Wilderness Wandering Attitudes to Avoid Part 5

Wilderness Wandering Attitudes to Avoid Part 5

Intro: In last 4 weeks we have identified there are 5 attitudes that manifest unbelief:

Manifestations of unbelief
Coveting
Doubting God
Critical spirit
Complaining
?

Manifestations of believing God
Contentment
Faith/trust
Loving people
Gratitude/thankful
?

We will see the last manifestation of unbelief in Number 16.

Moses was more than 80 years old. He was the proven leader of God for Israel. 40 years in the wilderness. Stood as God’s representative before Pharaoh and was used by God to send ten plagues on Egypt.

Held out his staff and divided the Red Sea. Spent 40 days twice on a mountain alone with God.

-         Moses was not perfect and God hasn’t used a perfect leader yet other than Jesus.

“Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, THE SON OF LEVI, and Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and sons of Peleth, s RUEBEN, took 250 chiefs, famous in the assembly, well known men and they assembled against Moses and Aaron and said to them, “You take too much upon yourselves, seeing all the congregation are holy, and the Lord is among them. So why do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?”  Numbers 16

Korah was a descendent of Levi, the tribe responsible for leading worship in the Tabernacle. Only Levites could lead worship. The point is these were not outcasts but close leaders to Moses.

“They assembled together against Moses and Aaron.” Vs 3

-         This was a well organized planned rebellion. Very articulate, sounded right and Korah was the spokesman for the group.

-         These are the leaders Moses appointed and trained!

-         Theses were good people who thought they were right in standing up to Moses. Where did this come from after all they have been through together? Where does rebellion come from? What are the roots of rebellion?

1.    Disappointment often leads to rebellion.

Vs 13 reveals their disappointment. “Is it not enough that you have brought us up from a land flowing with milk and honey into this wilderness because you make yourself a prince over us? Nor have you given us an inheritance of fields and vineyards.” vs 13

-         They are disappointed that they are not where they thought they would be by now. Look how they described Egypt? You forgot where you came from – slaves – Egypt was not flowing!

-         We began with you with a vision of great things and now it has not happened. They were expressing disappointment.

2.    Coveting authority and not honoring authority.

          Korah wanted to at least be equal with Moses in authority. He did not want to submit to Moses because he thought Moses had a position he and 250 other leaders felt he should have. He wanted the power!

-         Remember in vs 3 Korah we are all holy – he was saying we all have the Lord with us, we are all equal before the Lord?

Ill. We are all equal before the Lord, but we are not the same in calling!

You are equal with your boss but you are not the same as your boss.

Wives are equal with their husbands before the Lord but not the same. Children are equal with their parents and teachers before the Lord as people but they are not the same in authority. Pastor and elders in church are the same before God but not the same in authority.

-         Korah and others were equal with Moses, but they were not the same with authority appointed from God.

-         Often people see the calling or position in leadership and desire or think they could do that job, but they don’t respect the process the leader went through to get there.

-         Ill. Police officers for example

3.    Stubbornness fuels rebellion.

Then Moses sent for Dathan and Abiram, who said, “We will not come up.” Vs 12

-         The Leader calls for them and they say, “We are not coming!”

Ill. Are you easy to lead. Have you prided yourself on being a stubborn person thinking that is strength of character? They are not the same.

God ordained authorities:  

Government – Work – Home – Church

Picture of umbrella of authority

Rebellion = knowing what to do but refusing to do it. It involves willfully coming out from under God ordained authority.

ill. There are times we should rebel when under God’s clear direction. American Revolution – Civil Rights movement. But even then it was done first with appeals to authority until their was no other option.

As long as an authority is not asking you to sin, you need to find a way to be under that authority. I am not saying abused women should stay with an abusive husband or children with abusive parents. There are laws against to protect us from that.

Rebellion is ultimately against the Lord.

 Moses said, “Therefore you and all your company are gathered together AGAINST THE LORD.”  Vs 11

If God placed a person in authority over you, then rejecting or opposing authority is rejecting and opposing God!

One more example of rebellion that I must share with you.

King Saul was God’s choice for the 1st king of Israel. He failed several tests of God after becoming king. Each test revealed that deep inside his heart there was rebellion against God. On the surface you would have never known he was in rebellion. He did not know it himself.

          One time he was told by Samuel the prophet to gather the army at a certain place where they were about to go to war with Philistines. But wait till Samuel the priests arrive to make the offerings before the Lord. There was a divine delay of Samuel and the people had waited for 7 days and some of them said they were leaving to go back home. Out of fear of losing his people and looking foolish in front of them, he offered the burnt sacrifice, which was not permitted by the Lord. Only the priests were to do this. Samuel arrives after this and said you acted foolishly and have not obeyed the commandment of the Lord!

After this is when everything begins to go south for Saul. On another occasion Samuel gets a word from God that Saul is to lead Israel completely destroy the Amalekites, (men, women and children and animals!) So Saul defeats them but keeps the Amalekite king alive for some reason and the best of the animals.

          Samuel shows up and sees all this and asks Saul, “What have you done?” Note this: When a person is in rebellion they have deceived themselves!

          Saul says to Samuel. “I’ve done what you said!” I saved these animals for sacrificing to the Lord.

“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Obedience is better than sacrifice, a listening ear than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” I Sam. 15:22-23

A little later Saul repents and says, “I have sinned because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.” Very revealing.

-         We all want people to like us, appreciate us, tell us we are doing a good job, but not at the expense of doing what God wants even if everybody opposes us or even rises up against us! At the end of the day on judgment day – your friends or fans on Facebook are not going to be standing with you before God.

Let’s talk solution:

In order to leave the wilderness, we must replace a rebellious attitude with a submissive one.

“every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities . . . established by God.”  Romans 13:1

1.    Submission is for the Lord’s sake.

“Submit yourselves to every human authority for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king, as supreme, or to governors, as sent by Him for the punishment of evil doers and to praise those who do right. For it is the will of God that by doing right you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. As free people, do not use your liberty as a covering for evil, but live as servants of God Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.”       I Peter 2:13-17

-         refusing to submit to your boss, is more than refusing him, but it is refusing the Lord! We submit for the “Lord’s sake”, not the boss.

2.    Submission is protection by God. 

Submission to authority is a covering of protection for you. “submit” is a military term.

Submission – place yourself under the mission of another, under God established authority.

Ill. Use umbrella to illustrate. It may still rain but you have protection. Satan still attacks but is limited.

3.    Submission has limits under God.

“As free people, do not use your liberty as a covering for evil, but live as servants of God.”

Ill. If you take a job you should first see if their mission is something you can place yourself under while serving the Lord.

Pam started to work last year for a company as a nurse. The founder of the company even had as part of their mission purpose that they were here to serve God and help people. For 6 months it was a great job, great pay. The company was sold to another and now the mission changed. Now the bottom line was money and get the numbers up. Even to the point of getting people to sign up for a program that they did not need. Pam had to resign that position for that reason. Point is this; submission has limits!

WE are not slaves to human authorities. We serve God.

4.    Submission is a test of your faith in God.

“Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. For this finds favor, if for conscience sake toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.”    I Peter 2:18-19

5.    Submission involves intimacy with God.

“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps.”   I Peter 2:21

What are His steps, example that I am to follow in?

“While being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins . . . so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” I Peter 2:23-25

-         To follow His steps is to involve some suffering, even when we don’t see His actions on our behalf. IT will require us to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, but He gives grace to the humble.

Concl:  In order to leave your wilderness for your destiny you are going to have to deal with rebellion attitude that is deeply imbedded in your heart. You may not have realized it until today. Here’s a prayer to get you started:

Lord, I realize I must learn submission not only to human authority, but ultimately to You alone in every circumstance. Help me to put off human pride and rebellion, and put on submission to You and the authorities You place me under. I must learn to trust You in all of this and find grace in the midst of hardships. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Finding, Following and Fulfilling God’s Will for Your Life Part 5

Finding, Following and Fulfilling God’s Will for Your Life Part 5

Joke: It was the first day of school and the teacher was trying to get some information from every student about their family. The Teacher asked a child, “What is your fathers occupation?”

“He’s a magician” said little Johnny. “How interesting. What is his favorite trick?” The teacher asked. “He saws people in half.”

“Wow. Now my next question. Do you have any brothers or sisters?”

“One half brother and two half sisters!”

 “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord…” Psalm 37:23

You are that “good man” because you are the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).

But this does not mean God is ordering your steps like a robot.

God’s will is like a large parking lot.

Pic of parking lot

We are given great freedom to choose many things for ourselves. Like a parking lot, if the space is open you have freedom to choose to park yourself there. If it is already taken you can’t have that space. If a person is already married, then you can’t have her/him. The parking space is taken.

However, look at this scripture:

“The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor food to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge; but time and chance happen to them all.” Ecclesiastes 9:11

“Happen” = qarah – to meet without a pre-arrangment. A right happening caused by the Lord’s timing to get you in the right place at the right time.

This has happened to you more times than you or I realize. Whenever you were witnessed to, when you heard the gospel and responded in faith, or God putting you in contact with a person you need to meet or help or receive help from.

You usually do not recognize this until later. You don’t see the whole plan of God and how He is working things together for your good. Like a rainbow we only see a part of it.

Pic of full circle rainbow

This is why it is important to keep a thankful attitude to God. Even giving thanks to God by faith when interruptions happen. We only see part of God’s plans.

If you want to see this in action, then read Genesis 24 tonight before going to bed. It is a great illustration of how the Father, the Son and the HS work together for the church.

Abraham represents God the Father.

Isaac represents Jesus the Son.

Unnamed servant represents Holy Spirit.

Rebekah represents the church.

Ill. Paraphrase Gen. 24 and read verse 10-15.

 “Just so happened” = qarah

Your divine appointment may come just giving a card invitation to your church to someone. Giving a gospel tract or meeting a new person.

Every step of the journey is the journey!

“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105

We find the will of God from the Word of God.

Ill. If you have to pray to find out if it is God’s will for you to invite a stranger to church then you haven’t read the Word. You already know a lot of God’s will and what is not His will.

-        You will grow in understanding the will of the Lord by spending time in the Word.

See that you walk carefully, not as fools but as wise men, making the most of the time because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be unwise but understand what the will of the Lord is.  Eph. 5:17

Sometimes God cannot reveal to us what His will is because our hearts are not ready to believe Him. Jesus said,

I have many things to tell you, but you cannot bear them now.  John 16:12

          God wants you to know His will but He wants you to go through a narrow gate and most people don’t want to do that.

Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that YOU MAY PROVE WHAT IS GOOD AND PERFECT WILL OF GOD.      Romans 12:2

-        This world has values, priorities that are not in agreement with God.

Love not this world, neither the things in this world. For if any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  I John 2:15

-        You will not find fulfillment for your life in the world or things of the world. You were created for God’s pleasure! Your design is made for relationship with God. Anything short of that is emptiness.

Delight yourself in the Lord; and He shall give you the desires of your heart.  Psalm 37

-        One of the ways God leads us is by the desires of our heart. But before we can trust our desires, we need to make sure we are really delighting in Him. If God is not our first love, then we can’t depend upon being led by the desires of our heart.

The carnal mind is enmity against God.  Romans 8:6

People who do not pursue a relationship with God after they are born again cannot trust their desires. But put God first in our life and delight in Him and He will put desires in you that He wants for your life.

Ill. The desires God has placed deep inside you – He wants you to know them. Many people have a dream, desire to do certain things but they are not sure it from God, because they don’t trust their own desires. They think the desire is just coming from their daydreams and so they dismiss it. The only way you will find out is to deal with your heart and put God’s will first even if you don’t know what it is for you.

-        The more you will seek to love God the more His desires will increase in your heart.

-        If you are bored – then you have not found God’s will for your life.

-        Our lives are here to make a difference where we live.

Ill. No one on their death bed says, “O I wish I had a nicer car, or more diamonds. The regrets people have at the end of their lives involve relationships. I wish I had made a bigger impact on people.

One of the ways to find God’s will is to put Him first, delight yourself in Him and then follow the desire of your heart. This is how God will lead you most of the time.

He may modify that desire over time as you move.

Ill. If you had no restrictions with money not being an issue. Forget about past failures, forget about what relatives are saying. What would you want to do?

          Sometimes people still don’t know. But everyone has desires inside them. Everyone has a dream of their life somehow making a difference in this world. We were meant to know the joy of feeling our life is making a difference.

This may require taking some risks. Sometimes it is really not much of a risk.

Ill. When Peter got out of the boat to walk on water the boat he was in was already full of water. There was very little difference being in the boat or out of it.

Sometimes there are more serious risks and you need to move slowly – just start doing something that is towards a desire in your heart. Actions follow faith.

The next things to know about God’s will is

Timing and preparation

God’s will for your life involves His timing.

God’s will for your life involves preparation. More about this later.

A prayer: Lord, I ask You to help me to recognize the desires You have placed in my heart. Help me make an application with the truth I have heard tonight. Thank You for the awesome things You have in store for all of us.  In Jesus’ name.

Replacing Wilderness Attitude #3

Replacing Wilderness Attitude #3  Numbers 12

Intro: I thought about writing a book titled:

Good lessons from Bad examples

          The Bible does not hide the sins of the saints, neither the bad and tragic examples of people making poor or disastrous decisions.

-        Judas walked with Jesus for 3 years and still did not trust Him.

-        David, man after God’s heart, had everything he could have dreamed of having and yet bored and went after another man’s wife.

-        Samson died before his time seeking his own pleasure.

-        The bad example that God mentions over and over again in both OT and NT as a warning to us to learn from: The Israel that died in the wilderness never reaching the plans God had for them.

“Now all these things happened to them for examples. They are written as an admonition to us, upon whom the end of the ages has come.”  I Cor. 10:11

admonition = warning or counsel given by an authority to stop a behavior or action.

Ill. What if you were a contestant on a game show and was asked what was the reason the children of Israel could not enter the Promise land?

If you answered: UNBELIEF, you would be correct. However, unbelief was the root of all their problems while they were in the wilderness.

If unbelief is the root then, what is the fruit?

Fruit of unbelief  - Fruit of faith (rest)

Coveting  -  Contentment
Doubt  -  Faith
Criticism  -  Love

Ill. Man driving U-Haul loaded with everything he owned pulled into a gas station to refuel. At the pump he started talking to another guy pumping gas into his truck. “Do you live in this town?” “Yes, all my life” he replied. “We are moving here from town up North. What kind of people can we expect to find here?” “Well, what kind of people did you leave behind up North?” “Oh, they were so negative, ungrateful, critical, unhappy bunch of people, all of them. That is why we are moving here.” “What are the people like here?” The man said, “Oh about the same!” And he was right. More often than not, how we perceive a matter, the attitude we choose directly influences what we will experience.

-        People leave a church because of something they do not like and come to this one thinking it is the greatest church on earth. Soon they start to see things here that were similar to the old church.

“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” Matthew 7:3

-        Until we accept responsibility for our own attitude we will never be able to change anything. What I am talking about is:

Identifying and removing a critical spirit that is hindering your life.  

“Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he married.”  Numbers 12:1
             “spoke against” = criticized

Criticism = dwelling upon the perceived faults of others without any intention of helping them.

“Spoke against” is a feminine verb meaning the the primary critic was Miriam and Aaron sort of got dragged into this.

Remember Miriam is Moses big sister:

She was the one who hid Moses in the bulrushes in the Nile as a baby.

Miriam loved Moses. She was a godly woman. She was the first woman prophet mentioned in the bible. She led the women in worship and dance. The point is anyone can struggle in this area and we need to take heed at the message today.

-        Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman he married. Details we don’t know are maybe his wife Zipporah died and he re-married. Cushite = Ethiopian.

-        Big sister did not like the choice that little brother made! But was this the real issue?

“And they said, ‘Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us as well?’ And the Lord heard it.”  Verse 2

-        The real issue was they were questioning Moses call from God to lead them and questioning his decisions and judgment. God hears this and defends his man. He calls all 3 to a God- frontation in His office at the door of the tabernacle.

-        God said I speak to prophets in dreams and riddles but with Moses I speak face to face. “Why were you not afraid to speak against My servant Moses?”  Note God’s deep feelings!

They had no idea the price Moses had paid to walk where he walked with God! They thought they were on the same level as Moses and they were not.

          Short version: God strikes Miriam with leprosy so bad like a dead person. Aaron pleads with Moses that they acted foolishly and Moses prays for her and after 7 days she is healed.

Why is this in the Bible? For us to learn and note that God takes seriously the way we treat each other – even secret conversations.

Why did God judge Miriam so severely with leprosy and yet people today are critical and don’t get leprosy?

-        She was a leader with Moses and first prophetess. With great privilege comes greater judgment.

-        Maybe criticism still invites an inside leprosy that eats away the life God has for you?

Criticism hurts our fellowship with God, and others and ourselves.

Ill. In a book titled “Nervous tension” a doctor surveyed thousands of people seeking the secret to emotional health. One fact stood out clearly. Those who suffered from extreme tension were all habitual critics, faultfinders of people and things around them. People who free from from strife and tension were the least critical of others. Becoming critical was a learned habit that brought very destructive emotional and physical health to people.

Did you hear one of Aesop’s fables about a man and his grandson traveling to town? The old man walked as his grandson rode the donkey. Some criticized him saying, “Look at that old man suffering while that young boy who is strong rides the donkey.” The old man hearing this switched places. Soon heard another critic, “Look a that grown man taking advantage of a little boy.” So the man and boy both rode the donkey then heard another critic say, “Look at those heavy brutes making the poor donkey suffer. So they both got off and walked and then heard another critic say, “What a waste that a perfectly good donkey is not being used!” The final scene shows the boy and the old man staggering along trying to carry the donkey!

          Point: If someone has a critical spirit – there is nothing you can do to satisfy them. Behind the petty issue is a real heart issue of some kind of bitterness and un-forgiveness.

When bitterness and un-forgiveness is in the heart then criticism will be on the lips.

“Beware of anything that puts you in the place of the superior person.”  Oswald Chambers

How to handle criticism:
1.   Some criticism is not worth our attention and energy.  I Peter 5:7

2.   Make sure you don’t catch the disease and return it.

3.   Learn from it – there may be a grain of truth in it.

Ill. Lincoln received criticism from one of his cabinet and was asked by the press about it (trying to stir up trouble).

“Mr. is a very intelligent man, if he said it there must be some truth to it.”

4.   If being critical is your habit, then take action to overcome it.

-        “Little foxes spoil the vine.”
-        Keep yourself under the pressure to change by meditation on love and asking to help you break this habit.

Concl: Change, maturity does not come easy. Old habits don’t die easily. The truth is most people don’t change. They stay critical and then excuse their behavior or justify themselves.

-        There is a price to be paid in order to experience all God has for us.

Many people walked away after hearing Jesus preaching saying,

“This is a hard saying; who can (accept) it?” Jn 6:60

People in the world are use to seeing and hearing criticism about God’s church. They often hear about it from the people who claim to be Xns. They hear and see churches break up and then Xns leave one church for another, criticize this church, that pastor, or ministry.

The world is still waiting to see something they have not seen yet.

“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love one for another.” John 13:35

What’s the answer to a critical spirit? Receive love from God and give love from God to others. They need it you need to let it flow from you through you to them.

Ill. Years ago preacher D.L. Moody sensed the Lord wanted him to grow in this matter of love. He wrote more than 100 years ago:

I looked up the word Love and began to study love for many weeks. I studied the passages of love in the bible till I could not help but love people.  Feed on love so much that you get so full of love that all you have to do is open your lips and a flood of love flows out. Love will never fail.

-        Love will always take things or situations to a better place.

-        If you pursue love with your whole heart then even when people hurt you, God will use that – because Love never fails. Never!

You and I are here today because love did not stop pursuing us. Love has been given to us unconditionally and perfectly and has not failed.

This same love you have received – now needs to flow through your lips and life to someone today.

Getting Out of Your Wilderness into God’s Promise Land

Getting Out of Your Wilderness into God’s Promise Land
(Replacing a Doubting Attitude)

I began a series of messages last week about what kept Israel from getting into the promise land. The short answer is unbelief. But unbelief is the deep hidden root that bears many different kinds of fruits. Last week we saw one of the fruits of unbelief is coveting things that God is not willing to give us. The opposite attitude that we must cultivate intentionally in our lives is contentment with what God has provided.

          We saw last Sunday that Israel craved the foods they use to eat back in Egypt. It got so bad they were saying that they should turn around and go back to Egypt. How quick we forget how bad those old party days really were!

Today we will see another wilderness attitude that must change if we are ever to reach our purpose and God’s promise land for us. The root is unbelief but the fruit is Wilderness attitude #2 - doubt.

Doubt is a lack of confidence that God will keep His promise.

We see it manifested in Thomas the disciple after hearing of Jesus’ resurrection. “I am not going to believe unless I see it for myself.”

We see doubt in Jonah the prophet. He had such a hatred and prejudice for the people of Nineveh. He said, “I don’t know and I don’t really care enough about the people of Nineveh and nobody can change my mind about that!”

After taking a little 3-day cruise in a fishes’ belly – he changed his mind

Contrary to popular opinion, pastors struggle with doubt too.

1.   I struggle at times waiting on God to bring justice to a situation I have committed to Him. Ill. Times where I have experienced harsh treatment from someone and holding my tongue because I know HS is saying to me to give it to Him and He will handle it. I want to lash out but I know not to. I start to doubt He is handling it.

2.   I find I doubt God with my children or grandchildren. I get anxious and try to fix everything instead of giving them to Him. I don’t see any good changes and start to doubt God is on it.

3.   I get disappointed with Xns – not keeping their commitments, not being faithful in attendance and tithes. I see Xns get mad over silly things and leave the church they swore God called them to!

Pastors and ministers are burning out at a faster rate than ever before. 1500 pastors leave their calling each month. 80% pastors and wives are discouraged or are dealing with depression. California Psychiatrist Richard Blackmon said, “Pastors are the single most occupationally frustrated group in America.

Bottom line: I see too many people and need to get my eyes back on the Lord!

I think all doubt begins from disappointment.

God has promised He would provide for us – Phil. 4:19 quote.

Then the provision does not come like we expected – disappointment and then on to doubt.

God has promised to protect us – Isaiah 54:17 “No weapon. . .”

Things happen we did not expect – disappointment to doubt.

God has promised to heal – then it does not happen like we expect.

Disappointment to doubt to despair to defeat.

Today find some principles that reveal how God deals with our doubts.

Principle 1: Tests of faith are an essential part of my life.
Temporarily
Enduring
Some
Trouble

These test are not for our failure but for our success!

Ill. Israel finally reaches border of Promise land that God has promised was flowing with milk and honey. The problem was the land is not vacant. There are people already living there! I think God knew this, don’t you? Plan 1 was God expected them to march in there and take possession. They quickly realized in order to take this land there is going to have to be some war, some conflict, some hardship.

The test: Will we trust and conquer, or will we doubt and despair and be defeated? 

In Deut. 1 God Himself recalls what happened.

The Lord said, “See the Lord God has set the land before you. Go up and possess it, just as the Lord has spoken to you. Do not fear or be discouraged.”  Deut. 1:21

In other words, God is saying, “Don’t be discouraged by what you see. Don’t doubt. You will win the battles. You will have the victory. Trust Me and go do what I told you!”

“Yet, you were not willing, but rebelled against the command of the Lord. But for all this, you did not trust the Lord your God.” Vs 26,32

They failed the test because they would not trust God.

What is God going to do now? Will He destroy them? No. See how gracious God is their weakness. He tells them to send 12 spies (like recon team) to spy out the land and return with a scouting report.

You know what happened? 10 reported we can’t take it and 2 said let’s go. Now at cross roads again.

Am I going to trust God – or doubt God?

It is really a choice we have to make. Even if you have trusted Christ for salvation there are other areas you will be tested in. If you can’t trust God and lay hold of His promises, then expect a lot of defeat.

Ill. You can’t tell by looking at someone on Sunday whether or not they have faith and truly trust God or not.

Pic of bucket

Faith inside people is like water inside a bucket. You find out what is inside when you bump it!

-        Bad circumstances bump you, then you spill what you are full of!

A bump is a test. What spilled? Doubt or faith?

Bumps are going to happen. The bumps are not just to reveal your faith but to refine your faith. God already knows but he wants you to know.

Principle 2: Faith shrinks or stretches.

Why did 10 spies doubt and only 2 had faith? We can only speculate, but it has to do with passing or failing their previous tests of faith.

God regularly places tests of faith in our path. Probably not a day goes by w/o some kind of test of your faith from God. Ill. If we would remember this, then we would handle unexpected disappointments different. I think we need to kindly remind one another when we hear of a brother going through a difficult moment. An alarm should go off. Remember the old test patterns that use to come on TV?

Pic of test pattern

·        "This is a test. For the next sixty (or thirty) seconds, this station will conduct a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. This is only a test."

“This is a test of the heavenly broadcast system. Look to the Holy Spirit for help to pass this test and you will do well. This is only a test.” Jesus

“This is a test of the hell broadcast system. Don’t just stand there. Panic or do something!” Satan

God’s principles for overcoming doubt. Principle 1:Tests of faith are an essential part of my life. Principle 2: Faith either shrinks or stretches.

Principle 3: Doubt sees obstacles – faith sees opportunities

So often we hear God’s faith from His words.

Ill. “See I have given you the land.” “See I have given you the city.”

“Go in and possess the land.”

Taking possession of the land would require faith and action. God does His part and we do our part. We can’t do His part. We can’t heal anyone. But we can lay our hands on them like He said and He heals through us. We can’t save anyone, but we can give them the gospel. By doing our part we are actively possessing what God has told us to do. Each act of obedience in a step in the right direction. We must keep doing this until we fully possess the land.

God may be setting you up. He wants you to start seeing things like He sees them – with faith in Him. Faith sees an opportunity; doubt sees an obstacle. Which way do you want to live the rest of your life?

Principle 4 for overcoming doubt: Doubt never stands still. Doubt quickly leads to despair.

Doubters are easier to find in the church than friends of faith!

“The whole congregation said to them, ‘Would that we had died in Egypt, or that we had died in the wilderness! So they said to one another, ‘Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt.” Numbers 14:2-4

This is insane thinking!

1.   They forgot the amazing miracles of God in this journey.

2.   If they did turn around to go back to Egypt – did they think God would still provide the manna in the desert?

3.   If they made it back to Egypt did they think the Egyptian people would welcome them back?
“Sorry about our God destroying your whole army and Pharaoh.

Point: It is a short journey from doubt to despair. They are just giving up.

What if you are a doubting person? How can you change this?

1.   Realize it is costing you’re your life destiny with God.

2.   Are you reaping the consequences of doubting God? 

3.   Are you willing to repent of doubting God?

Concl: Jesus said,

“If you will believe, you will see the glory of God.” John 11:40

With God it is not I’ll believe it when I see it. Instead it is I believe You and then I will see it.

Ill. That is how we came to Christ. It is how you can come to experience salvation today. We trust what God says.

-        He says – All men are sinners separated from God.

-        “wages of sin are death” separated

-        But God loves us even while we are sinners so much He sent His Son Jesus to take our place and pay our sin debt.

-        The question now is this? Do you believe what God has said? Yes, or no. If you do, then the next step is plain.

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9-10

Jesus did all the hard work. All He is telling you to do now is believe Him enough to go in a take possession of what He is giving you.

This is your first step of faith and trust in God. Quit doubting and believe God!

Faith is believing God’s Word and acting upon it, regardless of how I feel.

It comes down to this. Are you going to trust God and start moving in His direction for your life or not?

Prayer and invitation.

Finding and Fulfilling God’s Plan for Your Life – Part 3 (Learning to listen)

Finding and Fulfilling God’s Plan for Your Life – Part 3
(Learning to listen)

 Mtt. 17:1-5 Modern English Version

Why Peter, James and John?

Petros = stone (picture of law on stone tablets).
James = from Jacob meaning “supplanter”.
John = from Jochanan, derived from root meaning “grace”.

All 3 together reveal a hidden message for us:

“The stone (law) has been supplanted (or replaced) by grace!”

In Jesus’ time on earth everything was in transition moving from law into grace. Grace and truth has come in the form of a person: Jesus. Hear Him today. Listen to Him and His words of grace!

Our mission purpose statement: Presenting Jesus; the revelation of truth and grace.

The Father said, “Listen to Him, not them!”

Whom are you listening to today?

          Moses and Elijah were speaking to Jesus about what He was about to accomplish on the cross (Luke 9:29-30). Moses represented the Law (Law giver). The Law was to bring man to the end of himself.

Elijah represented all the prophets to remind people of the Law they so often forgot. Both Moses and Elijah were servants of God but Jesus is the Son of God. “Listen to Him.” He is the final Word of God.

          We are not good listeners. But we can improve.

“Be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” James 1:19

We can be quick to run off and do something like Peter wanted to do something, instead of listening.

How does faith come to us?

“Faith cometh by hearing and hearing the Word of God.”

Romans 10:17

“Hearing” = akoe – acoustics

“Word of God” = rhema – that which is uttered by the Living Voice.

Logos is what God has said = written Word.

Rhema is what God is saying to you now by the Spirit. It always agrees with the written Word!

You can hear God today for yourself:

1.   Written Word
2.   Holy Spirit

3.   Anointed preaching/teaching
4.   People

God has an agenda for our lives:

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

These “thoughts” God has for us are His agenda for us.

Our discovery of His agenda and plans are linked to intimate prayers of talking, asking and THEN LISTENING.

 The next 3 verses attached to this famous scripture tell us so.

“Then you will call upon ME and go and pray to ME, and I will listen to you. And you will seek ME and find ME, when you search for ME with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the LORD.” Jer. 29:12-14

When we are seeking to know God’s plans for our life, we are actually seeking His thoughts towards us.

Many times when we pray, our focus is not on understanding the Father’s purpose, activities or heart. Instead we pray to get our needs met, or how we want Him to make us successful. When you pray your own agenda, you are not listening for His!

Ill. What I discovered this past Sunday morning during pre service prayer. How important it is to have a time of being still and quiet before the Lord. Just paying attention and listening if He has anything He wants to say or reveal. I bring a notepad and write down any impressions. I did put up a microphone near the end for people to be able to express what God is saying or showing for all of us like we did in the prayer room. I will hold off on opening the microphone up for people until the last ten minutes because it is more important to listen.

          Listening to God is an art to be developed by each person. It can never be listen on demand. There will be times God is silent and we cannot force Him to speak. Our job is to listen to see if He will have anything to say to me.

Last Wednesday I shared with you 2 ongoing essentials for us to find out God’s will and plan for us: It is revealed in Romans 12:1-2 KJV

Romans 12:1-2 KJV and bold on last part, “that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God!”

1.   We must train the body with discipline like an athlete.
2.   We must renew the mind with meditation with the Word.

Mediation is not studying the Bible.

Worrying is meditation in a negative way. It is going over and over something in your mind, even visualizing it, imagining it. Our minds have a lot of bad trauma memory that still affects us.

PTSD = bad memories triggered by whatever.

     Your mind has been so affected by this world system and values that it has poured our brains into a mold.

-        Romans 12:2 “Be not conformed to this world” = poured into the world’s mold for you.

“But be ye transformed (metamorphosis) by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2

This is the process that requires a lot of time. Jesus taught us the Word of God is like a seed planted in the ground. The more seed the more opportunity to renew our minds. Meditating on the Word will make you think differently than the world and react differently when bad things happen. We should be a lot different from lost people in world.

-        I am pointing out how much we have been squeezed into the mold of this world. When bad things happen we get into the same fear as unbelievers because we think like them

“As a man thinks in his heart, so is he . . .”  Proverbs 23:7

ill. If we don’t think we have authority over demon’s, then when we recognize a demonic attack we will be powerless. Talking to a fellow believer the other day who said they were hearing voices of the devil. I told them they have authority over that and can stop it.

I don’t know if you have ever experienced casting out a demon (deliverance) from anyone or not? We have seen some pretty wild deliverances take place and some very gentle and unassuming.

“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.”  Matthew 11:12

I use to think that this meant we are to get violent in our faith against the enemy. But now I see the “violence” here is talking about the violence Jesus did through His death on the cross.

-        God promised vengeance upon the devil back in the garden of Eden (Gen. 3:15).

-        The week before His crucifixion Jesus said, “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” Jn 12:31

-        “Through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil, and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”  Heb. 2:14

Jesus was violent with the devil and destroyed his power and works. He won the war. There is no war now with the devil like he would like you to think. The war has been won and Jesus is Lord.

His cause is now become our cause.
Jesus has violently won the victory over the devil.
We are His messengers carrying the news of His absolute victory.
We are to wear His armor of victory as we stand against the enemy.

Concl: When we think of prayer we usually do not think of listening but speaking to God. I want to challenge you this week to begin to have some time with God somewhere alone and begin with waiting and listening to see if He will say something to you. Just the fact you do this is honoring to Him.

          As you become still keep a notepad and jot down things He may be whispering to you. Recalling a conversation, you had with someone this week, or a scripture that keeps coming into your mind, or a song.

-        Sing and pray the psalms into a tune you are familiar with.

-        Journal – write down your conversation with God.

-        “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently . . . Let him sit alone and be silent” (Lamentations 3:25,26,29 NASB)

Give God that extra half hour this Sunday and come to pre service prayer and learn to listen for His whisper

The Big Things That God Wants You to Ask Him For!

The Big Things That God Wants You to Ask Him For!

Ill. My mom sais to me just before going to Haiti that she was praying for me and felt like God was telling her to tell me something. “Instead of asking God for the same ole things that we have for years and He has not provided – ask Him for something big that you want God to accomplish. God wants you to challenge Him.”

So I took this to heart and began making my list of “big things to challenge God”. I did not realize it till this week in preparing this message that my new list of things to challenge God were just about the same as my old list!

Then I started thinking that I am still not asking for the right things that God wants me to ask Him for. I have got to quit asking for the wrong things and find out what are the things God wants me to ask Him for!

For the next few weeks I want to take you on a personal journey of self discovery of why you and I are not yet experiencing the life God has planned for us and then to make the changes necessary to get there. Are you ready for that?

Exhibit A will be the example God has preserved and provided for us to learn from for over 3000 years. It is a tragic event referred to over and over in Psalms, the prophets, the gospels, and epistles, ( I Cor. 10, and Hebrews). Three separate times it is referred to in Hebrews. Before scripture was written and things were orally passed down, to the writing of the scriptures this particular story is constantly used as a warning to us today. A whole generation of God’s children died in a wilderness instead of a promise land God had planned for them.

You say you don’t care to hear about this because that was then and this is now and things are different. I beg to differ. Referring to the NT:

“Now these things (example of Israel dying in the wilderness) happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved.” I Cor. 10:6

“Now all these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the end of the ages has come.” I Cor. 10:11

A prayer to prepare for the journey:

“Lord, thank You for the message You have preserved for more than 3000 years for me to hear about today. Thank You for loving me enough to want what is best for my life. As best as I know how, I submit my life into Your hands for changes needed in order to experience the life You want for me. I want to leave my wilderness and move into Your promise land beginning today. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Each week we will look at one thing we need to change, and how to do it by replacing an attitude with what God wants to ask Him for and is willing to give us. What kept them from the promise land is what is keeping us from ours. WE can learn from their example. Unbelief may be the quick answer for their demise but unbelief was the overall fruit but underneath were several hidden roots causing unbelief that we must discover and replace with what God is willing to give us.

The first attitude that caused a whole generation of God’s people to die in the wilderness was something we don’t think we have:

“These things happened as examples for us, SO THAT WE WOULD NOT CRAVE EVIL THINGS AS THEY ALSO CRAVED.” I COR. 10:6

-        Craving evil things = COVETING

WHAT IS COVETOUSNESS?

Wanting the wrong things, or wanting right things at the wrong time, or for the wrong reasons, or in the wrong amount.

Examples: If you want to be a spiritual leader is a good thing. If you want it for personal recognition or to make you feel important then it becomes coveting evil things God not willing to give. 

Example: You want right things but at wrong time. Couple says we love each other and want to get married and commit lives to each other. But we want to sexually satisfy each other now. Want right things for right reasons (God given sexual desire), but they want it for wrong time – this is coveting evil things God not willing to give.

Example: Money needed for living here. Job pays the bills. Another job offers great money if you work every Sunday but take you from family and church. More of anything other than God’s will never satisfies anything. It could be coveting after evil things God not willing to give.

Nothing wrong with wanting to get ahead and make a better life for yourself – God made you that way. But beware of the wrong way to do it!

Coveting is the 10th commandment and all of us are tempted by it in some way, but most will deny it is really coveting. For Israel in the wilderness it was this:

“Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish we use to eat in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons. But now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna. . . the anger of the Lord was kindled greatly, and Moses was displeased.”
Numbers 11:4-10

“For we were better off in Egypt!”  Numbers 11:18

Everyday Israel would gather supernatural food in a desert and everyday God heard coveting for what He was not providing. At the root of a coveting attitude is a heart saying, “God You are not meeting my expectations. You are not enough for me!”

God was angry at their arrogant rejection of His provision and goodness.

Ill. He sent quail for them to eat. They ate it till they loathed it and got sick on it. It came out of their nostrils – threw up food. Num 11:18-20

“He gave them their requests, but sent leanness into their soul.” Psalm 106:15

ill. Maybe God will bring to your mind something you have been begging Him for but He is not willing to give you. Some financial windfall, some material dream. Instead He has something better in mind.

Ill. Haiti mission trip – 3rd world country, poverty and yet the people for the most part are happy. Church is sure joyful and lively. They have a peace with the simple things of life.

          In America we tend to refer to material wealth as “the blessing of the Lord, as in “I got a raise – what a blessing.” Or my investments are growing tremendously – God has really blessed me.” My point is Americans tend to think money is synonymous with blessing!

Sometimes I wonder if our financial prosperity is the “meat” we have begged God for so long that we are now chocking or getting sick on it!

  By the world’s standards the US is incredibly wealthy in things but I think we are very malnourished in the joy of the Lord! I don’t see many Xns with the joy of the Lord like we should be full of including myself!

I wonder if God has given us our requests but sent leanness into our souls?

When is enough enough? When you covet then enough is never enough!

Ill. Even us Pastors – we all want the biggest, wealthiest churches so we can do more for God right? When is enough enough? Never heard of a church with a limit on church membership. We are supposing to win the whole world right? WE are to evangelize but not bring everyone to our church. What if we realized God’s plans for now were for us to be a congregation of 300 and no more for now. We are not taking any new members at this time. You’ll have to wait until some people either get mad and leave (about 3 months) or till some get promoted to heaven. Then we work on discipling classes for only these 300. We only build a building (debt free) for this size too. What about others who want to come? Welcome them. Maybe have multiple services but when we reach our limit we work on building another congregation for whatever size God show us in a near by place.

It is time to look inside inside our hearts and ask GOD a question:

AM I A COVETOUS PERSON?

Ask yourself: “Do I spend more time thinking about people to impact with the gospel, or do I think more about things to accumulate?

God puts people in a wilderness experience when they want things more than they want Him and His plans for their lives.

What is the big thing that God wants me to ask Him for?

What prayer can I ask God for that He is willing to do? 

Replace my coveting with His contentment.

Contentment is satisfaction with God’s provision.

Ill. Paul writes Timothy and warns him to stay away from people who “suppose that financial gain is godliness”. Then He adds,

But godliness with contentment is great gain. I Tim. 6:6

          Godliness deals with who I am. Never be content to stay where you are in your personal growth and maturity and spirituality. Contentment deals with what you have as enough in life. Learn when enough is enough.

          Paul is not condemning desire for gain. Almighty God has given you the desire to make your life better. It is not wrong to desire upgrades, improvements, new car to improve your life. Just be careful with that desire because we are rarely satisfied with what we have. When God adds wealth and increase there is no sorrow with it.

          You can accumulate so much that you turn into a maintenance man instead of living the life God has for you to impact the world.

So how do I get contentment to replace covetousness?

1.   Keep sight of eternity.
“For we brought nothing into this world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.” I Tim. 6:7

-        Heard of an old friend who died in his sleep the other day. Only 66?

ill. Back in the old day’s funeral homes had suits made to bury people in. One day a funeral home was going out of business and had some suits left over for sale. One man tried one and was surprised to find it had no pockets in it. What would a corpse need pockets for?

2.   Learn when enough is enough.
“Having food and covering, with these be content.” I Tim. 6:8

ill. In Haiti I began to wonder. If I had the money, I could fix this or do that. Does it all come down to economics? Thought of what Peter Lord said He heard from the Lord after he was asking for more money for some project. “If I thought money would solve the world’s problems I would have sent money instead of sacrificing My Son!”

2.   Learn from examples.
“While coveting after money, some have strayed from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” I Tim. 6:10

We don’t have to learn everything on our own. I read lots of books because I am learning a lot from other people.

Millions of people have already figured out some things and we can learn from them so we don’t have to learn the hard way.

“I have made millions, but they brought me no happiness.”  John D. Rockefeller

“The care of millions is too great a load. There is no pleasure in it.” Cornelius Vanderbilt

“I am the most miserable man on earth.” John Jacob Astor

“I was happier as a boy working in a mechanic’s shop, though we had nothing.” Henry Ford

ill. Great wealth gives you more opportunities that those without it will have. Some of those opportunities are a snare and a trap.

Concl: If we are going to make it to the Promise Land God has for us here and now we are going to have to learn from the example of Israel and how they failed.

1.   We must recognize the things we are craving for that God is not willing to give and repent today.

2.   We must put off covetousness and put on contentment moment by moment by choosing enough is enough.

3.   We must learn to be content. Paul said this lesson was the secret to life abundant.

“I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” Philippians 4:11

Today you have heard a big thing that God wants you to ask Him to do in your life.

Hearing God’s Word is not enough. I know we must act on His Word. It is doing what He says that bring results.

Lord, don’t let us be deceived into thinking we are changed because of what we have heard today. Help us change starting today because of what we do in response to Your word. Help us believe the truth that godliness with contentment is great gain!

Finding, Following and Fulfilling God’s Will For Your Life

Finding, Following and Fulfilling God’s Will For Your Life

Jeremiah 29:11 – God has plans for your life

God’s plan for your life will not automatically happen!

God won’t reveal His plans for your life until you are ready to receive them!

One reason God does not show us the full scope of His plans all at once it that it would overwhelm us. It isn’t that God is hesitant to show us His plans – it is just that that it takes us time to come to the place of being able to receive His will.

Ill. As a teenager I was obsessed in my senior year at high school about making a decision of what to do for an occupation. I was not born again yet but I believed in and talk to God on occasion. I wondered why He would not talk to me when I asked Him what I should do with my life?

          Now I know why. The Lord wants you, your heart, more than you to work at some service.

          Even after I got saved and had a personal relationship with God I would often ask Him what do you want me to do? Still no answer.

I would pray, “Lord, what is the best vocation I could do with my life and make the greatest impact on the world?” No answer.

I remember telling a minister friend that I wanted to do something great for God. It may sound noble but in reality I wanted God to do something great with my life. Even this is not wrong in itself but we are missing the point.

The Lord doesn’t want your service as much as He wants you! If He gets your heart, then He will have your service.

I heard one minister say he was seeking God like I was about, “Should I do this or that?” Finally, the Lord spoke to him and said, “The reason I have not used you is because you are not usable. Quit praying that I will use you and instead pray, God make me usable.

God actually wants to use you more than you want Him to use you. Look at what Jesus said,

“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Pray to the Lord of the harvest that He will send forth laborers into His harvest.” Mtt 9:37-39

Jesus said the harvest is already ready to be harvested all around us. Someone has sown seed (witnessed –prayed for them).

Sometimes we just sow seed – other times we water what seed has already been sown, still other times we harvest because the time is right and they are ready.

Ill. Inviting people to your church is not witnessing but it is – sowing seeds or maybe it is watering seeds someone else has sown.

Here is an important point about being usable to God. Even after the disciples spent 3 years personally with Jesus. He even sent them out to preach the kingdom, heal the sick and cast out demons with his authority on a couple of occasions. They experienced His power to some degree for ministering. However, after they saw Him raised from the dead He told them, “Don’t tell anybody I’m resurrected until you have received the power of the Holy Spirit. Then you will be empowered to be My witnesses.” (Acts 1:4-8)

          The baptism of the HS was so important that Jesus told the disciples, “Do not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father of which you have heard from Me. For John baptized you with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Acts 1:4-5

“But you shall receive (God’s) POWER when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you shall be witnesses in Jerusalem, and all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  Acts 1:8

You need to get to where you are not ministering out of your own ability, but through the power of the Holy Spirit through you!

This takes a while to happen. God does not just want us to teach what we have heard others say or do things in our own ability. He wants us to experience the leading and power of the HS, not just your own power.

If God does not have your heart and you have His Power, then the enemy will over come you. You will experience a lot of opposition!

“If you haven’t bumped into the devil it is because you both are going in the same direction!”

Satan puts a priority on people living in the center of God’s will!

One of the reasons God does not reveal all His will for our life at once is we might try to do it in the flesh (Ishmael) or worse Satan would unleash all his attacks on us when we are not ready for it.

          The first step to finding God’s will for your life is found in Romans 12:1

“I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1

-        This is not normal and you can’t do it all by yourself. Self centeredness is the root of all evil. Everyone was born in the world this way and sad to say the majority of us are still that way. We all start out selfish but we don’t have to stay that way!

-        This is not a one-time experience!

Self control is the goal not God control. Self control is a fruit of the Spirit that grows through maturity.

How do we mature?

“When I a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, and I thought as a child. But when I became a man, I put away childish things.” I Cor. 13:11

-        By stopping some things and starting new things!

-        Especially targeting our physical bodies appetites.

2 areas we are responsible to take charge of everyday:

1.   Discipline (train) your body – presenting our bodies to God as a living sacrifice.

“Do you not that your body is the temple of God and the Spirit of God dwells in you?” I Cor. 3:16

-        I Cor. 9:24-27 the body needs training like an athlete.

-        Self control grows in us as a fruit of the Spirit by a consistent walk of yielding to the Spirit rather than the strong desires of the flesh (see Gal. 5:16).

2.   Repentance and renewing our mind daily to think like God and not like the world.

-        Romans 12:2   “Be not conformed (pressed into the mold of the world’s way of thinking) .

-        Gal. 2:20 “The life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of . . .”

-        Romans 8:6 flesh minded or Spiritually minded?

-        Romans 8:14 learning to be led by the Spirit

Not taking seriously these two clear commands of God will disqualify us from God leading us to our next step of destiny!

-        Need proof?  See I Corinthians 9:24-chapter 10.

Maybe you are here tonight because you do love God but your commitment has been weak. You have dedicated and rededicated until your dedicator is worn out! Maybe through a series of disappointments, stresses, trials, temptations you have fallen off the wagon again, and again. But you do love God but you are just weak in being able to consistently carry out His will.

The first thing I want to tell you is

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to all men. But God is faithful and will not let you be tempted above that which you are able. But He will with the temptation make a way of escape that YOU MAY BE ABLE TO BEAR IT!”  I Cor. 10:13

2 things you need to settle tonight:

1.   God wants you to take control over your body and discipline it and MAKE IT a living sacrifice. (A sacrifice costs you something)!

2.   God wants you to train your thoughts and renew your mind so that you do not continue to think like the world.

Quote Romans 12:1-2

“So that YOU MAY PROVE WHAT IS THE GOOD AND PERFECT WILL OF GOD.”  ROMANS 12:2

Once you reach this place of being a living sacrifice, you would have to rebel against God to keep from seeing His good and perfect will come to pass in your life.

God does not need a silver vessel but a surrendered vessel.

Commit you daily walk to Him and He will promote you in whatever area He wants you to go. Things will work out better than when you were calling the shots.

Being a living sacrifice does not mean being a doormat. It means if God tells you to do something to change your circumstances, you need to do it.

Concl:

 Dedicating an disciplining your body and daily renewing your mind is the first step to finding God’s will for your life. People want to by-pass this and go to the greater works, but this is the place to start daily in finding grace to discipline yourself so He can use you.

It would jump start your spiritual battery if you would tonight or in the morning dedicate your body and then start renewing your mind. Tell God you want Him to lead you and teach you how to let Him lead in every area of your life.

Pic car turning too fast

It is still a process and takes daily efforts on our part. Most of our life we have lived very selfish as if life is all about us. You can’t make a complete U turn instantly. It is a process of slowing down – putting on the brakes, and making turns gradually.

Ill. Jim Erwin astronaut who walked on moon said Nasa just threw capsule towards moon and every ten minutes for 4 days they had to make course corrections in order to reach their destination. That’s the way it is making a commitment to follow Christ. You make a total commitment and within 5 minutes you are going to have an opportunity for a course correction for the rest of your life.

You are learning to come to the end of yourself and beginning of God’s new life for you.

 

 

 

 

Prayer and confession:

“Lord Jesus,

I realize I need to become a living sacrifice in order to find Your will for my life. I am willing to start right now to more seriously discipline my body. I give You the freedom to show me and help me stop some things and start new things that You want in my life.

As I daily humble myself under You, then You will help me in this process of supernatural renewal. Making this decision I will begin to recognize God’s directions by the Holy Spirit living in me. As I continue to turn my life over to You, You will lead me to Your good and perfect will. Thank You for teaching me or reminding me of this truth tonight.

In Jesus’ name, amen.

Increasing Our Awareness and Dependence Upon God

Increasing Our Awareness and Dependence Upon God

Ill. Review Joshua is the appointed leader of Israel. Moses has died.

Orders from Moses to Joshua are to cross into the Promise land and drive out  and destroy people who live there. This was not just to be a show of military might but a demonstration of how to live and sustain the supernatural life with God leading us from victory unto victory.

The night before crossing over the Jordan, Joshua has an encounter with the Lord. At first he does not know it is the Lord because the Lord appears as a man with a drawn sword.

Joshua 5:13-14 MEV

3 things Joshua had to learn that we must learn in order to live a supernatural life in the Promise land. The Promise land is not heaven. It is here and now with enemies, battles, attacks to overcome.

1.   We are never alone -  Immanuel = He showed He is always with us in 3 places:

Bethlehem = God with us
Calvary        = God for us
Pentecost   = God in us

Xns are like the children of Israel in the sense we are here to take the land by bringing the gospel to people all around us.

2.   We are only 2nd in command.  Joshua learns he is not the captain of army but the Lord is captain of the hosts. Lord of hosts – 285 times = Supreme ruler over all.

-        In NT we see Jesus is Lord over all. We have been bought with a price and we are not here to do our own will but to find, follow and fulfill His will and plans for our lives day by day. We are to live dependent upon Lord and come to Him for His directions and guidance and learn not unto our own understanding.

-        We are not to make self directed decision according to what we only see or feel. We are to live a Spirit-led and directed life which will result in supernatural life and peace (Romans 8:6).

3.   We are to believe God’s Works are finished and in order to experience His Life and victory.

-        This is where we lose most of the people of God!

Ill. So many times God tells Joshua and His people – “See I have given you the land.” In the natural you can’t see it. You see it with eyes of faith that hear and believe God rather than waiting to see then believe.

-        To Thomas after resurrection Jesus appeared and said, “Because you have seen Me, you now believe. Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have believed.” Jn 20:29

A couple verses later scripture says,

“But these (the Bible) are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”  Jn 20:31

Believing God is what turns the lights on in your house! The power is turned on by believing what God says and acting on it. This will require you start moving before you see anything happening.

God has ordained that everyone who walks with God must take steps of faith. Faith is trusting God more than what you see or feel.

-        This life is to be a supernatural walk with God leading your steps to walk in His victory.

Ill. A man asked me to come and pray for a pastor who had something wrong with his knees and he could hardly walk. I prayed and then told the translator to tell him to check it out and try to do something that he normally could not do. The Translator said, “You want me to put him on the spot like that?” No I want him to exercise some degree of faith because faith without works is dead. He didn’t do anything and we left.

-        The power (life of God) comes when someone believes God not just when you pray. But power must also be received and acted upon.

What if I prayed in faith for healing but I see nothing changed?

1.   Hold your position – this is warfare! Abraham held position for 25 years! “Cast not away your confidence . . .” Ask God to show you if you still are in unbelief or doubt.

2.   To ask God for something He says is already done means I don’t believe it is done.    (like salvation).

3.   Occupy yourself with praise and thanksgiving.

4.   Don’t get snared with the words of your mouth. Prov.6:2

5.   “The Prayer of faith will save the sick.” James 5:16

ill. The prayer of faith has been prayed by everyone of you who are born again. You had to Romans 19:9-10 in order to get saved!

-        We are made in the image of God so that we rule with the words of our mouth and make things happen.

Here is where most Xns refuse to move forward in faith. Yet this is the place we cross over into Promised land living. God uses this example of Israel and the generation who died in the wilderness as an example and warning for us today.

          We could end up the same way! ill. How many Xns will have DNF on foreheads in heaven? Did not Finish! A whole generation of Israel!

DNF PIC

“Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion . . . where your forefathers tested Me and saw My works for forty years. Therefore, I was angry with that generation . . . and I swore they shall not enter My rest.

So they could not enter in because of unbelief. Therefore, since the promise of entering His rest remains, let us fear least any of you should come short of it!

For the gospel was preached to us as well as to them. But the Word preached did not benefit them, because it was not mixed with faith in those who heard it. We who have believed have entered this rest.

His works have been finished since the creation of the world. God rested on the seventh day from all His works. Therefore, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. LET US LABOR TO ENTER THAT REST, LEST ANYONE FALL BY THE SAME PATTERN OF UNBELIEF. (Hebrews 3 – 4 various verses).

Heaven is the reward given from Jesus not our goal. Our goal is to believe God to the point we enter His supernatural rest now regardless of the giants we face, circumstances we are to overcome, troubles and trials we have to deal with.

Life walking with God and resting in His Word makes us unshakable.

Your only labor is to enter God’s rest.

The enemy uses every weapon he has to get you out of rest and faith in God. All his weapons against you are based solely upon lies and trying to get you to believe them. You only become susceptible to Satan’s weapons if you are not established in grace. For example God says,

“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises up against you in judgment YOU SHALL CONDEMN. This is the heritage of the servants (sons) of the Lord, AND THEIR RIGHTEOUSNESS IS FROM ME.”   Isa. 54:17

-        It is your job to rebuke and condemn voices that try to get you to believe sickness is yours, lack is yours, guilt and fear are yours, depression is yours! “You shall condemn these things!”

-        If any of Satan’s weapons have been getting through to you it is because you are not built up and exercising faith in that area!

There was a generation of people that believed in God and did all the religious church stuff – the wilderness in the Tabernacle – sacrifices – YET they did not worship God the way He wanted!

They died in a dry barren wilderness – not their destiny. Near the land flowing with milk and honey but dying within a few steps of reaching it.

Ill. One of the biggest problems in the church today is many believers are aimless or without any direction in life. They have trusted God for salvation, but are not surrendering daily their lives to God’s leading and guidance. They are not fighting the good fight of faith to receive all that God has promised that He has already given us. We settle for far less than what God has promised!

          It is possible to have a saved soul but a lost life. It happens because people trusted God to get out of Egypt but not enough to get into the Promise land which requires more surrender to God.

Concl: Last week while I was preaching to you – it was if God gave me insight that I did not have until that moment. Worship of God is seeing Him as He is and then falling at His feet in full unconditional surrender. This is not a one time thing but daily surrender to Him and then dependence upon Him for direction. Every worship service is to be for this purpose. Bringing us back to the altar of uncut stones (not mam made religion) but raw and real surrender to God.

Ill. WW2 Japan hit with Atomic bomb and devastated and sent message to General McArthur. What are the terms or conditions of surrender? His answer was clear – Unconditional surrender nothing less. After you surrender then we will tell you the next thing to do.

When Joshua stood before the Lord with sword drawn this was what God was showing Joshua. To enter the Promised land of destiny I have for you will require nothing less than unconditional surrender.

Everyday after this I believe Joshua remembered this experience and he would early in the morning re-surrender his life to God. He realized he was a man with only a certain amount of days on this earth who was under an assignment from God with limited time.

          Through surrender and faith dependence upon God he led Israel into the Promise land that their ancestors failed to enter.

 

Decision time: Either God’s plans OR your plans for your life?  Which will it be?

Decision time: Either God’s plans OR your plans for your life?  Which will it be?

For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jer. 29:11

Do you believe God has good plans for your future?

-         “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, so that we should walk in them.” Eph. 2:10

God’s good plans for you are not just going to happen automatically!

Satan also has some bad plans for your life.

“The thief does not come, except to steal, and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

The only reason Satan messes with you is because you have something that he wants to steal, kill or destroy from you. But Satan is not your greatest enemy towards finding, following and fulfilling God’s plans for your life. Let’s look at an OT example to discover who this is.

Joshua 5:13-15 Modern English Version

Prior to Moses’ death he told Joshua God’s plans to take the Promise land. This incident happened the night before Joshua led Israel to cross over into the Promise land. This had to happen before Israel entered the land or else it would have been a disaster.

Let’s identify the people in this incident. Who is Joshua officially?

Officially he is in charge of the God’s people. He is the commander, the chief, the undisputed leader appointed by Moses himself.

Who is this unidentified man standing in front of Joshua with a drawn sword like he is ready to kill someone? At first Joshua does not recognize this is the Lord Himself.

PICTURE OF JOSHUA

Joshua asks, “Whose side are you on – us or for our enemies?”

“Neither, for I AM the commander of the army of the Lord.”

I am not here to bless your plans; I am here to take over. You may be the supreme commander down here but you better recognize the Supreme Commander and follow His plans rather than yours!

Before Joshua could go the next step into the plans that God had Israel the issue of who is really in charge needed to be settled here and now!

Imagine you are in the place of Joshua right now. You are facing some battle – Satan is opposing you in health, finances, family, life direction.

God believes this one issue must be settled here and now before you can take the next step.

          He is not here to bless your plans. He is here to take over leadership. He is here as Supreme Commander. You have to choose to recognize Him or not.

First of all, do you recognize Him in the unfamiliar way He is standing before you with drawn sword? You are not going into the land of promise until you recognize Him and settle the issue of receiving your orders directly from Him.

Once Joshua discerned this was God look what He did!

“THEN Joshua fell on his face to the ground and worshipped.” Joshua 5:14

-         Worship is surrendering to God and His will. We get to choose who we will worship. Either God or yourself. Whoever you serve first is who you worship. “Choose this day who you will serve.”

The next thing Joshua does is ask the Lord a question.

Lord, what do You want from me?

Why don’t you take a moment and ask the Lord this question too?

Look at the strange thing the Lord tells him to do:

“Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place you are standing is holy ground. So Joshua did this.”   Joshua 5:15

Joshua could have said, “Take off my shoes? Lord please explain this to me first then I will gladly do this.”

Remove your shoes = prophetic statement. Feet represent your walk or steps in life you are to take. “The steps of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord.”  SING :Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.
Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.

When I feel afraid,
Think I've lost my way,
Still you're there right beside me.
And nothing will I fear
As long as you are near.
Please be near me to the end.

Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.
Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.

Worship is not just come to a building a sing songs to God. IT is not come give God’s church money, or even serve a little of your time. Worship is when you remove your shoes and surrender the rest of your life for His plans and for Him to direct your next step without knowing all the details.

“Holy Ground” = not a church building but the place of surrendering to the will of God. This week when you give out invitations to church that spot is holy ground. Holy ground is where you remove your shoes and say to God I surrender my walk and my life plans to You without knowing all the details of my future. When you spontaneously lead me to go in a certain direction – like Haiti – I will go.

“We may make our plans but the Lord establishes our steps.”  Prov. 16:9

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you are to go. I will counsel you with My eye on you.” Psalm 32:8

Concl: You have to settle this one thing of whose is in charge of your life? Whose lead are you following. Once that is decided then you start to live the exciting Spirit-led adventure life God has planned for you. You don’t need to know all the details. You only need to know your next step.

I suggest we all come to the altar and remove our shoes and give God our feet – meaning the right to direct our steps.

Finding God’s Will for Your Life

Finding God’s Will for Your Life

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

God is speaking through prophet Jeremiah to Israel. Can we claim that this is also true for us individually?

“Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be. How precious are Your thoughts to me, O God!” Psalm 139:16-17 

God saw us before we were born. He wove into our DNA talents, abilities, and purposes. He already had written down the plans He has for us.

God is sovereign, in the sense He has supreme power. But He is not sovereign in the sense that nothing can happen without His permission. God does not control our lives. Everything that happens in your life is not God’s will.

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9

God wants everyone saved, yet not everyone will be saved. We have a choice in the matter.

God has a will and plan for us but not everyone will find and follow His will, even Xns!

Theme of book of Judges:

“Everyone did what was right in their own eyes.”

God created everything and everyone with a purpose. Your parents may not have known you were coming, but God did. You are not a mistake or an accident. We should all be seeking God about His purposes for us being here.

          We don’t want to be like the people of God in the book of Judges where, “Everyone did what was right in their own eyes.”

There are some things we already know are God’s will for us:

1.   Present our bodies as a living sacrifice – Romans 12:1

2.   Renew our minds with God’s Word – Romans 12:1

3.   Share the gospel with the world – Matt. 28:19-20

4.   Seek first God’s kingdom rule – Mtt 6:33

5.   Live with God’s peace ruling – Col. 3:15

Many other things are clear.

God has a more specific plan for your life:

1.   You were born a man or a woman.

2.   You were born a certain time in history.

3.   You were born in a certain nation.

4.   You have certain gifts and abilities to accomplish what He has planned for you to do.

God’s plan is revealed in steps and stages:

“First the blade, then the stalk, then the full head of seed.” Mark 4:28

ill. Over a period of time you discover more details. When we first went to Bible College it was not to pastor a church. Chaplain in the military? Counselor? After 2 years I pastored a small church in Georgia, while a student. Two years later we were full time youth pastors for 2 ½ years. After this Pastor for 6 ½ years in Astor then Fruitland Park and now GT.

I wasn’t out of God’s will when I was a Baptist pastor. It was all a time of training for me for the next step. God’s will takes time, steps and stages, - first the blade, then stalk then the head of grain.

Talents and abilities are not always the best indicator of God’s will!  

1.   Just because you are able to speak in front of people does not mean that God wants you to be a preacher.

-        You may have talents/abilities undiscovered and undeveloped.

2.   Ill. A personality test can’t tell you God’s plan for your life. It is only a snapshot of where you are at that moment you take the test. We change through the years.

3.   Your achievements are not necessarily revealing God’s plan for your life. God always calls us to do something BEYOND our natural ability, forcing us to rely on Him.

Paul said of himself,

“It pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by His grace. . .”  Gal. 1:15

Paul recognized God had a purpose for him to be a representative for God. Yet for 20 – 30 years he thought being a legalistic Jew was the way he would fulfill God’s will. When God revealed Himself to him on the Damascus road, “You’re doing it all wrong!” Now Paul had completely reverse the direction his life was going.

You don’t have to be a preacher to have a God given purpose! God calls more people to be out in the world than He does to be full time ministers. You can reach people I can’t!

The primary universal will for everyone is to personally know Jesus!

-        Even the devils know God is real. Mental acknowledgment.

-        Commit to His Lordship – His plans for your life unfold like a flower moment by moment as you live with Him.

“I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able, to keep that which I have committed to Him against that day.” 2 Tim. 1:12

If finding God’s will you have to commit something. Are you going to go through life singing, Que’ sera’ sera’. Whatever will be will be?”

 Or are you going to make a commitment to seek and find God’s will for your life?

This prayer is a step of faith to start the process of God revealing His will to you:

Father God,

I thank You that You have detailed plans for my life. I don’t want to do things on my own anymore. I want to know Your will and what You created me for. I understand discovering Your will is a process. I am making a commitment to begin to seek and continue to seek Your will until I find and fulfill it. I am not going to be content living my life for myself. I humble myself and ask You to give me supernatural revelation. I believe that right now that process has begun. You are going to keep that which I commit to You. Thank You in advance, for revealing Your will to me in a way I can see and understand my next step. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

The Real Gospel

The Real Gospel
Romans 1:16-17

Intro: Have you ever heard the gospel? A better question is, “Have you ever seen the gospel, or have you ever experienced the gospel?

Here is a radical truth that would get you kicked out of most churches: Sin is not an issue with God! The Lord isn’t waiting for us to ask Him to forgive us of our sins. The sins of the entire world—past, present, and future—have already been forgiven. Even a man like Adolf Hitler had grace extended to him! Jesus loved Hitler and paid for his sins just as He did for yours and mine. God is no respecter of persons (Rom. 2:11).

God has already done His part; it is now up to you to receive the truth by faith and make it a reality in your life. Amen!

John the Baptist said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29

In John 16:8-9, Jesus said,

“And when Holy Spirit is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on Me.” John 16:8-9

The church often misinterprets this scripture and preaches that the Holy Spirit is here to convict you of all your sins. He is here to convict you of the single sin of not receiving Jesus as your Savior. The only conviction is that of believing in Jesus Christ.

the only sin that is going to send people to hell is the sin of rejecting Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.

King David had a revelation of God before his time. Ill. Example: Psalm 95 he refers to people in his day and ours: “Today if you will hear His voice do not harden your hearts like Israel did in the wilderness when they tested God.” When they had trouble like lack of water they would say, “Is God among us or not?”

In this Psalm David wrote God’s response. Therefore, I swore in My wrath, “They shall not enter into My rest.” Psalm 95:11

Note God had wrath. What was His wrath about? The wrath of God was because of their unbelief about God!

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. For it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16

Gospel means good news. It is the power of God for salvation!

Salvation = soteria = deliverance, preservation, healing, safety, etc.

What makes the gospel the power of God? See the next verse.

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith. As it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’   Romans 1:17

The gospel is powerful because it reveals the righteousness of God or God’s way for a man to become right with Him!  Once you believe and receive that Jesus died in your place then the power of the gospel is activated in your life! Faith activates the grace of the gospel.

Yet to all who received Him, to them gave He the power to become sons of God . . .  John 1:12

This power to become a son of God is grace. Grace is the power of God and the power of God is grace.

G –God’s
R – Riches
A – At

C – Christ’s
E – Expense

Think of it this way—grace is what God does; faith is what we do. It takes both working together to receive salvation.

You don’t break free from sin by focusing on how bad sin is. You focus Him and come to Him.

Come boldly to the throne of grace that you may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  Heb. 4:16

If you try to live the Xn life while being sin conscious you will live in fear and uncertainty and eventually drop out of church and avoid God. But if you get established in the true gospel of righteousness then you will become unshakeable and bold about coming to God in time of need.

         Ill. I see many get baptized and then the devil tempts them more than ever to distract them. If they are not established in the gospel they start to stay away from church because they gave in to temptation. The very place they need to run to for help is the place they feel guilty and condemned. This is the devil’s deception and his attacks on them. They are vulnerable because they are not established in the gospel.

A life established in the gospel that reveals the righteousness of God will be one that is unshakeable when the enemy attacks. Through Isaiah God spoke to Israel that was flip flopping with God. God wants this for you now.

In righteousness you SHALL BE established . . . Isa. 54:14

What does it mean to get established in God’s righteousness?

Jesus said, Seek ye first the kingdom of God and HIS RIGHTEOUNESS . . .

THERE ARE ONLY 2 KINDS OF RIGHTEOUNESS:

SELF RIGHTEOUNESS – leads to strife and works and death.

GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS – is a gift -  Jesus.

YOU are living in one or the other this very moment. If you are living in self righteousness or self dependence in any area of your life you will notice you are worried there, fearful there, strife there, no joy, no life.

Speaking of unsaved Israel God says,

For being ignorant of God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own righteousness, they did not submit to the righteousness of God.  Romans 10:3

Ignorant = without knowledge – they don’t know what you know. There will be people you are around this week who don’t know about God’s righteousness and the power of the gospel. You need to invite them to a church where they will hear the truth.

If they are not established in God’s righteousness, then they either become hard hearted and deny there is a God or:

-        Look to religion for answers and get deceived into religious works is what make you right with God.

-        Look to performance and behavior and good deeds as righteousness.

Neither of these are God’s righteousness.

Notice what Isaiah said will happen when one day you become established in righteousness.

 In righteousness you shall be established. . . indeed they will surely assail you fiercely. . . No weapon formed against you shall prosper. . . This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and THEIR RIGHTEOUSNESS IS FROM ME, SAYS THE LORD.”  Isa. 54:14-17

When you are established in the righteousness YOU WILL BE ATTACKED BUT YOU WILL NOT BE OVECOME BY THE ENEMY. Are you established in God’s righteousness because you know the truth of the gospel? “The just or righteous shall live by faith.”

-        ILL. Enemy attacks and you slip into sin. “What about your sin?” Now that you know you have the gift of no condemnation and the gift of righteousness, how will this change the way you respond to condemnation and discouragement that come when you fail? Yes, I have sinned but I am still the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus and my performance does not change that! In fact, thanks for reminding me I am going the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace to break this habit.

The gospel can be explained by one verse of scripture:

“He who knew no sin, became sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Cor. 5:21 

We are made righteous by Jesus – grace – God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense.

For if by (Adam’s) trespass death reigned through him, then how much more will those who receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness REIGN in life through Jesus Christ.  Romans 5:17

Many start out saved and then slip back into works and strife to make things happen.

“Remember from whence you have fallen and repent and return to the first works” Rev. 2:5

ill. The Galatian Xn fell from grace by slipping back under law and works. Paul spends 4 chapters correcting them about grace before he ever mentions the fruit of the Spirit in chapter 5.

Concl: Your life is either manifesting fruit of the Spirit or works of the flesh.

The gospel is all about the grace of God. I can’t but He can. I couldn’t but He did.

Unfortunately, many people are hearing a message of law or works instead of the good news of the gospel. How did you respond the first time you really heard the good news of the gospel?

-        Don’t you think God wants to use you to tell them what you discovered? At the very least He wants to use you to invite someone to a church where they will hear the true gospel.

-        Will you commit to invite 5 people this week by simply giving them one of these cards? Not will you do it for your church, not will you do it for me, but will you do it for Jesus’s sake? Do you think He will help you? You owe the world around you – the gospel.

Finding the Ancient Path of Rest and Grace

Finding the Ancient Path of Rest and Grace

The Lord Himself said to rebellious Israel through Jeremiah the prophet,

“Ask for the ancient paths where the good way is and walk in it and you shall find rest for your souls. But they said, “We will not walk in it.”  Jer. 6:16

          God wanted His people to find this rest from Him, but they refused. Years later when Jesus shows up and addresses the people of God He tells them the same thing.

Come unto Me all ye who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. . . You shall find rest for your souls.”

 Who is He addressing? People living under the demands of the Law.

Rest is offered but rest must be found by us.

This rest is found by a revelation of the grace of Jesus Christ. “Now I see!”

Last week we learned that mercy is given at God’s throne but grace also must be found.

“Let us then come with confidence (boldly) to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrew 4:16

Rest and grace are not the same. Rest is trust in the promises of God and grace is receiving the ability of God.

There is an ancient path that Noah found, Moses found it, David too.

It has always been around since the beginning of time, yet it must be found by us. Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord – Gen. 6:8. Noah was not a perfect man, yet God spared him and his family from destruction. Abraham and Sarah both lied and yet God still used them –grace. Moses asked God to use someone else yet found grace – Ex. 33:17. David lusted, lied, killed, adultery and yet found grace.

These ancients found both grace and rest before the new covenant was given. What is it about them that they found grace and rest where others who may not have done as bad of things as they did, yet did not find grace?

Last week I shared about Abraham when God told him to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. Most movies show Abraham in agony about this. But the truth is I don’t think he was in agony because he believed the promise of God that Isaac was the promised seed. For God’s promise to come true Isaac had to be alive. Abraham did not know how, or details but he trusted God and rested in God’s promise even when he is told to sacrifice his son. Isaac asked, “Where is the sacrifice?” Abraham said, “God will provide Himself the lamb.”

          As Abraham lifted the knife to slay his son the angel stopped him.

“Then Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked . . .” Gen. 22:13

HE FOUND GRACE after He first rested in the promise of God.

The greatest test of faith is when we are told to do something without any explanation of the details of how it will work out. Abraham’s part was to stay in faith that rests and then he found grace to do what he could not do on his own.

First he rested (SETTLED God’s Word in His heart) then he found grace. God provided Himself a ram that would take Isaac’s place.

Ill. The Promised land of rest was a land where God promised Israel houses they did not build, vineyards they did not plant, cities they did not build, wells they had not dug, olive trees they did not plant. For 40 years Israel wandered in unbelief that God would be that good to them in providing everything they would need in abundance to live the life He called them to live. Things He already provided for them!

Only one place in the Bible we are told to fear and it is referring to the example of the Israelites who died in the desert because they would not believe God and enter His rest and the promise land.

“Therefore since the promise of entering His rest remains, let us fear lest any of you should seem to come short of it.” Heb. 4:1

We are to fear coming short of entering God’s rest today. It is possible we could miss it. Israel did and missed the promised land. If we come short of entering His rest, we will not find the grace (ability of God) for our breakthrough.

Since Jesus has finished all the work of God on the cross, what are we to rest in? His finished work: Enter His rest – it is finished.

1.   We are righteous by His finished work.

2.   We are saved by His finished work.

3.   We are healed by His finished work.

4.   Everything we need for life and godliness is provided

How did Abraham receive from God? By believing what God said. He had to believe God and trust even though it looked impossible. He did not consider His body, age, circumstances. He considered what God said more powerful than what he felt or saw!

Today believers still have to labor against unbelief to believe God is that good and that Jesus’s work is complete. They are trying to complete a completed work, finish a finished work, and to defeat a defeated devil.

          There are believers working to produce their own righteousness, or their own healing, or their own success and victory. We have to believe what God’s Word says instead of what we see of feel.

“For being ignorant of God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own righteousness, they did not submit to the righteousness of God.”  Romans 10:3

This is the same context where we tell people how to be right with God. You believe in the finished work of Jesus on the cross in your heart and confess that with your mouth that Jesus is Lord you shall be saved. Jesus bore my sins and penalty and gives me His righteousness.

“For being ignorant of ­­_____________ and seeking to establish their _____________, they did not submit to the ______________.”  Romans 10:3

Replace with salvation, healing, victory, God’s leading, God’s provision.

In healing you find grace.

You tube clip on Hebrew word for healing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rafwZdhpqGo

Jesus bore my sickness and disease and gives me His health. I believe this and meditate upon it and speak it to myself.

In all these things our will is involved. Isaiah 1:19 says,

“If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land.” Isa. 1:19   

“Willing” involves a decision. Willing means I have made up my mind to believe God. I have determined, I will live in divine health, I am not willing to be sick or stay sick.” Obedient means I am saying the same things God says.

Example of healing: The head and mouth agree and speak of the strong sacrifice of grace found by us.

-        Believing right and speaking right. In time the manifestation of healing comes.

 “Through faith and patience you receive the promise.” Heb. 6:12

“For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the law but under grace.” Romans 6:14

“For sin (sins ‘results = sickness, disease, depression, poverty) shall not have dominion over you . . .

The only “work” left for us to do today is to enter His rest. We are to enter rest in Jesus, as Noah entered the ark, Jesus, our true ark, who will carry us through tempestuous waters.

First You enter rest (faith) then find grace (ability).

Ill. Few people in the bible are called great by God. But when He calls someone great it is because of their faith. The Centurion who told Jesus just speak the Word You don’t have to come to my house. Then an OT example of a mother God calls a great woman. 2 Kings 4 she is told by Elisha since she has no son that God wants to give her a son. She says to him please don’t give me false hope. A year later she bears a son as her gift from God. Years go by and the young boy dies in her arms from aneurysm. Without panic she tells her husband she has to go see the man of God now. He asks is everything ok? She responds, “It will be alright.” She knows God gave her this child and now goes to Elisha and says, “Didn’t I say to you don’t give me false hope?” Elisha does not know the child has died. She did not say it either. He sends his servant to lay his staff on the boy. The woman says, I will not leave her without you. Scripture says “She CAUGHT his feet.”  CAUGHT – used to describe a battle scene indicating she would not budge. Women tend to have this kind of perseverance that men do not have. So he got up and went with her. When he got to the house Elijah saw the boy was dead. He lays on top of the boy, prays and walks the floor and stayed there until the child came back to life!

Here’s the point:

1.   She rested and trusted God was in charge.

2.   She did not make any negative confessions.

3.   She did not understand why this was happening, but she would not let her outwards circumstances upset her inward faith.

4.   She did not budge from resting in the goodness of God and as a result she found grace that raised her son from the dead.

Concl: She found the same ancient path that Noah, Moses, Abraham, David found. The ancient path of rest and grace that Jesus set us on when we fist got saved.

The question is are you still on it today so you will find the grace you need for your breakthrough? The Bible says remember from where are you fallen and we need to remember where we got out of rest because that's where our problem began. Get back to the path of resting in the promises of God then you will find grace.

Don’t Limit God   Part 2

Don’t Limit God   Part 2

Pic of book

The way you see yourself may be a way you are limited God in the way He can work in and through your life. Many of the Hebrews couldn’t enter the land and life God promised them because they saw themselves different from the way God saw them. Moses sent 12 spies into the Promise land and they came back to give report. Two spies said it is awesome and we can do this with God. Ten said no way. They saw themselves as grasshoppers in a land of giants (Number 13:33).

          Someone defined “leadership” as influence. Everyone has influence over someone. Whoever has the greatest influence over you is leading you. I like watching the news but there comes a time I have to shut it off because it is influencing me to lose hope. Smith Wigglesworth would not allow a newspaper into his home!

          Sunday morning Pam was sharing about quenching the Spirit of God by resisting giving God our dance, our praise, our shout, because of our feeling at the moment. Quenching the Spirit is limiting God.

Pic of great cloud of witnesses scripture

Bible indicates heaven’s witnesses are watching us sometimes on earth. They must wonder at us sometimes! Why don’t we go for it, take more chances, take the risk, go all out and be radical in your witness, in your giving and in your living.

If you are ever going to experience God’s will for our life, you need to see yourself the way He sees you. You are limiting God through the way we see yourself.

“As a man thinks (imagines) in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7

Our lives go the way of our thoughts. If we want to change, the answer is first to remove the limits of our wrong thinking, because the way we think will direct the course of our lives.

Ill. I don’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings with what I am about to say. Everyone’s situation is different. I am just sharing my observation here. I have noticed that when a Xn gets injured or hurt badly physically and maybe can’t work or do the same work as before, often times they settle for less than God’s best. If they apply for disability it is almost like a life sentence they are putting on themselves. We believe God for healing so how can I pray for someone to be healed if they have already accepted they are going to be permanently disabled?

If you are imagining yourself disabled for the rest of your life, and this is not God’s image of you – are you not limiting God?

Ill. My dad died at 48 of heart problems. When I got close to 48 I started thinking I may have heart problems too. But this type of thinking limits the healing God wants to do in our bodies. Most people think if it is this way in their family then it will be that way for them! We need to change the way we think like the world.

          If you are sick you don’t have to read everything about your sickness. Don’t focus on it but rather focus on what God’s Word says. Put scriptures where you see them all the time, speak them to yourself, and shut off all that negative stuff that limits God.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, TO GIVE YOU AN EXPECTED END.” Jeremiah 29:11

God has a perfect plan for our lives. Whether your parents saw you coming or not God had a purpose for every child. Everyone influences someone!

          Ten of these 12 spies influenced the whole nation of Israel and quenched the zeal to take the Promise land.

“Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.”  Psalm 78:41

God was ready to do the supernatural with their lives and yet they shut Him down by not willing to risk, step out of the boat and move forward.

God will always be calling you to do something bigger and beyond yourself. If you can do it on your own, then it is not God.

I think all of us have missed opportunities God had for us yet because of the fear of man we missed out. We limit god by what we think.

“Moses was a hundred and twenty when he died and his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.” Deut. 34:7

ill. We need to be careful with our words. We say things like, “I’m over 40- 50 -60- 60 -80 and things are suppose to start going wrong in my body. We compare ourselves with ourselves thinking this is the way it is suppose to be. God warned Israel about this type thing.

“If thou shalt say in thine heart, these nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them?”  Deut. 7:17

This was what Israel was saying in themselves and it affected them.

“Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or THINK, according to the power that works in us.” Eph. 3:20

(according) means “to the degree of the power that is already working in us.”

We determine the limit of God’s power in us and through us. God always moves flows through people. All the great revivals were the result of one person who pressed in and fought through unbelief and struggles until they saw miracles.

Sometimes the greatest on-going struggles we have in this life are the very areas of breakthrough where God wants us to press in and learn revelation from Him so we can help others.

Some of you are praying for your life to change because you have no joy. You may be depressed because you are not doing what God is calling you to do. God may be pulling you in one direction and you are going in another.

          We must change the image we have on the inside of us. I believe I must do this myself. I think too small and I am moving to change that as of now. I don’t know how long this will take but I have to take the limits off of God in my own life and ministry.

Concl: You need to be thinking about the path you are on.

“Am I really where I am supposed to be? Am I doing what I am supposed to be doing? Am I on target or am I off course?

Don’t be content with just surviving or just getting by. There is more to live than that. You need to have a purpose that moves you to be willing to take risks to try things. Most people play it too safe and are not willing to take a risk and try anything. Life’s biggest failure is when we play it too safe like the 4 lepers sitting outside the city gate of Samaria.

“Why sit here until we die?”

The vast majority take their potential to the graveyard.

A risky prayer:

“Father, please show me this week one area of my life where I am limiting You. Don’t let me continue to live this way. Help me to commit the rest of my life to whatever You want me to do. Help me to say this and mean it:

God, I’ll go anywhere. I’ll do anything . . . whatever You want me to do, I’ll do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.” 

Finding Grace

Finding Grace

  Intro: Today is the 3rd message on grace.

Our new mission purpose statement: Presenting Jesus, the revelation of grace and truth that transforms lives.

 Based on;

“For the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:17

 Note: Law came through a servant. Grace and truth came through the Son of God Himself. We have established that our foundation of being made right with God is and always has been by grace through faith.

I love the sign Esteban did on the front of our church windows. “If you could earn it, why did He have to die?” It answers the question that men must ask to begin to understand the grace of God. Either Jesus paid for all of your salvation, or you have to make up the difference.

Grace is so amazing that Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones said,

“If your preaching of the gospel of God's free grace in Jesus Christ does not provoke the charge from some of antinomianism, you're not preaching the gospel of the free grace of God in Jesus Christ.” 
― D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

If when you teach about the grace of God your listeners don’t believe it’s too good to be true, you’re not teaching grace.

The gospel is not a balance of law and grace. Romans 11:6 reveals one will cancel out the other.

Under Law God said, “I will by no means clear the guilty. I will visit their sins upon the third and fourth generations.” Ex. 34:7

Under grace God said, “I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Heb. 8:12

Did God change? No. He is still the God of justice, but He satisfied His justice Himself through Jesus death on the cross.

  The law is man centered: “You shall not have any other gods before Me. You shall not make graven images, you shall not take the Lord’s name, you shall not break the Sabbath.”

Grace is Jesus centered: “I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God and they shall be My people. I will be merciful. I will remember their sins no more.”

Under Law you were disqualified by disobedience.

Under Grace you are qualified by Jesus’ obedience.

Under law you made right when you did right.

Under grace you are made right when you believe right.

Review last week:

We need not fear if people are taught grace that they will not try to obey God and go off into sin.

“For sin shall not have dominion over you. For you are not under law but under grace.” Romans 6:14

 ill. If someone says they are living under grace and the leave their wife for a mistress they are not under grace but under the dominion of sin! If sin is in dominion then you are not under grace! The revelation of Grace gives you to the power to break free from the cycle of sin.

 We look at one of the Hebrew words for repentance which is Teshuvah. This Hebrew word shows the God’s definition is for repentance.

“Because of the cross (kindness, goodness of God), return to grace.”

 When I sin I don’t run and hide from God unless I am living under Law. If I found revelation of Grace of God I run to Him. I confess “I can’t but You can.” Turning to the cross and finding grace for power over sin.

 Ill. Jesus just finished sermon on Mount where He corrected the way the Pharisees had interpreted the Law of God. He put the Law of God back up to the high standard no man could keep. Then in chapter 8 He is coming down the mountain and meets a leper who was probably hiding out listening to Jesus preach. A leper was a man with a hopelessly incurable disease. He represents you and I being judged by the Law of God. The Law was intended to make you realize you are hopelessly and incurably diseased with sin. It is to bring you to your only hope – Jesus.

          “Lord, If You are willing, You can make me clean.”

 His statement reveals he does not know Jesus is grace and truth. It is where most of us live now. He knew by hearing of Jesus’ miracles that He could heal him. His question was not about Jesus ability. His question was about God’s willingness to help a sinner like him!  His question reveals he does not know the love of God.

Knowing God’s love for you will make you strong and able to take bold chances with your life.

“The people who do know their God shall be strong, and carry out exploits.”  Dan. 11:32

 -         Because Daniel knew the truth about God and what He is really like, he did many exploits. An angel addressed him as “O Daniel, a man greatly beloved.” Dan. 10:11 So one thing for sure! Daniel knew God greatly loved him. That gave him courage!

-         The more you know God’s great love for you the less you fear!

Ill. King David. His name David means “the beloved of the Lord”. Every time he heard his name it was like God saying, “Remember who you are! You are the beloved of the Lord.” He became an awesome worshipper. He had a revelation of God before his time. He changed the way of worship from the Tabernacle of Moses to the Tabernacle of David.

David radically changed how to approach God because he had a revelation of the love of God. If you look at Tabernacle of Moses and compare to Tabernacle of David it was radically different.

-         Moses Tab had outer court and furnishing but not David.

-         Only high priests in holy place – Levites all minister before ark

-         No instruments, singing, dancing, shouting – yet all in David’s.

-         Daily animal sacrifices – no animal sacrifices after dedication.

The point is knowing God’s love and personally encountering grace of God changes everything. David did some radical sins. But he also experienced radical grace! “How blessed is the man whom the Lord will not impute iniquity.” Psalm 32:2.   Paul like this and quoted it again in Romans 4:8 “Blessed is the man whom the Lord will never reckon sin to his account.”

David found grace before the new covenant was established.

Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord before NC established.

Abraham found grace by faith in OT time too.  God said Moses found grace in His sight.

How do you find grace in the OT under the Law?

If you are not careful you will take John 1:17 to mean before Jesus, God only operated by law. But now in the New Covenant things have changed and it is all by grace. How wrong to see the OT was by law and the NT is by grace. The OT was certainly law focused and the NT is grace filled, true. But then you have to ask, did God change when Jesus came to earth? Has God always been gracious or did that change with Jesus?

“He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.”  2 Tim. 1:9

 God has always been gracious but the full revelation of grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. The complete expression of grace and truth is in Jesus Himself.

Even though people in OT did not see Jesus as a human dying on the cross for them, they saw God’s strong  grace and love for them providing the grace for them to be helped.

-         Abraham said to Isaac – “God will provide Himself a ram sacrifice.” Not knowing any details how but He knew God is grace.

-         Noah believed God would provide salvation through a way – later to be known as an ark. No details how but he knew God was gracious.

-         David was a great sinner but He knew God’s radical grace. He wrote, “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute sin.”

-         Moses saw backside of God. What was that?

picture*

Bible says Moses spoke to God as a man face to face. Not a human body because God is invisible and Spirit.

Goodness – grace – merciful was the backside of God.

 Moses revelation was the law of God. Romans declares the Law of God is holy therefore it is good. The Law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul. The Law reveals the holiness and righteousness of God. The end of the Law was what Moses saw as the backside of God, which God declared was Goodness, grace, and merciful. This Law brings us to the full and complete revelation of God in Jesus.

What does the face of God look like?

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God IN THE FACE OF JESUS CHRIST. 2 Cor. 4:6

How do we deal with sin in the church?

          No one living in sin is living in grace! Sin is destructive. Those who insist on continuing to live in sin usually quit church because it is hard to keep sinning against a loving Savior. We do not take sin lightly. Everyone is welcome but when we see sin we point the sinner to the cross where their sins were punished. Go to Him and confess your weakness and ask for His grace to help you overcome. Keep on going even if you continue until you find grace.

Let us come with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy AND FIND GRACE to help in time of need.

Heb. 4:16

How did Noah find grace? “Lord, I can’t but You can!”

How did David find grace after such sin? “Lord, I can’t but You can.

If Moses, who only had the revelation of the Law of God, saw the backside of God was goodness, grace, and mercy. What will you find in the face of Jesus? Grace and truth.

Ill. Woman caught in adultery brought to Jesus to be condemned.

She found grace that day. Do you think she said, “Boy that was close. I dodged that bullet, now I can go back to adultery!” She was so mesmerized by her encounter with grace and truth that she was changed forever! When you find grace at His throne you will repent instantly.

Ill. Like Zachaeus when Jesus came to his house. He was so moved by Jesus grace and love for him that he spontaneously stood up in front of family and friends and declared to Jesus, “Lord, half of my wealth I am giving to the poor and if I have cheated anyone I will repay them four times the amount I stole.” Jesus must have laughed and said, “salvation has come to this house today. This is the reason I came.

If people will come to God’s throne of grace today they will receive mercy and they can also find grace from him to be set free from any habit.

Concl: the greatest revival will be when people find the grace of God.

Don’t Limit God 

Don’t Limit God 

Book Cover pic

The book is about how God has called us to do something beyond ourselves that require that we take risks. Israel in the wilderness is the main example and how they missed God’s plan for them because of fear and worry. They wanted to play it safe.

God wanted to do so much more with the Israelites who wasted their life and died in the wilderness short of the promise land. God had planned to bring Israel into the Promise land in one year, not forty.

They sent out spies who said there are giants in the land. As a result, they refused to go and delayed God’s plan for that nation for 40 years. They limited God.

“Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.”  Psalm 78:41

          God doesn’t just sovereignly make things work in your life. We play a major role on whether or not God’s will and plans will be carried out. When we are living in God’s will then we are able to say there is no explanation for the accomplishments in my life other than God is doing it. It is not my great education, IQ, charisma, ability or talent, it is supernatural.

“For you see your calling brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many nobles are called.” I Cor. 1:26

ill. You know that encourages me because I qualify. I like to encourage people to step out of the boat and do what they know they can’t do themselves.

-         I was so shy in school I could not raise my hand to ask the teacher a question. Here I am a preacher today.

-         I didn’t want to be a preacher but an officer in MC. To get an endorsement for Bible College from my church I had to preach a sermon. My first sermon was a disaster. If you had been there you would have told me to keep my job or go back into the USMC. You would have seen zero potential for me to be a preacher!

I think all of us have missed God at sometime or another because we looked to our own ability and made that the limit to what God can do with us.

We need to learn to be still and shut out the world so God can speak to us. “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

          Most people are too busy or have too much going on in their lives to be able to hear Him. No one told me to do this.

Ill. Elijah witnessed an earthquake, fire and mighty wind so strong it broke rocks, but God wasn’t in any of them. He was in a still small voice.

This is the main way God speaks to us. We have to be still.

I think we should all take time to get still and ask God,

Is there something more? Am I doing what You called me to do?

You may not hear a voice. For me many times it is an inner knowing. When I had to make a decision to either re-up another 4 years in MC or get out and try to go to school on the GI Bill, I agonized over the decision. One day while on my knees and my head in my hands I was begging God just to tell me the right thing to do. Suddenly in my mind I saw a sign like with light bulbs flashing and it said one word,

SIGN (love) pic

“Education”.

I took that as from God and made my decision. So we got out and moved to DB for me to go to JR. college.

Ill. As we start moving in the direction we believe God is leading we must stay flexible and not have our mind made up how things will turn out. I thought now for sure I knew I was going to college four years and back in the MC as an officer.

“We may make our plans but the Lord determines our path.” Prov. 19:9

ill. Astronaut Jim Irwin landed on the moon. He said you might think head to the moon was a straight shot. We had to make a course correction every time minutes. We had a range of 500 miles on the surface of the moon that we had to land in. When we landed we were just feet away from missing a 500-mile landing strip.

The point is if your heart will be flexible before God and ask for His will to be done with your life then you may have to make many course corrections but you will finally get to the place God has planned for you to be. It is so important to be listening to God even when you make plans to go a certain direction. We can’t afford to get our hearts so overcrowded with stuff and cares of this life that we can’t hear God when He suddenly calls upon us for some assignment.

Most of you probably don’t have this verse underlined in your Bible.

“And there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here Lord.” Acts 9:10

What would have happened if God had called Ananias’ name and he was in such a state that he was preoccupied with bills, or thinking so much about a business deal, or worried about some family problem that he could not hear God’s still small voice?

          God may have used someone else, but the point is what if your life so overwhelmed with the cares of this life that you couldn’t hear God if He were shouting?

          How many times has God called our name and because we were doing something else we could not say, “Lord, here I am.”?

Our lives must become conducive to consciously unplugging from other things and listening to God.

We should take time and even special times of fasting and praying and not distracted by TV or other things to ask God some questions:

Am I really where I am supposed to be? Am I on target or off course?

Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice”. He did not say, “My sheep can hear my voice.”

 God is speaking. God is giving directions. It takes time to discern the will and direction God is showing. Sometimes we are not hearing maybe because we are drowning out His voice with other things?

Hearing God will involve taking risks.

“What if I was to do something risky, I might die!” But what is the difference between dying and having a slow death due to being miserable and bored doing nothing and taking no risks?

Some people fear what God may ask them to do. If God called them to Africa, then they would love it, it would be awesome.

Some people are failing because they are not doing anything. They are playing it too safe. 2 Kings 7 is a good example:

-         4 Leprous men at city gate outside city dying. Syrian army enemy camp over the hill keeping city in siege. Famine in the city.

“Why sit here until we die?”

If we go into the city there is no food and we die. If we go to the Syrian camp, they either kill us or give us food. In the morning they started towards the Syrian camp. When they got there the camp was empty and no man was there. The Lord had made the noise of chariots to be heard by the Syrians and they fled. They ate and plundered the camp. They said we do not good to keep this good news for ourselves. Went to the city and became heroes.

          The point: They took a chance, a risk. Fear of failure is real but a greater fear is to live your life playing it too safe.

How do you get rid of fear?

Ill. Safest place is center of God’s will.

In the book Andrew Wommack tells about a woman in his Bible college who wanted to go on a mission trip the school had. Her husband would not let her go because he was afraid of her flying. She stayed home in submission to her husband even though she told him she heard God. While everyone was on the mission trip, she was driving home and a teenager fell asleep while driving and crossed the road into her lane and killed her. The point is the safest place in all the world is in the will of God. Her husband lives with that guilt.

-         There will always be risk. We don’t have time to waste that is not seeking and following what we believe to be the will of God.

I guarantee if you hear form God What He wants you to do with your life it will scare you. It will always be beyond what you can do yourself.

We all need to say and mean it: God I will go wherever You want me to go and do whatever You want me to do. Then follow through on it.

Ill. God will probably give you small tests at first like, “go and witness to that man.”  If you freeze and say I can’t do that because I don’t know what to say, you will never find God’s will.

          You take the first step towards the man even if you don’t know what to say. Just start talking and see where the conversation goes.

Ill. Giving out gospel tracts – I don’t force a conversation. I just give it and see what happens next. Sometimes the door opens and other times not.

Ill. The other day I believe the Lord told me to go see a neighbor of mine who is a JW. I had not plan of words to say. I just went and we had a nice conversation and he opened up a few places where it could have become a debate but the Lord did not send to me debate with him. Not sure why God had me go there still.

I believe there is so much more potential in all of us than we have ever tapped into. Someone said if you want to go to the place that has the most potential, go to the graveyard. The vast majority of people take their potential to the graveyard.

I have to ask myself if I am reaching my full potential. I don’t believe I have. WE have spent 35 years in ministry and 33 of those full time. I think 35 years has been preparation for what God will have us do next!

We all need to commit ourselves to say to God,

“God I will go anywhere. I will do anything. . . whatever You want me to do, I will do!”

Concl: If you haven’t reached that place then you are limiting God. Take the limits off God and watch what He will do with you.

Saved by Grace and Kept by Grace

Saved by Grace and Kept by Grace

Our mission purpose statement:  Presenting Jesus, the revelation of grace and truth that transforms lives.

“For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”  John 1:17

Intro: One of the things I am concerned about for this church in the future is for it to stay grounded in grace and truth. There is a reason God named this church Grace Tabernacle. Even though when we began we did not have the revelation about grace as much as we do now. Still we did realize the need to have freedom to flow with the direction of the HS in our services. Being free from the bondages of legalism and traditions of men found in denominations.

          Denominations are not evil. But denominations are walking in the revelation their founder found and then they place boundaries around those values as if God is limited to doing things this way we discovered.

Ill. When people get saved they usually experience an immediate change in many areas of their lives. Many of these changes are short lived and many fall back into the sins they were set free from. This makes new believers question the reality of their salvation.

          Whether or not we sin should never be the means for questioning our salvation! We did not get saved by getting ourselves free from sin – it was a revelation of the grace of God and our faith in that is what set us free from wrong thinking and legalism of religious works.

“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under law, but under grace.” Romans 6:14

If you were living under the Law, then yes whenever you sinned you would need to get another sacrifice ready to quickly postpone punishment until the Lamb of God would come and bring you into Jubilee and pay off all your sin debt once and for all.

But you are under grace – the New Covenant signed and sealed with the blood of Jesus Himself. Because of this, you are free of the law of sin and death. Are their consequences for sin? You are inviting His chastisement upon your life.

 

The change that happened in our life came because we simply believed God. So why not continue to believe?

 

“Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect by the flesh?”  Gal. 3:3

You are not saved by grace and then brought into holiness by works.

Trying harder is not the answer!

Song: Jesus on the inside working on the outside, O what a change in my life – 3 X’s.

How do you get what is on the inside to the outside?

In the OT God prophesied through Ezekiel of the age of grace time we live in today.

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.” Ezk. 36:26

When you are born again or from above 2 things happen in you:

1.    Your spirit is made new – righteous, holy, sinless, complete.

2.    Your heart is made new “flesh” – sensitive to God.

Your heart is the channel through which the life of God flows from our spirit into all areas of our life. Guard your heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life.

If we lose the joy of our salvation, lose hope, lose love it is not because we lost salvation, but because of the condition of our heart.

Ill. Someone says I got saved and was on fire for God. Somewhere along the way things began to change. I lost my desire for the Word, for church, pray and worship. I did not have the joy and peace I once had.

          Maybe a counselor would say that you were a baby Xn then and now you need to grow up and do what you know you should do. That advice sounds reasonable, but the truth is you lost those feelings because your heart changed. God has not changed. Salvation has not changed. Your heart changed.

          The advice most people get here is to get back into works and out of grace. Roller Coaster Xnty begins here. No wonder people give up

You got saved by grace = unmerited favor freely given.

Now you must learn to continue in grace = unmerited favor freely given.

Under Law God said:

“I will by no means clear the guilty, but I will visit their sins to the third and fourth generations.” Ex. 34:7

Under grace God said:

“I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Heb. 8:12

LAW                                                        GRACE

Given by Moses a servant             Given by Son
Reveals what man ought to be     Reveals who God is
Letter of Law kills                            Spirit gives Life
Demands righteousness                 Provides righteousness
Old Wineskin                                   New Wine
Sins remembered                            Sins remembered no more
Curses for disobeying                    Jesus removed the curse
Your obedience required               Jesus’ obedience qualifies us
Justified by works                          Justified by faith

Jesus preached the difference between Law and Grace in Sermon on Mount. The Pharisees had re-interpreted the Law of God to where it was humanly possible to keep it. But Jesus raised the standard back to where God put it – to bring man to the end of himself.

-         Pharisees thought as long as you have not committed the act of adultery, you have not sinned, which is the letter of the Law. Jesus revealed the Spirit of the Law to the higher standard, so that people would see their need for a Savior.

-         Angry with your brother you have committed murder.

Who can stand righteous under God’s holy laws? No one. The law was the old covenant that was to move us forward to find the new covenant of grace.

When Jesus finished preaching the sermon on the Mount the bible says 8:1 He came down from the mountain. This is important for us to spiritually recognize He did not stay up on the mountain, He Himself came down to where we live.

          At the bottom of the mountain the first person He meets is a man with leprosy. Leprosy is an incurable disease then and you were ostracized from society. He is a picture of you and me before we were washed from sin by His blood.

          Maybe he was hiding a distance away from the crowds listening to Jesus teach. Those with leprosy were not welcome in public places because the disease was contagious.

          As Jesus came down the mountain the man took a great risk and stepped out on the path in front of Jesus.

“Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Mtt. 8:2

Notice he did not doubt Jesus could; he doubted He would.

Without hesitation Jesus touched the Leper.

Under the Law those with leprosy are considered unclean. They make the clean unclean if they touch them. But under grace Jesus makes the unclean clean. Under Law sin is contagious and you must keep yourself from sinners!  Don’t let a sinner contaminate you.

          Under grace righteousness and God’s goodness are contagious.

We do not need to fear that being under grace will bring licentiousness or people will commit even more sin.

“For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” Romans 6:14

This is clear when you are under grace sin will not dominate you!

Sin – hamartia = failing to hit the mark. You could say sickness, disease, addictions, bondage are all forms or missing the mark of the glorious life God has for us.

When will this happen? When you are not under law but grace.

The idea that grace will allow people to live in sin without restraint is a perversion of how grace works. You can’t be under grace and not be holy any more than being under water and not getting wet.

Ill. How is works is like this. When you get saved you still have some bad sinful habits. You try everything you know but still have some. Every time you do it you feel guilt and shame. One person described their situation like this. They were addicted to smoking and marijuana. Every time they used they would say, “Thank You Lord, that I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus!”  It was only after they quit trying to quit and trusted in God’s grace that it finally happened. The desires eventually went away. Grace did what will power and self control did not. Why? Because God has declared:

“Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” Romans 6:14

Does this mean we don’t have to repent? No.

Sin is destructive. The consequences of committing sin is not God punishing you any more than putting your hand in a fire gets you burned.

“The strength of sin is the law.” I Cor. 15:56

If you live under law you will know condemnation, guilt, and fear when you sin. You are missing the mark of where God intends for you to live. This sin is so unlike who you really are.

Ill. Remember a young man in this church gave a glorious testimony being free from drugs. He was sincere but not long after that he fell back into drug addiction. Quit coming to church and felt condemnation, failure, hypocrite. He got buried under guilt and condemnation. Somehow the HS kept coming to him and telling him that God still loves him and Jesus finished work still avails for him. His motto became, “Lord, I can’t but You can.” He started confessing what God’s Word said even when he went back to using drugs. He would say, “I know I messed up and made a bad choice, a sinful choice. But, “I am still the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.” He also confessed, “Sin shall not have dominion over me for I am not under law but under grace.”

          It seemed silly to say this even while he sinned. He still prayed, still sang worship songs, started reading Bible again, even while he was using! He even quit thinking about trying to quit using drugs. He would say every day, “Lord, I can’t but You can, and sin shall not have dominion over me, and Jesus’ finished work still avails for me.”

          It took some time but one day he realized he had not used drugs for a long time. Then he knew the urges were gone. He realized he was free indeed. God had not abandoned him because of His addiction. He never abandoned God. He kept coming to Him even in His addiction. That is where most people make their mistake – they run away from God or some religious people chase them away.

You need to understand how lasting repentance works.

Ill. Peter had been out fishing all night and caught nothing. What happened next stunned him.

When Jesus finished speaking He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your NETS for a catch.” 

Simon answered Him, “Master we have worked all night and have caught nothing. But at Your word I will let down THE NET.” LK 5:4-5

 Reluctantly he obeys. Suddenly their net was full AND TEARING. And other boats came to help them bring in the supernatural catch so much they began to sink.  Blown away by what He sees Peter knelt before Jesus and said,

“Depart from me Lord, for I am a sinful man.” Luke 5:8

Now what came first: Peter’s repentance or God’s blessing? Under the New Covenant God blesses you first with favor and overflowing love to bring you to repentance.

“. . . the goodness (kindness) of God leads you to repentance.” Romans 2:4

Side note: Jesus told Peter to let down your nets – plural. Peter said “at Your Word Lord, I will let down my net – singular. No wonder the nets began to break.

I believe in preaching repentance. One word for repentance in Hebrew is Teshuvah =5 Hebrew letters create a picture.

Tav – picture of a cross

Shin, and Vav, and Bet = return to the house

Hei – 5th letter of Hebrew alphabet number of grace

PIC of HEBREW letters for repentance.

“Because of the cross (of Jesus), return to grace.” 

Repentance is about returning to God because we see His goodness and grace demonstrated to you on the cross of Jesus.

Ill. Prodigal son returned to His father’s house out of need but found grace and goodness waiting for him.

-         So you are struggling with sin habits. Repent by turning to the cross and seeing that sin already punished in the body of Jesus and you receive unmerited favor for this weakness. This is practicing true repentance by running to Him not away from Him. He is your solution, answer. Return to His loving embrace.

“Sin shall not have dominion over you. For you are not under law but under grace.” Romans 6:14  

Only God can change hearts and lives. You can change some things but not the heart. Unless you learn to receive grace to change, your life will be full of frustration and failure of trying this program or that one. You can go from seminar to seminar and from counselor to counselor looking for the secret that will change your heart.

An encounter with Love Himself is what changes hearts. We will love Him once we find out He first loved us!

I can never adequately describe God’s love to you through words. But the HS can speak to you in ways beyond words.

God still deeply loves you despite your failings.

Concl:  Today because you see the cross which manifests God’s love for you – return to His grace.

          Today if you have been trying to quit a habit, I encourage you to return to the truth of God’s grace. What the Lord Jesus has done for you is greater than all your failings. You are deeply loved. Let a revelation of His grace wash over you again and again.

Ill. I had a vision during soaking time that I was standing under a water fall of God’s love. It was so refreshing and cleansing and invigorating.

Pic of waterfall

Then I saw this water turn into blood of Jesus and I heard the Lord say

My love is My blood and My blood is My love.

Pic of Blood

I don’t know how long it will take you to experience the freedom you desire. But keeping yourself in faith in God’s grace is the only way you will see the freedom you desire. All the glory will come and go back to God. He alone will save, deliver, and make you whole. Today I urge you to run back into His arms like this picture in our foyer and in my office.J

Pic: Jesus holding man

 

 

Prayer and Fasting

Teaching on prayer and fasting.  

Review: Last week taught on the motive or the “why” question we should ask ourselves about fasting. The answer to “why fast” was revealed in the scripture when the disciples could not cast out demon from a boy even though they had been having success in others.

This kind cannot come out except by prayer and fasting.  Mark 9:29

“This kind” is not referring to the demon but to the subject of unbelief the disciples had in them that was hindering their success.

          Verse 19 “O faithless generation . . .”

          Verse 23 “If you can believe . . .”  

2 kinds of unbelief:

1.   Ignorant unbelief - Romans 10:3 and 14-16.

Speaking of Israel Paul writes, “For being ignorant of God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own righteousness, they did not submit to the righteousness of God. Christ is the end of the law unto righteousness for everyone who believes.”  Romans 10:3-4

“How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? . . . “So then faith comes by hearing, and by hearing the word of Christ.”  Romans 10:14 and 17.

Side note: KJV “Word of Theos God” but NAS, NLT, NIV more accurately translate as “Word of Christ”.  What’s the difference?

          NT and New Covenant focuses on Christ and His grace or finished work of God. Paul said in Acts 10:32 “So now brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”

-        What is able to build you up? The Word of His grace – finished in X.  “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.”  Col. 3:16

Hear messages full of grace and the finished work of Jesus. Hear your sins have been forgiven. Hear that you are already the righteousness of God in Christ. Hear that whatever your diagnosis you are the healed of the Lord. His words of grace impart faith and hope to you.

Back to review Mark 9. The disciples could not cast out this demon, but it was not because of ignorant unbelief because they were casting out demons from people. But this one they couldn’t. Their question and our question should be why are we not receiving what God promised us?

-        The problem is not on God’s end – it must be something in us.

2 kinds of unbelief:

1.   Ignorant unbelief 

2.   Natural unbelief – dominated by 5 senses of sight, sound, smell, taste, touch.

They cast demons out of others and saw the manifestation. This time they use their authority and they don’t see anything so they revert to unbelief and maybe said, “I don’t see anything changing.”

Jesus’s answer was revealing the purpose behind fasting. Fasting with prayer is to deny your 5 physical senses and strengthen your inner man. Fasting was for the purpose to deaden the 5 physical senses and pay more attention to the Spirit.

Why should we have times of fasting and prayer: To weaken the domination of the physical senses and to strengthen the inner man.  

2nd “Why?” question.

Why pray?

If your answer is, “Because God wants us to”, you have already become religious and may not have the right motive for prayer.

Jesus’ first teaching on prayer is Matthew 6:

“When you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners that they may be seen of men.”  Matthew 6:5

-        The religious motivation of prayer is that it is something I should do. Prayer is like a religious workout. I work out at the gym because I should exercise to be healthy.

-        Dictionary defined prayer as a religious exercise!

Defining prayer:

1.   Talking to God.   

2.   Conversation with God.

3.   Paying attention to God.

-        Lectio Divina

-        Journaling

-        Soaking

Why am I doing this?

“But when you pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking (or long time in prayer).” Matthew 6:7

Prayer becomes religious and vain repetition when you try to use it for something God never intended.

Many people believe the longer I pray the better. Not necessarily. Only twice in NT did Jesus pray all night.

Prayer with God should be something you enjoy and not a labor. You can pray with your eyes open, closed, kneeling, standing, driving, talking out loud or quiet. Don’t limit your relationship to God to times of prayer or church. Walk and talk with Him throughout your day. Don’t be religious about prayer making it only special times.

Prayer should include thanksgiving for all God has done for you.

Praise for who God is to you now.

Asking and receiving things you need from God.

“For your Father knoweth what things you have need of, before you ask Him.”  Matthew 6:8

Have you ever prayed, “O God the doctor said . . . and then you give Him all the details of that report?

Ill. The Lord interrupted Charles Capps one time in prayer saying, “Charles, what are you doing?”

“I’m praying.”

“No, you’re not. That’s complaining!”

Many are releasing the power of death into their lives by their tongues speaking negative things.

Jesus never intended what we call the “Lord’s prayer” or the model prayer to be recited like it is in church. Actually it is not a NT or New Covenant prayer. Jesus taught us to pray in His name in John 16:23-24 and here it is not done.

“forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation.” Mtt. 6:12-13

-        This is not a New covenant prayer. Your sins have been forgiven once you have believed and received Jesus. This was spoken before the cross. HS led Jesus into temptation on our behalf and He overcame the devil. Today if you are being led into temptation you can be sure it isn’t God.

What if you prayed more like this: “Father I thank You that Your name is above every name? Cancer has a name. Heart disease has a name. These things the doctor told me are in body have names. You are above them all. Thank You that You are greater, stronger, and more powerful than all this.” Spend another 5 minutes just praising Him for His greatness. Then by the time you are ready to put a requests before Him it is so small in comparison to you magnifying God that now you are ready to claim your healing.

Focus on the problem and it will grow. Focus on God (who is your solution) and your vision of Him will increase.

A huge amount of prayer should be praising God.

One of the original words for “prayer” means “worship”. Another word for prayer literally means “to kiss the face”. Prayer is loving and communing with God.

Sometimes prayer can be hard because of spiritual opposition trying to discourage you in prayer. Prayer is a mysterious thing and yet it is the will of God that we all become a house of prayer.

Prayer is co-laboring with God on earth.

Pray for your pastor to speak God’s Word and lead God’s church.

Prayer is preparing the way of the Lord.

Pic of railroad tracks

Ill. Watchman Nee said prayer is rails to a train to run on. The train is the power but it can only go where the rails have been laid. Unless we pray there are no rails for God’s power to reach the destination.

Ill. God already declared the Day of Pentecost would come and He would pour out His Spirit on men. But after Jesus ascended the people devoted themselves to prayer until the Day of Pentecost came. At first their were over 500 eye witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus but on Pentecost their were 120 in the upper room praying.

          What were they praying? We don’t know for sure but my guess is they were praying for what Jesus said He would do in Acts 1:8 quote.

Not knowing exactly what this would look like, yet they were laying down tracks for the power train of HS to come just as Jesus said He would do.

What kind of prayer should our requests be?

1.   First to find the will of God in His Word.

2.   Then pray the will of God be done – lay down the tracks for God’s power train to run on!

3.   When the Pastor is about to preach you should be laying down tracks like, “Lord, inspire the Pastor with life giving words form you. Give him power from You overcoming every obstacle and hindrance the enemy would send. Protect him from the attacks of the enemies tricks and schemes. Make the message fruitful for souls to be saved, lives changed by You speaking to and through him to us.”

Prayer confession:

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for the gift of prayer and for teaching me how to use it. Thank You for teaching me that there is more to life than what I can see or feel. I am learning not to react or be moved by what I see, feel or experience. I have the God kind of faith. God’s Word is in my heart and in my mouth. I have spoken my faith and I believe I receive Your answer. Though I haven’t yet seen the physical results, I know I have them and am unmoved by negative feelings.

Thank You God, that Jesus is my High Priest in heaven, and He said I can have whatever I say that is agreement with Your will. So, I ask that You begin to teach me how to pray in faith believing Your Word over all my situations. From this day forward, my prayers are laying down tracks for Your powerful answers to be manifested in my life. All the glory belongs to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Our Mission Purpose Statement

Our Mission purpose statement:
Presenting Jesus, the revelation of grace and truth that transforms lives.

This is based on John 1:17-18.

“For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only Son, who is at the Father’s side, has made Him known.” John 1:17-18.

Amplified adds to this saying, “Jesus has revealed God and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known.”  Amp.

The Law of God are the things God showed Moses what man must do to be right with God and the Law showed us the holiness of God.

-        Moses first encounter with God at burning bush was a partial revelation of His holiness.  

-        With the Law had a blessing and a curse. Deut. 28.

-        Later a Pharisee legalistic man named Saul encountered Jesus and wrote,

“So the Law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.” Gal. 3:24

          The Law of God (commandments) was only a partial revelation of God. But Jesus (Yeshua) is the full and complete revelation of God.

“God, who at various times and in diverse ways spoke long ago to the fathers through the prophets, has in these LAST DAYS spoken to us by His Son, . . . through whom He made the world. He is the brightness of His glory, the express image of Himself, and upholds all things by the word of His power.”  Heb. 1:1-3 Modern English Version

ill. Jesus invited Peter, James and John to a mountain for a revelation. There they saw Moses the law giver and Elijah the prophets talking to Jesus. Jesus face shined as the sun and His garments white. Then Peter spoke up, “Lord it is god we are here. If You wish we will build 3 booths, one for You, Moses and Elijah.” Scripture says “While Peter was still speaking suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them and voice from the cloud said, “This is My Beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him!”

The point is Jesus is the full and complete revelation of God. Jesus is perfect theology. John 1:17 is declaring a change has taken place because of Jesus. Bible divided into 2  - OT and NT.

“The OT is the NT concealed, the NT is the OT revealed.” OT was the roots. NT in X is the fruits.

“Whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.”  Romans 15:4

-        The fruit of the OT will produce encouragement and hope. At one time the OT was the only scriptures the NT church had until Jesus came and brought grace and truth about God.

All history is divided with Jesus. Calendar B.C. and A.D. Although this was implemented several centuries after Christ the idea is Jesus changed everything. More specifically everything changes at the cross of Jesus.

          You must remember when Jesus walked on earth He lived under the Law of sin and death or the Old Covenant. He is the only human who ever fully obeyed the Law of God. He did what the first Adam failed to do. But the cross of Jesus is the dividing line of the time of Law and the new covenant of grace.

Some things ended at the cross.

Some things changed at the cross.

Some things went through the cross.

Some things were transformed at the cross.

Some things began at the cross.

1.   Some things ended at the cross.

-        The Tabernacle as the place God dwelled – now our bodies.

-        The Feasts that were commanded to be kept as acts of righteousness.

-        People of God were called servants but now called sons.

-        Sacrifices of animals.

Sacrifices never removed sin – it postponed the penalty for another year on Day of Atonement. You brought sacrifices based on what was prophesied that would one day come – Lamb of God.

          All the books of the OT have types of Jesus displayed. He is the theme of all the OT. If you know the Bible but don’t know Jesus, you have missed the point.

          The requirement of the Law demanded blood sacrifices to atone or cover sin temporarily. We don’t sacrifice animals anymore because the Lamb of God has come and on the cross He said, “It is finished.”

2.   Some things changed at the cross.

Sabbath – one day a week commanded no work.

-        Every 7 years – land rest no planting.

-        Every 7th seven was Jubilee (49 years) all debts were to be forgiven, slaved freed, land rest for a whole year and trust God to provide. This Sabbath keeping was a Law to be in right relationship with God and there was a curse if you did not keep it. Breaking the Sabbath could mean being cut off from Israel.

While the principle of rest is important in a 7-day work week by God’s design of the human body – we are no longer under Sabbath keeping laws. Both Sabbath and Jubilee changed at the cross.

“Let no man judge you regarding food, or drink, or in respect of a holy day or new moon or Sabbath days. These are shadows of things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.” Col. 2:16

When Jesus began His Ministry He said these words,

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me . . . to declare the favorable year of the Lord.” Luke 4:18

          “The favorable year of the Lord” = Jubilee year

Both Sabbath and Jubilee changed at the cross from a day to an everyday lifestyle mark on the people who met Jesus.

3.   Some things went through the cross.

Obedience is blessed by God went through the cross.

Faith in God pleases Him.

Plans and purposes of God.

4.   Some things were transformed at the cross.

- Levitical priesthood changed to priesthood of believers.

-10 commandments were transformed from the letter of the Law to the Spirit behind the Law. Example: Jesus’ teaching on sermon on Mount, “You heard it said – anger and adultery Law. But I say unto you” – He gave the Spirit of the Law over the letter of the Law.

- The curse of the Law ended and was transformed into the chastening or disciplining as sons.

- Tithing as a law is transformed into a kingdom of God principle. Tithing is mentioned in NT very little as examples. There is blessing in tithing 10% as long as you don’t do it as under law.

Under law you were cursed if you did not do this. Today you are not under a curse but you are also not under the blessing if you do it by faith hearing from God. Your finances will have God’s help if you let Him lead you to do it His way. Tithing takes faith and it is a kingdom principle but not a law with a curse attached if you don’t – you just don’t get the blessing of seeing how He can multiply what you have left when you follow His plan.

5.   Some things began at the cross. 

Born from above Spirit

Holy Spirit Baptism

Great Commission and baptism

Holy communion

Church

Speaking in tongues and spiritual gifts

Apostles, Prophets, Evangelist, Pastor, Teacher offices

Elders and deacons

Son ship

          Spirit-led and directed living

The cross makes the difference!

Our Mission purpose statement:
Presenting Jesus, the revelation of grace and truth that transforms lives.

 “For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only Son, who is at the Father’s side, has made Him known.” John 1:17-18.

Concl: Today you may have discovered you are living under the hardship and bondage of trying to keep the law. The truth is no one but Jesus has ever been able to keep the Law.

When you see by revelation what God has done for you in sending Jesus – God in the flesh Himself – to come and pay your penalty so you can have a right relationship with Him – you have to fall in love with Him. There is no one like Him.

Today maybe your eyes have been opened to truth you never heard before.

Grab that truth and come to this altar and talk to God about it.

          Make sure your heart is good soil not hardened so that you will not obey God’s prompting by the Spirit. Something in you is saying – go forward, move, receive this revelation and your life will see transformation. Humble yourself – do it now.

          God’s Spirit gently prompts us – He does not push us. It is a gentle tug or nudge. When God’s Spirit nudges you the moment you hesitate from doing what He is leading – your heart begins to harden to the things of God. Don’t wait to understand – just obey.

I wish I had heard a message like you heard today over 40 years ago. It would have saved me a lot of trouble in legalism, hardship.

Fasting (The Purpose)

In the sermon on the Mount Jesus taught about fasting.

“When you fast, do not be like the hypocrites . . .” Mtt. 6:16

          Fasting – not feeding the body for spiritual purposes, had been practiced for a long time before Jesus.

-        Day of Atonement told to deny yourself – maybe fasting in Leviticus 23:26-28. I Samuel 7:6 – about repentance not penance. (On the board write repent - When God shows us we have sinned then we re-pent or change our way of thinking and return to the Penthouse or God’s higher way of thinking.

-        Ill. Luke 18 Pharisee boasted he fasted twice a week. Why? Somehow he was establishing self righteousness.

The purpose of fasting is not:

1.   Penance or punishing yourself.

2.   Making you more righteous or right with God.

3.   Earning some favor with God by fasting.

I think Jesus revealed the purpose of fasting in Mark 9

          Paraphrase the account in Mark 9.

Listen and pay close attention to Jesus’ words. Larry Lea use to say, “Read the red and pray for the power.” Meaning read the words of Jesus that are in red in your Bible. The father of a demon tormented son told Jesus I brought my son to Your disciples but they could not cast it out.

Some important points to note:

1.   Everyone including the father knew this was a demon.

2.   The disciples were given power and authority to cast out demons and had been successful at doing it.

“O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.”  JESUS

Obviously Jesus expected better from His disciples!

“Jesus would not allow them to make an excuse for a swing and a miss!”  Bill Johnson

Paraphrase: So they brought the boy to Jesus and he manifested full blown. Jesus asked the father how long has this been going on? The father said since childhood the demon has thrown him into the fire and the water to kill him.

          The father pleads with Jesus, “But IF You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” He obviously does not know Jesus is God.

Jesus said, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”   Mark 9:23

This puts seeking a solution for an on-going problem back on our plate.

“If you can believe. . .”

Next Jesus rebuked the demon (calling it a mute and deaf spirit) and cast it out. My thoughts: A mute spirit – it would not speak to the disciples said to identify itself. It would not listen to them – deaf. But it had to listen to Jesus and obey.

“The spirit cried out and convulsed him greatly. But it came out of him. . .”  vs 26

The disciples asked Jesus privately, “Why couldn’t we cast him out?”

Jesus’ answer reveals the real root purpose of fasting.

“This kind cannot come out except by prayer and fasting.” Vs 29

People often think Jesus is saying, “This kind of demon only responds to prayer and fasting” but that is not what He is saying

-        Prayer and fasting do not drive out demons or else Jesus would have told us to do it that way. They had been casting our demons using Jesus’s name (authority), and faith in His name.

Mathew 17 and Luke 9 give more details about this same incident.

In Mathews account when the disciples asked Jesus why they could not cast out the demon Jesus said the reason was

“Because of your unbelief . . .”  Mtt 17:20

How could Jesus say they had unbelief when they had been using His name and faith to cast out other demons?

There are different kinds of unbelief:

1.   Ignorant unbelief because you lack knowledge of the Word of God. This is solved by: Romans 10:17, 2 Peter 1:4.

2.   Natural unbelief from being more dominated by your 5 physical senses. All their life they had been taught to live by their 5 senses told them. They were dominated more by what they were seeing in the natural rather than what God had told them in Luke 9:1 (their commission to cast out demons, and heal the sick).

Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief. Truly I say to you if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, move from here to there, and it will move. And nothing will be impossible for you. But this kind (of unbelief) does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”  Mtt. 17:20-21

          If you translate that this type of demon will only come out if you pray and fast, then you slip back into works and out of grace.

But when you see that Jesus is saying this kind of unbelief only comes out by pray and fasting you see the real purpose behind fasting.

Fasting – the denial of food is for the purpose to deny your 5 physical senses from dominating your life. Prayer added is to strengthen your spirit man to dominate your body and soul.

Fasting without adding more purposeful prayer is just a diet.

Fasting with extra time in prayer will sensitize your spirit and desensitize your body from dominating your life.

Unbelief can get into a believer’s heart and the result is unbelief hardens a believer’s heart. How then does unbelief get into a believer’s heart?

The heart is the place where we believe and make choices.

“For with the heart man believes. . .” Romans 10:10

“Guard (Keep) your heart with all diligence, for out of IT are the issues of life.”  Proverbs 4:23

Picture on the board of circles of body, soul and heart and spirit.

Spirit – the divine nature of God- fruit and gifts from here with your newly created human spirit. All treasures of wisdom and knowledge dwell here. Called the Inner man.

          Your spirit has gates outward towards your heart but nothing can come inside your spirit because it is sealed and kept from contamination (Eph. 1:13).

Heart = the place you believe God and make choices.

          Your heart has gates from the spirit to affect it. But the heart also has other gates from the soul and the body that can affect it in a negative way. “Guard your heart with all diligence for out of it…”

“Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

Soul – your mind that needs to be renewed with the Word. Your emotions and will need to yield to the spirit inside you. The soul has gates open from the heart inside and from the outside coming in from the body.

Gates to the soul and to the heart:

1.   The Eye gate – records 87% of all impressions

2.   The Hearing gate – records 7% all impressions

3.   The Smelling gate – records 3.5% all impressions.

4.   The Taste (mouth) gate – records 1% all impressions.

5.   The Feel gate – records 1.5% of all impressions.

Are there any gates you are not guarding that are getting to your heart? If so, what are you going to do about it?

Prayer: Heavenly Father. You made me a spirit being who has a soul and lives in a body. I am to become more spiritual minded than worldly or physically minded. You told me to guard my heart. Tonight I am asking You to show me areas where my heart unguarded and allowing the enemy to come in and influence me. I will repent where you show me and take back the ground I have surrendered to the enemy. I will begin diligently guarding all the gateways to my heart as You have commanded me. As I do this I will become more and more spiritual, wise and discerning, so that I may carry out Your assignment upon my life. Thank You for the enlightenment You have given me tonight. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Uncovering Satan’s tactics against you Part 5 “condemnation attacks”

Uncovering Satan’s tactics against you

Part 5 “condemnation attacks”

 

Many Xns do not live in grace but try to live in a mixture of law and grace. The result of this mixture is confusion and attacks of condemnation from the enemy working against you.

 

Example: In OT Daniel (man of God) worked for a king who operated his kingdom according to the law of the Medes and Persians. Whenever a law was signed by the king then it was irrevocable even by him! Some other govt leaders who were jealous of Daniel set up the king to make a law that no one could pray to any other god but the king himself. They knew Daniel (whose name means “God is my judge”), prayed 3 times a day in an open window to God Almighty. Once the king signed the law they told him about Daniel and the king was grieved because he loved Daniel and now how to carry out his own law, which meant Daniel was to be placed overnight into a lions’ den. If he died it was a sign of his guilt, but if he survived it was a sign of his innocence.

You know the end of the story. Daniel was put in the lion’s den because of the kings’ own law. The king hated this because he loved Daniel and trusted him.

But the point is this. Because a king’s throne is established in his own laws. If the king does not obey His own law, there is no righteousness or justice which is the foundation of a kingdom. Without a foundation the kingdom will crumble or fall apart.

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne.”

Psalm 89:14

Clouds and thick darkness surround Him. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.” Psalm 97:2

 

If God’s Law (Word) is not fulfilled, then He forfeits His right to rule over His creation. Satan knows this and he is a legalist that is trying to trap God, people, with God’s own law. He is an expert in the Law, not because he loves the law of God, because he doesn’t. But he made himself a custodian of the law of God in order to use it for his own selfish agenda.

Do you think Satan really cares about the law of God being kept?

 

Satan is and has always been after God’s throne. To us this looks silly for him to think he (a created being) can get God’s throne. But in his sin deceived mind he still thinks it is possible and is still going for it.

 

Daniel was put in the lions den and miraculously was unharmed. The king saw this miracle and declared “Truly Your God is God! Bring your accusers!” They were now the ones condemned.

 

The point is this. Condemnation always comes from the enemy.

 

Anytime condemnation is coming at you or from you, it is inspired by that legalist Satan. Do you really want to agree and cooperate with him?

Jesus warned, “For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged, the standard you use in judging, is the standard by which you will be judged.” Mtt. 7:2 KJV/NIV

 

Ill. The Pharisees brought a woman caught in the act of Adultery to Jesus. The Law says she is to be stoned to death, what do You say?

Did they really care about the law of God being kept?

Scripture tell us He step down and wrote on the ground. Some say it was stone pavement and He wrote with His finger as if to say, “I AM the One who wrote the Law with My finger on the ten commandments. Since you pretend to be custodians of the God’s righteous Law, let me expose your lack of righteousness.

He who is without sin, cast the first stone!”

He was not compromising His law. Yes, stone her according to the Law, but only the one without sin.

Scripture reveals He stooped down again and wrote on the ground a Second Time! Interesting: Remember there were 2 sets of ten commandments. First set God wrote and gave to Moses and Moses broke them when he returned to the camp and saw Israel in idolatry with a golden calf. 2nd time God gave Moses ten commandments and this time god instructed him to place them under the MERCY SEAT.

 

Pic of law inside and under Mercy. https://www.google.com/search?q=the+law+of+God+under+the+mercy+seat&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiK4oPtwI_aAhULyVMKHWyuCgkQ_AUICigB&biw=1440&bih=803#imgrc=bklmqm0CZkgCqM:

 

Why?

Because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” James 2:13

 

Jesus said to the adulteress woman, “Woman where are your accusers?

Who is called the accuser of the brethren in the Bible?

In Genesis Satan accuses God of holding out to Adam and Eve.

In Job he is accuses Job of only loving God because he has been protected by God.

In Jesus’ wilderness he accuses Jesus of not proving He is the Son of God – prove it.

In Zechariah 3 he accuses Joshua the high priest.

In Rev. 12 he is called the accuser of the brethren and is cast down.

Point is anytime we let condemnation spew out of our mouths we are agreeing with and working with and for the devil. Condemnation is his main business. Mercy is ours! This does not mean we ignore sin!

 

Neither do I condemn thee, go and SIN NO MORE.”

 

The devil pitches a fit and says, “How can Jesus forgive her and let her go? There is no righteousness here if you ignore her sin!”

 

But a few days later when Jesus was on the cross – there was the righteousness for her. He paid for her sin.

 

Back to Daniel. When King Darius made that law it was irrevocable, even though scripture says he loved Daniel.

Human love was powerless against the Law of God.

But in the New Covenant the Law of God was powerless against the Love of God. The cross silences the accuser.

 

God fulfilled His own law through Jesus and our sin debt was paid forever!

Ill. Once you pay off your house you don’t continue to send house payments. It is paid. Obligation is fulfilled.

 

For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.”

Hebrews 9:15

 

 

 

As a result of this new covenant from Christ:

There is therefore now no condemnation for them who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

 

When the accuser comes to your mind saying things like, “You know why this happened? Because last week you sinned doing this or that. Now this sickness is because of what you did.

 

You must always stop trying to defend yourself. Instead point to the cross and say, “I’ve done wrong but that is my payment for me.”

Ill. When you believe this way even your physical body will notice a difference. Your body is very sensitive. Auto –immune diseases are your body fighting against something it should not. When you let the cross be your meditation then your conscience gets flushed out and cleared and your mind and body have peace.

The devil acts like he is still the custodian of righteousness and accuses you of your sins. He says things like, “You are not worthy. You don’t deserve the good life. You deserve bad things happening to you.”

 

Ill. Story tell – you are on death row. Your lawyer comes with good news. A person has agreed to take your place. Look through your cell window and see Him hanging there in death for your punishment. He has already died in your place. Will you accept His death for your payment for your crimes? Yes. You start walking out of prison and the prosecutor sees you and begins to rail at you. You cannot go free because you broke this law and that and crimes. You simply say,

Talk to the hand” and keep right on walking in freedom.

 

Concl: With accusations come feelings of guilt and shame. Many of you being attacked by the devil over sins of yours that have been paid. We have a tendency to receive bad news faster than good news?

 

All the judgment due you was exhausted on the cross. All not just some of your sins have been judged and paid and now you are free to go.

 

But if you keep playing those old guilt and shame records in your mind. “I should have been a better parent. I should have done this or that then you are giving Satan an avenue to attack your physical health.

 

Some of you blame yourself for things your children are going through. Maybe you are still angry with yourself for not spending enough time with them or losing your temper, or blaming yourself for some behavior problem they now have.

Parents your hands are too small. There is so much you cannot so for your children. The most important thing you can do is forgive yourself and point them to the Savior. Your children have their own journey to find with God.

You must get God’s peace in your heart and mind so you can enjoy His health and healing.

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” Romans 8:16

A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body.” Proverbs 14:30

 

 

 

You need to purge your conscience of sins memory by seeing God’s great sacrifice of His Perfect Son.

 

Hebrew word for healing is Rapha.

The root verb of Rapha is “to relax, to let go” = to relax your grip, your worries, and allowing His supply to flow to them.