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God Will Restore

In Sermons, The Pastor's Blog on January 8, 2010 at 9:35 PM

At the request of a young lady who needs encouragement, I offer the following message which was preached on the first Sunday of 2010. The premise is simple: 2009 is gone and we need to press on. We need to let the mistakes and sins of the past be buried as we look ahead to the wonderful provision God has for all who put their trust in him. Stop worrying about yesterday and begin stretching your faith in order to believe for big things.

Look at Philippians 3:12-16 for a moment and allow the scriptures to speak to your spirit:

12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

We really have no choice if we are going to see the blessings of God as never before. Your hopes and dreams are just as real now as they ever were; the enemy of your soul has robbed you and taken the air out of your sails, but now it is time to believe God for victory. Press on, child of God, press on!

Foundational Scripture: Joel 1:1-5

The word of the Lord that came to Joel, the son of Pethuel: 2 Hear this, you elders; give ear, all inhabitants of the land! Has such a thing happened in your days, or in the days of your fathers? 3 Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children to another generation. 4 What the cutting locust left, the swarming locust has eaten. What the swarming locust left, the hopping locust has eaten, and what the hopping locust left, the destroying locust has eaten. 5 Awake, you drunkards, and weep, and wail, all you drinkers of wine, because of the sweet wine, for it is cut off from your mouth.

INTRODUCTION:

What we think our Christian lives are supposed to be and how they actually are often contradict each other. For years we have been taught the Christian life has no pain, no grief, no failures, only joy and peace and happiness. The promises in God’s word are vividly clear.

A. The Christian Walk

1. Our Christian Life Should

  • Be Radiant John 1:4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
  • Be Eternal John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
  • Be Abundant John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
  • Be Filled With Resurrection Power John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,
  • Acknowledge Jesus as the path of life John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

2. Our Joy Joy is that deep-settled peace even in the midst of the storms of life. You can’t buy joy or happiness; you can have joy in the most severe trials.

  • Neh. 8:10 Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
  • Psa. 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Exceeding gladness)
  • Psa. 30:5 For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
  • Psa 42:4 These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival. (A wink of the eyes; a very short space of time.)
  • Psa. 126:5 – 6 Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! 6 He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

3. Our Peace

  • Peace is a gift John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (How often do our hearts race with fear, doubt and disbelief)
  • Based on the Word of God John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
  • One of the fruit of the Spirit Gal. 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
  • Guards our hearts and minds Phil. 4:6-7 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

4. Our Power

  • We wear or put on this clothing Luke 24:49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
  • Comes from the Holy Ghost Baptism Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

5. Our Strength

  • Psa. 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
  • Psa. 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
  • Isa. 40:29 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.
  • Isa. 40:31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

OUR LIVES SOMEHOW DON’T MEASURE UP!

The problem lies in the fact that the locusts have eaten up your expectations. Let’s look again at the prophecy. It really has a two-fold meaning.

A. Prophetic

  1. Cutting locust (Palmerworm): eats the top away from the crops (fulfilled in the Assyrians)
  2. Swarming locust (Locust): swarming cloud (eats the stalks) (fulfilled in the Babylonians)
  3. Hopping locust (Cankerworm): licks up the stubble, devastating (fulfilled in the Roman empire)
  4. Destroying locust (Caterpillar): goes under the earth (eats seeds) (will be fulfilled at the Battle of Armageddon.

B. Personal Level

Fields represent who we are and reflect our deepest desires. Some had wonderful visions about what you wanted to do for God. The zeal you once had has grown cold and has been plundered. Your faith has grown cold and the joy you once felt has somehow given way to a feeling of despair. There is an empty feeling and you somehow feel you have been cheated out of everything God desired to give you.

If something good ever did happen in your lives, you would wonder if something was wrong. The things God meant for our good have been turned around and used against us by the army of locusts the enemy sent our way.

  1. God’s Promise to Restore

God is in the restoration business and delights in seeing his people put back together again. Life is often hard and the enemy of our souls does everything in his power to make sure our eyes are not fixed on the Lord. If he can detract us long enough, he knows we are more apt to fall. Take heart child of God, there restoration ahead, and we win. God is for us and not against us.

Joel 2:23 through Joel 2:27

“Be glad, O children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given the early rain for your vindication; he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the latter rain, as before. 24 “The threshing floors shall be full of grain; the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. 25 I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you. 26 “You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame. 27 You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God and there is none else. And my people shall never again be put to shame.

C.  Pictures in our lives

  1. Locusts of self-pity. Poor me. You focus on self instead of God. Any time you do this, you tied the hands of God and you will never succeed. We all need to quit thinking the world revolves around us and know God is in control of our lives.
  2. Locusts of loneliness. “I’m the only one.” Remember what Elijah said in 1 Kings 19:9-10? “God, there’s nobody righteous except me. I’m all you’ve got left.” God told him there were yet 7,000 who hadn’t bowed their knees to the image of Ba’al, and that there were three other prophets waiting in the wings: Jehu, Hazael, and Elisha. Child of God, you are not the only one fighting the good fight of faith. Get up, child of God – quit whining!
  3. Locusts of meaninglessness. “I don’t count for anything.” Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever thought your live was absolutely without any purpose? Paul said he “despaired even of life.” II Cor 1:8 “For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.”
  4. Locusts of isolation. “I don’t know the will of God.” Let’s look at the life of John Baptist. In Luke 7:19-23, we find him in prison and sending his disciples to find out if Jesus was really the one prophesied about. There was a time when John knew who Jesus was without any doubt. There was a time when this man of purpose boldly declared the message of the cross. This sounds like many of us who have somehow lost sight of the person of Jesus Christ and have felt the despair of isolation. Look at John 1:29 “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John was confused about things and felt isolated from the promises of God. At first he would never have doubted God, but now there’s a question.

The only way for us to gain the victory is to accept the generous provision the Lord has offered to every believer in every generation. God said He would re­store the years the locusts have eaten; will you not receive this great gift? Put down your cares and burdens at the foot of the cross of Calvary. Let the Lord of glory fill you with His marvelous touch this very hour.

Powerful Preaching

In A Christian Life, Sermons, The Pastor's Blog on July 9, 2009 at 10:11 PM

I have just been watching some powerful preaching by a man known all over the world as a prophet, preacher, teacher, college president, author and many other things, too. Dr. Ray H. Hughes has preached the gospel of Jesus Christ with power and conviction for over half a century, and is one of my favorite preachers in all the world. What a powerful anointing is on his life.

For those of you who have not heard him preach, I am pleased to show you one of the greatest messages about Jesus Christ I’ve ever heard. This is Part 1, so you will need to find the other parts if you want to continue the message. Enjoy this video and be blessed by it.

Please let me know what you think.

The Word of God

In Sermons, The Pastor's Blog on April 20, 2009 at 2:58 PM

Since becoming a Christian on Easter Sunday 1977, I have loved the word of God. Lately, though, there has been a sense of urgency about it like never before. My wife has even noticed a difference in me, and we both realize this new hunger for the word happened around the time we saw the Nightline Face-Off on ABC. Watching Carlton Pearson speak such outlandish ideas really stirred my spirit and caused me to look at the Bible in a new light.

I want to share a message with you preached last week at a church here in central Florida at the Lisbon Church of God and again yesterday at Liberty Lighthouse Church of God. It is my belief we need to read and study God’s word now more than ever; we are living in perilous times, and the word of the Lord is our strength in times of trouble. It is our life and we need to hear from God. Let me encourage you to study this powerful book and receive God’s richest blessings.

The Word of God

Lisbon Church of God

Friday, April 17, 2009 am Service

Hebrews 4:12

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12, ESV)

Flexible

Flexible

This book I hold in my hand is not the figment of someone’s imagination, nor is it just a book of good stories. It is not a collection of fairy tales and it is not some old, antiquated, worn-out book that no longer has relevance in today’s world. It is the matchless Word of God, written on the pages of history. It is pure, holy, good, powerful, immutable, never ending, always faithful, always right, always on time. It never loses its luster, it never fades nor does it ever fail to satisfy the thirsty soul.


It has healed me, delivered me, given me hope, brought peace to my soul, testified there is a God who loves me, cleansed me, made me whole. Its pages contain good news, victory, romance and the greatest love story ever told. It cannot fail, it cannot lie, it cannot be washed away by public opinion or government regulations. It cannot be destroyed, it shines as a beacon to all who seek its wisdom. It destroys vain thoughts, it guides lost souls to the Cross of Calvary. It is the immutable Word of the one true living God; it cannot fail.


Some men loathe it while others find comfort and peace in its life-giving pages. Some run and hide from the words it speaks, while others embrace every word between the covers. Some have denied the importance of it, while others esteem it to more important than their portion of food. Look at Job 23:12: “I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food. (Job 23:12, ESV)


What does the Word teach?

  1. Judges 16 teaches me to flee from the enemy. Look at the story of Samson and Delilah. Samson judged Israel power a special anointing, but Delilah was his downfall. Day by day his soul was vexed by her constant barrage of tormenting accusations. He finally gave in and told her the secret of his incredible power. You know the rest of the story. Church, he should have moved on, but didn’t.
  2. II Corinthians 6:17 tells me to come out from among the world and be separated unto the Lord.
  3. Romans 7:7 lets me know what lust is.
  4. 1 John 2:1 gives me hope. For many people, it is nearly impossible to allow the Lord to minister to their lives. The word of God assures us there is hope. Child of God, quit struggling with guilt, shame and despair. God knows right where you are and will deliver you from sins dark clutches.

What is the primary purpose of God’s word? We need look no further than Dueteronomy 4:9-10 for the answer.

9 “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children— 10 how on the day that you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, the Lord said to me, ‘Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children so.’

Look at the two important realities here:

  1. That people may learn to fear the Lord all their days.
  2. That they they may teach the word to their children.

  • Judges 2:10 And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel.

  • Joel 1:3 Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children to another generation.

  • Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

  • II Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, [1] a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

  • II Timothy 3:15-17 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God [1] may be competent, equipped for every good work.

There are scores of Christians who believe their lives are done for if they sin. I do not advocate sin, but I do lift up the advocate of our souls – Jesus Christ the Righteous. 1 John 2:1


Psalm 119 is perhaps the most complete portion of scripture regarding the word of God. Look at some of the main points:

  • It makes us clean – 119:9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.

  • It is to be rejoiced over – 119:14 In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches.  NOTE: If we spent half as much time and energy reading the word of God as we care for our wants and desires, we would be better off by far. Too many people care more for their “stuff” than loving God’s eternal word.

  • It gives light – 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

The following information comes from Matthew Henry’s commentary:

Psa 19:7-14

God’s glory, (that is, his goodness to man) appears much in the works of creation, but much more in and by divine revelation. The holy scripture, as it is a rule both of our duty to God and of our expectation from him, is of much greater use and benefit to us than day or night, than the air we breathe in, or the light of the sun. The discoveries made of God by his works might have served if man had retained his integrity; but, to recover him out of his fallen state, another course must be taken; that must be done by the word of God. And here,

I. The psalmist gives an account of the excellent properties and uses of the word of God, in six sentences (Psa_19:7-9), in each of which the name Jehovah is repeated, and no vain repetition, for the law has its authority and all its excellency from the law-maker. Here are six several titles of the word of God, to take in the whole of divine revelation, precepts and promises, and especially the gospel. Here are several good properties of it, which proves its divine original, which recommend it to our affection, and which extol it above all other laws whatsoever. Here are several good effects of the law upon the minds of men, which show what it is designed for, what use we are to make of it, and how wonderful the efficacy of divine grace is, going along with it, and working by it.

  • The law of the Lord is perfect. It is perfectly free from all corruption, perfectly filled with all good, and perfectly fitted for the end for which it is designed; and it will make the man of God perfect, 2Ti_3:17. Nothing is to be added to it nor taken from it. It is of use to convert the soul, to bring us back to ourselves, to our God, to our duty; for it shows us our sinfulness and misery in our departures from God and the indispensable necessity of our return to him.

  • The testimony of the Lord (which witnesses for him to us) is sure, incontestably and inviolably sure, what we may give credit to, may rely upon, and may be confident it will not deceive us. It is a sure discovery of the divine truth, a sure direction in the way of duty. It is a sure foundation of living comforts and a sure foundation of lasting hopes. It is of use to make us wise, wise to salvation, 2Ti_3:15. It will give us an insight into things divine and a foresight of things to come. It will employ us in the best work and secure to us our true interests. It will make even the simple (poor contrivers as they may be for the present world) wise for their souls and eternity. Those that are humbly simple, sensible of their own folly and willing to be taught, shall be made wise by the word of God, Psa_25:9.

  • The statutes of the Lord (enacted by his authority, and binding on all wherever they come) are right, exactly agreeing with the eternal rules and principles of good and evil, that is, with the right reason of man and the right counsels of God. All God’s precepts, concerning all things, are right (Psa_119:128), just as they should be; and they will set us to rights if we receive them and submit to them; and, because they are right, they rejoice the heart. The law, as we see it in the hands of Christ, gives cause for joy; and, when it is written in our hearts, it lays a foundation for everlasting joy, by restoring us to our right mind.

  • The commandment of the Lord is pure; it is clear, without darkness; it is clean, without dross and defilement. It is itself purified from all alloy, and is purifying to those that receive and embrace it. It is the ordinary means which the Spirit uses in enlightening the eyes; it brings us to a sight and sense of our sin and misery, and directs us in the way of duty.

  • The fear of the Lord (true religion and godliness prescribed in the word, reigning in the heart, and practised in the life) is clean, clean itself, and will make us clean (Joh_15:3); it will cleanse our way, Psa_119:9. And it endureth for ever; it is of perpetual obligation and can never be repealed. The ceremonial law is long since done away, but the law concerning the fear of God is ever the same. Time will not alter the nature of moral good and evil.

  • The judgments of the Lord (all his precepts, which are framed in infinite wisdom) are true; they are grounded upon the most sacred and unquestionable truths; they are righteous, all consonant to natural equity; and they are so altogether: there is no unrighteousness in any of them, but they are all of a piece.

II. He expresses the great value he had for the word of God, and the great advantage he had, and hoped to have, from it, Psa_19:10, Psa_19:11.

1. See how highly he prized the commandments of God. It is the character of all good people that they prefer their religion and the word of God, (1.) Far before all the wealth of the world. It is more desirable than gold, than fine gold, than much fine gold. Gold is of the earth, earthly; but grace is the image of the heavenly. Gold is only for the body and the concerns of time; but grace is for the soul and the concerns of eternity. (2.) Far before all pleasures and delights of sense. The word of God, received by faith, is sweet to the soul, sweeter than honey and the honey comb. The pleasures of sense are the delight of brutes, and therefore debase the great soul of man; the pleasures of religion are the delight of angels, and exalt the soul. The pleasures of sense are deceitful, will soon surfeit, and yet never satisfy; but those of religion are substantial and satisfying, and there is no danger of exceeding in them.

2. See what use he made of the precepts of God’s word: By them is thy servant warned. The word of God is a word of warning to the children of men; it warns us of the duty we are to do, the dangers we are to avoid, and the deluge we are to prepare for, Eze_3:17; Eze_33:7. It warns the wicked not to go on in his wicked way, and warns the righteous not to turn from his good way. All that are indeed God’s servants take this warning.

3. See what advantage he promised himself by his obedience to God’s precepts: In keeping them there is great reward. Those who make conscience of their duty will not only be no losers by it, but unspeakable gainers. There is a reward, not only after keeping, but in keeping, God’s commandments, a present great reward of obedience. Religion is health and honour; it is peace and pleasure; it will make our comforts sweet and our crosses easy, life truly valuable and death itself truly desirable.

The King is Coming

In Sermons, The Pastor's Blog on April 5, 2009 at 11:50 PM

The following message was preached today at our church during the morning service. My hope and prayer is that you will be blessed by the eternal word of God as you read and meditate on this important subject.

Foundational Scripture: John 12:12-19 (ESV)

The Triumphal Entry

12 The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,

15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion;
behold, your king is coming,
sitting on a donkey’s colt!”

16 His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. 17 The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. 18 The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.”

The triumphal entry of Jesus into the city of Jerusalem was recorded by all four gospel writers and is found additionally in Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11 and Luke 19:28-40. It would be good for you to spend some time in reading each account, as each writer has a different perspective, and you can gain valuable information by reading all accounts.

Though it was not always the case, at this particular feast a great number of people gave Christ respect he so richly deserved. In reality, this feast was about the Son of God who would take away the sin of the whole world according to John 1:29. Jesus would shortly make his appearance at this most important Jewish feast. Church, Jesus deserves all the praise and adoration we can give; he is worthy of all our praise. Will you offer up your praises today?

Let’s take a closer look at the scenes presented during the feast. let me ask a few questions as we see the scriptures come alive before our eyes.

1.  Who paid him respect? The word of God declares the answer to this question in verse 12 – a large crowd. This is the same crowd who had gathered for the Passover feast. They came not only to Jesus, but also to see Lazarus after Jesus raised him from the dead. What’s interesting here is the fact the Pharisees wanted to kill Lazarus so people would not follow after Jesus. Isn’t that something? Religion wants to kill you, but Christ wants to give you life.

It was those who traveled from the country side who came to give Jesus honor, not necessarily those who lived in the city. One commentator said “The nearer the temple of the Lord, the further from the Lord of the temple.” It’s often those people who are further away from God who accept him more readily than those who have religious spirits. It’s sad but true.

  • Perhaps they knew him from some other place.
  • Perhaps they had heard about him from a neighbor or relative.
  • Perhaps they had a friend who was healed by him.

Whatever the case may be, the people knew Jesus was coming to the feast.

They were not ashamed to seek Jesus, even though they knew the religious rulers were intent on doing away with the Son of God. The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Let us never be ashamed to associate with Jesus or his people. We should be thankful for the privilege of carrying the name of Jesus as we live our lives before the world today.

It was the common people who went out to meet Jesus, not the rulers or great men of the city. Some would have called that large crowd a mob, but I believe it was a group of people intent on seeing the Savior.

2.  What was the occasion? Preparations were being made for the Passover to be held in Jerusalem. The Passover celebrated God’s remarkable deliverance of the Jewish people from their slavery in Egypt. God brought them out of that vast country with strong and mighty hand. It was God’s law for the Jewish people to celebrate the Passover annually from the time he brought them out as a perpetual observance.

John 11 gives us insight regarding the feast and who would attend. Look at verses 55 and 56: “Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves. 56 They were looking for [5] Jesus and saying to one another as they stood in the temple, “What do you think? That he will not come to the feast at all?””

This is important: the people standing in the temple asked if Jesus would come to the feast and then they actually heard he would be there. No one who seeks after God does so in vain. Look at the following scriptures:

  • Deuteronomy 4:29 But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.
  • Isaiah 55:6 Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near;
  • Acts 17:27 that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,
  • Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

When the people found out Christ was coming to the feast, they prepared themselves to offer him proper praise and recognition. How much more should the Christians stir themselves to do the same? When is the last time you actually made preparations in your heart to praise and give honor the God? Remember the story of the ten virgins? Read Matthew 25:1-12 and you will see the importance of being prepared.

3.  How did they praise him? It is certain the large crowd didn’t have the keys to the city or any other device worthy of giving to one of such high honor. The scriptures don’t depict a crowd of great means or status. They weren’t able to acquire the town’s marching band or red carpet reserved for people of high office. We don’t see a picture of the crowd possessing proper instruments for use in welcoming heavenly royalty into their great city.

What they did have was something seen in great abundance – palm leaves. The word of God tells us the people cut down palm leaves and strew them in the path of their King as he rode into town on a donkey’s colt. Don’t try to get someone else’s talent or gifting; use what you have to glorify God with, and he will be pleased with your effort.

The people had palm leaves in their hands. They didn’t buy them at a local store; they labored to cut them down. We don’t know how many trees were cut in order to have a sufficient supply, but we do know there must have been many leaves. Palm leaves have meant victory and triumph for a long time.

  1. By his death Christ would conquer death, hell and the grave. He would triumph over principalities and powers by his great power. If anyone symbolized victory and triumph, Jesus did.
  2. Palms were used in the feast of tabernacles. Leviticus 23:40 and Nehemiah 8:15.

Secondly, they cried with a loud voice just as the great multitude did in Revelation 7:

A Great Multitude from Every Nation

9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

It is fitting for all of us to shout with a loud voice before the King of kings and Lord of lords. The King is coming. What will you do about it? Will you be part of the large crowd who seeks Christ, or will you be someone so full of religious pride you think everything is all right?

Will you worship him today?

The Promises of God are Sure – Part 2

In A Christian Life, Sermons, The Pastor's Blog on March 26, 2009 at 10:36 PM

There have been several positive responses to the first part of this two-part message. It is encouraging to know how the Lord blesses people as we faithfully preach the eternal word of God. You must know this fact: God honors his word, and blesses those who call on him by faith.

In order to understand where we are, let us continue from 2 Corinthians 1. All scripture is from the English Standard Version (ESV) unless otherwise stated. For the sake of clarity, I would like to quote the foundational scriptures again:

8 For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, [2] of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

It is plain to see by now how much the Lord loves us. God uses situations in our lives to help us grow and mature. God has no pleasure in his children remaining weak in faith, never becoming powerful men and women of God. We must not become so satisfied with our Christian walk that we sit in our easy chairs and quit pressing forward in the name of the Lord.

  • I Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
  • Hebrews 6:1-4 1 Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do if God permits.

In case you haven’t heard yet, God loves you.Time will not permit, nor is it in the scope of this message to convince you of the depths of God’s love. Know this one thing, though, God is not the figment of man’s wild imagination; he is eternally God, there is on one else like him. Look at the words of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 3:14-21:

Prayer for Spiritual Strength

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family [3] in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Here is the crux of the whole matter, which is found in 2 Corinthians 1:20:

For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.

Did you really catch what Paul said? He plainly declares all God’s promises are yes in the Lord. Many people have the idea God will only grant us things we need and never anything we want. That’s not what the word of God teaches at all. Look at Luke 17:6, which declares: “And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”

There are four wonderful blessings God grants to the believer in verses 21-22. These blessings are ours because God establishes his promises to those who believe in him. Understand, we receive these blessings by faith, just like we receive anything else the Lord wants to give us. Without faith, it is impossible to please God.

21 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. [5]

He establishes us in the faith. One of the most powerful chapters in the word of God is Hebrews 11. It describes the Rollcall of Faith – people who lived their lives by the faith of God. Ordinary people called on God, and they expressed their faith in the Lord in extraordinary ways.

The epistle of James describes how people should direct their lives in faith. Look carefully at the following scriptures:

Faith Without Works Is Dead

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good [1] is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

For further study, look at Genesis 22 for the incredible story of Abraham, and Joshua 2 for the story of Rahab. I believe your eyes will be opened when you see the faith these two incredible people had. It should give us incentive to put our complete faith in the Lord – his promises are sure!

He anoints us with power. What incredible power God promised to those who believe! Power to walk with him, power to preach his eternal word, power to witness of life. Thank God for this wonderful gift.

  • Luke 24:49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
  • Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
  • Acts 5:12-16 12 Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. 13 None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem. 14 And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, 15 so that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. 16 The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.
  • 2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to [1] his own glory and excellence, [2]
He seals us with the stamp of ownership. I am so thankful I belong to God. I don’t even belong to myself any more; the Lord purchased me with the blood of his Son, Jesus Christ.  I am his, and he is mine. Friend, there is nothing more important than for us to know who we belong to. Thank God forever, I am saved by the power of God through faith in the blood of Christ.

  • Ephesians 1:13-14 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee [4] of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, [5] to the praise of his glory.
  • Romans 8:16-24 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?
Now, get this down into your spirits and make sure it becomes real to you. If God owns me, it is his responsibility to take care of me. You don’t expect your neighbor to take care of your car tuneups, do you? You don’t believe your best friend should come into town and maintain your home. The reason is simple, you own your car and house, and it’s no one’s responsibility but yours to care for them.
  • Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
  • Matthew 6:25-34 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? [7] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
He gives us the spirit of sonship. We do not join the family, we are born into it through faith in the blood of Jesus Christ. We are born into the family of God from above; it is a supernatural birth granted to all who call on the name of the Lord for salvation. Thank God for his mercy and grace. Because of it, all who cry out to God for salvation are granted this most marvelous gift.
  • Romans 8:14-15 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons [5] of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
  • Galatians 4:4-7 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
  • Ephesians 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us [2] for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,

I hope you realize one thing – The Promises of God are Sure!

The Promises of God are Sure – Part 1

In A Christian Life, Sermons on March 23, 2009 at 6:24 PM

This message was preached yesterday at Liberty Lighthouse Church of God in two parts, morning and evening services. In these times of uncertainty, it is comforting to know God’s promises are sure; he will not fail to provide for those who put their trust in him.

Foundational Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 (ESV)

8 For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, [2] of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

Paul addresses this letter to the church of God in Corinth, along with all the saints in Achaia. Timothy is his traveling companion on this trip, and the Apostle Paul wants the church to realize the tremendous blessings awaiting them as they labor for Christ. In fact Paul declared that as they shared in his sufferings, they would also share in the comfort the Lord would grant them. What wonderful promises God has for us.

Look at three important aspects of this amazing ministry:

Burdened beyond their strength: Troubles were so many and the burdens were so severe, there was not enough strength in themselves to handle them. Have you ever been under such heavy burdens you felt there was no use going on? It’s as if they saw what was ahead of them, but there was no more strength left to complete the task. In other words, you go as far as you can go, yet there’s still more awaiting you, even after you’ve put everything you had into the battle. Life is not always easy, and some of you reading this need to understand how much the Lord wants to help you.

They despaired even of life: I’ve been there, too. There have been times in my life I just wanted to throw my hands in the air and quit. I’ll just wave the white flag of surrender and get it over with, but that’s not the answer. Life comes at us hard most of the time, and it can get to be quite overwhelming. Many think the best way is to run off into a corner and hide from everything; it just doesn’t work that way. The Apostle Paul faced more storms in his life than most, and one in particular ought to encourage us to see hope is near.

Paul was on his way to Rome to appear before Caesar, when the ship he and other prisoners were in sailed into a great storm called the northeaster. The storm was so bad, the captain decided to allow the ship to be driven by the strong winds. It was a terrible situation, but Paul had been assured by the Spirit of God he would testify about the Lord Jesus Christ before the seat of Caesar. What God promises, he is well able to fulfill. Look, though, at Acts 27:13-20 to see despair that troubled this mighty man of God:

The Storm at Sea

13 Now when the south wind blew gently, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, they weighed anchor and sailed along Crete, close to the shore. 14 But soon a tempestuous wind, called the northeaster, struck down from the land. 15 And when the ship was caught and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and were driven along. 16 Running under the lee of a small island called Cauda, [2] we managed with difficulty to secure the ship’s boat. 17 After hoisting it up, they used supports to undergird the ship. Then, fearing that they would run aground on the Syrtis, they lowered the gear, [3] and thus they were driven along. 18 Since we were violently storm-tossed, they began the next day to jettison the cargo. 19 And on the third day they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. 20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned.

Sentence of death on them: Thirdly, they felt as though a death sentence had been imposed on them. Can you imagine trials so hard you felt as though you were going to die? Surely, we have all faced things in our lives which were so overwhelming, we didn’t know whether or not we could make it another day.  How dreadful that feeling must have been for Paul and Timothy. Knowing their work was over and their lives were going to end must have been incredibly painful for them, but all was not lost.

Paul wrote something we all must realize, if we are in Christ. God is working on our behalf, and allows us to go through trials and temptations in order to strengthen our walk with him that we might grow into mature Christians. Paul declared the sentence of death came in order for he and Timothy to quit relying on themselves. What they needed to do, and what we must do, is quit thinking we can live our lives by ouselves – we need to put our trust and confidence on our heavenly Father. 2 Corinthians 1:9 declares: Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.

Did you really see what Paul said? He called what most of us do when we leave God out of our plans a deadly peril. I don’t know about you, but that’s a pretty serious claim on Paul’s part. Let me put this in language that should hit us where the rubber meets the road: if is death to us when we depend on ourselves instead of being led by the Spirit of God. I realize many people don’t want to acknowledge that, or give God that much room in their lives, but I believe Paul was right on in this statement.  If we only rely on ourselves, we will surely be disappointed. Look at the parable Jesus told in Luke 18:9-14:

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed [1] thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

We must set our hope in God, depending on him to take care of all our need:

Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 6:25-34 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? [7] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

God’s answer to those who ask in faith believing is not yes, no, maybe or possibly. It is an emphatic “Yes!” For the Christian whose faith rests in the Lord, for those who ask in faith believing God’s promises, the answer is nothing but “Yes, child, I will.” Oh, the riches of being a child of God. My father knows my need and supplies according to his great grace and power.

Trust in him today, and know what he promised he is well able to perform.

How Salty Are You?

In Sermons on January 15, 2009 at 4:09 PM

If we follow Christ’s examples and obey his voice, we Christians will have a positive effect on this lost and dying world. We have been commissioned by the Almighty to not only witness about God, but to also make disciples of those we come in contact with. We ought not ever lose our saltiness or influence.

With these thoughts in mind, the following message is humbly submitted for you to consider. I had the privilege of preaching this to my congregation, and challenged them to “be salt” to those they come in contact with, and those whose lives they influence.

Are you salty?

The Question Is – Are You Salty?

Sunday, January 11, 2009 pm Service

Matthew 5:10-13 (ESV)

Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.

Many people like salt on the foods they eat. Some like a little and some like a lot. For thousands of years, cooks have used salt to season what they prepared for the table. Salt has many uses and comes from a variety of places.

Let’s examine some interesting properties of salt. It:

  • Preserves. One of the interesting qualitees of salt is its ability to preserve what it comes in contact with. Some of you have eaten those hams that come from great southern smoke houses where hams are cured with salt. It has been used as a preservative for thousands of years, and will continue to be used that way.
  • Stings. Have you ever gotten a cut of some kind and felt the pain if salt gets in the wound? You know it doesn’t feel good.
  • Heals. Salt is a healing agent. For some reason, if you have sinus problems and go swimming in salt water, you get some relief – your sinuses clear up and you’re able to breathe again. One of the most amazing things I’ve seen deals with canker sores. I used to get them all the time as I had a bad reaction to eating citrus fruit and tomatoes. I would put some table salt on the sore, and it would be gone almost overnight. Have you ever gotten a sore throat? One of the best remedies in the world is to gargle with warm salt water. Salt heals.
  • Seasons. As has already been mentioned, many people use salt to season their food. Cooks by the score have used salt to season their meals for thousands of years. It can be used to make some foods taste even sweeter than they are already. Does watermelon and cantaloupe ring a bell with you?
  • Induces thirst. How many of you have ever eaten a bag of salty peanuts or popcorn and then felt a strong thirst come on you? Eating something salty makes you want to drain the glass, doesn’t it?

Jesus said something about salt in Luke’s gospel that we should take heed to. Look at chapter 14 verses 34 & 35:

Salt Without Taste Is Worthless (ESV)

34 “Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? 35 It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Notice what Jesus said, and put it way down in your spirit. Jesus told the people if they had lost their influence, their taste, they were fit for nothing but the manure pile. That’s strong meat, and if you no longer effect the world around you with your saltiness, you are not fit for anything but the same pile.

Here’s an interesting tidbit of information you need to get down into your spirits today. In order for salt to help the ham, it must be in direct contact with it. Salt cannot stay in the shaker if it is going to be effective. Jest being on the table or by the stove isn’t enough to change the flavor of the ham. The salt must come out of the shaker and contact the ham if there is going to be a difference.

You and I cannot stay within the four walls of the local church if we are going to minister to and affect the lives of people around us. Too many Christians have gotten comfortable staying in the “shaker”, the local church, and not pouring themselves into the harvest field.

THREE STEPS TO TRUE SUCCESS

Let’s examine 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, [1] lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
  • Desire You have to want it. Our desires drive what we’re doing. What you want the most is usually what you set your energy and give your time to accomplish. It’s not bad to want to do what we want, but we must look at our priorities. By all means, we should do what God wants first and foremost in our lives. God has given us room to do what we want with our gifts and talents. You will notice that God isn’t controlling our lives with a whip; He has given us tools to work with – it’s up to us to work with them. We must have a holy passion to do God’s will in our lives.We talk about church growth, but we need to examine ourelves to see whether we really want it or not. Are we willing to get on our knees and pray for wisdom and a fresh move of the Holy Ghost? Are we willing to dig down deep in pockets in order to hire a music minister? Are we willing to knock on doors and make phone calls? How badly do we want to see a genuine move of God in this church?
  • Discipline. That word means strict training in the Greek, and it depicts someone who is getting ready for battle. No athlete has ever won a gold medal without having trained for long hours and with great discipline. The Apostle Paul declared he wouldn’t allow his own body to wreck his efforts in preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.We must be disciplined in many areas of our Christian walk, including: prayer, Bible reading, meditating on good things, attendance on the house of God, tithing and giving offerings. It’s so easy to let some of these things slip away from us, but we must keep our discipline if we are to please God with our lives. It’s easy to quit or be a half-hearted Christian, but it takes discipline to work for Christ in the face of the enemy.Make no mistake, we are training for battle. The enemy of our souls wants to destroy us, so we must train to win the war. Let us never forget the promise of God that He would never leave us or forsake us.

    The Whole Armor of God
    (ESV)
    10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
  • Determination. We must finish the race that is set before us. How many people have started out in Christ only to drop out of the race when expectations didn’t meet up with reality? Every one of us must count the cost of our journey. Look at the example of Christ in Luke 9:51 (ESV) When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.It would have been easy to quit on God many times, but you must be determined to go on in spite of the opposition. Look at Ezra and Nehemiah in the face of strong opposition – they would not be hindered by any means. What do you think would have happened to the three Hebrew men who walked in the flames of a fiery furnace had they not been determined to live for God?
Finally, we need to know we are led by the Spirit of God. Look at the following scriptures (ESV):
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

2 Timothy 4:7-8 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

How Salty Are You?

Called From Between the Plow

In Sermons on August 17, 2008 at 4:56 PM

Matthew 10:28-33

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. {29} Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. {30} But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. {31} Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. {32} Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. {33} But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

Let us examine the lives of some of God’s people who were called into service. We all have different callings, but the fact is, we have all been called to serve the Lord.

SAMUEL: In 1 Samuel 2:18-36 we have the story of a young child who was called of God to enter into the ministry. Samuel ministered in the house of God, taking part in the services. That’s a pretty impressive role for such a person of his age and status in life, but God is able to choose anyone He wants. As the young child grew older, he was found in favor with the Lord and men.

(1 Sam 3:1-4) And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision. {2} And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see; {3} And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep; {4} That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I.

The Lord himself called Samuel, but he didn’t know the voice of the Lord. In fact, God called the boy 3 times before Eli explained it was the Lord who was trying to get his attention. THIS IS FOR YOU YOUNG PEOPLE: You need to know that God could call you at an early age and use you for His glory just like Samuel. Don’t think you can’t do anything or that you have nothing to offer. All God wants is a willing vessel to serve Him and follow His commandments.

(1 Sam 3:19-21) And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground. {20} And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD. {21} And the LORD appeared again in Shiloh: for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD.

God will reveal Himself by the power of His word. Let God establish you tonight. Let the power of God rule in your lives from this night forward like it did in Samuel’s life. Look at some of his accomplishments:

  1. He judged Israel for about 40 years in the office of a prophet
  2. Samuel was sued of God to choose a king for the nation of Israel, set up the rules for the kingdom, and look after Saul
  3. Anointed David a king

Pretty impressive for a young person, don’t you think?

DAVID: In 1 Sam 16 we find the story of how David was called to serve the Lord. It’s one of the most interesting accounts in the Bible; I could read it again and again. The Lord told Samuel to go to Bethlehem because He had provided Himself a king to take Saul’s place. Now Samuel didn’t want to go because he just knew in his heart that Saul would kill him, but God has things worked out in advance. He told Samuel to go make a sacrifice and it would be all right. Off he went and when he got to Bethlehem, he called Jesse and his sons to the sacrifice after they had sanctified themselves.

Now, this is important. Samuel, the anointed man of God, got his feelings about the matter in the way and was sorely disappointed in the results. This ought to be a lesson to all of us,not to judge by appearance alone. There has probably been many people who could have done great things for God, but pride or flesh got in the way. How many David’s have failed to reach their full potential because someone didn’t like their looks or didn’t agree with their ideas? Samuel said of Eliab, “surely the Lord’s anointed is before me.”

(1 Sam 16:7) But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

Aren’t you glad we’re not judged by what man has to say? Then Abinadab and Shammah and all the other sons had to pass before the prophet. Samuel asked if these were all of Jesse’s sons.  No, one remained and his name was David. You see, David was the youngest and it was his lot to tend the sheep. He was doing his duty, not looking for promotion like these other sons, just doing what he was supposed to do. When Samuel called for him and he was brought before him, Samuel took a horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of all his brothers. Don’t you know that frosted them, seeing the youngest son in such a high place of honor? The youngest son should not have been chosen, but God knew what He was doing.

(1 Sam 16:13) Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.

ELISHA: Elijah was a mighty prophet of God who did miraculous things under the power of the Holy Ghost. God always has a man in the background awaiting the right time to come to the forefront. Elisha was just such a man.

(1 Ki 19:15-16) And the LORD said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: {16} And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room.

By the way Elijah, I have reserved 7,000 men unto myself who haven’t bowed their knees to Baal.

So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him. (I Kings 19:19, KJV)

Now look at this picture for a moment. Elisha was busy plowing with twelve yoke of oxen when the prophet of Israel, Elijah ,walked by him and threw his mantle on his shoulders. This was a sign that Elijah’s office would pass on to Elisha. Now I don’t want you to think God only calls people who are groomed just so and look like a GQ kind of person. Elisha had been plowing and was very likely hot and sweaty from the heat of the day. He probably didn’t smell like he had just taken a bath or that he spent a lot of time at the cologne counter at the local department store. You get the picture, God doesn’t look at the situation, He just wants a willing heart. (Let me stop here for just a moment. God expects us to bathe and be clean. Thank God for deodorant and shampoo. Thank God for toothpaste and Certs.)

Now, Elijah started walking away and Elisha said, “I’ll follow you but let me kiss my father and mother first.” Elisha made a sacrifice, fed the people and followed after Elijah to minister unto him.

(2 Ki 2:9-13) And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. {10} And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so. {11} And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. {12} And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. {13} He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan;

Elisha received a double portion of the Spirit of God. What do you desire tonight?

When All Hope is Gone

In Sermons on July 21, 2008 at 12:42 AM

Acts 27:1-2, 14-20

1 And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus’ band. 2 And entering into a ship of Adramyttium, we launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia; one Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us. 14 But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon. 15 And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive. 16 And running under a certain island which is called Clauda, we had much work to come by the boat: 17 Which when they had taken up, they used helps, undergirding the ship; and, fearing lest they should fall into the quicksands, strake sail, and so were driven. 18 And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest, the next day they lightened the ship; 19 And the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship. 20 And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.

There are times when it seems like life has dealt you a death blow, and there is no reason to go on any more. There are times when it seems as though your world has turned upside down and you have been forgotten by the very God you have put your trust in so many times. Look up friend, God is faithful and will not leave you in your hour of need.

1. The reality is hope can be fleeting

a. Paul was a man of great faith, but he was also a man. He was just like any of us who have faced trials and temptations. He knew what it was like to come against some pretty terrifying odds. Paul faced down the Pharisees and Sadducees, was beaten numerous times, stoned, left for dead, mocked, ridiculed, and yet, he was personally chosen by the Lord Jesus Christ for a perilous mission.

b. Paul would later write some of the most important scriptures in the Bible, and would teach generations of people how to have a personal relationship with the Christ of God – Jesus Christ. Here’s a man who fought with the beasts at Ephesus – wild men. Even the Apostle Paul came face to face with the reality that hope can sometimes flee away.

c. This is the same Paul that wrote:

Romans 8:24-25 (KJV) For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? [25] But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

Romans 15:13 (KJV) Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

1 Cor. 9:10 (KJV) Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.

Hebrews 6:18-19 (KJV) That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: [19] Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;

2. When hope leaves, what do you do?

You have the option of doing several things when faced with a situation like Paul found himself in. Many of you in this room today have faced a similar situation and are possibly going through one now. When faced with a terror such as Paul faced, we have a tendency to panic and lose our sense of direction. It’s possible some of you in this room today have just about given up and have lost all hope; you have no hope and nothing can comfort you. Let me encourage you to look up to heaven and put your trust in the God of glory who will never leave you or forsake you. Here are three choices:

  1. You can completely give up. You can tell God and everyone else you’ve had enough.

  2. You can complain about your situation and turn all your attention on yourselves instead of reaching out to God. You have the ability to do as the children of Israel did as they left Egypt’s bondage. All they could do was complain and murmur about every little thing that came along.

  3. <<<or>>>

  4. You can take hold of the situation and do something positive about it.

HOW DO I DO THAT?

  1. Remember your calling. Look at Acts 23:11 “And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.” God didn’t call you to let you live without hope. God didn’t call you to let you rot by the wayside. God didn’t call you to leave you without comfort and the power of the Holy Ghost. God pulled you out of the miry clay and put your feet on solid ground in order for you to fulfill His will for your life.

  2. You can believe God. (Verses 23-24)Paul was visited by an angel of God and found encouragement. He told all the men on the ship that God was with them all and that there would be no loss of life, but the ship would be destroyed. Many people could save themselves heartache after heartache if they would only believe God. Many healings and miracles would visit the church if only men would believe.

  3. You must abide in the boat. (Verse 31) Paul spoke plainly about staying in the safety of the boat. The implication is simple: stay in the boat and you will be safe; get out of the boat and you will lose your life.

Three Steps to Victory

In Sermons on July 9, 2008 at 11:28 AM

Three Steps to Victory

Wednesday, 3 Aug , 2005 Service

Foundational Scripture: 1 Sam 17:1-11

This is an awful situation to be in. The enemy is in your own back yard and wants nothing more than to destroy you and cut your head off. Satan’s desire is to see you live as slaves for the rest of your lives; living beneath your privilege and not according to the blessings of God.

The anointing doesn’t keep challenges away from the child of God. The power of the Holy Ghost in our lives allows us to face the obstacles of life head on. There is a confidence that comes from a close relationship with God, and that is what we need so desperately in these last days. Lord, give us the strength to carry on.

If there was no way for us to defeat our enemies, the Lord would not have told us to put our armor on. If there was no way to win, it would be pointless to get ready for the battle. Let me tell you, child of God, there is a reason to go on, and there is hope in the battle. The Bible says, “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31, KJV) The Word of the living God assures our victory, so believe it with all your might.

There are three steps in order for us to gain the victory. By the way, are you shouting the victory? Do you know that God is going to help you through your battles and let you walk victoriously through life? I Corinthians 15:57says “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

STEP 1 RECOGNIZE YOUR ENEMY.

You need to know who you’re fighting.  Many battles have been lost because the Christian soldier didn’t know who the real enemy was.  We need to understand the enemy’s tactics and fight accordingly.

1 Pet 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking
whom he may devour:

Gal 5:19-21 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Eph 2:1-3 1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Eph 6:11-12 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

STEP 2 STAND YOUR GROUND IN JESUS’ NAME.

I realize it is often easier to run or blame God than to stand your ground and fight the battle. Church, our Father is on our side, and we have no right to run from the battle just because it may be going rough for us. Remember who is fighting for us.  It’s time to dig our feet into the sand and declare we are children of God – we win in Jesus’ name.

Exodus 14:13 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.

Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

I really like this next scripture. The prophet declared something that is definite, not just a possibility. We have to believe what the Word says, and not go by our feelings. It’s time to stand on God’s Word!

Micah 7:8 Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD
shall be a light unto me.

STEP 3 USE POWERFUL WEAPONS.

God has supplied the saints with tools to give us the victory, but they are absolutely no good until we put them in our hands and use them according to the Word.

Luke 10:19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

2 Cor 10:3-5 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down
imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Acts 10:36-38 36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) 37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; 38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

Many Christians are weak because they either don’t know the Word of God or just don’t use it. The weapons are there for the taking, but we must reach out and grab them in order for them to help us.

Will you have the victory today?