Win the Lost at Any Cost

Mark 16:15-20

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.  And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”  So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.  And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.

As I was leaving the hospital after a visit to see a patient not too long ago, I saw a lady getting out of her car.  She had her hands full including a McDonald’s sack and a drink.  The receipt blew out of the sack and she started for it as I did, but both of us decided that the wind was faster than we were and we both let the receipt disappear in the wind.  I spontaneously remarked, “If that had been money, you would have had it.”  We both laughed and we continued on our way.  However, there was some truth in that statement.  We do what is important to us.  The receipt had simply not been that important.  If it had been a five or ten dollar bill, there might have been a sprint by one of us to catch it.

WE DO WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO US AT THE MOMENT.

Three things that cannot be reclaimed:

  • Time
  • A lost opportunity
  • The spoken word

Several years ago there was a popular song titled, “Tomorrow, Tomorrow.”  That seems to be our thinking many times about doing what God has explicitly told us to do.  Tomorrow, tomorrow.

NOW IS THE TIME TO WIN SOMEONE TO CHRIST.  TOMORROW MAY BE TOO LATE.

Born in Scotland, John Geddie was brought by his parents to Nova Scotia, Canada in 1816.  He began ministry as pastor at Cavendish on Prince Edward Island.  In 1846 he went as a missionary to New Hebrides (now the island nation of Vannatu), where he served for over twenty years.  When, after twenty-four years of toil, he answered his Lord’s final summons and left the earthly scene, December 14, 1872 a tablet, prepared in Sydney, was placed behind the pulpit of the church in Anelcauhat where the beloved missionary so long had preached.  On it was the following inscription:

“In memory of John Geddie, D.D., born in Scotland, 1815, minister in Prince Edward Island seven years, missionary sent from Nova Scotia to Aneiteum for twenty-four years.  When he landed, there were no Christians here, and when he left there were no heathen.”

Always share your faith – and sometimes you can use words.  We are never at a loss for words.  So if we are to witness we need to speak up  NOW.  Someone’s eternal destination is at stake.  If it is at all possible, and it is in most cases, turn the conversation toward God.  It used to be that witnessing meant going door to door.  Now we have phones, blackberries, twitter, Facebook so we are really out of reasons not to witness.

I honestly do not believe that anyone wants to see another person go to hell, but we fail to be the witness we are called to be because of a multitude of reasons.  All of them probably invalid.  You could say the reason you do not witness is that you are out of peanut butter.  It makes as much sense.

2 Corinthians 6:1-2 – We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.  For He says:  “In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.”  Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

Jesus at the age of twelve in the temple told His earthy parents that “He must be about His Father’s business.”  That was His example to us.

We too “must be about our heavenly Father’s business.”  We simply have other priorities and we must realize that “NOW is the day of salvation, NOW is the acceptable time.”  We so often think of that statement as pertaining to the sinner and it does, but it also pertains to us, the witness, the Christian, the follower of God.  We have a mandate from Jesus Himself to do so.  The sinner needs to turn from their sin, but the Christian needs to be the witness.

In the text, Jesus was speaking to His disciples.  I ask you, are you and I a disciple?  Then we must get busy.  Be obedient.  Do what it says.  There have been no exceptions listed anywhere in the Bible to not be included in this command as far as I know.  In fact, within this command is also your biblical degree.  Did you know that you have a PhD?  Christ gave all His followers a PhD.  Therefore you are equipped to do what He said.

Now I suppose you want to know what that degree means.  Your PhD stands for PREACH  – HEAL – DELIVER.

Let me ask you another question.  When was the last in-depth conversation you had with someone about their eternal soul?

New York City – 1985 (young man on the street who had never heard the story of Jesus Christ.)

The responsibility to win the lost is clearly within your expertise and you are responsible to fulfill the great commission as much as anyone else.  That is exactly what Christ called all of us to do.  Not just the pastors and teachers, evangelists, deacons, Sunday School teachers, etc.  We all have been given instructions to GO AND WIN THE LOST.  If the church took that command serious, there would not be an empty seat in any Bible believing church.  The command He gave was all inclusive.  For you and you and you and you and you and me.

Matthew 9:37-38 – Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.  Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

Acts 28:30-31 – Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.

Harold Wilmington of Liberty University said of Paul the Apostle, “Everywhere he went he was either causing a riot or a revival.”

John 20:21 – So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”

Luke 10:2 – Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.

Jeremiah 8:20 – The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved!”

Let me ask you a question:  How many would want to raise your hand and say, “I’ll be responsible for not witnessing or not praying and therefore send two, five, ten or twenty to hell?”  When you think of the great commission in that way, we find that it is a really awesome responsibility, not a suggestion.

Is Christ’s return imminent?  All we have to do is look around.  Signs are everywhere.

If we really believed Christ’s return is as near as we profess, we would be busy praying, equipping ourselves and going forth with power and authority to win the lost.  Time is wasting.

WIN THE LOST…

Souls are crying, men are dying.  Won’t you lead them to the cross?

Go and find them, help to win them.  Win the lost at any cost.

Go out and win, rescue from sin; day’s almost gone, low sinks the sun.

Souls are crying, men are dying.  Win the lost at any cost.

God’s Grace is Sufficient

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.  And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (The Amplified Bible)

And to keep me from being puffed up and too much elated by the exceeding greatness (preeminence) of these revelations, there was given me a thorn (a splinter) in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to rack and buffet and harass me, to keep me from being excessively exalted.  Three times I called upon the Lord and besought [Him] about this and begged that it might depart from me; but He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!  So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak [in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful in divine strength)

Ephesians 2:1-10

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.  But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Take note that in the greetings in Paul’s writing of Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians and Philemon are identical.  They say, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”  The remaining three Epistles of Paul, 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus, both minister of the Gospel, have as their greeting, “Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”  Where you find mercy and peace together, they occur in that order (with one exception).  Almost all the other Epistles have the same or a variation of that same greeting.  In addition, most of the New Testament books have a final farewell using the word “grace” in one form or another.

•           Grace describes God’s attitude toward the law breaker and the rebellious.

•           Mercy is a moral attribute of God.  It is His outward manifestation of pity, compassion and is His attitude toward us when we are in distress.

•           Peace is the resulting experience in the heart of man when he/she received the grace and mercy of God. 

Note well:  Grace must go before mercy and peace because only the forgiven can be truly blessed.

  • What is your thorn in the flesh?  –  God’s grace is sufficient!
  • What gets your motor revved up? – God’s grace is sufficient!
  • What punches your anxiety button? – God’s grace is sufficient!
  • What wipes you out and drags you low? – God’s grace is sufficient!
  • Whatever it is that comes against you – God’s grace is sufficient!

His grace is sufficient:

  • In times of sickness
  • In times of distress
  • In times of turmoil
  • In times of trouble
  • In the good times
  • In the bad times
  • All the time

Let not your heart be troubled – His grace is sufficient!

  1. God’s grace was evident in Genesis 3 when Adam and Eve had sinned
  2. God’s grace was sufficient when Jacob deceived his father, but Jacob did his own thing and it caused him to sin.
  3. God’s grace was sufficient when Achan stole and hid the spoil from the enemy camp.  He did his own thing and it caused him to sin.
  4. God’s grace was sufficient but Samson laid his head in the lap of the harlot.  He did his own thing and it caused him to sin.
  5. God’s grace was sufficient when the delights of the flesh tempted David and David did his own thing and it caused him to sin.
  6. God’s grace was sufficient when Ananias and Sapphira lied to Peter and the Holy Spirit, but they did their own thing and it caused them to sin.
  7. God’s grace is sufficient for you and I and we still sometimes do our own thing and it causes us to sin.

Rather than falling prey to sin, its destructive outcome and separation from God, let us remain faithful.  Faithfulness brings the gift of God’s grace to our aid.

  1.  God’s grace was sufficient for Joseph.  He was sold into slavery and falsely imprisoned.  He was faithful and God rescued him.
  2. God’s grace was sufficient for Daniel when he was thrown into the lion’s den.  He was faithful and God rescued him.
  3. God’s grace was sufficient for the three Hebrew children.  They were thrown into a fiery furnace.  They were faithful and God rescued them. 
  4. God’s grace was sufficient for Paul when he was shipwrecked, imprisoned, beaten.  He was faithful and God rescued him.
  5. God’s grace is sufficient for you and me.  God’s grace is sufficient.  God’s grace is sufficient.  Be faithful or do your own thing?  You know the right choice.  Just do it.  God’s grace is truly amazing.

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a poor sinner like me.  Once I was lost, but now I’m found, once blind, but now I see.”

  • When you are tempted – Rely on God’s grace
  • When you are anxious – Rely on God’s grace
  • When you are facing the unknown – Rely on God’s grace
  • When everything around you is going down – look up and God’s grace will see you through. 

Don’t do what your flesh wants to do.  God’s grace is sufficient.

Every sin can be forgiven except unbelief against the Holy Spirit, but to be truly saved you must also forgive.  To enter into a holy place (heaven) your sins must be forgiven…if you do not also forgive, there will be dreadful consequences.  Unforgiveness will cause the gift of grace to be erased.

We don’t have to fall into sin if we do not want to.  If we do, it is our own choice.  Thank God we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Do not do what your flesh wants to do.  God’s grace is sufficient.

  • G – God’s
  • R – Riches
  • A – at
  • C – Christ’s
  • E – Expense
  • G – God’s
  • R – Redeeming
  • A – Act
  • C – Concerning
  • E – Everyone

“The LORD is merciful and gracious; slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.”  Psalm 103:8

“For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”  Titus 3:3-7

We did not receive His mercy by any works we have done.

“Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”  2 Peter 3:18

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:10

Grace, Grace, God’s grace.  Grace that will pardon my sin and my guilt.

Grace, Grace, God’s Grace.  There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.

Wonderful Grace of Jesus!!!

What Does It Mean to Be a Separate People”

2 Corinthians 6:11-18

O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open.  You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections.  Now in return for the same (I speak as to children), you also be open.  Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?  And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?  And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:  “I will dwell in them and walk among them.  I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”  Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord.  Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.”  “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

The word in verses 16-18 “akathartos” is translated into English meaning “unclean or foul.”  We get our English word “catharsis” meaning “purification or to cleanse” from this root word.

Have you ever heard that phrase, “There’s something rotten in Denmark.”  I really do not know what that phrase originally meant and am almost afraid to go on a rabbit hunt to find out, but the point I want to make is this.  Sometimes there are things rotten in our lives that God calls unclean or foul, but we excuse it as being a character flaw, misstep, accident, etc.  All demonic, moral and physical uncleanness must be removed from our lives, that is, our body and spirit, if we want the fulfillment of the promises in God’s Word.

2 Samuel 7:14 – I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. 

While this verse was a promise to King David from God.  Since God is no respecter of persons, I think we can apply the principle here to our lives.  God will assume responsibility of parental concern and give Himself to the eternal care of all His children, of all those who walk rightly before Him.  Earthly parents may lack the power and the means to supply all things for their family, but this is not true of God who owns all and rules over all.  However, there are six conditions for us to have this marvelous watch care by God.

  • Be not unequally yoked
  • Come out from the world
  • Be a separate people
  • Touch not those things that are wrong

This seems opposite of Jesus’ command to go into all the world and make disciples.  How do we remain separate from the world and yet be a witness to others?

We need to understand there are three basic meanings in the Bible to the word “world.”

First, there is the created world.  “God made the world and everything in it.”  Acts 17:24

Then there are the inhabitants of the world.  “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16

Finally, there is the world system which is headed by Satan and is based on all that is opposed to God and godly lives.  This is the world we are to remain separated from.  “ And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”  Romans 12:2

Jesus prayer just before going to the cross was for all of us.  “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”  John 17:14-16

In our culture today it is easy for Christians to be deceived.  In much of our entertainment and news God is either ignored or Christian beliefs are laughed at.  Sadly even in our political world we now see men being praised and elevated by Christians – men whose lifestyle and actions are opposite of what God’s Word has said.  We must remember that when Satan tempted Jesus he quoted scripture. 

Jesus warned that in the end there was a danger that His followers would be deceived.  “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”  Matthew 24:24

Paul called Satan “an angel of light in 2 Corinthians 11:14. 

But as we seek to remain faithful to God’s Word and not be caught up in the culture around us, we do not separate ourselves from the people.  Remember Jesus ate with sinners and publicans.  Many of the people he associated with were outcasts and not part of the religious crowd.  But His goal in all of these relationships was to show love and point them to Himself. 

In 2 Corinthians 5:20 Paul called us “ambassadors for Christ.”  What is an ambassador?

One definition says:  “A diplomatic agent of the highest rank accredited to a foreign government or sovereign as the resident representative of his or her own government or sovereign or appointed for a special and often temporary diplomatic assignment.”

So to be separate from the world does not mean we act self-righteous like we are better than others.  We should live in the realization that this present culture and time is not our home.  We want to represent our king, our “world” in such a way that they will see something good and wonderful and want that something for themselves. 

Good advice on how to do this:

Colossians 3:12-17 – Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;  bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.  But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.  And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.  And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

How Will Your Greet the King?

Mark 1:1-11

Now when they drew near Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples; and He said to them, “Go into the village opposite you; and as soon as you have entered it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has sat. Loose it and bring it.  And if anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it,’ and immediately he will send it here.”  So they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door outside on the street, and they loosed it.  But some of those who stood there said to them, “What are you doing, loosing the colt?”  And they spoke to them just as Jesus had commanded. So they let them go.  Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their clothes on it, and He sat on it.  And many spread their clothes on the road, and others cut down leafy branches from the trees and spread them on the road.  Then those who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:  “Hosanna!  ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’  Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that comes in the name of the Lord!  Hosanna in the highest!”  And Jesus went into Jerusalem and into the temple. So when He had looked around at all things, as the hour was already late, He went out to Bethany with the twelve. 

(Also in Matthew 21:1-11; Luke 21:28-40 and John 12:12-19)

  • Hosanna!
  • Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!
  • Blessed is the kingdom of our Father David!
  • Hosanna in the Highest!

Part of the instructions for the Feast of Tabernacles is found in Leviticus 23:40:

And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days.

Branches of palm trees

  • Biblical symbol of rejoicing
  • The willow tree is symbol of sorrow, humiliation, captivity and death

Others who greeted Jesus

  • The two thieves on the cross

Luke 23:39 – Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”

Luke 23:42 – Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

  • The little children

Matthew 19:14 – But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

  • Nicodemus

John 3:1-16- This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”

  • The woman of Samaria – with many questions

John 4:25-26 – The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.”  Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”

  • Thomas

John 20:25 – The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”  So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

John 20:28 – And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

  • The centurion

Matthew 8:8The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.

  • Stephen
    • With anticipation
    • With forgiveness

Acts 7:54-60 – When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth.  But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”  Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.  And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”  Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

How will you greet the King?

  • With joy
  • With fear
  • Speechless

What’s Your One Thing

Mark 10:21

Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”  So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.  You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’”  And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.”  Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”  But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

This young man was clearly following the teachings of the Law.  Jesus said he only lacked one thing.  Think of that – Jesus looking at your life and saying there was only one thing lacking in your walk with Him.  Just one thing separated this young man from possessing eternal life.  Just one thing. Yet it was something he was not willing to give up – not even for eternal life.  

For him it was his riches.  Perhaps he was afraid if he gave up all he owned he would be homeless and without any way to meet his daily needs.  Perhaps he was proud of all he had achieved and was afraid without his possessions he would be a nobody.  His very identity or sense of worth was in what his possessions.  

Whatever the reason, he was not willing to sell his what he had and give to the poor.  Possibly the rest of that statement of Jesus was too much also.  To take up the cross.  The cross was the symbol of shame and death.  For him, it was too much to ask.

Trusting in our riches, our possessions is a dangerous thing for any of us.  It is hard to trust in riches and rely upon God alone.  Paul warned Timothy of this danger.

1 Timothy 6:9-12 – But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

1 Timothy 6:17-19 – Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.  Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share,  storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

One thing

  • What is the one thing that may keep you from fully surrendering to God?
  • What is the one thing you are not willing to give up?
  • What is the one thing you treasure over eternal life?

Jesus asked a very important question:

Mark 8:36-37 – “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

If Anyone Can Hear – Then Listen!

Revelation 13:9

If anyone has an ear, let him hear.

Seven times in Revelation in chapters 2 and 3, we see a similar phrase:  “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the church.”  This command tells us there is something important to notice. 

James 1:19-20 – Understand [this], my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry.  For man’s anger does not promote the righteousness God [wishes and requires.

  • Why do we question instead of listen?
  • We want to know – this is a legitimate reason
  • We want to be heard and/or seen
  • We want to manipulate the topic of discussion to get our point of view across
  • We want to show everyone we know more than others
  • We just want to hog the conversation
  • Why do we judge instead of listen?
  • We feel superior to others (self-righteous)
  • We want to show how good we are
  • We think we know more than others

Matthew 7:1-2 – Do not judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourselves.  For just as you judge and criticize and condemn others, you will be judged and criticized and condemned, and in accordance with the measure you [use to] deal out to others, it will be dealt out again to you.

  • Why are we so quick to answer or respond, to “set the record straight,” to make a defense?
  • We think we know it all
  • We think our opinion is more important than others
  • Maybe we are guilty and are uncomfortable with topic

We never want to suppress or discourage questions – genuine questions.  But maybe our questions would be answered if we would but listen.  God gave us one mouth, two ears.  Maybe He was trying to tell us something. 

  • We want God to hear us when we pray

Psalm 5:1 – Listen to my words, O Lord, give heed to my sighing and groaning.

Psalm 17:6 – I have called upon You, O God, for You will hear me; incline Your ear to me and hear my speech.

Psalm 54:2 – Hear my pleading and my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth.

  • If we indeed want God to hear us, we should listen to
  • His Word
  • His commands
  • His ministers
  • There are some very definite commands to the New Testament Church
  • Take up your cross daily
  • Deny yourself
  • Submit one to another
  • Submit to God
  • Before partaking of communion, “examine yourself.”  We spend a lot of time examining everybody else, then we take two minutes examining our self before communion.  We take communion feeling all is okay – then we go back and repeat the cycle all over again.
  • If we go back into sin, turning from God, we are to “repent and do our first works over again.
  • Make restitution when we have failed someone
  • Ask forgiveness when we have offended someone
  • Pay our debts
  • Love one another

These are only a few of the commands in the Word of God, but we need to study His Word and obey His word.

If you can hear, then listen!!!!!!!!

Behold I Am Coming Quickly!

Revelation 22:7

Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.

Throughout Scripture Christ declares His return many times.

Behold

  • To listen or look upon with interest, for a specific purpose.
  • Taking note to observe carefully the details

I am coming

  • Fact, not fiction
  • We do not know when

How will He arrive?

  • Quickly, suddenly
  • In the clouds
  • For His church

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 – But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.  For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.  For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.  Therefore comfort one another with these words.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 – But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you.  For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.  For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.  But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.  You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.  Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.  For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night.  But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.  For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,  who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.  Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.

Luke 12:22-46 – Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on.  Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.  Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?  And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?  If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest?  Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?  “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind.  For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things.  But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.  “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.  Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 

“Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately.  Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them.  And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.  But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.  Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”  Then Peter said to Him, “Lord, do You speak this parable only to us, or to all people?”  And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season?  Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.  Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has.  But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

Blessed is he who keeps the words of this prophecy

  • “This book” – Revelation
  • The blessing is to those who keep the things which are written by John concerning this revelation from Jesus Christ

Revelation 1:1-3 – The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw.  Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.

Six rules for study of prophecy

  • Understand prophecy as history written beforehand
  • Give the same meaning to words of prophecy that you give to words of history
  • Do not seek for hidden meanings
  • Do not think prophecy must be fulfilled before it can be understood
  • Take all prophecy literally unless it is clear that it cannot have a literal meaning.  Then, seek for the literal truth conveyed by the figurative language.
  • Let the Bible be its own interpreter.

o him who overcomes, I will……

Seven times these statements are repeated in Revelation chapter 2 and 3 that clearly indicate we need to heed and obey the words of this book.

  • To him who overcomes, I will….
  • To him who has an ear, let him hear.

Luke 6:46-49 – But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?  Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like:  He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.  But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.”

2 Timothy 2:15 – Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

James 1:5 – If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

Let us do all we can to be ready when Christ returns!!!!!

Behold I Will Make All Things New

Revelation 21:1-7

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.  Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”  Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”  And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.  He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.

When we go to be with the Lord on that great day of His return, what a difference for us!!!

  • We have had trials – God will give us victory
  • We have had sickness – God will give us health
  • We have had sorrow – God will give us joy
  • We have had torment – God will give us peace
  • We have had lack – God will give us plenty
  • We have had hate – God will give us love
  • We have had bondage – God will give us liberty

In Christ, on that day – no more death, sorrow, crying, pain.  These are the “former things.”  They are gone, gone, forever gone, forever passed away. God will dwell with us.  What a thought! 

  • God dwelt with the Israelites in the Holy of Holies
  • God came to dwell with us in bodily form through Jesus
  • Now, God will be with us – and we with Him throughout eternity.  Forever and ever.

It is done! 

The Alpha and Omega – the Beginning and the End – He has accomplished all this for us

  • The fountain of the water of life will be given freely.  I will never thirst again.  My desire will be satisfied.
  • He who overcomes shall inherit all things
  • Nothing will be lacking
  • I will have all things – nothing incomplete
  • It’s mine – The King of Kings calls me His son
  • I will be a joint heir with Jesus Christ

What an incentive to overcome the world!!!!

Hearing the Message – What Will You Do?

Mark 4:1-9

And again He began to teach by the sea. And a great multitude was gathered to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat in it on the sea; and the whole multitude was on the land facing the sea. Then He taught them many things by parables, and said to them in His teaching:  “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it. Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”  And He said to them, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

The Parable – an earthy story with a heavenly meaning.

Mark 4:10-13

But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable.  And He said to them, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables, so that seeing they may see and not perceive, and hearing they may hear and not understand; lest they should turn, and their sins be forgiven them.’”  And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?

Mystery – something previously hidden, but now fully revealed

Mark 4:14-20

The sower sows the word.  And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.  These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble.  Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.  But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”

  • Parable explained
  • Parables
  • Disclose truth exactly in the degree which men can accept; hiding it from those who would refuse its truth and imparting it to those who would obey it.
    • Parables serve the double and opposite purpose of revealing and concealing.
    • You would not try to reveal to a child in the same manner as an adult.
  • Three things are required
  • Hear the Word
  • Receive the Word
  • Bring forth fruit
  • Four categories of people who hear and receive
  • Satan steals what was sown in the heart – sown by the wayside
  • There is no root or real commitment in the hearer – stony ground
  • Deceitfulness and cares of this world choke out the Word – sown among thorns
  • Production of good fruit – 30/60 100 percent – good ground

Only one category of the four who hear and receive the Word will bring forth fruit.

For Christians there are several lessons we can take from this parable.

First, we need to be careful that we do not fall into one of the three categories.  Even though we have believed and received the Word of God, we can still be so distracted by our daily lives, our jobs, our responsibilities, our pleasures that we neglect God’s Word. 

How many times have you been listening to a sermon or a Bible lesson when you suddenly found your mind thinking about other things.  Where you will go to eat after service?  What you have to do in the coming week?  Worrying about that bill you have to pay next week?  Even thinking about the upcoming vacation?

There is a lot of false teaching out there today on the internet, on the YouTube that we can be deceived if we do not carefully check the things we hear to see if they agree with God’s Word.

Second lesson is that we are to be bearing good fruit.  There are many ideas of what good fruit means for a Christian.  Simply put:  fruit is basically the outward actions of a Christian that result from the condition of the heart. 

Galatians 5 list some of the conditions the heart should have. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”

We cannot on our own produce that kind of life.  It is only as we maintain a relationship with Jesus, that we will produce that good fruit.  Bearing fruit in the Christian life requires abiding in Jesus.

John 15:4-5 – Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” Bearing fruit in the Christian life requires abiding in Jesus.

Judgment of The Believer

Revelation 20:11-15

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them.  And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.  The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.  Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

Romans 14:9-12 – For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.  But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.  For it is written:  “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”  So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.

2 Corinthians 5:10 – For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

Hebrews 9:27 – And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.

1 Corinthians 4:5 – Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.

  • Several judgments are mentioned in the Bible – judgment of believers, nations, general, great white throne.
  • Great White Throne Judgment – This judgment is universal and final.  Every member of Adam’s race will be present.  There will be no exceptions, certainly no place to hide.  This judgment will signal the end of the human trial which we call history.  The books will be opened, then forever closed.  The abuse of free will, both by angels and by men, will be so completely conquered as to be hereafter impossible.  Active hostility against God will cease, and moral choice so confirmed as to be irreversible.  Never again will an act of sin mar God’s universe.  From the verdict of this general judgment there will be no appeal, because the “great white throne judgment” is the ultimate authority.  It is the final court of appeal.
  • Christ’s relation to the church is different from His relation to the world.  There is a corrective judgment now in progress.  If the purpose of discipline is that “we may not be condemned along with the world,” it is clear that if the discipline fails, we will be condemned along with the world. 

Revelation 3:19 – As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.

1 Corinthians 11:28-32 – But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.  For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.  For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.  For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.  But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.

Hebrews 12:10-11 – For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.  Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

1 Peter 4:17-19 – For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?  Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved,

Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?”  Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.

Books of Revelation 20:12

  • The books – “the dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.”
  • The other book – “book of life” – record of one’s repentance and forgiveness – not humanly good people, but redeemed people.

Luke 10:20 – Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

  • Our sins have been judged once at Calvary our faith during the probationary period appropriates this judgment, so the book of life reports “Judged Already.”  “Covered by the blood.”
  • The believer’s judgment
  • “Deeds done in the body”
  • Attitudes
  • Thoughts and intentions of the heart
  • Total stewardship of one’s life

1 Corinthians 3:10-15 – According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it.  For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,  each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.  If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.  If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.