The Power of God

1 Corinthians 2:1-5

And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

  • Definition:  Man’s Wisdom – learning more and more about less and less until you know everything about nothing.
  • Example of man’s wisdom:  A statement attributed to the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln:

“I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go.  My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for the day.”

2 Timothy 3:1-5 – “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”  

1 Corinthians 1:18 – “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

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

  • We talk about that power but God talks about purity, faithfulness, obedience, prayerfulness (just to name a few).  Forgiving one another, loving our neighbor as our self, mercy.
  • Wanting the power of God in our lives is fine, but the power of God will only come as a result of the manifestation of purity, faithfulness, obedience, prayerfulness.
  • Wanting the power of God in our lives or ministry is very similar to some wanting a gift.  The gifts are the manifestation of the Holy Spirit but they first need love for God and others.  Then the rest follows. 
  • What gift of ministry can God trust you with? 
  • Are you accountable?
  • The power of God does not come without some personal cost:  In Matthew 17:19-21, Jesus told the disciples that it takes prayer and fasting to overcome unbelief in some instances.  Jesus spoke these words upon the return of the 70 disciples sent out by him: 

Luke 10:19 – “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” 

2 Corinthians 11:23-28 – “Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.”

  • How many of these have you been through?  If you cannot make it out to church when it rains, do not expect any special ministry gift from God.
  • Strength/power from God comes by way of prayer, faithfulness, reading His Word, loving your neighbor, helping those in need, giving of time, talent, finances, self.

James 1:27 – “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” 

Micah 6:8 – “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” 

  • What the Word says about God’s power:

Job 26:14 – “Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand?”

Psalm 66:3 – “Say to God, ‘How awesome are Your works!  Through the greatness of Your power your enemies shall submit themselves to You.’”

Zechariah 4:6 – “So he answered and said to me: ‘This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts.’”

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

Ephesians 1:15-19 – “Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.”

Ephesians 6:19 – “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”

2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

2 Peter 1:3-4 – “as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” –

The Communion of the Holy Spirit/The Saints

2 Corinthians 13:14

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

  • Koinonia – communion, having in common, a partnership, fellowship.  A participation with the Holy Spirit in particular and with the saints in general.  The comfort, strength and love we feel and have within us by the abiding presence of Christ Jesus.
  • Fellowship
  • Communion
  • Partaker
  • Partner
  • Share communication
  • Distribution
  • ALL from the same root word
  • Fellowship
  • Spiritual
  • Physical
  • Emotional

Acts 2:42 – All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.

  • Right hand of fellowship – acceptance

Galatians 2:9 – and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.

  • Relationship with the Lord

1 Corinthians 1:9 – God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

  • Fellowship/like minded, the same love, unity, one accord

Philippians 2:1-7 – Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.  Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.

  • Contrast fellowship with Saints and God with fellowship with the world

1 John 1:3-7 – that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.  And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.  This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

2 Corinthians 6:14 – Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?

  • What is fellowship with the world?  Anything that moves you away from the Lord and His church.
  • What is fellowship and communion of the Holy Spirit?  Anything that moves you away from sin or the world and is in line with the Scriptures.

Ephesians 4:1-6 – I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.  “ONE”

  • Successful Christian Living – Finding the will of God and doing it!!!!

God’s Word is Faithful

2 Corinthians 1:18-20

But as God is faithful, our word to you was not Yes and No.  For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me, Silvanus, and Timothy—was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes.  For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.

One thing is for certain.  God’s Word is faithful.  It does not vary from day to day or hour to hour, season to season or year to year.  His Word is faithful to all generations.  It does not change.  It is the same yesterday, today and forever.

1 John 5:12-15 – He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.  These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.  Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

The promises in His Word establishes, seals us, anoints us and guarantees to us all that He has for us as long as we walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh.  To be carnal minded is opposed to God’s will.

1 John 5:20 – And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

Hebrews 13:8 – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Hebrews 1:12 – Like a cloak You will fold them up, and they will be changed.  But You are the same,

and Your years will not fail.”

The message found in these short passages are positive messages from a positive gospel, for His Word is positive.  To be anything else is to be negative.  There are NO grey areas.  His Word is either positive, forever unchanged or it is totally unreliable and untrue and cannot be depended upon.  Which is it for you?  You have to make up your mind.  If it is not reliable and true, then you might as well give up on your faith.  Either He really died on the cross for “whosoever believeth” or He did not.

There will always be naysayers.  There will always be skeptics and doubters.  The Word of God calls that double minded.

Where is my mind when I dwell on “I can’t”, “it’s impossible,” “there’s no way,” “it can’t happen?”

Philippians 4:8 –Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

This passage tells us to dwell on the positive, the good things in life.

Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Give your doubts to God and believe positive affirmations to what the Word says.

The weather forecast always tells you what the percentage of rain, snow or stormy weather will be for the next day or the next month.  Most people usually consider rain, snow or bad weather as a negative.  We talk about the 40% chance of rain, but what about the 60% chance of sunshine. God’s Word says “as long as the earth remains, there will be summer and winter and spring time and harvest.”  The cycle of weather was created by God for our benefit so are we not grumbling against Him when we complain about the weather. 

The stop light is always 50% green, but we do not call it a “go” light but a “stop light.”

The Old Testament referred to the children of Israel “murmuring” for 40 years in the wilderness.  Do not grumble, but be thankful.  Put a smile on your face and praise God.  All the promises of God are positive.

Farmer Jones drove his big old farm wagon to market with a portion of his bumper crop of potatoes.  Someone complimented him on all the great crop of potatoes he had harvested.  His reply was, “Yeah, but not one rotten one to feed the hogs.”  Some people just like to be negative.

Matthew 21:22 – And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

Ever hear of that old hymn of the church, “Great is Thy Faithfulness?”  His faithfulness is everlasting!

Christ’s Church

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.

Psalm 118:22 – The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.

Acts 4:10-12 -Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.  This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’  Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

Ephesians 2:19-22 – Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

The church is the only thing Christ called His.  He borrowed a manger, a coin, a book, a boat, a donkey and a tomb.  But He called the church, “My church.’

Jesus is the chief corner stone of the church.  Many lively stones are in the building, though some act like tombstones instead of lively stones.  You are a strategic stone and God wants to use you in His building process.

Absolutely no force will prevent the building of the church.  The message to you is that Christ’s church is alive and well, for it is filled with eternal life!  Isaiah stated “No weapon formed against me shall prosper.”  If the “me” in that verse is part of the church…then no weapon formed against the church will prosper either.

We cannot remodel the world. 

  • No man-made rhetoric can revive it
  • No political pronouncement can restore it
  • No educational enlightenment can redeem it
  • The world is like a brain-dead body

In spite of its life-support system, it is only a matter of time before death conquers it.  The world’s problem is a spiritual problem of the greatest magnitude; therefore, only a spiritual solution of the greatest magnitude will save it.

Many churches and pastors spend too much time trying to remodel the world.  They try to make it a better place to live.  Many of their activities are commendable.  I am not advocating standing by and doing nothing, letting sin alone, closing our eyes, turning our head and compromising with sin and evil.

However, I am saying that no self-help program can change the course of this world.  Crusaders cannot change it, marchers alone with banner and signs will not change it.  These activities will not produce a man-made millennium of peace like we find described in the Bible.  They will never stop, or even slow down, the spiritual decline and ultimate collapse of this world.  It is simply too far gone.

The greatest good the church can do is to do what Christ intended for His church to do:

  • Take the Bread of Life to a hungry world
  • Give the Water of Life to a thirsty world
  • Carry the healing message to hurting people
  • Use your P.H.D. (Preach, Heal, Deliver)

Politics and social life have invaded our pulpits.  Major ministries have reversed to a political and social pulpit.  They talk more about the president than the Prince of Peace, more about senators than the Savior, more about governors than God, more about the White House than about the house not made with hands.

Politicians promise to remodel this world.  They promise, they grandstand, they kiss babies, they make back-room deals, and they do anything for a photo op or for a vote.  Men who promise to make this world a better place to live will never accomplish a remodeling of this world.  The world is reproducing the same sinful corruption of Noah’s day, Lot’s day, of Sodom and Gomorrah’s day.

2 Timothy 3:1 – But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come.

God wants us to build His church rather than attempt to remodel this world.  Christ said, “I will” – not maybe, not perhaps, – but “I will build My church.”  Christ has a plan for building His church and you can be a part of that divine plan.

How many want to be in on building Christ’s church?

We must be a team.  It is amazing what people can do when they work together for a common goal.   Genesis 11:6 tells the story of a people who aspired to build a tower to the heavens. 

Genesis 11:6 – And the Lord said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them.

  • They had one language – they all spoke the same thing
  • They had one purpose – building the tower of Babel
  • They were one – together in unity

The result was that God said of them, “Nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them.

WOW!  Would it not be great if the church were like that – what could we not do?

The early church was in unity – in one accord.  At one point over 3,000 had been saved, another time over 5000.  Another time the descriptive word was “multitudes” had been added to the church.

Acts 5:14 – And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women.

They had the opportunity for unlimited results.  God said they could do whatever “they propose to do.”  The final result of their unity would be beyond imagination.

Want to be part of a dream team; to be part of a team that accomplishes far more than the church ever imagined.  We can build a church – not a tower to the heavens – not a tower of Babel built on carnality and personal objectives, but a tower of spiritual, Holy Spirit-anointed achievements reaching into the harvest, impacting the world, if we are united as one.  In this unity of purpose and determination, there can be no superstars, just godly men and women who want to make a difference, who want their lives to count.

  • Do you want to make a difference?
  • Do you want your life to count?

We can do beyond anything we have ever imagined if we are one, speaking the same language and focusing on the same mission.  We must not settle for just the survival mode or the comfort zone.  We must reach others for Jesus.  We must not be satisfied until lives and families are changed.  Let us make a difference.  What we need in our churches is for everyone to get pregnant with the love and Word of God and begin having babies…spiritual babies.  Get busy producing baby Christians.  Then, help them to grow.  Quit trying to come up with reasons why you cannot be a soul winner for Christ.  Get up and do something for the Lord.

Is It Rain or Shine?

2 Corinthians 1:18-20

But as God is faithful, our word to you was not Yes and No.  For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me, Silvanus, and Timothy—was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes.  For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.

How do we view our circumstances? Is it rain or shine?

The weather forecast always tells you what the percentage of rain, snow or stormy weather will be for the next day or the next month.  Most people usually consider rain, snow or bad weather as a negative.  We talk about the 40% chance of rain, but what about the 60% chance of sunshine

1 John 5:12-15 – He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.  These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.  Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

The promises in His Word establishes, seals us, anoints us and guarantees to us all that He has for us as long as we walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh.  To be carnal minded is opposed to God’s will.

1 John 5:20 – And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

Hebrews 13:8 – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Hebrews 1:12 – Like a cloak You will fold them up, and they will be changed.  But You are the same, and Your years will not fail.”

The message found in these short passages are positive messages from a positive gospel, for His Word is positive.  To be anything else is to be negative.  There are NO grey areas.  His Word is either positive, forever unchanged or it is totally unreliable and untrue and cannot be depended upon.  Which is it for you?  You have to make up your mind.  If it is not reliable and true, then you might as well give up on your faith.  Either He really died on the cross for “whosoever believeth” or He did not.

There will always be naysayers.  There will always be skeptics and doubters.  The Word of God calls that double minded.

Where is my mind when I dwell on “I can’t”, “it’s impossible,” “there’s no way,” “it can’t happen?”

Philippians 4:8 –Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

This passage tells us to dwell on the positive, the good things in life.

Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Give your doubts to God and believe positive affirmations to what the Word says.

The Old Testament referred to the children of Israel “murmuring” for 40 years in the wilderness.  Do not grumble, but be thankful.  Put a smile on your face and praise God.  All the promises of God are positive.

Farmer Jones drove his big old farm wagon to market with a portion of his bumper crop of potatoes.  Someone complimented him on all the great crop of potatoes he had harvested.  His reply was, “Yeah, but not one rotten one to feed the hogs.” 

Ever hear of that old hymn of the church, “Great is Thy Faithfulness?”  His faithfulness is everlasting!

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.

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!!!!!!!!