  1. Stop thinking, “ How are we going to make it?” What’s going to happen?  What if it doesn’t work out?”
  1. My God will make a way when there is no way. 
  1. My God is more than enough! He is bigger than lack, greater than sickness or disease.
  1. If God be for us – who can be against us!!!
  1. I’m redeemed from the curse of the law and I walk in the blessings of God

PAUL PRAYED:  “GET A HOLD OF THIS GUYS!!!!”

Thanksgiving and Prayer

15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

 

LAST BIG IDEA THIS MORNING – Pick up in verse 13

13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

(4) MARKED (SEALED) – Divine Encounter

In Paul’s day, important documents were sealed with wax and then imprinted with an identifying symbol, usually by pressing a signet ring into the wax. And that seal had three major functions, each of which helps us to understand something about how the Holy Spirit secures our inheritance for us:

GREEK:     Sphragizō  (sfrä-gEE’-zō)

1) to set a seal upon, mark with a seal, to seal

a) for security: from Satan

b) since things sealed up are concealed (as the contents of a letter), to hide, keep in silence, keep secret

Colossians 3:3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

c) in order to mark a person or a thing

d) to set a mark upon by the impress of a seal or a stamp

IF YOU’RE TAKING NOTES . . .

A mark of

In Paul’s day livestock, and even slaves, were marked with a seal to show ownership, similar to the way a rancher might brand his cattle even today. The seal helped to prevent theft and to avoid disputes about ownership.

In much the same way, the Holy Spirit seals us as proof that we belong to God.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

 (NIV)

e) in order to prove, confirm, or attest a thing

f) to confirm authenticate, place beyond doubt

g) of a written document

A symbol of
  • You’ll recall that when Jesus was taken down off the cross and placed in the tomb, the tomb was sealed with the seal of the Roman Emperor.
  • The purpose was to protect, or preserve what was in the tomb from any outside interference.
  • When the Holy Spirit seals us, he comes into our lives to preserve us and protect us from outside influences.
  • That doesn’t mean we won’t face pain and suffering in our lives here on this earth,
  • but it does insure that nothing can keep us from our ultimate inheritance.
  • An indication of a completed transaction.

Whenever a business transaction was completed – the purchase of a parcel of land, for instance – the parties involved would seal the legal documents to indicate that the transaction was complete.

ON THE CROSS – Jesus said, “It is finished.”

There is nothing else we need to do to earn our inheritance.

Jesus already completed that transaction on the cross.

IN CLOSING 

  1. You are CHOSEN by God.
  2. PREDESTINED to have a relationship with him 
  1. He ADOPTED you into his family so you can share all that he has 
  1. MARKED you as HIS very own

Don’t ever question your rights, privileges, inheritance, position with GOD

Ephesians 2:6  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.


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