Daniel 6

2019-11-10

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

 

Daniel 5:31 And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, beingabout sixty-two years old.

 

Daniel 6:1-28 It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps, to be over the whole kingdom; and over these, three governors, of whom Daniel wasone, that the satraps might give account to them, so that the king would suffer no loss. Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit wasin him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm.So the governors and satraps sought to find somecharge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he wasfaithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him. Then these men said, “We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find itagainst him concerning the law of his God.”  So these governors and satraps thronged before the king, and said thus to him: “King Darius, live forever! All the governors of the kingdom, the administrators and satraps, the counselors and advisors, have consulted together to establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree and sign the writing, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter.” Therefore King Darius signed the written decree.10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days. 11 Then these men assembled and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. 12 And they went before the king, and spoke concerning the king’s decree: “Have you not signed a decree that every man who petitions any god or man within thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?” The king answered and said, “The thing istrue, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter.” 13 So they answered and said before the king, “That Daniel, who is one of the captives from Judah, does not show due regard for you, O king, or for the decree that you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.” 14 And the king, when he heard thesewords, was greatly displeased with himself, and set hisheart on Daniel to deliver him; and he labored till the going down of the sun to deliver him. 15 Then these men approached the king, and said to the king, “Know, O king, that it isthe law of the Medes and Persians that no decree or statute which the king establishes may be changed.” 16 So the king gave the command, and they brought Daniel and cast himinto the den of lions. Butthe king spoke, saying to Daniel, “Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you.” 17 Then a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signets of his lords, that the purpose concerning Daniel might not be changed. 18 Now the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; and no musicians were brought before him. Also his sleep went from him. 19 Then the king arose very early in the morning and went in haste to the den of lions. 20 And when he came to the den, he cried out with a lamenting voice to Daniel. The king spoke, saying to Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” 21 Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you.” 23 Now the king was exceedingly glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no injury whatever was found on him, because he believed in his God. 24 And the king gave the command, and they brought those men who had accused Daniel, and they cast theminto the den of lions—them, their children, and their wives; and the lions overpowered them, and broke all their bones in pieces before they ever came to the bottom of the den. 25 Then King Darius wrote: To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you. 26I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men musttremble and fear before the God of Daniel. For He isthe living God, And steadfast forever; His kingdom is the onewhich shall not be destroyed, And His dominion shall endureto the end. 27He delivers and rescues, And He works signs and wonders In heaven and on earth, Who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. 28 So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

 

1. Doing the right thing will make you a target

Vss 3-5 Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit wasin him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm. So the governors and satraps sought to find somecharge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he wasfaithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him. Then these men said, “We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find itagainst him concerning the law of his God.”

  1. When we are faithfully walking with and serving God, there will always be those who want to take us down.
  2. John 10:10 – this is rooted in Satan’s plan to stop us.

 

2. Faithfulness is more important than popularity or acceptance

Vss 10-11 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days. 11 Then these men assembled and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God.

  1. Daniel didn’t act in ignorance or by mistake.
  2. He didn’t hide his actions, he did what he always did which underscores faithfulness.

 

3. God will protect and reward

Verse 22 My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you.

 

Verse 28 So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

 

 

Daniel 5: The Party’s Over

2019-11-03

Charles Billingsley

Key verse: Proverbs 4:23

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Today we study the incredible story of the fall of Babylon. We will see how the selfishness and negligence of a young and ignorant King led to the sudden downfall of one of history’s greatest empires. There is much we can learn from this King’s mistakes. But ultimately, we will see that it all comes down to an issue of the soul.

It is not so much that archeology proves the Bible is correct but that the Bible proves archeology is correct.

 

History is “HIS-Story”!

 

Jeremiah 50:1-3

1 The Lord gave Jeremiah the prophet this message concerning Babylon and the land of the Babylonians.  2 This is what the Lord says:“Tell the whole world,and keep nothing back. Raise a signal flagto tell everyone that Babylon will fall!Her images and idols will be shattered.Her gods Bel and Marduk will be utterly disgraced.For a nation will attack her from the northand bring such destruction that no one will live there again.Everything will be gone;both people and animals will flee.

 

The Feast of Belshazzar

 

Daniel 5:1-2

1Belshazzar the king made a great feast for a thousand of his lords, and drank wine in the presence of the thousand. While he tasted (aramaic word meaning: guzzled) the wine, Belshazzar gave the command to bring the gold and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple which had been in Jerusalem, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them.

 

Daniel 5:3-4

Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken from the temple of the house of God which had been in Jerusalem; and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone.

 

Jeremiah 51:57 (NLT)

57 I will make her officials and wise men drunk,along with her captains, officers, and warriors.They will fall asleepand never wake up again!”says the King, whose name isthe Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

 

The Fingers of God

 

Daniel 5:5-6

In the same hour the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. Then the king’s countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other.

 

Proverbs 29:1

A man who hardens his neck after much reproof will suddenly be broken beyond remedy.

 

The Failure of the Wise men

 

Daniel 5:7-9

The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. The king spoke, saying to the wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing, and tells me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck; and he shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.” Now all the king’s wise men came, but they could not read the writing, or make known to the king its interpretation. Then King Belshazzar was greatly troubled, his countenance was changed, and his lords were astonished.

 

Daniel 5:10-12

10 The queen, because of the words of the king and his lords, came to the banquet hall. The queen spoke, saying, “O king, live forever! Do not let your thoughts trouble you, nor let your countenance change. 11 There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God. And in the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, were found in him; and King Nebuchadnezzar your father—your father the king—made him chief of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers. 12 Inasmuch as an excellent spirit, knowledge, understanding, interpreting dreams, solving riddles, and explaining enigmas were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar, now let Daniel be called, and he will give the interpretation.”

 

The Fearlessness of Daniel 

 

Daniel 5:13-14

13 Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king spoke, and said to Daniel, “Are you that Daniel who is one of the captives from Judah, whom my father the king brought from Judah? 14 I have heard of you, that the Spirit of God is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you.

 

“Your faithfulness makes you trustworthy to God” – Edwin Cole

 

Daniel 5:15-23

15 Now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing and make known to me its interpretation, but they could not give the interpretation of the thing. 16 And I have heard of you, that you can give interpretations and explain enigmas. Now if you can read the writing and make known to me its interpretation, you shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around your neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.”

17 Then Daniel answered, and said before the king, “Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another; yet I will read the writing to the king, and make known to him the interpretation. 18 O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father a kingdom and majesty, glory and honor. 19 And because of the majesty that He gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whomever he wished, he executed; whomever he wished, he kept alive; whomever he wished, he set up; and whomever he wished, he put down. 20 But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him. 21 Then he was driven from the sons of men, his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. They fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till he knew that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses.

22 “But you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this. 23 And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. They have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified.

 

 

Daniel 5:24-25

24 Then the fingers of the hand were sent from Him, and this writing was written.

25 “And this is the inscription that was written:

MENE, MENE, TEKEL, Upharsin (or PERES).

 

Daniel 5:26

26 This is the interpretation of each word. MENE: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it;

 

Psalm 139:16 New King James Version (NKJV)

16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.

And in Your book they all were written,

The days fashioned for me,

When as yet there were none of them.

 

Psalm 90:12 New King James Version (NKJV)

12 So teach us to number our days,

That we may gain a heart of wisdom.

 

Daniel 5:27

27 TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting;

 

Daniel 5:28

28 PERES: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.”

Daniel 5:29

29 Then Belshazzar gave the command, and they clothed Daniel with purple and put a chain of gold around his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.

 

We all have 4 major elements to our lives.

 

The will

The mind

The body

The soul  

 

 

The Fall of Babylon

 

Daniel 5:30-31

30 That very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain. 31 And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.

 

 

Proverbs 4: 23-27 (NIV)

23 Above all else, guard your heart,

for everything you do flows from it.

24 Keep your mouth free of perversity;

keep corrupt talk far from your lips.

25 Let your eyes look straight ahead;

fix your gaze directly before you.

26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet

and be steadfast in all your ways.

27 Do not turn to the right or the left;

keep your foot from evil.

 

The river is your soul.  And you are its keeper.

 

Daniel 4: Glow Worms and Grass

2019-10-27
Charles Billingsley

Theme verse: Mark 8:36 “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul.”

Today we are studying Daniel 4. This chapter contains the gripping testimony of how King Nebuchadnezzar lost his mind and how God later restored him.
The subject in the chapter is an obvious one – Pride. We will take a look at how God broke this prideful King and how we can apply the hard lessons he learned to our
own daily lives.

The battle you are facing is ultimately between who you want to be, and who Creator God wants you to be.

 

Proverbs 16:18 – Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

 

Proverbs 15:25a – The Lord will destroy the house of the proud….

 

Proverbs 16:5a – Everyone proud in his heart is an abomination to the Lord…”

 

Proverbs 6:16 – There are six things the Lord hates, yes seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look….

 

Jeremiah 22:25 – And I will give you in the hand of those who seek your life, and into the hand of those whose face your fear – the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and the hand of the Chaldeans.”

 

Proverbs 21:1 – The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.

 

Daniel 4:1-3 – Nebuchadnezzar the king, To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you. 2 I thought it good to declare the signs and wonders that the Most High God has worked for me. 3 How great are His signs,

And how mighty His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,

And His dominion is from generation to generation.

 

Daniel 4: 4-18 – 4 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at rest in my house, and flourishing in my palace. 5 I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts on my bed and the visions of my head troubled me. 6 Therefore I issued a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known to me the interpretation of the dream. 7 Then the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers came in, and I told them the dream; but they did not make known to me its interpretation. 8 But at last Daniel came before me (his name is Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god; in him is the Spirit of the Holy God), and I told the dream before him, saying: 9 “Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, because I know that the Spirit of the Holy God is in you, and no secret troubles you, explain to me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and its interpretation.

10 “These were the visions of my head while on my bed:

I was looking, and behold, A tree in the midst of the earth,

And its height was great. 11 The tree grew and became strong;

Its height reached to the heavens, And it could be seen to the ends of all the earth.

12 Its leaves were lovely, Its fruit abundant,

And in it was food for all. The beasts of the field found shade under it,

The birds of the heavens dwelt in its branches, And all flesh was fed from it. 13 “I saw in the visions of my head while on my bed, and there was a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven. 14 He cried loud and said thus:

‘Chop down the tree and cut off its branches, Strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit.

Let the beasts get out from under it,And the birds from its branches.

15 Nevertheless leave the stump and roots in the earth, Bound with a band of iron and bronze, In the tender grass of the field. Let it be wet with the dew of heaven, And let him graze with the beasts On the grass of the earth. 16 Let his heart be changed from that of a man, Let him be given the heart of a beast, And let seven times pass over him.

17 ‘This decision is by the decree of the watchers, And the sentence by the word of the holy ones, In order that the living may know That the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, Gives it to whomever He will, And sets over it the lowest of men.’18 “This dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, have seen. Now you, Belteshazzar, declare its interpretation, since all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation; but you are able, for the Spirit of the Holy God is in you.”

 

Daniel 4: 19-27

19 Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonished for a time, and his thoughts troubled him. So the king spoke, and said, “Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its interpretation trouble you.”

Belteshazzar answered and said, “My lord, may the dream concern those who hate you, and its interpretation concern your enemies! 20 “The tree that you saw, which grew and became strong, whose height reached to the heavens and which could be seen by all the earth, 21 whose leaves were lovely and its fruit abundant, in which was food for all, under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and in whose branches the birds of the heaven had their home— 22 it is you, O king, who have grown and become strong; for your greatness has grown and reaches to the heavens, and your dominion to the end of the earth. 23 “And inasmuch as the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Chop down the tree and destroy it, but leave its stump and roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze in the tender grass of the field; let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let him graze with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over him’; 24 this is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king: 25 They shall drive you from men, your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make you eat grass like oxen. They shall wet you with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses. 26 “And inasmuch as they gave the command to leave the stump and roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be assured to you, after you come to know that Heaven rules. 27 Therefore, O king, let my advice be acceptable to you; break off your sins by being righteous, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Perhaps there may be a lengthening of your prosperity.”

 

1. The Patient Heart of God

Nebuchadnezzar’s Humiliation

 

 

Daniel 4:28-30

28 All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 At the end of the twelve months he was walking about the royal palace of Babylon. 30 The king spoke, saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?”

 

Psalm 145:8 – “The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.”

 

2 Peter 3:8-9 – But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.  The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

 

God is patient, but He will do what He needs to do to humble us.

 

2. The Sovereign Power of God

 

Daniel 4:31-33

31 While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven: “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you! 32 And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.”

33 That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.

 

Isaiah 55:8-9 New International Version (NIV)

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

neither are your ways my ways,”

declares the Lord.

9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways

and my thoughts than your thoughts.

 

 

 

Job 42:2  (NKJV)

2 “I know that You can do everything,

And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.

 

1. The Patient heart of God-God is patient, but will do what He needs to do to humble us

 

2. The sovereign power of God -God is Sovereign – and will do what He needs to do for us to recognize this.

 

3. The Restoring Hand of God – God is a redeeming God, and will restore us if we humble ourselves before him.

 

Daniel 4:34- 34-37

And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever:

King Nebuchadnezzar had finally been broken.  It is when release our pride, and when we allow God to break us that He will use us.  God uses broken vessels.

For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,

And His kingdom is from generation to generation.

35 All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing;

He does according to His will in the army of heaven

And among the inhabitants of the earth.

No one can restrain His hand

Or say to Him, “What have You done?”

36 At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me. My counselors and nobles resorted to me, I was restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me.

37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.

 

The battle you are facing is ultimately between who you want to be, and who God wants you be.” 

 

Isaiah 40:7

7 The grass withers, the flower fades,

Because the breath of the Lord blows upon it;

Surely the people are grass.

8 The grass withers, the flower fades,

But the word of our God stands forever.”

Our lives are a blip on the radar in light of eternity.

 

 

James 4:6-7

6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:

“God resists the proud,

But gives grace to the humble.”

7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

 

Mark 8:36 “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul.”

 

Resources:

John Whitcomb Commentary on Daniel

John Calvin Commentary on Daniel

Soul Keeping – John Ortberg

Hand-writing on the Wall – David Jeremiah

Daniel 3: Though He Slay Me, I Will Trust Him

2019-10-20

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key verse: Daniel 3:18 (NKJV) But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.

 

Daniel 3:4-6 (NKJV) Then a herald cried aloud: “To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, andpsaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, you shall fall down and worship the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up; and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.”

 

1. The pressure to compromise never goes away

 

Daniel 3:13-15 Then Nebuchadnezzar, in rage and fury, gave the command to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. So they brought these men before the king. 14 Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, “Is ittrue, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, thatyou do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up? 15 Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, andpsaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good!But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who isthe god who will deliver you from my hands?”

 

2. Trusting God is always more important than personal comfort

    • Three refused to bow down
    • Where was Daniel? (Daniel 2:49)

 

Daniel 3:16-18 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If that is the case,our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliverusfrom your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”

  • Matthew 13:42 and 13:50 – “Throw in the fiery furnace and gnashing of teeth”

 

3. God will never leave you on your own

 

Daniel 3:24-25 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste andspoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” 25 “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”

 

Daniel 3:26 Then Nebuchadnezzar went near the mouth of the burning fiery furnace andspoke, saying, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here.”

 

Daniel 3:27b …the smell of fire was not on them.

  • Nebuchadnezzar built the statue, probably as a response, to the dream in Daniel 2. He demanded all to worship but they refused. They stood their ground, refusing to compromise, and God protected them. They didn’t even

 

4. God’s presence is greater than you could ever imagine

 

Daniel 3:29 Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there is no other God who can deliver like this.”

 

 

Daniel 2: But God!

2019-10-13

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

 

Key verse:  Daniel 2:20 (NKJV) Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His.

 

Last week, we began a discussion on the life of Daniel and his friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Our focus last week was on the one determination they made in the face of opposition and attack; they purposed in their hearts they would not defile themselves. They would not compromise, no matter what. As a result, God honored their devotion and commitment. Today, let’s look at their time in captivity and how God continued to honor and protect them in the face of a crazy king, a jealous public, and an uncertain future.

 

Daniel 2:1-5 Now in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; and his spirit was sotroubled that his sleep left him. Then the king gave the command to call the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans to tell the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king. And the king said to them, “I have had a dream, and my spirit is anxious to know the dream.” Then the Chaldeans spoke to the king in Aramaic, “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will give the interpretation.” The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, “My decision is firm: if you do not make known the dream to me, and its interpretation, you shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made an ash heap.

  1. Life’s not fair
  • One of the greatest lessons we must learn in life is that not all things will work out as they should, sometimes we are unfairly wronged
  • Our response in those moments determine the level of our faith and the content of our character

Daniel 2:11-13  It is a difficult thing that the king requests, and there is no other who can tell it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.” 12 For this reason the king was angry and very furious, and gave the command to destroy all the wise menof Babylon. 13 So the decree went out, and they began killing the wise men;and they sought Daniel and his companions, to kill them.

 

  1. All we can do is trust God
  • We often times put our hope and faith in everything but the one person who can bring us through

Psalm 20:7
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God

  • We must clearly accept and believe God is our only source

Daniel 2:17-19 Then Daniel went to his house, and made the decision known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, 18 that they might seek mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret, so that Daniel and his companions might not perish with the rest of the wise menof Babylon. 19 Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. So Daniel blessed the God of heaven.

 

  1. God is our only hope

 

Daniel 2:27-28 Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, “The secret which the king has demanded, the wise men,the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare to the king. 28 But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, were these:

 

In our lives today, there are always moments when we are “under the gun” and not sure what to do to escape. Our decisions in the crucible of opposition and attack will determine our success or failure.

 

Who and what will you trust?

 

 

 

Daniel 1: The Story of Daniel

2019-10-06

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key verse: Daniel 1:8a  But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself…

Over the past few weeks, we’ve talked about loving our neighbors, and our enemies. Today, we begin a study of the life of Daniel. This is a purposeful transition, mainly because of the temptation for compromise as we follow God’s command to love “the world.” We must remain faithful to God, no matter what.

Daniel 1:1–21 (NKJV): 1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure house of his god. 3 Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, 4 young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans. 5 And the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king’s delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king. 6 Now from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 7 To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego. 8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. 9 Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs. 10 And the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and drink. For why should he see your faces looking worse than the young men who are your age? Then you would endanger my head before the king.”

11 So Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then let our appearance be examined before you, and the appearance of the young men who eat the portion of the king’s delicacies; and as you see fit, so deal with your servants.” 14 So he consented with them in this matter, and tested them ten days. 15 And at the end of ten days their features appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king’s delicacies. 16 Thus the steward took away their portion of delicacies and the wine that they were to drink, and gave them vegetables. 17 As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. 18 Now at the end of the days, when the king had said that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 Then the king interviewed them, and among them all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they served before the king. 20 And in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm. 21 Thus Daniel continued until the first year of King Cyrus.

History: This story takes place around 605 B.C. While some say the story of Daniel might be exaggerated because of the amazing moments taking place in His life, as well as in the life of his friends, there is independent proof of the stories found here. The Babylonian historian, Berosus, wrote of Nebuchadnezzar’s capturing of Judah in 303 B.C. Further, in 1956, an ancient cuneiform was discovered that also confirms these events.

1. Sometimes God allows the enemy a victory

Vs 1-2 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure house of his god

And the Lord gave…” literally means Judah was handed over to the Babylonians

Why?

  • Sometimes to punish
  • Sometimes to test
  • Sometimes to refine

– 1 Peter 1:6-7 “for a little while…”

– Isaiah 48:10 “I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering”

  • Always to make us better

2. Our actions in the midst of oppression determine our position

Vs 8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

  • Daniel was determined to not compromise in the face of adversity or temptation

Vss 12-13 Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then let our appearance be examined before you, and the appearance of the young men who eat the portion of the king’s delicacies; and as you see fit, so deal with your servants.”

What we do when we are in a time of attack or oppression will determine or ability to fulfill the call of God

  • Compromise destroys testimony
  • Compromise destroys growth
  • Compromise destroys futures

3. God will always reward faithfulness

Vss 17-19 As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. 18 Now at the end of the days, when the king had said that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 Then the king interviewed them, and among them all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they served before the king.

  • God will always reward us when we remain faithful to His call and His Word
  • Vs 20 And in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm.

4. Our success in life is based on the condition of our heart

Vs 8a But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself

  • What have you purposed in your heart? The temptations are all around us, compromise is so easy, but God requires us to remain true.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor – Week 4

Won’t You Be My Neighbor
2019-09-29
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Matthew 22:37-39 (NKJV) Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

Matthew 5:43–44a (NKJV): You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies…

We have been talking about the clear command of Christ to love our neighbors and to love our enemies. In a society where division, dissension, the politics of destruction, are commonplace, Jesus has a different plan.

1. Love unconditionally (vss 1-3)

1 Cor. 13:1 (NLT) If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

  • The problem with many Christians is that we have no problem loving those who line up with our beliefs but struggle with loving those do not
  • Unconditional love tells us we can do all the right things in our faith journey but if we don’t love others, it’s a waste (…vs 2b “I would be nothing…”)

2. Love Authentically (vss 4-5a)

1 Cor. 13:4 (NLT) Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude…

  • The love we are to have for our neighbors and our enemies must flow from our heart, not our head. In other words, it must be real not manufactured

3. Love Completely (vss 5b -6)

1 Cor. 13:5b (NLT) It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.

  • The love we must show to others must be compatible with the love we show our own families if it is to match up to Christ’s command

4. Love Strategically (vs 7)

1 Cor. 13:7 (NLT) Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

  • We must love with the end in mind
  • This is the love God had for us when He sent Jesus to die for our sins; a love that never gives up
  • This doesn’t mean we are to love others with an agenda, but we are to love others because we want them to experience the glory of the Gospel

Won’t You Be My Neighbor – The Power of Affirmation

“The Power of Affirmation”

Dr. Thomas D. Mullins

2019-09-22 

Matt 5:16 (NIV)“…let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven.”

 

Matt 5:16 (Coach)“Let God’s love shine so bright through you, that people are drawn to you, so you can lead them to me.”

 

1Thess 5:11 (Msg)“So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind.  I know you’re already doing this’ just keep on doing it.” 

 

Eph 4:29 (NIV) “Do not any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 

 

Prov 18:21 (NIV)“The tongue has the power of life and death…”

 

Judges 6:12 (NIV)“When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, ‘The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.’”

 

Judges 6:14-15 (NIV) “The Lord turned to him and said, ‘Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand.  Am I not sending you?’ ‘But Lord,’ Gideon asked, ‘how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.’”

 

Matt 22:39 (NIV)“And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”

 

Be secure in your IDENTITYin Christ.   

 

Eph 1:11 (NIV)“It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for…”

 

1 John 3:1 (NIV)“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God…”

 

Neil Anderson– “The more you reaffirm who you are in Christ, the more your behavior will begin to reflect your true identity.”                                                                                

 

 How to Establish a Life that Affirms:

1. Focus your THOUGHT LIFE.

2 Cor 10:5 (NIV)“…take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

Phil 4:8 (NIV)“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

 

2. Hang with AFFIRMING PEOPLE.

Prov 13:20 (NIV)“He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools        suffers            harm.”

 

3. Keep focused on your MISSION.

Acts 20:24 (NLT)But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the     mission assigned me by the Lord Jesus….”

2 Cor 5:20 (NIV)We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us…”

 

Matt 5:16 (Coach)“Let God’s love shine so bright through you, that people are drawn to you, so you can lead them to me.” 

Gal 5:6 (NIV)“…the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”

 

 

 

Won’t You Be My Neighbor – Week 2

2019-09-15

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

Last week, we specifically said we must love everyone. Those like us and those not like us. Those near and those far. Those we like and those we do not like. Today, we’re going to talk about the practical. How do we love them?

So, how do we love them?

Matthew 5:43-48 (NKJV) You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighborand hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others?Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

  1. Be a blessing
    1. Vs 44b …bless those who curse you…
    2. “Bless” is the Greek word, “eulogeō” – blessings on, praises on…
    3. Our responsibility as Christians is to show God’s love to a hurting world, even to those who hurt us

Eph 5:1-2 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

“The true test of genuine Christianity is how believers treat those whom they are naturally inclined to hate or who mistreat or persecute them.”[1]

  1. Be a servant
    1. Vs 44c …do good to those who hate you…
    2. “Do” is a verb, passive Christianity never changes things

1 John 3:18 (NKJV) My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.

  • “Deed” is the Greek word, Èrgonwhich means “to toil (as an effort or occupation); by implication, an act:—deed, doing, labour, work.”[2]
  1. Be a prayer warrior
    1. Vs 44d …and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you…
    2. Eph 6, 1 Tim. 2, James 5 all command us to pray for others
    3. Why? Because our prayers for others reflects God’s character of loving others and showing mercy.[3]
  1. Make your Father proud
    1. Vs 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
    2. John Walvoord said, “While sinless perfection is impossible, godliness, in its biblical concept, is attainable.”[4]

1 John 3:23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.

John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 

[1]Blomberg, C. (1992). Matthew(Vol. 22, pp. 114–115). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[2]Blomberg, C. (1992). Matthew(Vol. 22, pp. 114–115). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[3]https://lifehopeandtruth.com/god/prayer-fasting-and-meditation/how-to-pray/intercessory-prayer/

[4]J. Walvoord, Matthew: Thy Kingdom Come(Chicago: Moody, 1974), 51.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? – Week 1

2019-09-08
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

Matthew 22:34–40 (NKJV): But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37 Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

The Lawyer’s challenge

What did Jesus mean? What did the lawyer hear? How was this a radically different approach than what they had been taught to believe?

What did Jesus mean by “neighbor”?

• Plēsion – close by, neighboring, adjacent, near

So is Jesus only saying we are to love those close, those like us, those similar to us both in location and belief? In fact, Jesus quoted here from the book of Leviticus…which is the rule book of the Jews.

Leviticus 19:1-2a (NKJV): And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them…

Leviticus 19:18 (NKJV): You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

So, then what was Jesus trying to say? Let’s go back to another conversation between a lawyer and Jesus where we find what Jesus really meant.

Luke 10:25–37 (NKJV): And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” 27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ” 28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.” 29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ 36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?” 37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

So who is my neighbor?

1. People close
2. People far
3. People like us
4. People not like us
5. People we like
6. People we don’t

Why? Because Jesus commanded it…Go and do likewise

Show mercy!

2 Peter 3:9 (NKJV): The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

Jesus in the House

2019-09-01

Key Verses: Mark 2:10-11

Today we will take a close look at the well-known story of Jesus’ healing of the paralytic in Mark 2.  We will examine the impact four friends made in the life of this paralyzed man.  Next we will discuss the result of their faith in Jesus to heal the man.  And finally, we will study the power forgiveness can play in all of our lives.

Mark 2:1-12  – A story of friendship, faith, and forgiveness. 

And again He entered Capernaum after some days, and it was heard that He was in the house.

The first character we encounter in this story is the Christ.

Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door.

Now we encounter the second characters in this story:  The crowd.

2b – And He preached the word to them.

What Jesus gives them first is the Word. The word Mark uses here for the “word” is LOGOS.  This is the same word John uses in the 1st chapter of his gospel when he says this:

John 1:1-5 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.  In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us……

1. The Impact of Friendship

Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men.

Now we encounter the 3rd and 4th characters in this true story.  The companions and also the crippled.

4 And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying.

To what measure will we go to bring our friends to Jesus? 

2. The Result of Faith 

5a When Jesus saw their faith,

Remember that our faith is not just having a knowledge about Jesus.  Faith means actively putting your trust IN Jesus.

5….He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.”

3. The Power of Forgiveness

Tim Keller points out that when Jesus forgives this man’s sin, three incredible things happen all at once:

He is Justified – “Just as if I’d never sinned.”

He is Adopted into the family of God

He is United with Jesus for eternity.

And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts,

“Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

These guys are the final characters we encounter in this story.  The Critics.  So we have:

the Christ

the crowd

the companions

the crippled

and now the critics.

In order to reach the community we have to understand our culture, not ignore it. 

But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts?

Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’?

10 But that you may KNOW that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic,  

11 “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”

12 Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

Remember: 

The impact your friendship to another can have for the Kingdom of God

Remember: 

The result of a bold and daring faith can be the life change of one of your friends

Remember:

The power of forgiveness lies in the Hands of Christ alone.  He is the only one who can save you. 

Who are you in this story? 

Are you one of the critics?

Arise – Say less, and serve more.

Take up your bed – get involved…perhaps in the very area in which you’ve been so critical.

Go – Perhaps you need to go to those you have been most critical of behind their back and genuinely ask their forgiveness?

Are you part of the crowd….

Arise – jump in!  Dive deep!  Get involved!

Take up your bed – Get rid of the stuff that is hindering you from doing more for the kingdom of God.

Go – maybe…literally to your house!  Maybe it’s time to jump into that small group?

Are you one of the companions? 

Arise  – You are doing well, but Satan will do all he can to bring you down.  Stay accountable to your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Take up your bed – Continue to remove what’s in the way and don’t allow apathy to set in.

Go – Finish strong.

Or are you crippled? 

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Arise – Come to Jesus!

Take up your bed – Once you come to Christ and He saves you, you have no more need for the old sin of your past.

GO – Surrendering to Christ gives you new life.

 

Get Into The Game

2019-08-25

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

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

Mission statement of TRBC:

“To change our world by developing Christ followers who love God and love people” 1

What is the expression of this mission statement in each of our lives? The only way to find the answer is to find His will. This should be our primary focus in life.

James 1:5-8 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

1. A pure heart 

Vs 5a If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God…

1 Thess 4:3a For this is the will of God, your sanctification…

A double minded man or woman will never accomplish the will of God

Vs 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

1 John 2:15 – “don’t love the things of the world”

2. A ready heart

Vs 6a But let him ask in faith, with no doubting…

Is 45:9b Shall the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’

This is the picture of a desire to be molded by God

George Müller said “I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter. Nine-tenths of the trouble with people generally is just here. Nine-tenths of the difficulties are over come when our hearts are ready to do the Lord’s will, whatever it may be. When one is truly in this state, it is usually but a little way to the knowledge of what His will is.” 2

3. A passionate heart 

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.

John 15:16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.

Living with the end in mind

Caring about the right things: the Gospel and others.

——————————————————————————————

1 Matthew 22, Matthew 28, Mark 16, Acts 1

2 George Müller, https://www.allaboutfollowingjesus.org/knowing-gods-will.htm

Lifeguard: 2 Peter 3

2019-08-18
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: 2 Peter 1:2-3 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 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.

2 Peter 3:1-18 Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), 2 that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, 3 knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, 6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. 7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. 8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

1. People will mock what you believe

Vss 1-4 Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), 2 that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, 3 knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.”

i. When truth is attacked, remember His Words
ii. There have always been those who dismiss the truth
iii. And, there will always be more

2. But God will never be mocked

Vss 5-9 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, 6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. 7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. 8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

i. There is great evidence of the accuracy of God’s Word
ii. We have a clear call to trust His promises
iii. God’s patience is not to confuse us, but to wait on us

3. The end is a reality

Vss 10-12 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?

i. There will be a sudden call and it will all be over
ii. Live as if that day were today

4. Remain faithful because God is faithful

Vss 13-18 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

i. The world may mock, but trust Him anyway
ii. The world may live differently, but always live for Him
iii. Remember, Jesus came not to condemn, but to save

Lifeguard: Fake Teachers – 2 Peter 2

2019-08-11

Matt Willmington

2 Peter 2:1-3 “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.”

• Prophets versus teachers

Bad teaching is not false teaching. 

• False teachers = Twist truth to trick people for their gain

• Teaching that leads away from Jesus, denies the core beliefs of Christianity

4-11 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)— then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries, whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord.

 Reserve = angels, world, Sodom, teachers

Preserved = Noah, Lot, you!

12-19 But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption, and will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children. They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet. These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. 

• Strategy = Entice, Exploit

• “Balaam” = their way goes astray

• loud, arrogant, disrespectful, sensual, greedy, empty deceivers.

• Conclusion? Destruction.

• Target? Unstable souls. 

• Don’t anchor in a good teacher– anchor in good teaching!

• Are you stable? What’s unanchored?

20 – 22 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.””

Lifeguard: 2 Peter 1

2019-08-04
Pastor Jonathan Falwell
Key Verse: 2 Peter 1:2-3 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 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
1. The Door has been unlocked (vss 1-4)
2 Pet. 1:1-4 Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: 2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 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, 4 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.
a. Who? All of those who have claimed Christ (vs 1)
b. What? Everything we need to live (vs 2 – all things)
c. When? Now and for eternity (vs 2 – pertain to life and Godliness)
d. Where? In every aspect of life (vs 2 – partakers
e. How? Through the gift of Christ (vs 2 – through the knowledge of Him)
2. So walk through it (vss 5-9)
2 Pet. 1:5-9 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
a. We’ve been given everything we need to live BUT…it requires action
b. The gift of salvation is not earned, but it should push us to works
c. When we do not act, we do not thrive
3. The later it gets, the more important it becomes (vss 10-15)
2 Pet. 1:10-15 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
12 For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth.13 Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, 14 knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. 15 Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.
a. Diligence requires discipline
b. No pain, no gain
4. This is the real deal (vss 16-21)
2 Pet. 1:16-21 For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” 18 And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
a. They saw it with their own eyes (vs 16)
b. God sent His Son (vs 17)
c. This will always be true (vs 19)
d. Don’t take my word for it (vss 20-21)

Good News for Hard Times, Week 5

2019-07-28
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key verse: I Peter 1:6 NLT So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while.

Last week, we talked about the protection of God promised in His Word. Regardless of what we may face in the days to come in our lives, God has already promised He will protect us. What a great joy it is to know we have the God of the universe on our side.

1 John 4:4 NLT But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.

Today, we will look at I Peter 4:7-5:13

Reality #5: ____________________________________________________________

Job 14:1 NLT How frail is humanity! How short is life, how full of trouble!

• The truth is _________________________________________________________
• This is true because of ________________________________________________

Romans 5:17a NLT For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many…But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.

Response #5: _________________________________________________________

Romans 5:17b NLT But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.

Be encouraged: _______________________________________________________

I Peter 4:7-8 NLT The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. 8 Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.

• We have a God-given responsibility to _____________________________________
• As we suffer, we have been ________________________________________________

Meaning, if you go through suffering the right way – God’s Way – you will help others who are suffering not to give into sin and not get tripped up by sin and maintain a proper perspective.

Be encouraged: _______________________________________________________

I Peter 4:9-11 NLT Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. 10 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 11 Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as
though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

• Our suffering can result in ______________________________________________
• He will give us what is needed to _________________________________________

Be encouraged: ______________________________________________________

I Peter 4:12-13 NLT Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 13 Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.

• Our suffering ______________________________________________________
• Our suffering ______________________________________________________
• Our suffering ______________________________________________________

Be encouraged: _____________________________________________________

I Peter 4:14-19 NLT If you are insulted because you bear the name of Christ, you will be blessed, for the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. 15 If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s
affairs. 16 But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name! 17 For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those
who have never obeyed God’s Good News? 18 And also, “If the righteous are barely saved, what will happen to godless sinners?” 19 So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.

• We will never face ____________________________________________________
• The power of God ____________________________________________________
• Therefore, stay focused on _____________________________________________

Deuteronomy 31:6. NLT
So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

Be encouraged: ________________________________________________________

I Peter 5:1-7 NLT And now, a word to you who are elders in the churches. I, too, am an elder and a witness to the sufferings of Christ. And I, too, will share in his glory when he is revealed to the whole world. As a fellow elder, I appeal to you: 2 Care for the flock that
God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. 3 Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example. 4 And when the Great
Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor. 5 In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, dress yourselves in humility as you relate to one another, for “God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble.” 6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

• God doesn’t expect us to __________________________________________________
• When we try to live without Him _____________________________________________
• Pride will ALWAYS ______________________________________________________
• Humility will ALWAYS ____________________________________________________

Vs.5b God gives “grace” to the “humble”
“humble” = those who acknowledge that only God is God and that they need God.

“Grace” = “favor” in this context. Contrast with “opposes” (i.e. oppose any progress they attempt to make) the proud. God will allow humble people who are dependent upon God to make progress in their spiritual lives. Believers should heed the injunction to be humble because God sets his face against the proud, but he lavishes his grace upon the humble. Those who submit to God’s sovereignty in humility will find that he will lift them up and reward them.

Be encouraged: ________________________________________________________

I Peter 5:8-11 NLT Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 9 Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is
going through the same kind of suffering you are. 10 In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 11 All power to him forever! Amen.

• Satan is __________________________________________________________
• Your faith is _______________________________________________________
• You are __________________________________________________________
• Your suffering now will ______________________________________________

An interesting observation – Peter practiced what he preached! Everything we have talked about for the past five weeks was not just preacher
talk…Peter himself was suffering and knew what persecution was all about. Notice the word “Babylon” in the verses below – it was a codeword to other Christians at this time in the Ancient world to mean “Rome.” But in times of persecution, they came up with code-words for where they were and where other people were. So, instead of stating they were in “Rome,” Christians code-named Rome as “Babylon.”

Babylon is a reference to the city of Rome, which was increasingly called by this name by both Jews and Christians. The nickname expressed the fact that the Christians in the city felt themselves to be in exile in a foreign land, a city of luxury and sin and the oppressor of God’s people. This identification also corresponds to Peter’s earlier description of the Christians in the city as aliens and strangers in the world (2:11).
This shows that Peter was himself dealing with persecution and suffering. Thus, ALL his advice and encouragements were not just words given by an Apostle who had it all together, he was living through suffering while he was writing this letter! Ironically, tradition tells us that Peter was found two years after writing this letter and was martyred near Rome for the cause of Christ. He rejoiced in the ultimate victory of being home with the Lord!!
I Peter 5:12-14 I have written and sent this short letter to you with the help of Silas, whom I commend to you as a faithful brother. My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in this grace. 13 Your sister church here in Babylon sends you greetings, and so does my son Mark. 14 Greet each other with a kiss of love. Peace be with all of you who are in Christ.
• Even in our suffering we can find __________________________________________

Good News for Hard Times, Week 4

2019-07-21

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key verse: I Peter 1:6 NLT So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even

though you must endure many trials for a little while.

Last week, talked about our testimony, our relationships and our prayer life. All are

critical if we are to see God’s plan for our lives fulfilled. We must remain faithful

regardless of what we might be experiencing. We must be sure the world is seeing

righteousness on display as we go through seasons of suffering.

Today, we will look at I Peter 3:12-4:6

Reality #4: ___________________________________________________________

• In moments of suffering, we can experience moments of ________________________

• Stand strong anyway

Response #4: ________________________________________________________

• You never need to doubt the promises of God

• When God says nothing is difficult for Him, believe it!

Be encouraged: ______________________________________________________

I Peter 3:13-17 NLT Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But

even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be

afraid of their threats. 15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if

someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. 16 But do

this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak

against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you

belong to Christ. 17 Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God

wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!

• Holy living results in ___________________________________________________

• Holy living only comes from _____________________________________________

• Find strength in ______________________________________________________

1 John 1:9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us

our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

Be encouraged: _____________________________________________________

I Peter 3:18-22 NLT Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but

he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he

was raised to life in the Spirit. 19 So he went and preached to the spirits in

prison— 20 those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah

was building his boat. Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood.

21 And that water is a picture of baptism, which now saves you, not by removing dirt from

your body, but as a response to God from a clean conscience. It is effective because of

the resurrection of Jesus Christ.22 Now Christ has gone to heaven. He is seated in the

place of honor next to God, and all the angels and authorities and powers accept his

authority.

This is theologically tricky and there are good people on all sides of this topic

about who these “spirits in prison” are that Jesus preached to in this passage.

But REGARDLESS of the various positions (e.g. Did Jesus go to hell during his

death for 3 days and preach while he was there? Did Jesus go to “paradise”

along with the thief on the cross during these 3 days but was allowed to travel to

hell and proclaim their efforts to stop him didn’t work? Did Jesus go to Paradise

during the 3 days of death and stay in heaven…but after He rose again, he was

on the earth for 40 days, but he appeared/reappeared, and during the times he

was not around, he was permitted to transport to hell to proclaim that their efforts

did not work? Or, some say “prison” is really meaning he simply came to earth

and preached/proclaimed the Good News to all human beings who were “in

prison” in their sins & needed salvation?… REGARDLESS, here is what

everyone agrees upon: Jesus proclaimed that HIS WAY was DOMINANT and

unable to be stopped…and that reality is to be PROCLAIMED!

Application:

• God promises to protect you ___________________________________

• His protection ________________________________________________

• You can run to him for _________________________________________

Hebrews 4:14-16 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has

entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we

believe. 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he

faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. 16 So let us come

boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy,

and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Be encouraged: _______________________________________________________

I Peter 4:1-6 NLT So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm

yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have

suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. 2 You won’t spend the rest of

your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God.3 You

have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy—their

immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible

worship of idols. 4 Of course, your former friends are surprised when you no longer

plunge into the flood of wild and destructive things they do. So they slander you. 5 But

remember that they will have to face God, who stands ready to judge everyone, both

the living and the dead. 6 That is why the Good News was preached to those who are

now dead—so although they were destined to die like all people, they now live forever

with God in the Spirit.

• Our past is not _____________________________________________________

• We have received __________________________________________________

• The hope we need is found in the _____________________________________

If you are suffering today, don’t forget this very encouraging we just read a few minutes

ago:

I Peter 3:16 NLT But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience

clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a

good life you live because you belong to Christ.

Good News for Hard Times, Week 3

2019-07-14

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key verse: I Peter 1:6 NLT So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while.

Last week, we talked about following Christ’s example of living through the suffering with joy and victory in mind. There is no question Christ gave us the ultimate example of what it means to overcome. When we walk through life’s darkest moments with Christ as our guide, we will always reveal the truth and light found in Him.

Today, we will look at I Peter 2:11-3:12.

Reality #3: The world is watching

  • We are always under the microscope of the world as we navigate life
  • As a result, we all have a responsibility

Response #3: Maintain you testimony

  • In your neighborhood

1 Peter 2:11-12 NLT Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. 12 Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.

  • In your community

I Peter 2:13-17 NLT For the Lord’s sake, submit to all human authority—whether the king as head of state, 14 or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right. 15 It is God’s will that yourhonorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. 16 For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. 17 Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.

  • at your work

I Peter 2:18-20 NLT You who are slaves must submit to your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you—not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel. 19 For God is pleased when, conscious of his will, you patiently endure unjust treatment. Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you.

  • In your homes

Be encouraged: Christ has given us the plan1. Don’t give into sin

I Peter 2:21-22 NLT For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. 22 He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone.

  • God has called us all to holiness
  • Regardless of what trials we may face

2. Don’t seek revengeI Peter 2:23 NLT He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.

  • God has our entire lives in His grip
  • Let Him deal with the inequalities in life

3. Don’t forget He has made the wayI Peter 2:24-25 NLT He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. 25 Once you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.

  • Christ has given us everything we need to do things right

Be encouraged: We are not aloneI Peter 3:1-7 NLT In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over 2 by observing your pure and reverent lives. 3 Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. 4 You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. 5 This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They put their trust in God and accepted the authority of their husbands. 6 For instance, Sarah obeyed her husband, Abraham, and called him her master. You are her daughters when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do. 7 In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.

  • Our relationships determine the level of our righteousness
  • Stay focused on maintaining healthy relationships

James 5:16 NLT Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.Now…listen to the opposite of this verse – let’s negate the entire statement and listen to how it sounds now:

The earnest prayer of a UNrighteous person DOES NOT HAVE great power and DOES

NOT produce wonderful results.

Clearly, we are given a directive in the power of prayer, but also in the process of

prayer. It is important our hearts are in the right place if we want to see God do what

only He can accomplish. It has been said, “The “righteous man” here referred to is the

man whose sins have been confessed and forgiven. His prayer is fully able to secure

results, such as healing of the sick.

Be encouraged: God promises joy if we remain faithful

I Peter 3:8-12 NLT Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.9 Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing. 10 For the Scriptures say, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. 11 Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. 12 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.”

  • Stand strong in your testimony
  • Keep your focus on doing God’s will
  • Remember God rewards faithful living

Good News for Hard Times, Week 2

2019-07-07
Scott Bullman

Key Verse: I Peter 1:6 NLT So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while.

During this series, we are talking about the reality of our suffering and the proper response we should have to that reality. The book of 1 Peter was written as a source of encouragements to embrace as you are going through suffering in your own life. Last week, we talked about the reality that we are not home yet! Our home is in Heaven which Christ has prepared for us all. Therefore, we can rejoice even in the midst of what we face daily in this world.

Today, we will look at I Peter 1:13-2:10 as we go deeper into the reality of our suffering and its impact on our faith.

Reality #2: Suffering can make you question your faith

I Peter 1:13-16 NLT So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. 14 So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. 15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy.16 For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”

 

  • Suffering can lead to compromise.
  • Left unchecked, it could lead to giving up on God.

Response #2: Follow Christ’s example

 

Christ remained faithful in his mission on this earth even in the toughest of circumstances! God’s plan was for Jesus to be the ransom for many.

I Peter 1:17-21 And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as “temporary residents.” 18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. 19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. 20 God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake. 21 Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.

John 3:17 NLT God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

I want to remind you of how many times the evil one tried to tempt our Lord Jesus TO QUIT HIS PLAN, to bypass the cross, and not go through with God’s redemption plan. But in all of this, Christ remained faithful to the will and call of God. Aren’t you glad He didn’t give up on us? It was through His steadfastness, His faithfulness, that we can all find the blessed hope of salvation.

Hebrews 12:2 [L]ooking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who FOR the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Here is an interesting observation, I want you to think about.

The word “for” is the little Greek word “anti” (pronounced “AHN-tee’ in Greek) – or in ENGLISH, we sometimes pronounce it, “anti” like “anti-christ” or “antiprogressive or anti = [whatever we are against].” Etc.

In ENGLISH, “anti” means “against.” BUT in Greek, “ahn-tee” most common definition is “instead of.” So, for example, we think of Satan as the “anti-Christ” or “AGAINST Christ”…and he IS! BUT, in Greek, the emphasis is really emphasizing that he is placing himself IN THE PLACE OF CHRIST (“instead of” Christ). Which is most certainly is trying to do (e.g. “I will be like the most high”). Well, in Hebrews 12:2, the little word “for” is the Greek word “ahn-tee” which probably is conveying the concept of “instead of.” NOW read it with that in mind
and reads like this:

[L]ooking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who INSTEAD OF the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Put this way, it sounds like there were multiple times that the ultimate joy (or the prize/result/reward) of going to the cross was set before him and was tempted to jump straight to the prize and bypass the pain & suffering of cross?! YES, that is exactly what happened multiple times in his earthly ministry:

1. During the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness, Satan says, “just bow down to me and I’ll give you all the kingdoms of the world.” In other words, “just do this, and you can bypass the cross! Think about yourself, why suffer?”

2. During the night in Gethsemane, Jesus told Peter, “Don’t you know I have the power to call 12 legions of angels and get out of this moment right now?” But then Jesus adds, “But if I got out of this, how would I fulfill the mission my Father sent me to do?”

A legion consisted of six thousand soldiers. So the number Jesus used (twelve legions) was equivalent to an army of 72,000 angels. Because a single angel was capable of defeating an entire army (e.g., 2 Kgs. 19:35), Jesus had at his disposal an infinitely larger power than was needed to handle the mob. This was not the time for a fight. God’s perfect plan would be carried out this night.

3. While Jesus is hanging on the cross, the Roman soldier yelled up to Jesus, “if you’re the Son of God, save yourself! Come on down off that cross!” I believe that was one last ditch effort by the evil one to try to get Jesus to bypass the cross, and as a result, thwart the plan God had for all of mankind.

Remember, our response to suffering should be to Follow Christ’s Example! He remained faithful in his mission on this earth even in the toughest of circumstances!

Be Encouraged: God’s Word is faithful

I Peter 1:22-25 You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart. 23 For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. 24 As the Scriptures say, “People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. 25 But the word of the Lord remains forever.” And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.

 

  • God’s Word is always True
  • God’s Word promises hope for eternity

Be Encouraged: Time in God’s Word makes us more like Him.

 

I Peter 2:1-3 So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. 2 Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment,3 now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.

 

  • What you crave will determine how you live
  • So, always crave the Word of God

Be Encouraged: Our suffering rivals God’s power

 

The unsaved world will always watch to see how you endure suffering. They will wonder
HOW are you making it through this tough time and still retain the joy which comes from
Christ. Just as HE was rejected and then exalted, we can endure suffering and come
out strong and show the world that God is real, that He is powerful, and He delivers and
sustains His own!

I Peter 2:4-10 You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor.5 And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. 6 As the Scriptures say, “I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem, chosen for great honor, and anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” 7 Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him. But for those who reject him, “The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.” 8 And, “He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them. 9 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. 10 “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.”

 

  • You are light in the mist of darkness

 

 

Good News for Hard Times, Week 1

2019-06-30

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: I Peter 1:6 NLT So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while.

For the next five weeks, we will be walking through the book of 1 Peter. This book was written by the Apostle Peter in about 62-64 A.D. to Christians in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) who were facing an ever-increasing wave of persecution and suffering as a result of their faith.

While this book is quite short compared to many of the other 65 books in the Bible, this book is packed with great truths on how to turn your trials into triumph. During our time together, we will focus on three different areas of wisdom given in this book. These include:

1) Realities about suffering we need to understand

2) Proper responses to those realities for the Christ follower

3) Encouragements to embrace as you are go through suffering in your own life

TODAY, we will look at I Peter 1:1-12.

Reality #1: We are not yet home

Even though your citizenship is in heaven, we are not yet there. Until then, believers will suffer because they are strangers in a foreign land. We live in a broken world caused by sin. As a result, we must recognize we will face hardships, trials, pain and suffering. But all along the way, we must remain focused on what is yet ahead.

Response #1: Rejoice in what lies ahead

When you focus on your promised future, you will be able to endure uncertainty today!

I Peter 1:1 NLT This letter is from Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ. I am writing to God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.

Peter writes this letter with authority as an APOSTLE, which is a representative of Christ Himself. In fact, the Holman New Testament commentary defines APOSTLE in this way: “An apostle is “one who is sent out with a message.”1 Peter was given this message by God to encourage believers because he is fully aware of the suffering which existed for followers of Christ. Peter himself had been persecuted. He had been arrested and even faced the potential of execution. Therefore, this letter is one written to bring hope and light in the midst of certain darkness.

Like Peter, the Apostle Paul encouraged the believers in Philippi to focus on the assurance their citizenship is in heaven to endure the increasing uncertainty of today:

Philippians 1:27-30 NLT Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News. 28 Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself. 29 For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. 30 We are in this struggle together. You have seen my struggle in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of it.

NOTE: “This will be a sign…that you are going to be saved” (v.28) – Meaning, when people persecute you for your faith and you are suffering because of living life God’s way, it is yet another way you can be assured that you are saved. You can know this will not always be the case for you will soon be delivered from the presence of sin. The trials we face in this world are not all there is for us to look forward to, God has given us a great promise of a future gift which is Heaven.

Six Encouragements to Christ-Followers who are suffering:

1. Be encouraged: He will give you grace

I Peter 1:2 NLT God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more grace and peace.

 

  • We have a hope which comes from God
  • He will give us everything we need to make it through in victory
  • Not only for today, but for eternity

2. Be encouraged: He has prepared a home

 

I Peter 1:3-5 NLT All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, 4 and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. 5 And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.

 

  • Our “great expectation” is what Jesus talked about in John 14
  • Nothing can destroy what God has prepared
  • Until then, we are safe

3. Be encouraged: This too shall pass

 

I Peter 1:6. NLT So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while.

 

  • Joy is promised even in the midst of our pain

4. Be encouraged: He will give you strength

 

I Peter 1:7 NLT These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

 

  • God uses our pain to increase our faith
  • Our faith is perfected through the suffering of this world

James 1:2-4 NLT Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

 

5. Be encouraged: He will give you joy

I Peter 1:8-9 NLT You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. 9 The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.

 

  • God uses our pain as a pathway to Joy
  • And, as a pathway to His promise

6. Be encouraged: This was God’s plan

  • God is in control and He has a perfect plan for you
  • He has you perfectly positioned in that plan
  • It was planned from the very beginning
  • So, don’t worry be happy

I Peter 1:10-12. NLT This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you. 11 They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward. 12 They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.

  • Even Heaven rejoices over what God has in store for us all
  • The “Good News” makes all the difference
  • God Knows what’s ahead

 

The Call to Continue

2019-06-23
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key verse: Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

Thomas Road Baptist Church was founded on June 21, 1956 with the idea of changing the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Here we are, 63 years later, and that hasn’t changed nor will it ever change. What started in an small, abandoned brick building in a Lynchburg neighborhood has now touched the globe. And I firmly believe God still has much for us to do.

Philippians 1:1–11 (NKJV): Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, 5 for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; 7 just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. 8 For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ. 9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

The Call to Continue

1. A personal message

Verse 1b … To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the Ébishops and Édeacons

  • While these words were written to a specific group of believers around 2000 years ago, they are words relevant to us today.
  • God’s Word is personal for us

2. We are in His prayers

Verses 2-4 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy

  • Christ is praying for us continually

Romans 8:34b (NKJV): It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us

In the very next verse…”Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”

  • Think of all God has done through these many years through the people and ministries of Thomas Road Baptist Church. There is no doubt those things would not have happened without the powerful hand of God upon us all

3. A great promise

Verses 5-6 for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ

  • This was the verse my dad would often reference in his vision to keep moving forward for God. It was his life’s verse.

Verses 7-8 just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. 8 For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.

  • We are all in this together. There is no hierarchy in the church of Jesus Christ. He is the head, we are all his soldiers.

4. With a great challenge

Verses 9-11 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness Éwhich are by Jesus Christ, Éto the glory and praise of God.

Four things Paul challenged them to continue in:

  1. Love
  2. Knowledge and understanding
  3. Right living
  4. To be more like Him

Verse 12 But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel

Even in difficult times, God will use us to change the world

God’s Timing is Always Perfect!

2019-06-16
Ben Gutierrez

Memory Verse:
John 11:40
Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”

“God’s Timing is Always Perfect!” Every person is tempted to doubt God when he/she does not understand what is happening or know how God is working in a given situation. This is a normal reaction and God understands, yet God always requires Christ-Followers to trust Him no matter what the circumstances. In this sermon, the congregation of Thomas Road Baptist Church studies John Chapter 11 in order to discover how God is always in control even when we may not understand what God is doing. Listen, learn, and be encouraged that “God’s Timing is Always Perfect!”

John 11:3
…Two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friendis very sick…”

John 11:4
But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death.”

John 11:5b
Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus.

John 11:3, 5-6
3 So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friend is very sick…” 5 So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, 6 he stayed where he was for the next two days.

John 11:14-15
14 So he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 15 And for your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there…

John 11:17
When Jesus arrived at Bethany, he was told that Lazarus hadalready been in his grave for four days.

Wondering “Why?” in the Waiting

“Is God Trustworthy?”

John 11:21
Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

John 11:32
When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

John 11:36-37
36 The people who were standing nearby said, “See how much he loved him!” 37 But some said, “This man healed a blind man. Couldn’t he have kept Lazarus from dying?”

John 11:35
Jesus wept.

Make Your Own Choice!

John 11:40
Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”

Never Forget How God Has Proven Himself in the Past!

“If you believe, you will see the glory of God!” – Jesus

Everybody Needs Encouragement

2019-06-09
Ben Gutierrez

Key Verse: II Corinthians 7:6a
“Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us…”

There’s something that every person needs regardless of their personality, job position, or where they live in the world. Everybody needs “encouragement.” Encouragement can come in many forms but when effectively delivered To a person in need, we reflect a very character of God. Second Corinthians 7:5-7 teaches us how even strong leaders need encouragement and how we can best encourage people in need. And in doing so, we reflect the very character of God.
If you are in need of encouragement today, please take time to listen to these beautiful truths found in Second Corinthians chapter 7!

II Corinthians 7:5-7
5 For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears.6 Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 7 and not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which he was comforted in you, when he told us of your earnest desire, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more.

Everybody Experiences Hardships

II Corinthians 7:5
“For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears.”

It is Gods Character to Encourage the Discouraged!

II Corinthians 7:6a
“Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us…”

God Delivers His Encouragement Through People!

II Corinthians 7:6
“Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus.”

II Corinthians 7:7
“[A]nd not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which he was comforted in you, when he told us of your earnest desire, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more.”

Give God’s Encouragement Today!

Receive God’s Encouragement Today!

Hebrews 10:23-25
23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. 24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

Discipline

2019-06-02

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key verse: 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness

Hebrews 12:8 (NLT): If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all.

2 Timothy 3:14-17 (NKJV) But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:14-17 (NLT) But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. 15 You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work

How does God discipline His children? Through His Word! He tells us clearly what we should do, what we shouldn’t do and how we can be successful at both. God’s Word is the “manual” for right living and gives us everything needed to see how God works in our lives.

1. Instruction

  • Vs 16a All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true
  • God uses discipline to teach us right from wrong
  • This is similar to what we as parents do when raising our children

2. Correction

  • Vs 16b and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives
    • “reproof” – e’-len-khos(to convict, to show us what is in error)
    • This is where God uses discipline to punish us for doing wrong
    • God does use discipline to punish our wrongdoing, but this is not ultimate punishment, Christ has paid that price already
    • Job 5:17 But consider the joy of those corrected by God! Do not despise the discipline of the Almighty when you sin.

3. Protection

  • Vss 16c-17 It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.
  • Paul had thorn to keep him from pride
    • 2 Cor. 12:7-10 (NLT) Even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. 8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
  • This is the idea that God uses discipline to keep us from harm
  • Every Christian needs this form of discipline because we will always struggle with our sinful nature

Prov. 29:19 (NLT) Words alone will not discipline a servant; the words may be understood, but they are not heeded

So, what does God use to discipline His children?

  • Pain? Yes
  • Suffering? Yes
  • Hardships? Yes
  • Sickness? Yes
  • Financial difficulty? Yes

Does He use all of these with all of us? No.

  • God knows what each individual needs to bring them into right living and fellowship with God. He knows what we need to teach us to be what we should be.

Are all instances of pain, suffering, hardship, sickness, financial difficulty a result of God’s discipline? No.

  • Some are results of the broken world in which we live. So how do we know the difference? Always go back to God’s Word. 2 Timothy 3:16.

Discipline goes a long way

2019-05-26
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key verse: Hebrews 12:11 (NKJV) Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Hebrews 12:4–13 (NLT): After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin. 5 And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. 6 For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.” 7 As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? 8 If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. 9 Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? 10 For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. 11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. 12 So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. 13 Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.

1. Discipline is encouraging

 

  • Vss 5-6 And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. 6 For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”
  • This is an encouragement to remember the words of Proverbs 3:11-12
  • His act of correction and guidance in our lives is a sure sign of His great love for us all

2. Discipline is endearing

  • Vss 7-8 As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? 8 If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all.
  • Discipline reminds us of our relationship with God our Father
  • This is a picture of the type of relationship we should have with God

3. Discipline is engaging

  • Vss 9-10 Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? 10 For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness.
  • It brings us into a stronger relationship with our holy God, making us more like Him

• The word “holiness” (hagiotēs) is not common (elsewhere in the NT it occurs only in a variant reading in 2 Cor 1:12). It points to God’s holy character. The aim of God’s chastisement of his people is to produce in them a character like his own [1]

  •  Holiness is the ultimate goal for our lives…to be more like Him
  • It defines how we respond to various temptations we face in the journey
  • This “shaping” should be desired not feared

4. Discipline is edifying

  • Vss 11-13 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. 12 So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. 13 Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.
  • While discipline is not fun, the long term rewards are worth the journey
  • It strengthens us for the difficult world in which we live
  • It brings the kind of joy which can only result from a right relationship with God

[1] Morris, L. (1981).  Hebrews. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews through Revelation(Vol. 12, pp. 137–138). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

 

The Call to Continue

2019-06-23
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key verse: Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

Thomas Road Baptist Church was founded on June 21, 1956 with the idea of changing the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Here we are, 63 years later, and that hasn’t changed nor will it ever change. What started in an small, abandoned brick building in a Lynchburg neighborhood has now touched the globe. And I firmly believe God still has much for us to do.

Philippians 1:1–11 (NKJV): Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, 5 for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; 7 just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. 8 For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ. 9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

The Call to Continue

1. A personal message

Verse 1b … To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the Ébishops and Édeacons

  • While these words were written to a specific group of believers around 2000 years ago, they are words relevant to us today.
  • God’s Word is personal for us

2. We are in His prayers

Verses 2-4 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy

  • Christ is praying for us continually

Romans 8:34b (NKJV): It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us

In the very next verse…”Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”

  • Think of all God has done through these many years through the people and ministries of Thomas Road Baptist Church. There is no doubt those things would not have happened without the powerful hand of God upon us all

3. A great promise

Verses 5-6 for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ

  • This was the verse my dad would often reference in his vision to keep moving forward for God. It was his life’s verse.

Verses 7-8 just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. 8 For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.

  • We are all in this together. There is no hierarchy in the church of Jesus Christ. He is the head, we are all his soldiers.

4. With a great challenge

Verses 9-11 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness Éwhich are by Jesus Christ, Éto the glory and praise of God.

Four things Paul challenged them to continue in:

  1. Love
  2. Knowledge and understanding
  3. Right living
  4. To be more like Him

Verse 12 But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel

Even in difficult times, God will use us to change the world

Survive or Thrive, part 4

2019-05-19

Survive or Thrive, part 3

2019-05-12
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

God wants us to live our lives in confidence of His presence and power. There is a great difference between confidence and arrogance. The world often confuses the two. But when we keep our eyes fixed on His Word and His way for us, we will see Him constantly at work in our lives.

Hebrews 10:19-25 (NLT) And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. 20 By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. 21 And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, 22 let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.

23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. 24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

1. Living close to the source

  • Vss 19-20 And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. 20 By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place.
  • Living the kind of lives God intends requires us to spend more time connected to Him than connected to the world
  • Our personal walk with Christ is vital to a live “over the top”

2. Recognizing Jesus as our mediator

  • Vss 21-22a And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, 22 let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him…
  • We are not alone in the journey. Jesus is on our side!
  • Romans 8:34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

3. Free from guilt

  • Vs 22b For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.
  • Satan’s goal is to keep us paralyzed with guilt and fear
  • Jesus has paid the price in full for us to live “free and clear”

4. Trusting Him completely

  • Vs 23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.
  • Thriving in life requires us to wake up each day knowing He is in control and will keep His Word

5. Encouraging one another

• Vss 24-25 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

  • We must put into practice what He has promised
  • We must:
    • Gather regularly
    • Love unconditionally
    • Serve willingly
    • Share continually
    • Pray powerfully

 

Survive or Thrive, part 2

2019-05-05
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Matthew 25:29 (NKJV) For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.

Last week, we looked at a passage in John 10 about the Good Shepherd, who is Jesus. We spoke of His great love for us, His care for us, His provision for us. And we landed with this verse…

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

There is no question that God’s plan and desire for our lives is for us to live full lives. He wants us to experience His best every day. And the only thing that can keep us from getting there is us. So, for us to understand how to experience His best, we have to understand His plan, His will. And there is no doubt that His plan involves our action.

Matthew 25:24–29 (NLT) Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. 25 I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’ 26 “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, 27 why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’ 28 “Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. 29 To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.

1. Abundant life is found in service

Vss 25b-26a …so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’ 26 “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant…

Clearly, Jesus wanted us to learn not using our abilities for His service results in not experiencing God’s plan of abundant life

Abundant life is found not in selfishness and self-centeredness, it is found in serving God and serving others

d. Jesus said even He did not come to be served but to serve

Matthew 20:26–28 (NLT): But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. 28 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.

2. Which results in blessing

Vss 28-29 Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. 29 To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.

Here is the word “abundance” again…found in doing something for God not waiting to be served

When we do fail to serve God, we will not only miss out on abundant life we will even lose out on what we do have

God will always use our serving as a conduit to not only bless those we are serving but ultimately to bless us. This is a clear picture of God’s perfect plan of abundant life.

To truly go from just surviving to thriving in your life, you must recognize your purpose (to bring glory to God) and must find His will for your life (through seeking Him daily.) When you are diligent in these respects, you will begin to see that life is not about what you get, it’s not about what you earn, it’s not about what you have, it’s all about what you can give and with whom you take the journey.

Leo Buscaglia said “Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.”

Every Christian is entrusted with some responsibility for the kingdom. Some will take this seriously and invest their lives wisely, and others will squander this responsibility. The part of the kingdom entrusted to each of us is precious to the Lord. He is hurt by the mishandling of a lifetime of opportunity; but he rejoices over a lifetime well spent. He has placed in our hands what is his own. This is a sobering thought—to be stewards of kingdom resources.Matthew(Vol. 1, p. 420). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[1]Weber, S. K. (2000). Matthew(Vol. 1, p. 420). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

Survive or Thrive

2019-04-28
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

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

John 10:1-10 (NKJV) “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them. 7 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

The key to moving from surviving to thriving is understanding your purpose. The only way to understand your purpose is to know who you follow.

Thriving begins with security.

1. Protection

Vss 1-3a “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice;

  • Jesus was talking about the protective nature of the Good Shepherd (vs 11)
  • Jesus is giving the picture of Him gathering His “sheep” into the protective nature of the sheepfold

Thriving continues in truly knowing your source.

2. Intimacy

Vss 3b-5 …and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.

  • There is an intimacy the exists between the Shepherd and the sheep which creates a bond that cannot be broken
  • That intimacy is vital for a fulfilled life

Thriving grows from experiencing life as God intended.

3. Life-Giver

Vss 9-10 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

 

  • Jesus was referring to the danger of following wrong ideas or teaching. This will always lead to disappointment and destruction.
  • But following Christ will always result in life to the fullest.

 

The shepherd did not drive his sheep; he led them. Christ has gone the way before us. He has journeyed through life’s thorn-grown wilderness. He knows life’s dangers and perils. The Good Shepherd leads His sheep “beside the still waters.” Otherwise a rushing current might sweep away the flock to destruction, or mask the sound of an approaching enemy. But he does not always lead us in pastures green or by waters still. Sometimes he leads us amid the tempests and down into the deep ravines of life. But there is reassurance in the presence of the Good Shepherd (Gariepy, p. 212).[1]

 

[1]Gangel, K. O. (2000). John(Vol. 4, pp. 195–196). Holman New Testament Commentary, Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

Easter Sunday

2019-04-21
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: John 3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

1 Corinthians 15:1-8 (NLT) Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. 2 It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you—unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place. 3 I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. 4 He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. 5 He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. 6 After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. 7 Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him.

• Paul didn’t deserve the grace of God, certainly not the appearing of Christ
• If Paul didn’t deserve this gift, I can guarantee you we don’t!
• For all of us today, our journeys are a lot like Paul’s

1 Corinthians 15:9-10 (NLT) For I am the least of all the apostles. In fact, I’m not even worthy to be called an apostle after the way I persecuted God’s church. 10 But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me

• Our lives are full of disobedience, not honoring God’s commands, but Jesus appeared anyway.
• The empty tomb is a reminder that Jesus appears, when we don’t deserve His presence

John 3:16-17 (NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

NOTHING TO FEAR

TO LIVE IS CHRIST, TO DIE IS GAIN

Philippians 1:21-24a (NLT) For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. 22 But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. 23 I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. 24 But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live.

Athanasius – And that devil that once maliciously exulted in death, now that its pains were loosed, remained the only one truly dead. And a proof of this is, that before men believe Christ, they see in death an object of terror, and play the coward before him. But when they are gone over to Christ’s faith and teaching, their contempt for death is so great that they even eagerly rush upon it, and become witnesses for the Resurrection the Saviour has accomplished against it.

Words Matter: Paid in Full

2019-04-14
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Luke 23:43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

Today, we’re going to walk through all four Gospels as we examine the great gift that is Jesus. And, how His words through this day make all the difference.

1. Silenced

Mt 27:27–31 (NLT) Some of the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into their headquarters and called out the entire regiment. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him. 29 They wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head, and they placed a reed stick in his right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mockery and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” 30 And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and struck him on the head with it. 31 When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified.

  • His silence had far greater impact in this moment than any words He could have spoken.
  • His silence indicated His desire to do whatever was necessary to bring redemption to us all.

2. Shunned

Mk 15:33–34 (NLT) At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. 34 Then at three o’clock Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

  • In payment for our sins, God turned His back on His own son
  • How is this even possible?
  • Because God transferred the sins of man to the Son of God. Sin cannot exist in the presence of God so this represents the separation from God we all deserve.

3. Secure

Lk 23:40–43 (NLT) But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? 41 We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” 43 And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

  • As a man who deserved death hung next to Him, He extended grace and mercy.
  • Grace and mercy, when accepted, will always bring security.

4. Salvation

John 19:30 (NLT) It is finished!”

  • When Jesus breathed His last, the payment was made, our sins were forgiven.
  • The words Jesus spoke were not referring to His own life being finished, but rather referring to our condemnation.
  • Our sin debt was paid in full.

 

All of these moments lead us to a profound truth which is summed up in one word….LOVE!

 

So what should our response be to this kind of love?

 

 

Words Matter: The Will of God

2019-04-07
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Matthew 26:39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”

Today, we’re going to look at just a few sentences that were spoken by Jesus in the moments leading to His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. These words, while simple, were some of the most painful words we see of Christ in the New Testament. But from them, we can learn much on how to deal with our own difficult journeys

Matthew 26:36-46 (NLT) Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” 37 He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. 38 He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 39 He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” 40 Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? 41 Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” 42 Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open. 44 So he went to pray a third time, saying the same things again. 45 Then he came to the disciples and said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But look—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!”

1. Asking God to remove us from our present pain is okay

vs 39b My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me.

• Paul had present pain which he pleaded with God three times to remove (2 Cor 12:8)

• Throughout the Scriptures, we see multiple examples of Godly men and women asking God for deliverance from present pain.

• The key is our attitude.

2. Complaining is not

vs 39c Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.

• “Yet…” (Gk. – plēn) Nevertheless, regardless, but, “ONLY”

• Jesus taught us in this moment, we can seek God’s deliverance in whatever situation we might be facing, but ultimately we must accept…and even rejoice…in God’s Will.

• Paul asked for his thorn to be removed yet, it remained. Why? To keep Paul firmly in the will of God. (2 Cor 12:7)

2 Cor. 12:9b Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

• We must recognize that at times, God’s best is revealed through what we might consider our worst. But God’s plan is always better.

• So, how do we accomplish this?

3. To do the will of God requires dependence on God

Jesus – vs 41 Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!

Paul – 2 Cor. 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

You – ?

Trusting God in the worst of times is the best way of revealing the faithfulness of God

​Words Matter: Isn’t It Amazing

2019-03-31
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key verse: Mark 1:22 And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

Mark 1:21-28 (NKJV) Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught. 22 And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. 23 Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, 24 saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!” 25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” 26 And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him. 27 Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.” 28 And immediately His fame spread throughout all the region around Galilee.

1. The Word of God amazed

a. Vs 22 And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

i. (NLT) The people were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real authority—quite unlike the teachers of religious law.

ii. Until that moment, those gathered in that synagogue had heard the same thing time and time again until Jesus arrived.

iii. His Words were radically different because they were words of hope, love, grace, promise, truth.

b. Vs 27 Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.”

i. They knew His words had power they had never experienced. Why?

ii. Because they were from God Himself.

iii. They were hearing the Word of God from the Son of God.

iv. The result?

2. The Word of God changed

a. Vss 23-26 Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, 24 saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!” 25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” 26 And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him.

i. Even the “unclean spirits” recognized Jesus for who He is.

ii. When the Word of God is heard and believed, change happens.

iii. Same is true today. Although, many today “hear” the Word of God but don’t necessarily “believe” the Word of God. Then they wonder why they don’t see the change they need.

3. The Word of God traveled

a. Vs 28 And immediately His fame spread throughout all the region around Galilee.

i. (NLT) The news about Jesus spread quickly throughout the entire region of Galilee.

ii. They couldn’t help but to tell anyone and everyone. Why?

iii. Because this Word was different. It was life-changing and life-giving.

iv. It inspired hope not thought possible until that moment.

Our problem today is we have stopped being amazed at hearing the Word of God because we have become so distracted and deceived by the words of the world.

Our focus is less aimed UP and more aimed OUT!

How do we recapture the wonder and amazement of the Word of God?

1. Immerse yourself in the Word of God. (i.e. READ IT)

2. Trust the Words you read (i.e. BELIEVE IT)

3. Tell others about the things you read (i.e. TELL IT)

Words Matter: Two Questions

Words Matter: Two Questions
2019-03-24
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Matthew 21:11 So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.”

Matthew 21:1-11 (NKJV) Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. 3 And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.” 4 All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: 5″Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ” 6 So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. 8 And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Hosanna in the highest!” 10 And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?” 11 So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.”

Two Questions of us

1. Is He your King?

• Vs 5 ‘Behold, your King is coming to you • Have you truly bowed down to Him as King?

• Our salvation is the purpose of His coming Luke 19:10 (NLT For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.

2. Are you living life as His subject?

• Vs 6 So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them

When He is your King and you’re living life as His subject…action is the result

• Jesus could not have entered the city on Palm Sunday had it not been for the obedience of those sent to get the donkey (verse 4)

Zech. 9:9 (NLT) Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey— riding on a donkey’s colt. • We can’t expect Jesus to show up in our city until He sees the same obedience from us • Jesus won’t fan the flames of revival in our hearts until we fan the flames of obedience in our hearts

Two promises from Him

1. It will change this city

• Vs 10-11 And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?” 11 So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.”

• All of Jerusalem was “stirred” because Jesus had arrived “Moved” is Greek word “seio” (SAY-oh) which literally means stirred or shaken

• They had a desire to know who this was because He had captivated the city

2. It will change you

• Vss 12-14 Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 13 And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ” 14 Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them.

• Jesus cleansed the temple because the people had made the temple about their own needs rather than about the desires of Christ

• There is a parallel that can be drawn to the church of today. Often, we have made today’s church all about meeting our needs rather than fulfilling the mission of Christ (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Acts 1)

• The church exists to “win people to Christ and grow them in Christ”

The Impact of a Godly Man

Special Speaker: Rick Rigsby

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NASB)

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lordyour God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

– Rare is the sight today of  authentic manhood in our superficial culture

– Yet, God commands that we love Him so deeply that we model His love

– The Greatest Teacher ever modeled the love of God before His Disciples

– Men . . . (and women), Living a Godly life can impact generations!

Love In Action: Love and Lead Like a Man

2019-03-10
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: 1 Timothy 5:8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

1 Kings 2:1-4 (NLT) As the time of King David’s death approached, he gave this charge to his son Solomon: 2 “I am going where everyone on earth must someday go. Take courage and be a man. 3 Observe the requirements of the Lord your God, and follow all his ways. Keep the decrees, commands, regulations, and laws written in the Law of Moses so that you will be successful in all you do and wherever you go. 4 If you do this, then the Lord will keep the promise he made to me. He told me, ‘If your descendants live as they should and follow me faithfully with all their heart and soul, one of them will always sit on the throne of Israel.’

1 Timothy 3:1-7 This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; 3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; 4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); 6 not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

If God’s Word clearly tells us that leading our family is even more important than leading our church, how much more important is it that we exceed even the requirements of leading in the church.

1. Blameless

• vs 2a …must be blameless…

• This does not mean sinless, it means that the person deals with their sin in the right way. Confession after commission and turning away.

 

2. Pure

• vs 2b …the husband of one wife…
• 1 John 3:3 (NLT) And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.

• A man of God cannot live his life running after the things of the world.

• 1 Cor. 6:18 (NLT) Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.

3. Calm

• vs 2c … temperate, sober-minded…

A temperate person is free from the influences of passion, lust, emotion, or personal gain• vs 3b … not violent…
• vs 3c … gentle, not quarrelsome…

• Slow to anger. 1 Cor. 13 description.

• Non-combatant

4. Respectable
• vs 2d …of good behavior…
• vs 3a … not given to wine…

• Paroinois (PYRO-nos) “lingering with the cup”
• vs 6  …not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.

5. Honest

• vs 3d … not greedy for money…not covetous

• You can be a person who has money but no one who is captivated by money

• If you’re always running after money, it makes it difficult to run after God.

• Covetous – jealous – greed

6. Godly

• vs 7 … Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

• The testimony of godliness is one of the greatest personality traits that any man or woman could ever have

 

Love in Action

2019-03-03

Key Verses:
1 Corinthians 16:13-14 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done with love.

1. Be Ready

  • “Watch…” (vs 13a)
  • This statement is given Paul as a reminder to those in Corinth, and us, to be ever mindful of the sudden return of Christ
  • When we keep our eyes fixed on Christ’s return, it will keep our hearts fixed on the mission we’ve been given
    • 1 Thess 5:6 – (NLT) So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded
  • When we keep our eyes fixed on Christ’s return, it will keep our hearts fixed on being more like Him
    • 1 John 3:2-3 (NLT) Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.

2. Be Right

  • “…stand fast in the faith…” (vs13b)
  • Paul wanted to encourage the church at Corinth to stay committed to the doctrines of God’s Word, not the world’s idea of what’s right
    • 4:1 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stay true to the Lord.
  • False doctrines lead to loose morals, and Paul wants them to tie their conduct to their beliefs.[1]

[1]Staton, K. (1987). First Corinthians: Unlocking the Scriptures for You(p. 266). Cincinnati, OH: Standard.

3. Be Tough

  • “…be brave, be strong…” (vs 13c)
  • Andrizomai(ahn-DRID-zo-my) – “to show one’s self a man”
  • Paul was literally calling them to “be a man” (KJV, NKJV, ESV, CSB)
  • In today’s culture, men are either viewed as bullies or babies but God wants us to be men shaped the Word of God
    • 2 Sam. 10:12 Be courageous! Let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. May the Lord’s will be done.
    • 1 Cor. 13:11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.
  • 1 Timothy 3 gives us a great view of what a Godly man is supposed to be. While this passage gives us the prerequisites for leading in the church, it is also a great list of leading in life
    • 1 Timothy 3:2 (NLT) So a church leader must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation….

 

4. Be Tender

  • “Let all that you do be done with love.” (vs 14)
  • When we have a genuine, Godly love for others; it will define how we will act and treat others
    • 1 Peter 4:8 (NKJV) And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins

 

1 Kings 2:1-4 (NLT) As the time of King David’s death approached, he gave this charge to his son Solomon: “I am going where everyone on earth must someday go. Take courage and be a man. Observe the requirements of the Lordyour God, and follow all his ways. Keep the decrees, commands, regulations, and laws written in the Law of Moses so that you will be successful in all you do and wherever you go. If you do this, then the Lordwill keep the promise he made to me. He told me, ‘If your descendants live as they should and follow me faithfully with all their heart and soul, one of them will always sit on the throne of Israel.’

 

And The Greatest of These is Love, pt 2

2019-02-24
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: 1 Cor. 13:13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:1–12 (NLT): I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. 4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! 9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless. 11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. 13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

1. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged (vs 5b)

• Does not demand its own way (does not seek its own – NKJV)

– 1 Cor. 10:24 (NLT) Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others.

– 1 Cor. 10:33 (NLT) I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved. 11:1 And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.

– Not irritable (is not provoked – NKJV)

– James 1:19-20 (NLT) Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. 20 Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.

• Keeps no record of bring wronged
– Not holding on to old hurts to bring up when needed
– Forgiveness

2. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. (vs 6)

• Does not rejoice about injustice (does not rejoice in iniquity – NKJV)

– Finds no joy when a brother falls or fails
– “Sin destroys people’s lives, so to rejoice in their sin is to rejoice in their destruction.”
– To rejoce in the fall or destruction of another is the exact opposite of “loving your neighbor as yourself”

• …but rejoices whenever the truth wins out

– The Godly heart rejoices when a failure turns to victory

3. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (v 7)

• Love never gives up (bears all things – NKJV)

– Stego – to cover, to protect in silence, to preserve
– No allowance for gossip or attack

• Never loses faith (believes all things – NKJV)

– Looking for the best, believing the best in others

• Is always hopeful

– Wanting the best for others

• Endures through every circumstance

– Never quits on the other persion, perseveres through every situation

4. Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. (vs 13)

• Faith – we are kept by the powerful hand of God

• Hope – we have a blessed hope of what God has prepared for us

– John 14

• Love – there will never be an end to the love God has for us

LOVE NEVER FAILS

And The Greatest of These is Love

2019-02-17
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: 1 Cor. 13:13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:1–13 (NLT): I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! 9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless. 11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. 13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

Verses 1-3 You can have everything and have accomplished everything but if you missed out on the great commandment, you missed it all and it really doesn’t matter.

Verses 4-7 A picture of God’s love, not tempered by the world’s likes, dislikes and desires, is one of unconditional, absolute love. Let’s walk through this passage so we have a clear understanding of what God expects when Jesus spoke the words of Matthew 22.

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

A picture of Christian love

1. Love is patient and kind (vs 4a)

• Patience requires discipline
• Patience does not allow for indifference or ignoring wrong
• Kindness changes outcomes, it is the pathway of dealing with others that honors Christ

2. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude (vs4b-vs5a)

• Your desires are focused on their best interests, not your own
• “Jealousy and envy begin when admiration and desire turn to resentment of others for what they have”
•Jealousy is the absolute opposite of the Christ we see in Phil. 2:3-8

– Phil. 2:3-8 (NLT) Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. 5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. 6 Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, 8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

• Boastful, Proud and Rude are all connected in their outcome

– Boastful – (perpereuomai – to praise one’s self excessively) All about you…
– Proud – to be puffed up, to think you’re better than anyone else aschemoneo
– Rude – (aschemoneo – to behave dishonorably, without decorum)

3. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged (vs 5b)

• Does not demand its own way (does not seek its own – NKJV)
– 1 Cor. 10:24 (NLT) Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others.
– 1 Cor. 10:33 (NLT) I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved. 11:1 And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.

• Not irritable (is not provoked – NKJV)
– James 1:19-20 (NLT) Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. 20 Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.

• Keeps no record of bring wronged
– Not holding on to old hurts to bring up when needed
– Forgiveness

Say Yes…Time To Follow, part 2

2019-02-10

Key Verse: John 14:15 (NKJV) “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”

Matthew 4:18-22 (NKJV) And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 They immediately left their nets and followed Him. 21 Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.

Last week, we talked about our call from Jesus to 1) Go to Church and to 2) Grow in Church. Today, let’s keep looking at how Jesus wants us to follow and how He wants us to obey.

1. Give to the church

a. Matthew 23:23 (NLT) “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.

b. What do we give?

• Money? Yes (…you should tithe, yes…)

• Our time, our abilities, our hearts? Yes (…but do not neglect…)

c. 2 Corinthians 9:6-9 (NLT) Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. 7 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” 8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. 9 As the Scriptures say, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”

d. How much do we give?

• Generously (…the one who plants generously…)

• 2 Cor 8:10 says we should give in proportion to what we have, not what we don’t have (don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure…)

2. Go from the church

a. Mark 10:42-45 (NLT) So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. 43 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

b. How do we go? (…Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant…)

• In humility (vs 42)

• In contrast to the world (vs 43)

• With Jesus as our example (vs 45)

c. John 15:12-17 (NLT) This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. 16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

d. How do we measure our impact? (…produce lasting fruit…)

Say Yes…Time to Follow

2019-02-03

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: John 14:15 (NKJV) “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”

Matthew 4:18-22 (NKJV) And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 They immediately left their nets and followed Him. 21 Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.

What does Jesus want us to do today in response to His call to “follow Him?”

1. Go to church

• 58% of Evangelical Christians attend church regularly
• Only 36% attend more than once a month
• 52% attend church seldom or never
• 69% 18-29 year olds attend either once a month, seldom or never
• The average “faithful” Christ follower attends church 1.26 to 2.3 times per month

  • Clearly, the Bible gives overwhelming arguments advocating for regular attendance and involvement in the local church.
  • Romans 12:5 tells “while we are many, we form one body”
  • 1 Corinthians 12 challenges us that as one body, we have all a part to play and when we don’t show up, we are not only harming ourselves, we are harming the body

Luke 4:16 (NKJV) So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.

Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

Hebrews 10:25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Acts 2:41-47 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. 46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

2. Grow in church

• 19% of Christians read their Bible every day
• 48% of Christians pray every day
• 15% of Christians have fasted in the last year
• 91% of Christians have not memorized more than 3 Bible verses in the last year

  • Colossians 2:7 tells us to allow our “roots to grow down into Him build our lives on Him and we will grow strong in our faith”
  • Our spiritual growth is our responsibility and it won’t happen by accident or proxy

Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.

2 Peter 1:5-8 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”

—————
1 www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/attendance-at-religious-services/ 2014 Data 2 www.statista.com/statistics/245491/church-attendance-of-americans/ 2017 Data 3 pushpay.com/blog/church-attendance/ 2017 Data 4 www.lifeway.com/en/articles/philip-nation-transformation-spiritual-disciplines-growth – Phillip Nation

Say Yes: First and Foremost…Love!

2019-01-27
Pastor Jonathan Falwell
Key Verse: John 14:15 (NKJV) “If you love Me, keep My commandments.
Matthew 22:34-40 But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37 Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
First and foremost…Love!
Matthew 5:43–45 (NLT) “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.
Matthew 7:1-5 (NLT) Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. 2 For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. 3 “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? 4 How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.
1. Accept others…no matter what
Matthew 5:43-44a (NLT) “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies!
Matthew 7:1-2 (NLT) Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. 2 For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.
2. Pray for other…always
Matthew 5:44b (NLT) …Pray for those who persecute you!
3. Focus on your own journey as a way to help others on theirs
Matthew 7:3-5 (NLT) “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? 4 How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.
Galatians 6:1-2 (NLT) Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. 2 Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.
4. Forgive them
Matthew 18:21-22 (NLT) Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” 22 “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!
5. Tell them
Luke 8:37b-39 (NLT) So Jesus returned to the boat and left, crossing back to the other side of the lake. 38 The man who had been freed from the demons begged to go with him. But Jesus sent him home, saying, 39 “No, go back to your family, and tell them everything God has done for you.” So he went all through the town proclaiming the great things Jesus had done for him.

Say Yes: What Must I Do As I Follow Christ?

2019-01-20
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: John 14:15 (NKJV) “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”

 

To begin our discussion on what we must do to follow Christ, I thought a great place to start would be remind ourselves of a group of people who struggled to follow God during their long journey. Of course I’m talking about Israel as they wandered in the wilderness after their exodus from Egypt. Moses led them through this journey and just before his death, he spoke to them to remind them of their covenant with God and the importance of saying yes to God during their lives.

Deuteronomy 8:11-18 (NKJV) “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, 12 lest—when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; 13 and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; 14 when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; 15 who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the flinty rock; 16 who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end—17 then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’ “And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

What must I do as I follow Christ?

James 1:22-25 (NLT) But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

1. Know His Word

James 1:22a But don’t just listen to God’s word…

It is not enough that you take a casual approach to God’s Word, we must truly know it.

To know God’s Word requires three things…
• Read it

Joshua 1:8a Study this Book of Instruction continually…

Meditate – ha-GAH (to mutter)

• Think about it

Joshua 1:8b …Meditate on it day and night…

• Obey it

Joshua 1:8c … so you will be sure to obey everything written in it…

James 1:22b …You must do what it says.

2. Know His Way

James 1:22c-25 …Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

Only from our constant seeking of Him and study of His Word will we find His way for our lives. This knowledge doesn’t show up on its own.

Joshua 1:8b-9 Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. 9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

3. Respond

John 14:15 (NKJV) “If you love Me, keep My commandments.

Ephesians 2:8-10 (NKJV) For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Following Christ is our response to His gift of salvation. We are not saved because of what we do or how we live, it is grace through faith in Jesus Christ, period. BUT, following Christ is the proof of what He has done within us.

Matthew 7:20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

The Bible by Jesus

1/13/19
Elmer Towns
Jesus Describes Creation
“In the beginning I conceived the idea of heaven and the earth.  Then I created them out of nothing. Before that nothing existed.”
“I created My abode—heaven—where one day My children will live with Me. I also created My throne and angels who sing, “Holy . . . Holy . . . Holy!”
“I with My Father and the Holy Spirit, We created the earth, a huge watery mud ball.  I created a black-inky darkness that surrounded all things. God the Holy Spirit hovered over creation infusing all things with life-charged energy.”
“Let there be light, I said.  Instantly light appeared and I saw that light was good.  So I separated light from darkness and name the light day, and the darkness I called night. It was good.
Then evening ended the first day.
A.  A BIBLE WITH JESUS 
What if you could sit down with Jesus and let Him tell you His story how He was born, grew up, and how His life changed those around Him.  Jesus would love to tell you about His death and resurrection.
His story will change your life forever.
My motivation for this book is for you to learn how much Jesus loves and cares about your right where you are.  Learning from Him will make a lasting difference in your life.
From the beginning Jesus is called the Word.  So Jesus with the Father, and Holy Spirit, inspired human authors to write His messages in the Bible.  Inspiration means more than accuracy and content, it is God breathing His life into His Word. When you read, memorize and meditate, God’s life fills you . . . influences you . . . saves you . . . and will transform you.
B.  THIRTEEN RESULTS 
1.  The Bible by Jesus is a first ever translation into the first person where Jesus talks to you as you read the Scriptures. “I am your Shepherd who takes care of your needs.  I will lead you into green meadows of life, where you can rest by peaceful waters.  I will restore your inner strength” (Ps. 23:1-2).
2. This new experience takes away spiritual blindness so you can see Jesus.
“No one asked who it was, for they all knew it was Me (Jesus). I served all of them breakfast” (John 21:12).
3. Listen, to learn from Jesus.  Don’t just memorize the plan of salvation or read events in the Bible.
“The two . . . told their story . . . how they met Me” (Luke 24:35).
4. This Bible motivates you to follow Jesus.
“As I walked by the Sea of Galilee, I saw fishermen . . . come be My disciples.  I’ll teach you how to catch people” (Mark 1:17).
5. Jesus explains the Scriptures to you.
“Then I began with Moses and taught My way through the prophets and explained to them all the passages in the Scriptures about Myself” (Luke 24:27).
6. Jesus gets you excited about Scripture.
“Did not our hearts burn as He talked to us on the road as He explained the Scriptures to us” (Luke 24:32).
7. Jesus moves you to dedicate your heart and body.
“Dedicate your body to My Father as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to Him.  This is the first and best spiritual worship you can give.  Let Me transform your thinking” (Rom. 12:1-2).
8 Jesus convicts you to see sin in your life and repent.
“I stooped to write with My finger on the ground.  ‘He who has not committed this self-same sin, let him cast the first stone.’ And being convicted by their own conscience, the eldest leader left first, eventually all” (John 8:6-9).
9. Converts. “Search the Scriptures, these words testify of Me that I Am from the Father . . . you think you have eternal life, but you don’t” (John 5:39).
10. Jesus teaches you how to pray.
“Ask in prayer and I will give it to you.  Seek for the things you need, for I supply those who seek.  When a door is closed for the things you need, you will constantly knock, for I will open and allow you to find” (Matt. 7:7-8).
11. Jesus wants a relationship with you.
“Mary sat at My feet listening to the things I said. But Martha was busy . . . so she complained . . . ‘It is unfair for Mary to listen to You when I’m doing all the work.’  I told her, ‘Mary has found the right thing'” (Luke 10:39-42).
12. Seeing Jesus moves you to worship.
“John saw Me, the Lamb, standing next to My Father’s throne . . . I took the scroll out of My Father’s hand. The four winged angels bowed to Me followed by 24 saints who also bowed . . . they poured out worship, praise of all believers, of all times . . . John looked again and heard the voices of thousands, and millions of angels sang in the mighty chorus . . . Your blood purchased salvation of all people, of every language, from every tribe, and from every nation” (Rev. 5:6-7, 12).
13. Let Jesus transform you.
“Now the Holy Spirit is working . . . in your life . . . to understand My truth . . . now you with unveiled faces, look to Me to see My brightness reflected in the mirror of the Word of God. Then you will constantly be transformed into My image by the work of the Holy Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:10).
“My Father loves everyone in the world so much that He gave Me, His only begotten Son to die for each of them. Now everyone who believes in Me will not perish, but have eternal life”
John 3:16
“Come to Me all who are tired and heavy burdened . . .”
Matthew 11:28

 

Letting Go, Moving On

2019-01-06
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Phil 3:7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.

Phil. 3:7 (NLT) I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.

Phil 3:13 (NLT) No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,

Letting Go, Moving On

How do we let go?

Gen. 50:14–21 (NLT) After burying Jacob, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had accompanied him to his father’s burial. 15 But now that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers became fearful. “Now Joseph will show his anger and pay us back for all the wrong we did to him,” they said. 16 So they sent this message to Joseph: “Before your father died, he instructed us 17 to say to you: ‘Please forgive your brothers for the great wrong they did to you—for their sin in treating you so cruelly.’ So we, the servants of the God of your father, beg you to forgive our sin.” When Joseph received the message, he broke down and wept. 18 Then his brothers came and threw themselves down before Joseph. “Look, we are your slaves!” they said. 19 But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. 21 No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.

1. Recognize the pain and failures of the past are not the description of our future

a. Vs 15  But now that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers became fearful. “Now Joseph will show his anger and pay us back for all the wrong we did to him,” they said.

b. Joseph’s brothers were fearful because they felt as if what they had done would follow them from that day forward

2. Take the right steps … seek forgiveness

a. Vs 16-17a So they sent this message to Joseph: “Before your father died, he instructed us 17 to say to you: ‘Please forgive your brothers for the great wrong they did to you—for their sin in treating you so cruelly.’ So we, the servants of the God of your father, beg you to forgive our sin…”

For those on the other side…

3. Respond the right way … forgive

a. Vs 17b …When Joseph received the message, he broke down and wept.

4. Know that the job of judge is not ours

a. Vs 19b …”Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you?

5. Know that the job of peacemaker is ours

a. Vs 21b …So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.

Keep your focus

1. Stay in God’s Word daily

2. Talk to Him daily

3. Keep a journal of what you’re learning, reading, praying

4. Read books, stories, articles about faithful followers of Christ

5. Connect with others in the journey to remain accountable

6. Prioritize your faith walk over EVERYTHING else

7. Don’t quit

The Final Word

2018-12-30
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Philippians 3:12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.

1. Nobody’s Perfect

a. Phil. 3:12a I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection.

b. Your spiritual journey doesn’t need to look like the Apostle Paul’s to be effective

c. Perfection is not the goal, obedience is!

2. Keep Trying

a. Vs 12b But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.

b. Knowing that it’s a constant journey, we need to remain focused on what matters

c. Don’t be discouraged by sidetracks or train wrecks, keep moving

3. Let Go Of What’s Behind

a. Vs 13a No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past

b. We must let go of what slows us or stops us

c. Too many people are bound by the failures of the past which keeps us from the successes in the future

d. Recognize that no one is perfect, everyone has baggage, failures are a part of the journey, and we can ALL move past them

4. Look Forward To What’s Ahead

a. Vs 13b … and looking forward to what lies ahead,

b. What lies ahead?

  • Getting to know Him better
  • Spiritual maturity
  • Spiritual impact
  • Changed lives
  • Heaven

5. Do What’s Needed

a. Vs 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

b. Finishing well is the mark of a faithful follower

c. Dropping off along the way happens when we take our eyes off of the prize

d. Keep your focus on God’s will and plan for your life and you will win the race

 

Keep your focus

  1. Stay in God’s Word daily
  2. Talk to Him daily
  3. Keep a journal of what you’re learning, reading, praying
  4. Read books, stories, articles about faithful followers of Christ
  5. Connect with others in the journey to remain accountable
  6. Prioritize your faith walk over EVERYTHING else
  7. Don’t quit

For Unto You…A Savior

2018-12-23
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

We’ve spent a lot of time in the Old Testament over the past few weeks looking forward to the birth of Christ. Last week, we spent some time in Matthew 1 and Luke 3 as well as the OT. Today, we’re going to spend our time in a passage that is often missed at this time of year but it encompasses the true meaning of Christmas.

Luke 1:67-79 (NLT) Then his father, Zechariah, was filled with the Holy Spirit and gave this prophecy: 68 “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has visited and redeemed His people. 69 He has sent us a mighty Savior from the royal line of His servant David, 70 just as He promised through His holy prophets long ago. 71 Now we will be saved from our enemies and from all who hate us. 72 He has been merciful to our ancestors by remembering His sacred covenant— 73 the covenant He swore with an oath to our ancestor Abraham. 74 We have been rescued from our enemies so we can serve God without fear, 75 in holiness and righteousness for as long as we live. 76 “And you, my little son, will be called the prophet of the Most High, because you will prepare the way for the Lord. 77 You will tell His people how to find salvation through forgiveness of their sins. 78 Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, 79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.”

1. God Visited

a. Vs 68a Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has visited…

b. Visited – “episkeptomai” = “to look after, to examine with the eyes, in order to help of benefit”

c. After 400 years of virtual silence of prophetic promises, God acts

d. God is always present, active, and involved in our daily lives

2. God Redeemed

a. Vs 68b …and redeemed His people

b. Redeemed – “lytrosis” = “a ransoming, deliverance from the penalty of sin”

c. God has always provided a way of redemption

3. Just as He promised

a. Vs 69-70 He has sent us a mighty Savior from the royal line of His servant David, 70 just as He promised through His holy prophets long ago.

b. Vs 71-73 Now we will be saved from our enemies and from all who hate us. 72 He has been merciful to our ancestors by remembering His sacred covenant— 73 the covenant He swore with an oath to our ancestor Abraham.

c. In multiple OT prophecies, it is promised that through the line of David a Savior would come

d. We are the beneficiaries of God’s promise to Abraham

4. So We Can Serve

a. Vs 74-75 We have been rescued from our enemies so we can serve God without fear, 75 in holiness and righteousness for as long as we live.

b. A response is warranted to God’s act

5. So We Can Share

a. VS 76-77 And you, my little son, will be called the prophet of the Most High, because you will prepare the way for the Lord. 77 You will tell His people how to find salvation through forgiveness of their sins.

b. Prepare – “hetoimazo” = “to make ready, prepare the path”

c. Just as John the Baptist was sent to prepare the way for Jesus, we too should “prepare the way” for His coming

6. For The World To Have Hope

a. Vs 78-79 Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, 79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.

b. Matthew 1:21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.

For Unto You…Messiah

2018-12-16
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Jeremiah 23:5-6 Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. 6 In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

2 Samuel 7:12-13 When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever
Jeremiah 22:24-30 As I live,” says the Lord, “though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, were the signet on My right hand, yet I would pluck you off; 25 and I will give you into the hand of those who seek your life, and into the hand of those whose face you fear—the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and the hand of the Chaldeans. 26 So I will cast you out, and your mother who bore you, into another country where you were not born; and there you shall die. 27 But to the land to which they desire to return, there they shall not return. 28 “Is this man Coniah a despised, broken idol—A vessel in which is no pleasure? Why are they cast out, he and his descendants, And cast into a land which they do not know? 29 O earth, earth, earth, Hear the word of the Lord! 30 Thus says the Lord: ‘Write this man down as childless, A man who shall not prosper in his days; For none of his descendants shall prosper, Sitting on the throne of David, And ruling anymore in Judah.’

When we read the genealogy of Christ, recorded in two places in Scripture, we find what could be contradictions in God’s Word. It’s important to know that these supposed contradictions do not exist at all and that Jesus is the Messiah, sent to take away the sins of the world. Jesus was and is the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies of the coming messiah.

We also see the interesting line of characters that make up Jesus’ family tree. A great encouragement to all of us.

1. Messiah Will Be In The line of David

a. 2 Samuel 7:13b …and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

b. Psalm 89 and other passages promise that from the line of David the messiah will come

c. Matthew 1:6 – the line of David (through Solomon)

d. Luke 3:31-32 – the line of David (through Nathan)

e. Fulfills the OT prophecies of the coming Messiah

2. Messiah Will Not Be In The Line of Jehoiachin

a. Jeremiah 22:30 Thus says the Lord: ‘Write this man down as childless, A man who shall not prosper in his days; For none of his descendants shall prosper, Sitting on the throne of David, And ruling anymore in Judah.

b. Luke 3:31-32a the son of Melea, the son of Menan, the son of Mattathah, the son of Nathan, the son of David, 32 the son of Jesse…

c. Luke gives us the genealogy that leads to Jesus but through Mary’s line

d. Therefore, Jesus fulfills the prophecy through the line of Joseph AND He fulfills the prophecy that He will not be through the line of Jehoiachin

e. Fulfills the OT prophecy that the coming messiah will not come through Jehoiachin

3. Messiah Will Be In The Line of the Good

a. Matthew 1 gives us the story of 28 generations through about 1800 years

b. Luke 3 gives us the story all the way back to Adam (beginning of time)

c. Jesus came through the line of some of the great stories of the Bible

4. Messiah Will Be In The Line of the Bad

a. Abraham lied (Genesis 12 & 20)

b. Isaac lied (Genesis 26)

c. Jacob lied and cheated (Genesis 27)

d. Judah helped sell his brother as a slave (Genesis 37)

e. Rahab was a prostitute (Joshua 2)

f. Ruth was a gentile (Book of Ruth)

g. David was a murderer and an adulterer (2 Samuel 11 & 12)

h. Bathsheba cheated on her husband (2 Samuel 11)

i. Solomon allowed the worship of false gods (1 Kings 11)

j. Rehoboam walked away from his father’s generation and legacy and split Israel in two (1 Kings 12)

k. Multiple kings listed were evil (i.e. Manassah, Jehoiachin)

5. Messiah Can Use Anyone At Anytime To Change the World

a. Are you allowing Him to use you?

For Unto You…Righteousness

2018-12-09
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Last week, we spoke of the Old Testament prophecies of the coming Messiah, Jesus. We focused on what the OT stated about what Christ would come to be…

1. The Coming Enemy of Satan
2. The Coming Blessing
3. The Coming Ruler
4. The Coming Presence
5. The Coming Hope

Today, I’d like to talk about how His coming should elicit a response from us in how we live…a call to righteousness.

Jeremiah 23:5-6 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. 6 In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

1. A Call to Righteousness

• “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.

• Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

• Righteousness is not possible on our own, only through Him

• Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. (God With Us!)

• To think that we live in the presence of God every day should lead us to live differently because of that presence.

2. A Call to a Higher Standard

• Colossians 3:5a (NLT) So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you.

• The verse doesn’t say, “let those things die…” It says “put them to death” • This indicates a proactive stance on moving away from the things of this world

• Colossians 3:17 (NLT) And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.

3. A Call to Point The Way

• Malachi 3:1-2 (NLT) Look! I am sending my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. Then the Lord you are seeking will suddenly come to his Temple. The messenger of the covenant, whom you look for so eagerly, is surely coming,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 2 “But who will be able to endure it when he comes? Who will be able to stand and face him when he appears? For he will be like a blazing fire that refines metal, or like a strong soap that bleaches clothes.

• The first part of this verse is a clear statement pointing to John the Baptist who would come some 400 years later.
• Then, the Messiah will come.
• This prophecy that finishes out the Old Testament points to the ultimate hope and life we find in Jesus.
• As a result, like John, we have a mandate to point people to Him.

For Unto You…A Son Is Given

2018-12-02
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Over the next few weeks we will obviously be talking about the greatest gift ever given to mankind, the gift of Jesus. The very idea that God could love us all so much that He sent His Son just for us, to allow us to be redeemed through His sacrifice, is a gift we never could have even imagined. Yet, God from the beginning of time, had a plan. Today, I’d like to spend some time not in the New Testament, but in the Old Testament seeing God’s plan being foretold. Within the pages of the Old Testament, around 300 prophecies are given about Jesus that He, and He alone, fulfilled.

1. The Coming Enemy of Satan

Genesis 3:15a And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed;

  • “He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel”
  • The rest of this verse refers to Christ’s death on the cross but His ultimate victory over Satan
  • This is a clear picture of God’s redemptive plan revealed immediately following the introduction of sin into His creation

Galatians 3:16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ.

2. The Coming Blessing

Genesis 22:18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”

– Abraham promised by God that all would be blessed through his seed

– Jesus was the fulfillment of this promise

3. The Coming Ruler

Numbers 24:17a I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel,

– The prophecy of Balaam telling of the coming Messiah

– Jesus is that Star, that Scepter

– vs 24:17b “And batter the brow of Moab,And destroy all the sons of tumult.”

– Jesus came to rule over all

4. The Coming Presence

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel

Matthew 1:18-23 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

– God with us is the ultimate promise of His presence in our lives

5. The Coming Hope

Isaiah 11:1-5 (NLT) Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot— yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. 2 And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. 3 He will delight in obeying the Lord. He will not judge by appearance nor make a decision based on hearsay. 4 He will give justice to the poor and make fair decisions for the exploited. The earth will shake at the force of his word, and one breath from his mouth will destroy the wicked. 5 He will wear righteousness like a belt and truth like an undergarment.

  • We may have trouble in our world now, but Jesus is our hope
  • He came to deliver, to protect, to judge and to forgive

The story of Christmas is one in which God provided a way for all of mankind to be redeemed, going all the way back to the Garden of Eden. His gift is the gift of love, the promise of forgiveness, the hope of restoration, and the future of Heaven. The only question that remains is this…will you believe?

Being Thankful Is Not Enough

2018-11-25

Key Verse: John 3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

We spend a great deal of time talking about being thankful for so many things in life, but there is one thing we have for which being thankful is not enough. The gift of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord. Today, we have observed the Lord’s Table (Communion), a time where we remember the sacrifice Jesus made for us all. I’d like to take some time today, on this Thanksgiving weekend, to truly reflect on that gift. It’s good to remember the significance of that sacrifice that changes everything.

Being thankful is not enough when you consider…

1. God’s love

John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Rom. 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

  • It’s overwhelming to think that God could love ALL OF US that much, but He did …and He does!

2. God’s power

Heb. 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.

  • The key in this verse is, “by the grace of God”
  • That grace is what allows us salvation through the atoning work of Christ
  • God showed us kindness (grace) by extending His power to cover us all

3. God’s healing

John 3:14-15 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

  • Christ had to be “lifted up” in order to pay for our sins
  • The great healing that is found here is that “whoever” looks on the Son of Man, lifted up, will be healed forever

Num. 21:6-9 So the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died. 7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord that He take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. 8 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

Ex. 12:13 Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

4. God’s gift

John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

  • Jesus was the sacrificial lamb that was offered once and for all for us all
  • That sacrifice takes away anything that can keep us from Him

1 John 2:2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

Multiplied Blessings

2018-11-18
Scott Bullman

KEY VERSE: “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (1 Thess. 5:16-18 – NLT)

Thanksgiving is more than a holiday…it is a lifestyle. We’ve heard it said that “God’s gift to you is your life, but what you do with it is your gift to Him.” Giving thanks is not a response to circumstances or possessions…it is a posture of worship.

Psalm 50:23 (NLT) – “Giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me.”

A Lifestyle of Thanksgiving requires…

1. AWARENESS

Psalm 31:19 (NIV) – “How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you.”

Psalm 103:2 (NLT) – “Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.”

Philippians 4:6 (NLT) – Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

“Reflect upon your present blessings of which every man has many – not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” – Charles Dickens

2. ATTITUDE

¬ CONTENTMENT

Philippians 4:12-13 (NIV) – “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

3 Enemies of Contentment:

1. Complaining

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (The Message) “Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.”

2. Comparing

2 Corinithians 10:12 (NLT) – “Oh, don’t worry; we wouldn’t dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant!”

3. Coveting

Ecclesiates 6:9 (NLT) – “Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have.

¬ GRATITUDE

Lamentations 3:24 (NASB) – “The Lord is my portion…therefore I have hope in Him.”

– Gratitude turns what we have into enough.

3. ACTION

¬ Giving

2 Corinthians 9:6-8 (NLT) – “Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. 7 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves a person who gives cheerfully. And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.”

– All the blessings we enjoy are Divine deposits, committed to our trust on this condition, that they should be dispensed for the benefit of our neighbors. – John Calvin

¬ Serving

1 Peter 4:10 – NLT –  “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.”

1 Peter 4:10 (THE MESSAGE): “Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything.”

¬ Telling

Psalm 107:1-2 (NIV) – “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; his love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story.”

“Oh give thanks to the Lord! Call upon his name; make known his deeds among the people!”  – 1 Chronicles 16:8

¬ Worship

Psalm 100 (NIV) – “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. 3 Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

Giving, Gaining and Greed

2018-11-11
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key verse:
Acts 20:35 I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

We are embarking on the season of giving, although many today see it as the season of getting. There are many who are so consumed by their “wants” that they have no concept of giving and helping others. All of society is motivated towards “getting more” with only a passing nod at helping others. Not only is this not healthy emotionally, it is not Biblical. Today, let’s talk about giving, gaining and greed.

Acts 20:35 And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

1. Having never leads to contentment

Jeremiah 22:13-15a (NLT) And the Lord says, “What sorrow awaits Jehoiakim, who builds his palace with forced labor. He builds injustice into its walls, for he makes his neighbors work for nothing. He does not pay them for their labor. 14 He says, ‘I will build a magnificent palace with huge rooms and many windows. I will panel it throughout with fragrant cedar and paint it a lovely red.’ 15 But a beautiful cedar palace does not make a great king…

– The world is consumed by consuming, they want more and more of everything – It seems the more we get, the more we want, the more we are dissatisfied – Having things is not wrong or evil, only when we hold too tightly to what we have do we lose sight of the real owner of those things – We are not defined by what we have, we are defined by who we are, whose we are, and what we give. Why?

2. Giving is what brings joy

Jer. 22:15b-16a Your father, Josiah, also had plenty to eat and drink. But he was just and right in all his dealings. That is why God blessed him. 16 He gave justice and help to the poor and needy, and everything went well for him…

– An interesting note in these verses is that Josiah had “plenty,” yet was focused not on getting all for himself, but on giving and providing for others – He found great contentment and joy in giving – “everything went well for him” – This one statement is worth being a giver…

3. Giving is what brings you closer to Christ

Jer. 22:16b Isn’t that what it means to know me?” says the Lord.

– Not only did he find joy in giving, he found God in giving! – When we give, we have a new sense of who God is…

4. Giving is what makes you more like Christ

2 Cor 8:9 You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.

– When we give, for the right reason, we are more like Christ than in any other situation – He gave His all for those who did not have, did not deserve, and could not get, because He loved

5. Giving is what leads to reward

Luke 14:12-14 Then he turned to his host. “When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,” he said, “don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward. 13 Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14 Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.”

– Giving allows us to experience not only great reward in the moment, but eternal rewards in Heaven – Our rewards should not be our motivation in giving, rather they should simply be a reminder of how we can trust God in everything

– Jer. 22:15b-16a Your father, Josiah, also had plenty to eat and drink. But he was just and right in all his dealings. That is why God blessed him. 16 He gave justice and help to the poor and needy, and everything went well for him…

2 Cor 8:11 Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving. Give in proportion to what you have. 12 Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have.

Masquerade: A Final Word

2018-11-04
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Ephesians 6:10
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

Today, we conclude our series entitled Masquerade. During this series, we have taken a deep dive into the things we do, either intentionally or subconsciously, to hide reality and to be what we are not. We’ve dealt with issues like forgiveness, past pains, pride, social media, addictions, religion over relationship and many others. In this sermon, we will see that victory is assured in Christ alone.

Ephesians 6:10-20 (NLT) A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. 19 And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. 20 I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.

1. A Final Word (vs 10)

  • Greek word – “loipos” – the rest of the whole

2. Be Strong – (vs 10b)

  • 6:10b…Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
  • It is not possible to be strong on your own, it takes HIM!
  • Taking off the masks we are so likely wearing can only be done with the help and presence of Christ
    • Our masks exist because of our feelings of inadequacy, jealousy, pride, past pain
    • They exist because we are valuing our lives based not on God’s view of our lives but on man’s

3. We Have What We Need

  • 6:11-13a Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil…
  • God has equipped us with everything needed to win the battle
  • Only thing keeping us from winning is us

4. Stand Your Ground

  • 6:13b-14a Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground…

5. Truth Matters (vs 14b)

  • 6:14b …putting on the belt of truth…
  • Greek word – “perizonnymi”– to gird yourself
  • Greek word – “aletheia”– something that actually happened
  • A false view of our lives or a low self esteem that leads us to wear the mask is what keeps us from the full protection of the armor of God

6. The Truth of the Truth

  • Truth never changes
    • Proverbs 12:19 Truthful words stand the test of time, but lies are soon exposed.
  • Truth frees us
    • John 8:32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
  • Truth is found only in Him
    • John 14:6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me

7. The End Game – (vss 19-20)

  • 6:19-20 And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. 20 I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.

 

Masquerade: Be Real

2018-10-28
Ben Gutierrez

Key Verse:
Matthew 23:12
But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

The Dangers of Wearing The Mask of Religion

When we put on masks, we deprive ourselves of experiencing God’s best for our lives. God wants us to “Be Real” so that everyone will see how God can take normal human beings and do supernatural things in their lives. God wants us to be transparent and sincere as we live our Christian lives. The more we are transparent and sincere with others about our own lives and our walk with the Lord the more God can use our humility to bring Him more glory. This message from God’s Word encourages the believer to take off the Mask of Religion and to put on humility, transparency, and sincerity and “Be Real” as we share the Gospel to a lost & dying world!

1. It Has No Spiritual Benefit.
2. It Repels People.
3. It is Not Believable.

Ecclesiastes 7:20 NLT
Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins.

James 3:2 NLT
Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.

I John 1:8-9 NLT
8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

Matthew 23:1-6, 11-12 NLT
1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 “The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses. 3 So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach. 4 They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden. 5 “Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra-long tassels. 6 And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues… 11 The greatest among you must be a servant. 12 But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Mark 5:1-15 NLT
1 So they arrived at the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gerasenes. 2 When Jesus climbed out of the boat, a man possessed by an evil spirit came out from the tombs to meet him. 3 This man lived in the burial caves and could no longer be restrained, even with a chain. 4 Whenever he was put into chains and shackles—as he often was—he snapped the chains from his wrists and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Day and night he wandered among the burial caves and in the hills, howling and cutting himself with sharp stones. 6 When Jesus was still some distance away, the man saw him, ran to meet him, and bowed low before him. 7 With a shriek, he screamed, “Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In the name of God, I beg you, don’t torture me!” 8 For Jesus had already said to the spirit, “Come out of the man, you evil spirit.” 9 Then Jesus demanded, “What is your name?” And he replied, “My name is Legion, because there are many of us inside this man.” 10 Then the evil spirits begged him again and again not to send them to some distant place. 11 There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby.12 “Send us into those pigs,” the spirits begged. “Let us enter them.” 13 So Jesus gave them permission. The evil spirits came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd of about 2,000 pigs plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water. 14 The herdsmen fled to the nearby town and the surrounding countryside, spreading the news as they ran. People rushed out to see what had happened.15 A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons. He was sitting there fully clothed and perfectly sane, and they were all afraid.

Mark 5:18-19 NLT
18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon possessed begged to go with him. 19 But Jesus said, “No, go home to your friends, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.”

Mark 5:20 NLT
So the man started off to visit the Ten Towns of that region and began to proclaim the great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed at what he told them.

Mark 7:31-33a NLT
31 Jesus left Tyre and went up to Sidon before going back to the Sea of Galilee and the region of the Ten Towns. 32 A deaf man with a speech impediment was brought to him, and the people begged Jesus to lay his hands on the man to heal him. 33 Jesus led him away from the CROWDS…

Masquerade: Breaking Free

2018-10-21
Dr. Tim Clinton

Key Verse:
2 Corinthians 11:3 NKJV
But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

There are many paths to brokenness and addiction in life. That’s because the pace and pain of modern day life can become overwhelming and confusing. Even good people can find themselves in a spin with God and life when things are not the way they are supposed to be. Dr. Clinton shares a perspective on how easy it is to get into a chaotic downward spiral that can ultimately lead to addiction and despair but more importantly how to break free and recover the heart.

2 Cor. 11:1-3 ESV

“I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”

Losing Heart –

• Attacked

• Angry / Anxious

• Aloneness

• Alienated / Arrogant

•  Adulteries of the Heart

• Addiction

• Accuser whispers lies…

 

Recovery of the Heart –

• Affection of God

• Assessment

• Awareness

• Attachment

• Action

• Accountability

• Alive Again

• Accuser defeated

Masquerade: Our Digital Masks

2018-10-14
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Romans 8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.

Romans 8:5-8 (NLT) 5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. 7 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. 8 That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.

Our Digital Masks

Are living in the Spirit or in the Flesh?

James 4:1-8 (NLT) What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? 2 You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. 3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. 4 You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. 5 Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him. 6 And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world

1. Rage and Anger – Hiding behind our digital masks allows us to act as we never would face to face

Vs 1 What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?

Galatians 6:10 Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.

Ephesians 4:15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church

2. Jealousy – Envy leads us to attack, denigrate, and criticize others

Vs 2a You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them.

Vs 2b-3 Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. 3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.

James 3:16 For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.

3. Desire for Acceptance – Our lack of self acceptance leads to a false “us”

Vs 4-5 You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. 5 Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him.

4. Pride – Digital masks permit us to put pride on parade

Vs 6 And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Proverbs 11:2 Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

Proverbs 16:5 The Lord detests the proud; they will surely be punished.

5. Our Response

Vs 7-8 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.

– Social media is not evil but can be used for evil

– Think about the words you share BEFORE you post

– Recognize that God created us IN HIS OWN IMAGE, you don’t need to try to be anybody else but YOU!

– Know that every word you speak, share or post can either help you accomplish God’s will for your life or keep you from it

People’s decisions about how they intend to live determines how they think about things. Moral choice precedes and determines intellectual orientation. People do not think themselves into the way they act but act themselves into the way they think.

Mounce, R. H. (1995). Romans (Vol. 27, p. 177). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

Masquerade: Building Real Relationships

2018-10-07
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Colossians 3:14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection

Colossians 3:12-17 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. 16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. 17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.

We are continuing in our series, Masquerade, with a discussion today on the masks we wear in our relationships. This is not specifically a sermon on marriage relationships, while this could certainly be relevant within some marriages. It is a discussion on all relationships such as our families, our work relationships, friendships and more. Today, let’s allow the Bible to give us a clear definition of healthy relationships. But before we talk about what’s healthy, we must recognize and identify what is unhealthy.  

How we wear masks in our relationships that create toxic and unhealthy futures?

A. False presentation and unrealistic expectations

– making people believe what is not true

– expecting from others what is impossible 

B. Self-serving motives

– your desire in every relationship is to see what you can get out of it

C. Secretly holding on to past hurts instead of forgiveness

– acting as if we’re okay while continuing to harbor pain and anger

D. Treating your relationship in a defensive manner

– expecting the worst in every situation and every person

E. Hiding what’s truly going on

– basic deception in life

Building Real Relationships

1. Approach every relationship with holiness

vs 12a Since God chose you to be the holy people…

– we have been “set apart” by God

– this consecration is what allows us to have the Godly relationships we desire

Vs 12b …He loves…

– it is possible because of how He has shown us love

2. Approach every relationship with the right motives

Vs 12c you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

– this is a six point outline for healthy relationships 

– if we would simply put these elements into practice daily, it would change everything

3. Approach every relationship putting others first

Vs 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

– forgiveness is a picture of recognizing the value in others

4. Approach every relationship as an opportunity

Vs 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. 16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.

– every relationship is an opportunity impact others in a positive way

5. Approach every relationship with Him at the center

Vs 17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father

– this is probably the most critical element of this entire discussion

– if we treat others incorrectly, we are not only giving ourselves a bad reputation, we are 

reflecting poorly on Christ Himself

Masquerade: The Art of Covering

2018-09-30
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Matthew 10:26 Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.

For the next several weeks, we are going to talk about an issue that all of us struggle with to varying degrees throughout our lives. Some struggle continually and never find success in defeating this dangerous condition. What we are talking about today is the art of covering. In other words, masking who we really are to try to be who we really aren’t. This takes on many forms and paths and over the next few weeks, we will talk about a number of different ways we stay behind the masks of life in order to hide what is really going on inside. But today, we’re going to simply set the stage for our discussions over the next few weeks.

Genesis 27:1-29 (NLT) One day when Isaac was old and turning blind, he called for Esau, his older son, and said, “My son.” “Yes, Father?” Esau replied. 2 “I am an old man now,” Isaac said, “and I don’t know when I may die. 3 Take your bow and a quiver full of arrows, and go out into the open country to hunt some wild game for me. 4 Prepare my favorite dish, and bring it here for me to eat. Then I will pronounce the blessing that belongs to you, my firstborn son, before I die.” 5 But Rebekah overheard what Isaac had said to his son Esau. So when Esau left to hunt for the wild game, 6 she said to her son Jacob, “Listen. I overheard your father say to Esau, 7 ‘Bring me some wild game and prepare me a delicious meal. Then I will bless you in the Lord’s presence before I die.’ 8 Now, my son, listen to me. Do exactly as I tell you. 9 Go out to the flocks, and bring me two fine young goats. I’ll use them to prepare your father’s favorite dish. 10 Then take the food to your father so he can eat it and bless you before he dies.” 11 “But look,” Jacob replied to Rebekah, “my brother, Esau, is a hairy man, and my skin is smooth. 12 What if my father touches me? He’ll see that I’m trying to trick him, and then he’ll curse me instead of blessing me.” 13 But his mother replied, “Then let the curse fall on me, my son! Just do what I tell you. Go out and get the goats for me!” 14 So Jacob went out and got the young goats for his mother. Rebekah took them and prepared a delicious meal, just the way Isaac liked it. 15 Then she took Esau’s favorite clothes, which were there in the house, and gave them to her younger son, Jacob. 16 She covered his arms and the smooth part of his neck with the skin of the young goats. 17 Then she gave Jacob the delicious meal, including freshly baked bread. 18 So Jacob took the food to his father. “My father?” he said. “Yes, my son,” Isaac answered. “Who are you—Esau or Jacob?” 19 Jacob replied, “It’s Esau, your firstborn son. I’ve done as you told me. Here is the wild game. Now sit up and eat it so you can give me your blessing.” 20 Isaac asked, “How did you find it so quickly, my son?” “The Lord your God put it in my path!” Jacob replied. 21 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Come closer so I can touch you and make sure that you really are Esau.” 22 So Jacob went closer to his father, and Isaac touched him. “The voice is Jacob’s, but the hands are Esau’s,” Isaac said. 23 But he did not recognize Jacob, because Jacob’s hands felt hairy just like Esau’s. So Isaac prepared to bless Jacob. 24 “But are you really my son Esau?” he asked. “Yes, I am,” Jacob replied. 25 Then Isaac said, “Now, my son, bring me the wild game. Let me eat it, and then I will give you my blessing.” So Jacob took the food to his father, and Isaac ate it. He also drank the wine that Jacob served him. 26 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Please come a little closer and kiss me, my son.” 27 So Jacob went over and kissed him. And when Isaac caught the smell of his clothes, he was finally convinced, and he blessed his son. He said, “Ah! The smell of my son is like the smell of the outdoors, which the Lord has blessed! 28 “From the dew of heaven and the richness of the earth, may God always give you abundant harvests of grain and bountiful new wine. 29 May many nations become your servants, and may they bow down to you. May you be the master over your brothers, and may your mother’s sons bow down to you. All who curse you will be cursed, and all who bless you will be blessed.”

1. Putting on our masks starts with deceit

vss 5-10 But Rebekah overheard what Isaac had said to his son Esau. So when Esau left to hunt for the wild game, 6 she said to her son Jacob, “Listen. I overheard your father say to Esau, 7 ‘Bring me some wild game and prepare me a delicious meal. Then I will bless you in the Lord’s presence before I die.’ 8 Now, my son, listen to me. Do exactly as I tell you.  9 Go out to the flocks, and bring me two fine young goats. I’ll use them to prepare your father’s favorite dish. 10 Then take the food to your father so he can eat it and bless you before he dies.”

– This entire situation began with a desire to deceive

– The same could be said of our own attempts to mask reality, it all begins with a desire to deceive, for many different reasons:

a. Fear

b. Embarrassment

c. Greed

2. Putting on our masks starts with feelings of inadequacies

vss 11-12 “But look,” Jacob replied to Rebekah, “my brother, Esau, is a hairy man, and my skin is smooth. 12 What if my father touches me? He’ll see that I’m trying to trick him, and then he’ll curse me instead of blessing me.”

– The idea that we are just not good enough leads us to hide behind man-made masks

3. Once we put on the mask, it starts a never ending cycle

Vss 18-24 So Jacob took the food to his father. “My father?” he said. “Yes, my son,” Isaac answered. “Who are you—Esau or Jacob?” 19 Jacob replied, “It’s Esau, your firstborn son. I’ve done as you told me. Here is the wild game. Now sit up and eat it so you can give me your blessing.” 20 Isaac asked, “How did you find it so quickly, my son?” “The Lord your God put it in my path!” Jacob replied. 21 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Come closer so I can touch you and make sure that you really are Esau.” 22 So Jacob went closer to his father, and Isaac touched him. “The voice is Jacob’s, but the hands are Esau’s,” Isaac said. 23 But he did not recognize Jacob, because Jacob’s hands felt hairy just like Esau’s. So Isaac prepared to bless Jacob. 24 “But are you really my son Esau?” he asked. “Yes, I am,” Jacob replied.

– Leading to more deceit, more pain, more broken relationships

4. Our masks will all be removed

– No matter how hard we try to conceal, every mask will be removed

– Our goal should be to remove it ourselves before it is removed another way

Hebrews 4:13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.

Matthew 10:26 “But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything that is covered will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all.

HOW Church? Confidence for the Mission

2018-09-23
Pastor Jonathan Falwell
Key Verse: Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
Last week, Matt encouraged you to START living a life on mission. He encouraged us to take active steps moving forward in fulfilling the Great Commission which Christ gave. However, I know that often times, the greatest hindrance to carrying out this mission is what is inside our heads. We are our own worst enemy in doing what Christ has called us to do.  Today, I want to encourage you…YOU CAN DO IT! Most people don’t do the work of the Great Commission because they believe someone else can do it better, because they’re distracted, because they believe they’re too busy.  These are all excuses that have no basis in fact.
TRBC Mission Statement: To change our world by developing Christ followers who love God and love people.
TRBC Values:
1. Committed to Scripture
2. Culture of prayer
3. Lifestyle of worship
4. Connected in community
5. Heart for serving
6. Passion for sharing
TRBC Actions:
1. Tell (Matthew 28:19 Therefore go…)
2. Grow
3. Send
Confidence for the Mission
Acts 1:4-8  And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Hindrances:
1. Distracted
vs 4 And being assembled together with them
* Distractions are the enemy to purpose and mission. How do we overcome? Balance and intentions.
2. Not good enough 
vs 4b-5 He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
* No one can do it better because the Gospel does it on its own. We are nothing more than the carrier, the salesman.
3. Too Busy 
vs 6-8 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
* Too busy? Reality is that this is an excuse that has no merit. We are all busy, but the mission Christ gave us was to “be witnesses” along the way! In other words, no matter what you are doing, it can be missional!
* The question is…what is your way?
Urgency:
1. It matters now
Mark 16:15-16 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

HOW Church? My Commission

2018-09-16
Matt Willmington

Key verse:
Matthew 28:19-20
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

We know WHY we should be in the church. But HOW do we do church? Simply put, we do church by carrying out the Great Commission Jesus gave us. Church is the family of God, under the authority of God, living out the word of God, on the mission of God.

Church is Family of God, under the Authority of God, living out the Word of God, on the Mission of God.

Matthew 4:18 NLT One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. 19 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” 20 And they left their nets at once and followed him.

Matthew 11:28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Yoke. Direction, destination, experience, energy, assignment, companionship, reward

How many steps 10-1 are you from Jesus?

Who you FOLLOWING? WHO’S with you? WHO are you bringing?

Matthew 28:16 Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted! 18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Tell, Grow, Send. [START book]

1. TELL – “Preach”, “Be witnesses”. Pray for people. Tell them your story / Jesus’ story- ask about their story. Help them get baptized. WHO? Work, school, neighbor, kids…

• OBEY = Have YOU come to Jesus? been baptized?
• OBEY = WHO will you pray / tell / invite?

2 GROW – “Obey ALL” Read, pray with them

• OBEY = Are you reading, praying with ‘family’?
• OBEY = Who are you helping do this?

3 SEND – “Go” [participle], “make disciples” [verb]. Global or Local? Glocal!

• OBEY = Are you going? START! Across street, Across the HALL, across world
• OBEY = Who are you helping to go? Giving, praying,

Daniel 7:13 As my vision continued that night, I saw someone like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient One and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, honor, and sovereignty over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language would obey him. His rule is eternal—it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed.

Revelation 7:9 After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. 10 And they were shouting with a great roar, “Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!”

Why Church? The Promise of the Church

2018-09-09
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Acts 2:42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers

We’ve discussed over the past few weeks the importance of the local church. We’ve talked about what we believe as a church, why it’s important to be a part of a local church, the purpose of the church and today, we talk about the promise of the church. This is not a discussion of what we “get” from a church but rather what being part of a church does for our overall joy and experience in life.  The church is not only the institution Jesus builds to reach the world, it is also the institution Jesus builds to give us the “abundant life” that John 10:10 promises.

Definition of the church: A church is an assembly of believers in whom Christ dwells, under the discipline of the Word of God, organized for evangelism, education, fellowship, and worship, administering the ordinances and reflecting the spiritual gifts. – Elmer Towns

Acts 2:42-47 (NLT) 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. 43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.

The Promise of the Church

1. Encouragement

vs 42a …to the apostles’ teaching

– through the study of God’s Word, we are reminded of the faithfulness of God in the midst of every problem

– through the study of God’s Word, we are reminded of the forgiveness given through the gift of God’s Son

2. Fellowship (never alone)

vs 42b …to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper)…

vs 44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need.

beyond the admonishment to serve within the context of the church, we are also given the great opportunity of enjoying the fellowship of other believers, God doesn’t expect us to be alone

3. Communion

vs 42c …and to prayer

– this is not referring to the Lord’s Supper (an ordinance of the church)

– this is referring to the opportunity we have to be in communion with our Holy God through a personal relationship that affords us an “open door”

– In the beginning of Acts 2, the believers (the early church) were gathered together in prayer and the power of God changed them forever

4. Impact

vs 47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.

– impact on the individual

– impact on the world

Why Church? The Purpose of the Church

2018-09-02
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key verse: Ephesians 1:13-14 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

We’ve talked about why we must not allow ourselves to buy into the lie that it is not important to gather together as the visible church. (Hebrews 10). Last week, we talked about the definition of a church. What is a church, the “ekklesia” that the Bible describes. We are the body of Christ, all different parts but critical to the whole as we live out our lives as the church.

Today, let’s talk about the purpose of the church. If God “built His church” with the idea of being His own body, wanting us to get together regularly, knowing there is strength in numbers as we gather, then what exactly does He want us to do?

A church is an assembly of believers in whom Christ dwells, under the discipline of the Word of God, organized for evangelism, education, fellowship, and worship, administering the ordinances and reflecting the spiritual gifts. – Elmer Towns

 

Dr. Towns gives us a great definition of what a church “is”, today let’s talk about what a church “does.”

 

1. We give Him Glory

Ephesians 1:12-14 (NLT) God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. 13 And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. 14 The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.

 

2. We bring Him Growth

a. Through the proclamation of the Gospel (Mark 16, Matt 28, Acts 1)

Colossians 1:28–29 (NLT) So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ. 29 That’s why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.

b. Through discipleship (our own spiritual growth as well as others) Col. 2

Ephesians 4:14-15 (NLT) Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.

 

3. We celebrate Grace

a. Grace shown to us

Ephesians 1:6-8 (NLT) So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. 7 He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. 8 He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

Grace is the offer of God’s ceaseless presence and irrational love that cannot be stopped. It’s the flow of God’s power and presence and favor in your life from one moment to the next that enables you to do whatever it is God has for you to do. – John Ortberg

b. Grace shown to others

1 Peter 2:9 (NLT) But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

1 Peter 4:8-10 (NLT) Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. 10 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.

 

4. We recognize His Grip  – His keeping power

Mark 16:15 (NLT) And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.

Hebrews 7:25 (NLT) Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.

1 Corinthians 1:8-9 (NLT) He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 9 God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Why Church? What is the church?

2018-08-26
Pastor Jonathan Falwell
Key verse: Ephesians 2:19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.
Church – ekklesia (the called out ones)
–  appears 114 times in the NT, 109 in direct reference to the community of God’s people
– often used in Greek culture to refer to political gatherings, brought together to accomplish
The NT Church is both local and universal. In the context of the local, it is what we are here today. In the context of the universal, it is all believers everywhere as the expression of the body of Christ.  In this conversation, we are discussing why it is important for me to be a part of the local body, the gathering of believers.
Definition of the church: A church is an assembly of believers in whom Christ dwells, under the discipline of the Word of God, organized for evangelism, education, fellowship, and worship, administering the ordinances and reflecting the spiritual gifts.
– Elmer Towns
Eph. 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, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
1. We are “called out”
– vs 19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God
– we have been made right with God through the gift of His Son
– we are a peculiar people
– 1 Peter 2:9-10 (NLT) But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. 10 “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.
2. We are “filled up”
– vs 20a having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets…
– we are not part of the church because of a personality, a place, a program or prestige… we are part of the church because we are children of God
– When a person becomes a Christian, he doesn’t just join a local church because it’s a good habit for growing in spiritual maturity. He joins the local church because it is the expression of what christ has made him – a member of the body of Christ! 1
3. To “stand up”
–  vs 20b …Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,
– this expression of what Christ has made us is all about the fact that we were unworthy but Christ changed us anyway and He is the One upon whom we stand
– we have not right to disassociate ourself from the church because of people because the church is not about people it is about Christ
– Formerly, God’s earthly abode was thought to be on Mount Zion and in the Jerusalem temple. Now he makes his abode in the church. 2
– Eph. 1:22-23 (NLT) God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. 23 And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.
4. To “stand out”
– vs 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord,
– 1 Cor. 12:12 (NLT) The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.
– 1 Cor. 12:27 (NLT) All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.
5. To “rise up”
– vs 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
– Acts 2:42 (NLT) 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.
– Acts 2:47 (NLT) …all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.
1 Dever, Mark (2005). What Is A Healthy Church?, pg 26.
2 Wood, A. S. (1981). Ephesians. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians through Philemon (Vol. 11, p. 42). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

Why Church? The Importance of Together

Why Church? The Importance of Together

2018-08-19
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Today, we are going to begin a conversation that will take us through the next few weeks discussing the church. Not this church, but THE CHURCH! Christ’s church and the importance of it in today’s culture, and more importantly, in your life. So many today are questioning whether it is important to be a part of the church so we will spend time digging into God’s Word to see how truly important it is and why everyone should consider church a non-negotiable. So, WHY CHURCH?

To discuss the importance of why we should be part of the church, we must begin with a discussion of the message of the church.

What was and what now is

Hebrews 10:11-18 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. 15 But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, 16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” 17 then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” 18 Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

Hebrews 10:19-25 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

1. Christ’s death on the cross provided the way

12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God,
14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

2. A final payment for our sins

16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” 17 then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” 18 Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

Our Response

1. Desire to be in His presence

19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

2. Complete confidence in our faith

23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

3. Recognition that we need one another

24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,

4. Accepting the importance of together

25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Moffatt says, “Any early Christian who attempted to live like a pious particle without the support of the community ran serious risks in an age when there was no public opinion to support him”

The power of the cross

Hebrews 10:10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Morris, L. (1981). Hebrews. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews through Revelation (Vol. 12, p. 105). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

Flannelgraph Faith: Passing It On

2018-08-12
Pastor Jonathan Falwell
Key Verse: Acts 18:5 When Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ.

Today, we travel through a number of passages in the book of Acts and the letters to Timothy to see the importance of Passing It On. What is it? The mission that God has given to us. It’s not just ours alone, it is for all of us, and it is for all of us to share.

1. Changing Our World Must Include The Next Generation

– Paul understood the only way for us to complete the mission that God has for us is to bring others on board to help

– Paul gave us the great example of allowing others to serve with him, to encourage them in their walk and service

– Acts 16:3-5 Paul wanted to have him go on with him. And he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in that region, for they all knew that his father was Greek. 4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered to them the decrees to keep, which were determined by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily.
2. Trusting The Next Generation
– Acts 17:14 Then immediately the brethren sent Paul away, to go to the sea; but both Silas and Timothy remained there.
– Acts 18:5 When Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ.

– Including the next generation in our mission must also include trusting them, even if they do things a little bit differently than we do

– As long as they are grounded in the Gospel, in God’s Word, we must trust them to be about the mission

3. Commissioning The Next Generation
– Acts 19:22 So he sent into Macedonia two of those who ministered to him, Timothy and Erastus, but he himself stayed in Asia for a time.
– Not only must we trust them when they are by our side, we must send them on

– To let them venture out on their own journeys that God has planned

– Believing that you have the only way to reach people will limit your ability to reach

4. Celebrating The Next Generation
– 2 Timothy 1:1-2 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, 2 To Timothy, a beloved son:

– Recognizing that their victories are just as important as our victories

– Rejoicing with the next generation as they impact the world is the greatest way to raise up the next generations to reach the world

Flannelgraph Faith: God Can Use Anyone, Anywhere

2018-08-05

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Acts 16:13 (NKJV) So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

1. God can use anyone

Acts 16:13 And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there. 14 Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. 15 And when she and her household were baptized…

– Lydia had traveled from her home to Philippi to do business

– She was faithful woman who worshiped God, but had not yet been saved. She was following Jewish tradition but not Christ

– Then, we she heard the Gospel from Paul, immediately everything changed. She was the first Christian convert in Europe and one of the key players in the church’s arrival in Europe (her home was the first house church)

2. God can use anyone…anywhere

Acts 16:25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. 28 But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.” 29 Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.

– Paul and Silas had been beaten and thrown in jail

– They had every reason to be angry and disenfranchised with their faith, but they weren’t, because something was different inside them. What was it?

Three attributes of “anyone” being used “anywhere”…

1. Worshiping

– In the midst of suffering, they didn’t complain, they worshipped

2. Listening

– In the midst of worshipping, they had their ears open for God’s plan and purpose

3. Willing

– When they heard God’s plan, they responded

Flannelgraph Faith: The Power of Purpose

2018-07-29

Pastor Jonathan Falwell Key Verses: Acts 18:9-10 9

Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.”

1. Reputation Matters Acts 18:1-3

After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome); and he came to them. So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers.

– Priscilla and Aquila were Jewish Christians thrown out of Rome

– Paul sought them out because of their trade, but they became key workers in the ministry

– He talked about them in Acts 19 and Romans 16 (“all of the churches are grateful for them”)

– Your reputation as a Christian, both within the church and without, are vital if you are going to fulfill God’s purpose for your life

2. Solidarity Matters Acts 18:6-11

But when they opposed him and blasphemed, he shook his garments and said to them, “Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” And he departed from there and entered the house of a certain man named Justus, one who worshiped God, whose house was next door to the synagogue. Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized. Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.” 11 And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

– The Jews came against Paul for his teaching

– In verse 6, he “gave up” on them

– Justus, Crispus, Aquila, Priscilla and others stood with him

– God told him “DON’T QUIT I WILL BE WITH YOU”

– Today, I believe many Christians are silent because they feel they are alone

3. Commitment Matters Acts 18:18-21

So Paul still remained a good while. Then he took leave of the brethren and sailed for Syria, and Priscilla and Aquila were with him. He had his hair cut off at Cenchrea, for he had taken a vow. 19 And he came to Ephesus, and left them there; but he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they asked him to stay a longer time with them, he did not consent, 21 but took leave of them, saying, “I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem; but I will return again to you, God willing.” And he sailed from Ephesus.

– Priscilla and Aquila left Corinth and sailed to Ephesus with Paul

– They had served with him in Corinth but now they commitment to Christ led them to GO!

– They helped plant churches in Ephesus

– They were passionate about carrying on the work of the Gospel and even stayed in Ephesus as Paul traveled on

4. Growth Matters Acts 18:24-28

Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. 25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. 27 And when he desired to cross to Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him; and when he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace; 28 for he vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ.

– Apollos preached the Gospel powerfully but needed to grow in his understanding

– Priscilla and Aquila came alongside and discipled him in the truth of the Gospel

– What a great lesson for all of us! We must all continue to grow in our understanding of the Word and the Way

Priscilla and Aquila were largely unknown when they connected with Paul. Yet through their commitment to Christ and willingness to do what He called them to do, God used them to impact many cities for Christ.

This all happened because they knew and understood that it was the Gospel of Jesus Christ that brought hope for the world. Jesus is the only way.

Flannelgraph Faith: The Importance of Action

2018-07-22
Pastor Jonathan Falwell
Key Verses: Acts 10:42-43 And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. 43 To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”
Today, we continue in our Flannelgraph Faith series where we reach back into our memory banks and retell stories from the Bible we may have learned as a child and see what new truths God might have for us through these important moments in history. Today, we are in Acts 10 and we will be discussing the importance of action.
The Importance of Action
1. Action is actually obedience
Vss 13-14 And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.”
– He knew it was the Lord who was speaking and he said no
– Peter is often seen as a zealous follower of Christ but also one that is disobedient
– Notice Cornelius, who was not a Christian, immediately obeyed
– vs 7 And when the angel who spoke to him had departed, Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devout soldier from among those who waited on him continually. 8 So when he had explained all these things to them, he sent them to Joppa.
James 4:17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
2. Action is obedience that fits God’s plan
Vss 30-33 So Cornelius said, “Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your alms are remembered in the sight of God. 32 Send therefore to Joppa and call Simon here, whose surname is Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea. When he comes, he will speak to you.’ 33 So I sent to you immediately, and you have done well to come. Now therefore, we are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God.”
– God had prepared the way for the Gospel to be taken around the world
– Peter’s obedience fulfilled God’s plan of reaching outside of the Jewish people
– To this point, the Gospel was a message bound by exclusivity. Now, it became a universal hope given to all
– Today, we at times still treat the Gospel with exclusivity and many may never hear because of our lack of action
3. Action is what results in impact
Vss 44-46 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.
– Through the action and obedience of Peter, the Gospel spread far and wide, beyond what Peter thought possible
What do you think God wants to do through our action?

Flannelgraph Faith: The Courage of Conviction

2018-07-15
Pastor Jonathan Falwell
Key Verses:  Acts 4:19-20 But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. 20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
Today, we continue in our series, Flannelgraph Faith. Last week, we talked about the conversion of Saul (Paul) and we talked about the calling of God. Today, we’re going to roll back a few chapters and talk about the power of that call in our lives and what it should drive us to be.
1. Courage in our faith comes from above before it comes from within
Acts 4:23-31 And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24 So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, 25 who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: ‘Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? 26 The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the Lord and against His Christ.’ 27 “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. 29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.
– the courage of our faith, of our convictions, do not naturally flow from within
– all of us struggle with the sinful nature that will crowd out the courage of our faith
– prayer is the jumping off point standing firm in our faith
2. Courage in our faith is from the overflow
Acts 6:8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.
– Stephen was “FULL” of faith and power before he did the work of the calling
– This “fullness” comes from immersion in God’s Word and God’s presence
3. Courage in our faith will protect us from beginning to end
Acts 7:57-60 Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; 58 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. 59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 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.
– Stephen knew the end was near but never wavered in his faith
– Why? Because he was confident in what he believed and in Whom he believed
Romans 8:38-39 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Flannelgraph Faith: When He Calls, LISTEN!

2018-07-08
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Acts 9:20  Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.

Today, we’ll begin a Summer series walking through some familiar, powerful stories from the New Testament that I believe can help bolster our faith. These are stories that most of us have heard or read, yet today we’re going old school once again and using the “power of flannel graph” to revisit these stories. And today’s story is about a man named Saul, or Paul, as we now know him.

1. When He Calls, LISTEN!

– Even if you think you’re doing the right thing.

– Paul thought he was doing important work for his religion
Acts 9:1-2 Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

2. God’s Call Is Unmistakable

Acts 9:3-4 As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”

– while most of us will never have a blinding light and a loud voice show up in the midst of a walk, when God calls us it is still undeniable

– He speaks through His Word

– He speaks through His Spirit

3. God’s Call Can Be Confusing

Acts 9:10-15 Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. 12 And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.” 13 Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.

– God didn’t give Ananias the luxury of reason

– Though Ananias wasn’t sure about the task he was given, he obeyed because it came from God

– Even though the work seemed to be scary and uncomfortable

4. God’s Call Is Urgent

Acts 9:20-22 Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God. 21 Then all who heard were amazed, and said, “Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?” 22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ.

The Church Here and There

2018-07-01
Pastor Jonathan Falwell
Key Verse: Matthew 16:18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
Last week, we talked about the way He uses us to build the church and we ended with this verse:
Ephesians 4:16 (NLT) He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
Today, we’re going to rewind to the first part of Ephesians 4 and talk about our role, our mission and our reward.
Ephesians 4:1 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.  2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.  4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.  5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism,  6 and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.
1. We are called
Vs 1 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.
a. To accomplish our calling requires us to live as the called
b. We didn’t ask for the calling, it was given the moment we accepted Christ
2. To live differently than the world
vs 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.

a. This verse is the antithesis of the human experience

b. Selfless rather than selfish

c. Calm rather than angry

d. Caring rather than dismissive

3. To be united in mission
vs 3-4a Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.  4 For there is one body and one Spirit…

a. We must know that our ultimate goal is reaching the world with the Gospel

b. When that is your primary focus, it takes a lot of pressure off of everything else

c. You’ll care about people that others think you shouldn’t care about

4. To celebrate our future
vs 4b …just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.
– a future that we can’t keep to ourselves
– to keep our eyes fixed on what’s ahead not what’s around us
– Phil. 3:13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead
– Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.
5. All because of HIM
vs 5-6 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism,  6 and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.

a. Here’s what it all comes down to…our lives our about HIM!

b. He is the author and finisher of our faith (Heb 12:2)

c. He started it…He’ll finish it!

The Church There and Here

2018-06-24
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Matthew 16:18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

For the next two weeks, we’re going to have what might be considered a family meeting. This will be an opportunity for us to come together and celebrate what God has done and dream about what He wants to do in the days ahead. We’re going to break this sermon down into two parts, part 1 today and part 2 will be next Sunday. Here’s the question that we’ll attempt to answer; What does God want us to do as His Church? Well, let’s get into the Word of God and find out

Matthew 16:18-19 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Eph. 4:7-16 (NLT) However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ. 8 That is why the Scriptures say, “When he ascended to the heights, he led a crowd of captives and gave gifts to his people.” 9 Notice that it says “he ascended.” This clearly means that Christ also descended to our lowly world.10 And the same one who descended is the one who ascended higher than all the heavens, so that he might fill the entire universe with himself. 11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

The Church – There and Here

1. It is Christ that builds the church

– Matt 16:18b “… I will build My church,”

– It’s not up to us

– We can’t destroy it, we can’t stop it!

– Nor can the world

– The world, and some within the church, desire to keep the church from being what Christ intended…but 1 John 4:4 gives us the encouragement that He  equips us with the ability to see their attempts.

2. Christ has chosen us to be His tools

– Eph. 4:7 However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ.

– While Christ builds the church, He has chosen us to help

– If we fail in our duty, He’ll raise up someone else

3. He has equipped us for the job

– Eph. 4:11-12 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.

4. He uses the church to grow us

– Eph. 4:13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth

– This is where 1 John 4:4 comes into play, our growth within the church helps us to discern the problem outside the church

5. And then He uses us to grow the church

– Eph. 4:15-16 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

– Go into all the world…

– “so that the whole body is healthy and growing…”

– that phrase is not about TRBC Lynchburg, it is about the global church

Eph. 4:1 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.

Our Responsibilities As Christ Followers

2018-06-17
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse:
Gal. 6:9
And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart

Today, on Father’s Day, we focus on dads. We celebrate their impact and importance on all of us. While that’s important, it is far more important that we recognize the responsibility we all have to be the kinds of positive role models and leaders that the Bible calls us to be.

Galatians 6:1-10 (NLT)
Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. 2 Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. 3 If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important. 4 Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. 5 For we are each responsible for our own conduct. 6 Those who are taught the word of God should provide for their teachers, sharing all good things with them. 7 Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. 8 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. 9 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. 10 Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.

1. We are responsible to and for one another

– vs 1a Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path.

– We have a duty to hold each other accountable for our actions

– We have a duty to be active participants in restoration NOT destruction

– We have a duty to be active participants in evangelism

– We have a duty to be active participants in discipleship

2. We are responsible to God

– vs 1b And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.

– We have a duty to seek and foster personal spiritual growth

– We have a duty to recognize our own sin and actively seek to fight our sinful nature

3. We are responsible to care

– vs 2 Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. 3 If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.

– This is the opposite of pride and arrogance

– This is the opposite of “what’s in it for me”

– It is the idea of “coming alongside”

– burden (baros – a heavy weight or stone)

4. We are responsible to do what’s right

– vs 5 For we are each responsible for our own conduct.

– This does not contradict verse 2. Paul is describing a different type of load

– Burden here is the word far-TEE-on – the obligation Christ lays on us

– vss 7-8 Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. 8 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.

– it does matter what we do and how we do it

– Pastor RG Lee’s sermon, PAYDAY SOMEDAY

R.G. Lee said, “:Sin will take you farther than you want to go, Sin will keep you longer than you want to stay, Sin will cost you more than you want to pay.”

5. We are responsible to NOT QUIT

– vss 9-10 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. 10 Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.

– “At just the right time…”

– Greek word, “ki-ROS – the perfect time”

– Maybe not our time, but His time, which is always far better

Spirit Led Living

2018-06-10
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Galatians 5:24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

For the last few weeks, we’ve been talking about the Holy Spirit’s presence and purpose in our lives. Going back to Acts 1 when He was promised, Acts 2 when He arrived, and on and on as His present work continues to lead and guide us. Spirit-filled and Spirit-led living is the only way to find joy in life. Today, let’s talk about the importance of LETTING Him do His work in our lives.

Galatians 5:16-26 (NLT) So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. 19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. 22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.

Spirit Led Living

1. Live in poverty

– Total dependence

– vs 16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.

2. Because it’s an uphill battle

– vs 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.

– Doing the right thing is always tough but always right

– Paul said even he struggled with doing right in Romans 7:15

– There’s an internal battle going on daily in your heart and mind. Let God’s Word and His presence strengthen you to be on the right side.

3. But you can do it

– vs 18a But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.

4. He will make you what you need to be

– vs 22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

– When allowed, the Holy Spirit will do a great work in our hearts which will naturally flow out in what we do.

– Complete surrender is the only way to let it work.

5. And He will give you victory

– vs 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.

– Does this mean you will not sin anymore? Of course not. But it does mean that we will see His victory at work within us.

Keys To Living Right

2018-06-03
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Prov. 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.

Prov. 14:12 There is a path before each person that seems right,
but it ends in death.
Proverbs 21:2 People may be right in their own eyes,
but the Lord examines their heart.

The phrase, “every man did that which was right in his own eyes”, appears multiple times throughout the Old Testament. In each case, it was a picture of the nation going in the wrong direction as a result of people not following God’s Word or God’s plan. The situation then was not much different than the situation now. We are once again living in a “every man did that which was right in his own eyes” culture and the results are the same; We are in trouble, the church is in trouble, our future is in trouble. It’s time to turn things around and stop living in a way that we think is right and start living in the way that God has told us is right.

Psalm 119:9 (NLT) How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word. 10 I have tried hard to find you— don’t let me wander from your commands. 11 I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. 12 I praise you, O Lord; teach me your decrees. 13 I have recited aloud all the regulations you have given us. 14 I have rejoiced in your laws as much as in riches. 15 I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways. 16 I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word.

Keys To Living Right

1. Obey His Word (vs 9)

– It is only possible to live right through obedience, you can’t make it up along the way

– “Obedience is the very best way to show that you believe. Doing exactly what the Lord commands, doing it happily.” 1

 James 4:17 Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.

2. Seek Him (vs 10)

– “tried hard” – lav (layve) = with my whole heart, everything that I am

– In order to live right, we must diligently seek him

– Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

3. Memorize Scripture (vs 11)

– vs 11 I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

– Can there be a clearer statement about the importance of memorizing God’s Word

– This is how we find out what we are to obey. If we are not hiding His Word in our hearts, then we’re either making up what is right and wrong or we’re letting someone else tell us what God desires to tell us at the risk of not getting the whole story.

– Take time daily to allow God’s Word to sink in

4. Worship Him (vs 12-13)

– Living right is a statement on what you believe about Christ

– If you’re not living according to God’s Word, you are saying that it’s not that important to honor His Word. Meaning, that He is not that important in your life.

– Our responsibility in life is to bring praise to Him in everything we do, by not living right, we are living in Sin

5. Find Joy In Following (vs 14-16)

– It is actually fun to follow Him. Living our lives according to God’s Word and God’s plan brings joy that you can’t even describe.

– The world’s plan only brings disappointment, fear, discouragement. God’s plan brings life, and life more abundant. – John 10:10

 

 1 Mike and Ruth Greene, Majesty Music Inc.

Words Matter

2018-05-27
Scott Bullman

“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.”
Galatians 5:16-17 (NLT)

KEY VERSE:

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
Psalm 19:14 (NLT)

The Power of our Words:

“People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue…”
James 3:7-8a (NLT)

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
Proverbs 18:21 (NKJV)

“Words kill…words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.”
Proverbs 18:21 (The Message)

OUR WORDS CAN BE LIFE-GIVING

• Words that Encourage

“So, encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NLT)

• Words that Inspire

“So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”
1 Corinthians 15:58 (NLT)

• Words of Kindness and Gentleness

“Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”
Proverbs 16:24 (NLT)

“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”
Colossians 3:12 (NLT)

“Gentle words are a tree of life, a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”
Proverbs 15:4 (NLT)

• Words of Truth and Honesty

“The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.”
Proverbs 27:29 (NLT)

“In the end, people appreciate honest criticism far more than flattery.”
Proverbs 28:23 (NLT)

“…Speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ…”
Ephesians 4:15 (NLT)

• A Timely Word

“Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time.”
Proverbs 15:23 (NLT)

“The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry.”
Proverbs 25:11 (The Message)

• A Smart Word

“From a wise mind comes wise speech…”
Proverbs 16:23a (NLT)

“Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.”
Proverbs 10:19 (NLT)

“The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.”
Proverbs 17:27-28 (NLT)

“Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.
3 We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. 4 And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. 5 In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.
But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. 6 And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.”
James 3:2-6 (NLT)

OUR WORDS CAN BE TOXIC

• Critical Words

“Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.”
Proverbs 12:18 (NLT)

“Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”
Ephesians 4:29 (NLT)

• Slanderous Words

“There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.”
Proverbs 6:16-19 (NIV)

Proverbs 16:2 – “All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord.”

“Telling lies about others is as harmful as hitting them with an ax, wounding them with a sword, or shooting them with a sharp arrow.”
Proverbs 25:18 (NIV)

• Gossip

“A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends.”
Proverbs 16:28 (NLT)

“Rumors are dainty morsels that sink deep into one’s heart.”
Proverbs 18:8 (NLT)

Proverbs 11:13 “A gossip goes around telling secrets,but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence.”

Romans 12:17 – “Never pay back evil for more evil.”

“Fire goes out without wood, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops.”
Proverbs 26:20 (NLT)

• Inappropriate Words

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil”
Proverbs 4:23-27 (NIV)

CONCLUSION

 

A heart filled with BITTERNESS speaks ANGRY words
A heart filled with FORGIVENESS speaks GRACIOUS words

A heart filled with ENTITLEMENT speaks COMPLAINING words
A heart filled with GRATITUDE speaks UPLIFTING words

A heart filled with GUILT speaks HARSH words
A heart filled with PEACE speaks TENDER words

A heart filled with REJECTION speaks RESENTFUL words
A heart filled with ACCEPTANCE speaks KIND words

A heart filled with GRUMBLING speaks NEGATIVE words
A heart filled with THANKSGIVING speaks POSITIVE words

A heart filled with CONDEMNATION speaks JUDGMENTAL words
A heart filled with LOVE speaks COMPASSIONATE words

A heart filled with JEALOUSY speaks words of GOSSIP
A heart filled with CONTENTMENT speaks words of BLESSING

A heart filled with SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS speaks CRITICISM
A heart filled with HOPE speaks ENCOURAGING words

8 No one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. 10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! 11 Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? 12 Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.”
James 3:8-12 (NLT)

 

The Power of His Presence

2018-05-20
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key  Verse: Acts 2:21

And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.’

Acts 2:1-21 NKJV
1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.
7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?
8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?
9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,
10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,
11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”
12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”
13 Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”
14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. 15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only [e]the third hour of the day.
16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.
18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in heaven above
And signs in the earth beneath:
Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.
20 The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.
21 And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.’

The Power of His Presence

1. Pentecost
* 50 (festival of weeks – 50 days after Pentecost0
* Signals beginning of the church age
* Wind and Fire (wind-OT references under God’s Control; fire-presence of God)
* Tongues – so all could understand. Specifically, when God’s Spirit is in us He will give us supernatural power to reach the world

2. Supernatural power of the Holy Spirit in our lives
a. It was promised (Acts 1:8 – But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”)
b. It was obvious
– And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
c. It was significant – vss 7-13 “Then they were all amazed…” – it didn’t make sense
d. It was life-changing
– vs 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that
day about three thousand souls were added to them e. It should be convicting
– we’ve lost the sensitivity to the Spirit
– we’ve lost the passion to do what Christ commanded (you shall) – we’ve lost the urgency
– vs 17 And it shall come to pass in the last days

 

The Power of a Testimony

2018-05-13

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Jeremiah 33:3

‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’

Hope In the Hurting

2018-05-06
Pastor Jonathan Falwell
Key Verse: Psalms 34:1 NKJV “I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”

Today, we find ourselves constantly reminded of the suffering all around us. Tragedies abound. Heartache and heartbreak seem to be ever-present. Our joy, however, is not defeated in the midst of these difficult moments. The world constantly is looking for happiness. As a result, they look for the temporal, the worldly, in order to find that happiness. And they are left defeated and discouraged. Stop looking for happiness, seek joy.

Psalms 34:1-22 NLT “I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt his name together. I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need. Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing. Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the Lord. Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous? Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies! Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil; he will erase their memory from the earth. The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous; not one of them is broken! Calamity will surely destroy the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be punished. But the Lord will redeem those who serve him. No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.”

 

Hope for the Hurting
1. When you hurt – worship (vs 1-3)

– the greatest avenue for overcoming pain is praise

– vs 1 I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises

– vs 2b let all who are helpless take heart

– worship is an ever-present reminder of an ever loving, ever-working, ever-worthy God!

2. When you hurt – pray (vs 4-7)
 – vs 4 I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me

– vs 6 In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles

you are never closer to the power of God than when you are in the presence of God though prayer

– a prayerless Christian is a powerless Christian

3. When you hurt – run (vs 8-10)

– run to HIM!

– vs 8 Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!

– when in the midst of pain and problem, many run FROM not TO

4. When you hurt – listen (vs 11-14)

– listen to His Word

– listen to His calling

– listen to His promises

5. When you hurt – trust (vs 15-18)
 – vs 15 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help.- Pain is the great distractor. It distracts us from the promises of God because we are focused on our own problems, not His ability to deliver us

6. When you hurt – don’t quit (vs 19-22)

– vs 19 The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.

– vs 22 But the Lord will redeem those who serve him. No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

– God has never promised a life free from pain and suffering, but He has promised us a life of victory over our pain and suffering.

The TakeAway –

1. Make it a practice to spend at least ten minutes of every day thanking and praising God for the good in your life

2. Spend time everyday asking God for clarity and wisdom in navigating this thing called life.

3. Read God’s Word daily

– a Proverb and Psalms every day

4. Don’t walk away when it seems that things aren’t working

5. Remember the greatest of all promises and the greatest of all hopes – – our Salvation!

Following a God sized vision, again

2018-04-29
Sergio Guardia

Revelation 7:9-10
Main idea: May your Kingdom be done on earth, as it is seen in Heaven.
God’s strategy is the body of Christ doing ministry together

God’s vision is UNITY IN DIVERSITY
Here God is showing us who He envisions on being in Heaven with Him. Every nation, all tribes, peoples and tongues from earth. The only color here is the blood of the Lamb, the only nation is the nation of the Lamb, we are all people of the Lamb. We were not part of his people, and he made His people, we were not part of His covenant, and He died to make us part of the New Covenant, we did not belong to His Heaven, but he made us citizens of the New Jerusalem. All of us are just sojourners on our way home.

When it comes to racial reconciliation, We need to take more than forward steps, we need to be a model for the world of what heaven would look like.

In Heaven, we will all be sinners forgiven by the same blood, called from a sin status to sons and daughters status, with the same citizenship given to us by the same King.

God’s vision is great, and the price to accomplish this vision had to be great.
This vision cost God the precious blood of Jesus. A price given to have a body of believers from every nation, tribe and tongue. God paid the Son’s blood to make it EVERY.

EVERY was expensive, and God paid it because it was important to him, thus, it should be important to us as well.

Let’s be part of making disciples that can become citizens of heaven. Let’s do our part to preach the Kingdom and to live out the culture of King Jesus’s kingdom.

Are we committed more to culture than Christ? Is it more important how people will perceive us than what the Bible is telling us to do?

How can we foster racial reconciliation? Dr. Tony Evans says this should be not the end in itself, It is a mean to a common cause.

The Kingdom is near, repent. We need to repent if we want reconciliation. Reconciliation cannot happen before repentance. Peace and unity cannot happen before reconciliation. We need to close the circle, in order to close the circle, we need to start the circle, and it starts with repentance. This is not a call to one race only, this is a calling to the church of Jesus Christ. When we have not lived to the standards God set, we need to repent.

What it would look if we do outreach together? What if several life groups would adopt a School in their area to minister? This would reach out diversity itself.
On a personal level. How many people have you mentored that is a different skin color than yours? That has a different background? We cannot force this, it has to be done in a natural way when we build the relationships

God’s vision done in His power
God is worshiped because of who He is and because of what He has done.
He deserves Glory, because He is the deliverer.
He deserves Honor and thanksgiving. Those are the marks of a grateful heart.
We praise him for His wisdom. He has a deliverance plan, he knows the way to go, He is the way.
We praise him for His strength. He is wise to come up with the better plan, and He has the strength to make it happen.

He brings his to people to his presence, and His presence is synonym of protection, provision and fellowship. In his presence they shall hunger no more, they shall thirst no more, no heat no more. He meets our greatest needs and he comforts from our deepest sorrows.

Meanwhile, we still suffer of heat or cold, hunger and thirst, of broken families, broken lives, and broken dreams. It is still a broken world. But, in the midst of a broken world, God provides HIS UNBREAKABLE PRESENCE.

I might cry, but he is my comfort
I might thirst, but he is living water
I might be hungry, but He is the bread of life
I might lose sight, but He is the light of the world

We cannot accomplish this great vision without depending on Him. As a church, we need to seek him. Not only we cannot do this as an individual, but, we cannot do this as a church without depending on God. We need to keep trusting Him, and follow Him on this God sized vision, and we need to do it together.

Maranatha!

A Brand New Day of Serving

2018-04-22
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Ephesians 4:1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,

Ephesians 4:1-7 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all. 7 However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ.

1. You have been called

Vs 1 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.

– Not one of us has the luxury of taking it easy in our walk with God

– God has a purpose and a plan for each of us

– We will be held accountable to what we have done in response to that call

2. Called to SERVE

2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.

– Our calling is never self centered, it always revolves around others

– Serving others requires patience

– “binding” – soon-DES-mohs = of ligaments by which the members of the human body are united together

3. You’ve been equipped vs 7

7 However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ

Romans 12:4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. 6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. 9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.

– God will never call us to do that which we are not enabled and empowered to be able to do successfully. In other words, what God calls us to He ensures we will be able to pull it off

– That service must always flow from our love for one another (vs 9)

– Service out of duty rather than love will never develop a habit and will never produce joy

– The calling He has placed on us will never be a breeze, but it will always be worth it (vs 11)

4. You’ve been blessed vs 16

– Eph 4:16 “He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”

– When God’s people do God’s work according to God’s calling, it produces a healthy, loving, and happy family of God

Brand New Day: A Brand New Day of Relating

2018-04-15
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Ephesians 4:24 (NKJV) and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

Ephesians 4:17 With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. 25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. 26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil. 28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. 29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. 30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

1. Sin will damage your relationships beyond repair

Vss 17-19 With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.

– hopelessness can never result in happiness

– full of darkness, wandering FAR from the life God gives

– John 10:10 “life more abundantly”

– Phil 4:7 “peace that passes all understanding”

2. The “TURN” that happened when you came to Christ is a daily commitment

Vss 20-24 But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

– we are a new creation, but we must work daily to remain where God wants us

– “throw off” (a-paw-TITH-a-me) = to put away or to cease what one is accustomed to doing

How does this play out in our relationships?

1. Honesty

Vs 25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.

– Prov 12:22 The Lord detests (an abomination) lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth

2. Self-control

Vss 26-29a And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil. 28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. 29 Don’t use foul or abusive language.

– controlling our anger requires complete dependence on God

– uncontrolled anger provides fertile ground for the devil

– turn what is natural (sin) into what is eternal (God’s plan)

3. Building up

Vs 29b Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

– be an encourager, lifting others up every chance you get

4. A change in action and attitude

Vss 30-32a And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted…

5. A life of forgiveness

Vs 32b …forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

– forgiveness is the primary action to stronger relationships

– Luke 17:3 So watch yourselves! “If another believer[a] sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive. Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive.”

Brand New Day: A Brand New Day of Living

2018-04-08
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

 

Memory Verse:  1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

 

1 John 1:1 (NLT) We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. 2 This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy. 5 This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. 6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. 7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

 

1. A Brand New Day of Salvation
– recognition
– belief – Romans 10

 

2. A Brand New Day of Action
– baptism  (Matthew 3:13-17) “it should be done”
– seeking him daily

 

3. A Brand New Day of Living
Vss 5-6 This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. 6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth.
  • this epistle of John addresses a heretical view at that time that Jesus and the Christ were not the same
  • John was addressing the absolute holiness of God to counter the viewpoint that one can “know” God and still be living in darkness
  • Knowing God, as declared by Jesus Himself, is through Jesus alone – John 14
4. A Brand New Day of Walking
Vss 7-8 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.
  • John, again, dealing with the heretical view that one can know God apart from Christ
  • Yes, we are all sinners, but through Christ we obtain forgiveness of our sins
  • But, living in the light, requires a new way of walking through life
  • This new way is not found in believing that we can do whatever we want and still be fine in our relationship with Him
  • God is a holy God and cannot tolerate sin; the OT dealing with Israel is a clear picture of this
  • Paul addressed the problem of sin in the heart of the believer in Romans 7:14-25
5. A Brand New Day of Forgiveness
vs 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
  • And so while we must live our lives dedicated to moving away from our sinful desires and moving towards holiness, there will be times we fail
  • Our failure does not equal losing our salvation or our hope in Him, in fact, it is another reminder of the great hope we have because of Him because of the forgiveness He quickly offers

Easter – A Brand New Day

2018-04-01
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

The Cross. A powerful symbol. Think of what it must have been like that day. Three wooden crosses, fashioned from the rough wood of a recently felled tree. They didn’t spend time putting the finishing touches on these works. No smooth finish, no shiny lacquer. Just rough, splintering wood. Left that way to ensure the greatest pain for the criminal who would die there. As the condemned would slowly push up with their legs to grasp for air, getting ever more difficult with each move, the splinters from that rough tree would rip at their already shredded skin.

Three crosses stood that day. The whole town no doubt came out to see what this was all about, to watch these men die. The pharisees and religious leaders there to see their plan come to fruition. Their friends and family, with tears in their eyes, standing by in denial of what they would see witness. The soldiers simply doing what they were told to do, just another day at work.

Soon, the crowd grew larger as these men were led to the hillside. Their pain already more than most could withstand. They were brought to where the wooden crosses were waiting. Nailed to these trees then lifted to begin the agonizing process of dying as they hung for the world to see. Three men dying for the sins committed. Two for their own sins, one for the sins of us all.

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

“Him who knew no sin” became our sin. That’s why Jesus died. The substitutionary atonement for the sins of the world. Payment for your sins and mine. You see, someone had to pay. That’s what His substitutionary death was all about.

God is a Holy God. A righteous God, and the righteous Judge. He hates sin, cannot allow sin to go unpunished, to go unpaid. He had to judge and punish sin. But God is also a God of love. Ultimate love, unending love. And so, through His great love, He found a way for our sins to be punished, for the price to be paid, without getting what we deserve.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death…

That way was for His only Son, Jesus, to pay that price. To bear the weight of our sins, to be punished for our wrongdoing.

Isaiah 53:5 But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.

Jesus came to this earth, hung on that cross, died a horrible death. Not for what He had done, but for what we had done. Not for His bad acts, but for ours. Not for His sin, but for mine, and yours, and for all of mankind. Why? Because God loves us that much. Jesus stepped in and took the punishment so we wouldn’t have to suffer. To save us from our sin, to save us from Hell, to save us for Heaven.

That day was a long day. As they watched Jesus hanging on the cross, the pain he endured became greater and greater. The words He uttered became more troubling with each passing breath. And eventually, He breathed His last.

Luke 23:46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.'” Having said this, He breathed His last.

When He died, the earth shook, the sky darkened, dead people came out of their tombs, the veil in the temple was ripped in two. It was utter chaos. The family, friends and disciples who stood nearby were gripped by grief and fear. Tears rolled down their cheeks as they watched the man they loved, the man they had followed, for whom they had given up everything, slowly lose His life. Now, they probably slipped further away from the crowd, not sure what to do next.

The pharisees and religious leaders, those who had set this into motion, were no doubt filled with pride. Never again would they hear of this man Jesus, never again hear His teachings, never again see Him turn over the tables in the temple, never again dealing with those He healed, never again listening to what they perceived to be blasphemies uttered from His lips. Never again, this Jesus. They walked away with heads held high, they had won. The day had ended in defeat for this Jesus.

The soldiers? Just another day at work. They had done what they were told to do, accomplished their assigned tasks. No big deal, just another day at the office. The day was over, it had ended. Time to go home.

Soon, His body was taken down from that cross. Wrapped and prepared for burial. Carried off to the tomb borrowed for this purpose, not a great distance from where they stood. He was placed in the tomb, the entrance way sealed with a great rock. Guards placed there to ensure that no one would steal the body to cause confusion. The day was done, Jesus was dead, it was finished.

Not much is said about what took place between that day and a few days later. Reading the Gospel accounts, we are aware of a number of different events that took place on that morning. Angels appeared, soldiers knocked out, stone rolled from the entrance way to the tomb, disciples coming and going. Peter looking into the space seeing that Jesus wasn’t there and running away. But there’s an account in John 20 that I want to take a brief look at this morning because I believe it captures a special moment after the resurrection of Jesus.

John 20:11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” 14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).

Mary had come to the tomb filled with hopelessness, pain, loss and grief. She had come that day to continue to grieve. To anoint His body as Mark 16 tells us. Her heart was broken because Jesus was dead. Now, to add insult to injury, His body was gone.

As she stood there, angels spoke to her asking her why she was upset. She answered because they had taken away the body of Jesus. Then she sees another man who also asks why she was upset. Thinking this man was the gardener, she begs him to just tell her where the body is, tell me where they’ve taken him! With the tears in her eyes, the grief in her heart, the pain that flooded her spirit, she had no idea who she was talking to at that moment. Then, one word changed everything. The man simply said…MARY!

A simple word, her name, that immediately changed everything about this situation. She heard her name spoken, she had heard it a million times before, but this wasn’t just another mention, she wasn’t overhearing this common name spoken by someone else, this was her name uttered by someone that meant everything to her. It was Jesus. He was alive. She immediately recognized His voice, she looks at Him and speaks, RABBONI (rabb-ee-oh-NEE). Teacher! The one who had taught her everything that really mattered. The one who had healed her. Seven demons cast out of her by this Man. It was Jesus. He was ALIVE! It was a BRAND NEW DAY! Everything changed! Jesus is ALIVE!

Lamentations 3:22-26 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” 25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him. 26 It is good that one should hope and wait quietly. For the salvation of the Lord.

I love that phrase in verse 23…”they are new every morning!” What an amazing concept. Everyday is a brand new day with Him.

DARKNESS, SLEEP AT NIGHT, WAKE UP
a. Darkness
b. Uncertainty
c. Worry

You just want your mind to shut down, to stop thinking about all of the problems, the challenges, the hurts and worry. But yet in the midst of the darkness of night, sometimes it seems as if that is all we can think about and it just won’t stop. But, when day arrives, when dawn breaks, when the light begins to shine, it seems as if everything is okay once again.

That’s a picture of verse 23…NEW EVERY MORNING! That’s the picture of His resurrection. Darkness reigned, worry consumed, grief overwhelmed, fear abounds, then morning came! The light shines, Jesus raised from the grave! GREAT IS THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD! No matter how bad it might seem, He is faithful because HE LIVES.

Verse 24 states, “Therefore I hope in Him, the Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who sees Him!”

Our hope is in Him because He has defeated death, the grave and hell. He has destroyed the plans of Satan himself. The darkness that was all-consuming when they rolled the stone in front of the entrance to the tomb was shattered by an ever-burning, ever-present light that can never be extinguished. Jesus rose from the grave, HE IS ALIVE FOREVERMORE! Darkness, then the dawn.

Verse 25 states, “It is good that one should hope and wait quietly. For the salvation of the Lord.”

For the salvation of the Lord! That is what Easter is all about, the salvation of the Lord. God the holy One, the righteous judge, has to see sin punished. He hates sin and cannot allow sin to go without payment. Our sin, the sins of the world, is something that God cannot tolerate and will not let slide. He has to punish sin. The sin must be covered and it requires the shedding of blood to atone for our sins.

Hebrews 9:22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.

There must be blood to pay for our sins and the blood that was required was our own. For the wages of sin is death…We deserve to pay that price, we deserve to suffer, we deserve to die for our sins. But yet God, the righteous judge, loves us so very much that He wouldn’t hear of it. He doesn’t want us to pay with our blood, our lives, for our sin. He doesn’t want us to pay eternally for the sin in our lives. His desire is for there to be a covering and Jesus is that covering.

1 John 2:1-2 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

For the whole world. He is that covering, He Paid that price. That is the Gospel in a nutshell. He died for our sins according the Scripture, and he was buried, and He rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15). Jesus died and rose again so that everyone of us, all of us, could have victory over the darkness of our lives, the pain of our past, the severity of our sins, the suffering we deserve. He died and rose again so that we might have life in His name. He died and rose again so that by believing in Him, we can escape the reality of the Hell we deserve to experience the hope of the Heaven we’ve been given through Jesus Christ.

Today we celebrate, not because it’s Spring, not because of the Easter bunny, not because we might like candy, not because we like to look for little plastic eggs. We celebrate because there’s a God in Heaven who loves us so very much that He gave His all (His Son Jesus) to pay it all, for us all, so we could have it all…if we will just believe.

Jesus shed His blood. He died. He was buried. But praise God, on the third day, He shattered the darkness, He broke through the bondage, He cast aside the shackles, He tossed off the guilt, He wrapped His arms around us, He welcomed us into His family, and gave us the greatest gift that one could ever imagine. He gave us A BRAND NEW DAY! A BRAND NEW TOMORROW! A BRAND NEW ETERNITY!

BECAUSE HE LIVES!

They thought He was dead. They thought He was defeated. They thought it was over, that Jesus had been stopped. They thought they would never again have to hear about what He had done, no more miracles, no more sermons, no more throwing the money changers from the temple, no more graves robbed, no more supposed blasphemies from His lips. He was dead, locked away in His tomb, sealed away for all time, dead, gone, forever! BUT…

UP FROM THE GRAVE HE AROSE;
WITH A MIGHTY TRIUMPH OVER HIS FOES;
HE AROSE A VICTOR FROM THE DARK DOMAIN,
AND HE LIVES FOREVER, WITH HIS SAINTS TO REIGN.
HE AROSE, HE AROSE, HALLELUJAH, CHRIST AROSE!
Robert Lowry, 1826-1899

Crossroads – Facing Points of Brokenness!

2018-03-18
Dr. David Wheeler

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

Focal Passage – John 21:1-19 Holman Christian Bible
21 After this, Jesus revealed Himself again to His disciples by the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed Himself in this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called “Twin”), Nathanael from Cana of Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two others of His disciples were together. 3 “I’m going fishing,” Simon Peter said to them. “We’re coming with you,” they told him. They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. 4 When daybreak came, Jesus stood on the shore. However, the disciples did not know it was Jesus. 5 “Men,” Jesus called to them, “you don’t have any fish, do you?” “No,” they answered. 6 “Cast the net on the right side of the boat,” He told them, “and you’ll find some.” So they did, and they were unable to haul it in because of the large number of fish. 7 Therefore the disciple, the one Jesus loved, said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tied his outer garment around him (for he was stripped) and plunged into the sea. 8 But since they were not far from land (about 100 yards away), the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish. 9 When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish lying on it, and bread. 10 “Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught,” Jesus told them. 11 So Simon Peter got up and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish—153 of them. Even though there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 “Come and have breakfast,” Jesus told them. None of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?” because they knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread, and gave it to them. He did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to the disciples after He was raised from the dead.
Jesus’ Threefold Restoration of Peter
15 When they had eaten breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said to Him, “You know that I love You.”
“Feed My lambs,” He told him.
16 A second time He asked him, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said to Him, “You know that I love You.”
“Shepherd My sheep,” He told him.
17 He asked him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”
Peter was grieved that He asked him the third time, “Do you love Me?” He said, “Lord, You know everything! You know that I love You.”
“Feed My sheep,” Jesus said. 18 “I assure you: When you were young, you would tie your belt and walk wherever you wanted. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will tie you and carry you where you don’t want to go.” 19 He said this to signify by what kind of death he would glorify God. After saying this, He told him, “Follow Me!”

Here are some highlights –

John 1:40-42 – Jesus calls Peter and recognizes his great potential.
When Jesus saw him, He said, “You are Simon, son of John.[ad] You will be called Cephas” (which means “Rock”).

Matthew 14:22-33 He walked on water – but fell to the flesh and took his eyes off of Jesus and in his own strength, began to sink!
27 Immediately Jesus spoke to them. “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28 “Lord, if it’s You,” Peter answered Him, “command me to come to You on the water.” 29 “Come!” He said. And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid. And beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Matthew 16:13-20 He confessed Jesus as Messiah:

He asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets. 15 “But you,” He asked them, “who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah (Christ), the Son of the living God!”

Peter then continued and blew it in Matthew 16:21-23:
21 From then on Jesus began to point out to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and be raised the third day. 22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, “Oh no, Lord! This will never happen to You!” 23 But He turned and told Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me because you’re not thinking about God’s concerns, but man’s.”
. . . Peter’s mouth and his mind were disconnected from his heart – they wrote a check that his heart could not cash. Talk is cheap, knowing about Christ without personally and fully connecting to His eternal plan emasculates our faith and results in religious pride without personal surrender. Bottom line, for wisdom to be effective – it must be connected to understanding. Again, Peter displayed Charisma over character!

Luke 9:28-36 – Mount of Transfiguration
30 Suddenly, two men were talking with Him—Moses and Elijah. 31 They appeared in glory and were speaking of His death, which He was about to accomplish in Jerusalem. 32 Peter and those with him were in a deep sleep, and when they became fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men who were standing with Him. 33 As the two men were departing from Him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it’s good for us to be here! Let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said.
34 While he was saying this, a cloud appeared and overshadowed them. They became afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 Then a voice came from the cloud, saying:
This is My Son, the Chosen One; listen to Him!
He was at the Transfiguration – he sought outward sacrifice over inner surrender. Peter is like the person recording their experience on social media without really living it out, or the guy missing the moment because he is too concerned in impressing others with his social posts. Remember . . . Jesus always desires mercy over sacrifice!

John 13:36-38 Prediction that Peter would deny Christ
33 “Children, I am with you a little while longer. You will look for Me, and just as I told the Jews, ‘Where I am going you cannot come,’ so now I tell you . . . 36 “Lord,” Simon Peter said to Him, “where are You going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you will follow later.” 37 “Lord,” Peter asked, “why can’t I follow You now? I will lay down my life for You!” 38 Jesus replied, “Will you lay down your life for Me? I assure you: A rooster will not crow until you have denied Me three times.
John 18:1-11 – Peter cuts the ear off of the High Priest’s Slave, Malchus
10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. (The slave’s name was Malchus.) 11 At that, Jesus said to Peter, “Sheathe your sword! Am I not to drink the cup the Father has given Me?”
John 18: 15-18; 25 -27 Peter Denies Christ Three Times
16 But Peter remained standing outside by the door. So the other disciple, the one known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the girl who was the doorkeeper and brought Peter in. 17 Then the slave girl who was the doorkeeper said to Peter, “You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” “I am not!” he said. 18 Now the slaves and the temple police had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold. They were standing there warming themselves, and Peter was standing with them, warming himself . . .
25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said to him, “You aren’t one of His disciples too, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not!” 26 One of the high priest’s slaves, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said, “Didn’t I see you with Him in the garden?”27 Peter then denied it again. Immediately a rooster crowed.

John 20:1-10 Peter goes to the empty tomb

Now we come to John Chapter 21 . . .

1. It always begins with the Resurrected Lord

Too many people try to cheapen Easter and the Trivialize the resurrection.

In spite of the World’s Attempts to Trivialize Christianity and to Marginalize Christians . . . Make NO Mistake that from the Immaculate Baby to the Miraculous Risen Savior, the Message is the same . . . It is all about Hope and Restoration!!!

Joy to the World:
Verse 1
Joy to the world! the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.

2. How did Peter respond seeing the empty tomb, the first thing he did was return to what he knew – He fished!

Fishing was Peter’s default mode. In spite of Jesus having already twice revealed Himself to the disciples in His resurrected state, he appears to be so caught up in himself that all he can do is default back to his previous self.

What is our default? We all have a default!

3. Then it all changed when Peter was again confronted by the Risen Jesus:

15 When they had eaten breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said to Him, “You know that I love You.” “Feed My lambs,” He told him.
16 A second time He asked him, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” “Yes, Lord,” he said to Him, “You know that I love You.” “Shepherd My sheep,” He told him.
17 He asked him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved that He asked him the third time, “Do you love Me?” He said, “Lord, You know everything! You know that I love You.” “Feed My sheep,” Jesus said.

4. What should we notice: Peter was desperate and broken – he was finally moldable and willing to surrender – this is always the KEY!

I love what Jim Cymbala says in his book, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire:

“I discovered an astonishing truth: God is attracted to weakness. He can’t resist those who humbly and honestly admit how desperately they need Him”

5. It was then that Peter finally spoke the eternal words that transformed his life, “Lord, you know everything!”

6. Here is the KEY Crossroads Principle for today . . . Life begins when you do not care if you die, you just care the Christ is glorified and that His gospel is proclaimed regardless of the price . . . in life or in death – We must willingly surrender everything under His authority!

By the time we get to Chapter 21, Peter is broken
John 21 – the apex of the Peter story, after denying Christ three times, he is exiled to the loneliness of his self imposed grief – he lacked courage, belief, he lacked true understanding! He was finally so miserable and afflicted that he was willing to admit that Jesus as God “knew everything!” The transfer of ownership was finally complete. He would now become the man who preached powerfully at Pentecost, who stood up to the religious elite and faced almost certain death in Acts 4, to become the leader of one of the greatest movements of prayer and truth in history! Would he die, YES, but not before he finally lives!!! He was home – he was redeemed! As Jesus called him out in John 4, he would now begin “fishing for men!”

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

Crossroads: Walking to Heaven

2018-03-25
Jerry Vines

Memory verse:
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?

Scripture says of Enoch that he “walked with God.” This is a descriptive way of saying that Enoch lived his life in fellowship with God. The Christian faith is sometimes described as “the way.” Throughout Church history this figure of walking has been used. John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” follows this theme. To walk with God suggests the three phases of the Christian life. We walk in- that’s conversion; we walk on- that’s sanctification; we walk out- that is glorification!

Gen. 5:21-24 KJV
21 And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah:
22 And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:
23 And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:
24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

Enoch walked IN, ON, OUT.

Crossroads – Hope for Tomorrow and Forever

2018-03-11
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.

Last week, we started our walk towards Easter with a new series entitled, “Crossroads.” This is a series that takes a brief look at those whose lives intersected with Jesus during His earthly ministry on the way to the cross and how they were forever changed. Last week, we talked about the blind men from Matthew 20. Today, we’re going to look at someone a bit closer to Jesus. His intersection occurred when he was called to be a disciple, to follow Jesus. We know him as Thomas.

John 11:1 (CSB) Now a man was sick, Lazarus, from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, and it was her brother Lazarus who was sick. 3 So the sisters sent a message to Him: “Lord, the one You love is sick.” 4 When Jesus heard it, He said, “This sickness will not end in death but is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha, her sister, and Lazarus. 6 So when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. 7 Then after that, He said to the disciples, “Let’s go to Judea again.” 8 “Rabbi,” the disciples told Him, “just now the Jews tried to stone You, and You’re going there again?” 9 “Aren’t there 12 hours in a day?” Jesus answered. “If anyone walks during the day, he doesn’t stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 If anyone walks during the night, he does stumble, because the light is not in him.” 11 He said this, and then He told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I’m on My way to wake him up.” 12 Then the disciples said to Him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will get well.” 13 Jesus, however, was speaking about his death, but they thought He was speaking about natural sleep. 14 So Jesus then told them plainly, “Lazarus has died. 15 I’m glad for you that I wasn’t there so that you may believe. But let’s go to him.” 16 Then Thomas (called “Twin”) said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go so that we may die with Him.”

Here, we pause in the story because usually, one continues to read the amazing story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. And, that is an amazing story, but not the one we focus on today. Today, we focus on Thomas. In John 11, Thomas appears, not as the doubter we believe he might be, but a man willing to walk into harm’s way, following the Master. The other disciples were concerned (John 11:8) for their safety since people in Judea were seeking to stone Jesus. But Thomas was ready…to follow Jesus even if it meant his own death. So then, why do we have the view of Thomas as the “doubter.”

Hope for Now and Forever

John 14:1 “Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. 3 If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also. 4 You know the way to where I am going.” 5 “Lord,” Thomas said, “we don’t know where You’re going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

1. Thomas was unsure of what tomorrow might hold (vs 5)

– Thomas wanted more information, he wanted to know the way

2. Jesus gave the answer (vs 6)

– I AM (eggo EYE-me)

3. Thomas’ tomorrow came quicker than expected

– Jesus was soon arrested, tried, and killed

John 20:24  But one of the Twelve, Thomas (called “Twin”), was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples kept telling him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “If I don’t see the mark of the nails in His hands, put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will never believe!”

4. Thomas forgot what Jesus had said (vs 25)

– Jesus had shared His mission with them (Mark 8)

26 After eight days His disciples were indoors again, and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them. He said, “Peace to you!” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and observe My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Don’t be an unbeliever, but a believer.” 28 Thomas responded to Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Those who believe without seeing are blessed.”

5. Jesus again gave the answer – HOPE (vs 27-28)

– “Trust me”

– “My Lord and my God”

John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. 26 Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die—ever. Do you believe this?”

6. Jesus’ answer is always the same – I AM (eggo EYE-me_)

HOPE FOR TODAY, TOMORROW AND FOREVER

Crossroads – Crossing His Path

Crossroads
2018-03-04
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse:
Matthew 15:30 Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them.

Matthew 15:29 Jesus departed from there, skirted the Sea of Galilee, and went up on the mountain and sat down there. 30 Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them. 31 So the multitude marveled when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.

When our paths cross His path, everything can be made whole. Notice the word used in the previous sentence…”can.” It’s critical for us to notice that the greatest hindrance to Christ doing His greatest work, outside of Salvation, in our lives is us, not Him.  Over the next few weeks, leading to Easter, we’re going to take a look at some of the moments found in Scripture where people’s lives crossed with Jesus, some of which were inadvertent, and they were forever changed because of the intersection of their lives with Christ. Our prayer is that these stories of life change will be a catalyst to all of us to remember the power found in Christ and for some of us, that He is the only way to Heaven.

Matthew 20:29-34 (Christian Standard Bible) As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed Him. 30 There were two blind men sitting by the road. When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” 31 The crowd told them to keep quiet, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” 32 Jesus stopped, called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 33 “Lord,” they said to Him, “open our eyes!” 34 Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they could see, and they followed Him.

What they did…

1. They heard…

vs 30b When they heard that Jesus was passing by…

– this indicates that they had already heard of this man Jesus
– they knew of His power- the stories of what Jesus had done had no doubt brought about serious conversations for these men, but they had not acted on it.

2. They called…

vs 30c …they cried out…

3. They knew…

vs 30d …Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!…

– theirs was not a problem of lack of belief, it was a problem of lack of action

4. They persisted…

vs 31a The crowd told them to keep quiet, but they cried out all the more…

– when they finally decided to act, nothing was going to stop them

What He did…

5. Jesus listened…

vs 32 Jesus stopped, called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?

– in every situation found in Scripture when people called out to Jesus, He listened. Not once did He ignore those calling.

6. Jesus cared…

vs 34a Moved with compassion…

– the constant state of Jesus during His ministry here, and still today

7. Jesus healed…

vs 34b … Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they could see…

– what Jesus ALWAYS did

8. They followed…

vs 34c …and they followed Him.

Difference Makers: To Serve Is To Give

2018-02-25
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse:
2 Corinthians 8:9
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

Last week, from Galatians 5

1. Serving is the antidote to selfishness

2. Serving is fulfilling God’s command

3. Serving will keep us together

Last week, we began this sermon of which we will conclude today. It is the final sermon in our series, Difference Makers. Last week we talked about the importance of serving. Today, we continue and talk about giving. Giving is how we serve. Giving of our time, our talent and our treasure. Today, I want to talk specifically about the treasure element of that statement.

But first, let’s take a quick journey through the history of giving our treasure as it relates to the Bible.

Gen. 14 – Melchizadek received a “tithe” from Abraham as he returned from war

Lev. 27 –   400 years later, Moses receives the law which states that they are to give a tenth

Deut. 14 – 40 years later, Moses reminds them, “You must set aside a tithe… Bring this tithe to the designated place of worship…”

Mal. 3 –    1,000 years later.  “Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me!  But you ask, ‘What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?’  You have cheated me of the tithes (mah-ah-SAY-er = a tenth) and offerings due to me.” (Malachi 3:8)

Now, we’ll move into the New Testament. Some have argued that the tithe was an Old Testament thing, under the Mosaic Law, not applicable to the New Testament. However, the New Testament continues to teach regular, systematic giving, to the church. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 16.

1 Cor. 16:1-2 Now regarding your question about the money being collected for God’s people in Jerusalem. You should follow the same procedure I gave to the churches in Galatia.  2 On the first day of each week, you should each put aside a portion of the money you have earned. Don’t wait until I get there and then try to collect it all at once.

So, a New Testament picture of giving that emulates the Old Testament.

1. First

2. Intentional

3. Proportionate

We have a clear mandate from God’s Word that giving is a critical part of following Christ. Jesus says in Matthew 23:

Matthew 23:23 What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.

TO SEND IS TO SERVE, TO SERVE IS TO GIVE, TO GIVE IS TO LOVE

2 Corinthians 8:1-12 Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia. 2 They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity. 3 For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will. 4 They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem. 5 They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do. 6 So we have urged Titus, who encouraged your giving in the first place, to return to you and encourage you to finish this ministry of giving. 7 Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us—I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving. 8 I am not commanding you to do this. But I am testing how genuine your love is by comparing it with the eagerness of the other churches. 9 You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich. 10 Here is my advice: It would be good for you to finish what you started a year ago. Last year you were the first who wanted to give, and you were the first to begin doing it. 11 Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving. Give in proportion to what you have. 12 Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have.

TO SERVE IS TO GIVE

4. Giving Is The Pathway To Abundant Joy

– Vs 2 They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity.

5. Giving Is A Sign Of Spiritual Maturity

– vs 5 They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do.

6. Giving Is A Calling From God

– Vss 6-7 So we have urged Titus, who encouraged your giving in the first place, to return to you and encourage you to finish this ministry of giving. 7 Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us—I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving.

– excel in serving AND giving

7. Giving Is A Response To Your Love For Christ

– vs 8 I am not commanding you to do this. But I am testing how genuine your love is by comparing it with the eagerness of the other churches.

Difference Makers: To Send Is To Serve, To Serve Is To Give, To Give is to Love

2018-02-18
Key verse:

Galatians 5:13
For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

The last several weeks we’ve talked about being a difference maker. We’ve talked about making an impact in our world, in our community, with the Gospel. Not just in helping people know who Jesus is and what He has done, but helping them grow in their faith and become witnesses for Him. That is called discipleship, which is a command from God to all of us.  Last week specifically, we ended with this statement:

SEND them out on mission

– In other words, we need to help them map their mission to impact others with the Gospel story (this is replication)

Today and next week, I want to talk about how to make that happen. And the one clear understanding we must all have about discipleship, about SENDING them, is this:

TO SEND IS TO SERVE, TO SERVE IS TO GIVE, TO GIVE IS TO LOVE

Galatians 5:13-15 (NLT) For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. 14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.

TO SEND IS TO SERVE

1.   Serving is the antidote to selfishness

– vs 13b But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.

2.   Serving is picture of God’s command (the great commandment)

– vs 14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

3.   Serving will keep us together – division will dissipate

– vs 15 But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.

SERVE
– serve them by helping them walk in the way and the word
– START book
– Group Life
– Serve TOGETHER

2 Corinthians 8:1-12 Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia. 2 They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity. 3 For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will. 4 They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem. 5 They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do. 6 So we have urged Titus, who encouraged your giving in the first place, to return to you and encourage you to finish this ministry of giving. 7 Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us—I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving. 8 I am not commanding you to do this. But I am testing how genuine your love is by comparing it with the eagerness of the other churches. 9 You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich. 10 Here is my advice: It would be good for you to finish what you started a year ago. Last year you were the first who wanted to give, and you were the first to begin doing it. 11 Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving. Give in proportion to what you have. 12 Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have.

TO SERVE IS TO GIVE

4.   Giving Is The Pathway To Abundant Joy

– vs 2 They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity.

5.  Giving Is A Sign Of Spiritual Maturity

– vs 5 They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do.

6.   Giving Is A Calling From God

– vss 6-7 So we have urged Titus, who encouraged your giving in the first place, to return to you and encourage you to finish this ministry of giving. 7 Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us—I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving.

7.   Giving Is A Response To Your Love For Christ

– vs 8 I am not commanding you to do this. But I am testing how genuine your love is by comparing it with the eagerness of the other churches.

Next week, we’re going to talk about what giving really is…

Difference Maker: What does the walk look like?

2018-02-11
Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: John 9:25 He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.”

Two Weeks Ago:
1. Know who you are
2. Know who they are
3. Know what your job is

Last Week:
1. Identify them
2. Pray for them
3. Tell Them
4. Invest in them
5. Walk with them

John 9:6   When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. 7 And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing. 8 Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, “Is not this he who sat and begged?” 9 Some said, “This is he.” Others said, “He is like him.” He said, “I am he.” 10 Therefore they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered and said, “A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and I received sight.”

What does that walk look like?

TELL– the Gospel story, pray for them, invite and invest, show God’s love to them

GROW – help them grow in their obedience to God’s Word, invite them to church/group, START book

SEND – help them do with others what you’ve just done with them

1. Tell them the Gospel story 

Vs 11b …So I went and washed, and I received sight.”

Vs 25 He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.”

– The greatest waste in life is not a person who has failed but a person who never tried

– The distance between a missed opportunity and making a massive difference is one simple step

2. Help them grow in their awareness of, and identity in, Christ

vs 26 Then they said to him again, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?”27 He answered them, “I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?” 28 Then they reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples. 29 We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from.” 30 The man answered and said to them, “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! 31 Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. 32 Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. 33 If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.

– The hope we have in Christ should be enough to make us want to let others know

3. SEND 

– Help them map their mission

Vs 35  Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” 36 He answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” 37 And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.” 38 Then he said, “Lord, I believe!”  And he worshiped Him.

What are the simple steps you can take today?

1. a call, a visit, a letter

2. Stopping to notice

3. Engaging

Difference Maker: Come See A Man…

2018-02-04
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verses:
John 4:28-29
The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men,  “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?”

Last week:
Know who you are…
Know who they are…
Know what your job is…

John 4:1 (NLT)
Jesus knew the Pharisees had heard that he was baptizing and making more disciples than John 2 (though Jesus himself didn’t baptize them—his disciples did). 3 So he left Judea and returned to Galilee. 4 He had to go through Samaria on the way. 5 Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. 7 Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” 8 He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food. 9 The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” 10 Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” 11 “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? 12 And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?” 13 Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. 14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” 15 “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.” 16 “Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her. 17 “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied. Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband—18 for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!” 19 “Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. 20 So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?” 21 Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. 23 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” 25 The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26 Then Jesus told her, “I Am the Messiah!” 27 Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked to find him talking to a woman, but none of them had the nerve to ask, “What do you want with her?” or “Why are you talking to her?” 28 The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, 29 “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” 30 So the people came streaming from the village to see him.

1. Identify them

family members, neighbors, co-workers, friends, fellow students

– all of them are people for whom Jesus died (2 Peter 3:9)

2. Pray for them – No one call tell your story but you, and if you don’t…

Romans 10:1-4
Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. 2 I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. 3 For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. 4 For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God.

3. Tell them your story – No one call tell your story but you, and if you don’t…

vs 28-29 The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, 29 “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?”

Acts 26:15-18 Who are you, lord?’ I asked. “And the Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. 16 Now get to your feet! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and witness. Tell people that you have seen me, and tell them what I will show you in the future. 17 And I will rescue you from both your own people and the Gentiles. Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles 18 to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.’

4. Invest in them

– Spending time with them, helping them follow Jesus

Matthew 28:19-20a Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you…

– nothing to fear because He will give you everything you need

Vs 20b And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

5. Walk with them

– Recognize you will grow as you help them grow

Difference Maker: Where Do I Start?

2018-01-28

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse:
2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

2 Peter 3:9-10 (NLT)
The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.

Last week, we started our series, Difference Makers, talking about the God-given duty and responsibility we all have to make a difference – a positive difference – in our world today through the Gospel. We discussed the four characteristics of a difference maker:

1. They change their thinking

2. They put others first

3. They look for ways to help

4. They start from the perspective of Christ.

Where do I start?

 

1. Know who you are

–  a Christ follower

– What is a Christ Follower

A. One who has believed and received the Gospel story of Jesus [His death, burial, resurrection], has followed Jesus in baptism, is obeying all that Jesus taught, and is helping others do the same

– The Gospel story (Good News)

1 Corinthians 15:1-4a Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures…

– Believing and Receiving

John 14:6  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Romans 10:9-13 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

B. One who is loving God with their heart, soul, mind, strength and loving others like Jesus

Matthew 22:37
Jesus said to him, ” ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

 

2. Know who they are

– those whom Christ died for

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

– Look at the people with whom you live, work, and play near

– Make a prayer list of those people you know who are far from God or don’t know God and pray fervently for them

 

3.  Know what your job is

 

– To Tell

– “Go into all the world…”

Difference Makers: What does it mean?

2018-01-21
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

 

Key Verse: Acts 1:8
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

 

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

 

John 20:21b Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.

God has called us all to be Difference Makers in our world today. These verses, and many others throughout the Bible, clearly indicate we have a responsibility to impact our world for Christ. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to talk about how we can make sure we are fulfilling our God-given mission.

The TRBC Mission Statement:
To Change Our World By Developing Christ Followers Who Love God and Love People!

 

What does it mean to be a difference maker?

 

Nehemiah 1:1-4 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. It came to pass in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the citadel, 2 that Hanani one of my brethren came with men from Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who had survived the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. 3 And they said to me, “The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.” 4 So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

 

The definition of a difference maker

 

1. Changes their thinking

 

– negative thinking will always lead to negative results

 

– positive thinking will always lead to positive results

 

– Nehemiah could have responded to the reports of those in Jerusalem with the attitude that nothing could be done, there’s no use.

 

2.  Puts others first

 

– humility

 

– care and concern for others

 

– Nehemiah – “sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.”

 

3.  Looks for ways to help

 

– not a critic

 

– sees every challenge or problem as an opportunity to make things, and others, better

 

– Nehemiah 2:4 Then the king said to me, “What do you request?”  So I prayed to the God of heaven. 5 And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.”

 

4.  Starts from the perspective of Christ

 

– sees things, and people, the way Christ does

– LOVES PEOPLE, USES THINGS

– a difference maker has a heart for the hurting (Nehemiah)

– a difference maker has a heart for the lost (Christ)

– Matthew 9:35-38 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

 

– A Christ Follower

 

– One who has believed and received the Gospel story of Jesus [His death, burial, resurrection], has followed Jesus in baptism, is obeying all that Jesus taught, and is helping others do the same

 

– One who is loving God with their heart, soul, mind, strength and loving others like Jesus

Our Response To Christ’s Church

2018-01-14

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Colossians 1:18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

Ephesians 2:19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.

Last week, we talked about the church. We focused on what the church really is and used the Bible to give us a clearer description of the church. Today, I want to talk about our response to knowing what the church truly is. But first, let’s revisit what we talked about last week:

1. The church is God-ordained

2. The church is not a building, it’s you

3. Jesus is the Head of the church

4. Jesus gave us the plan for the church

5. Jesus gave us the keys to the church

So in knowing these truths about the church and having a deeper understanding of the importance of the church, what should we do?

1. We are required to carry out His plan

– the Great Commission

Matthew 28:19a Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…

– tell grow send

2. We are required to serve within the church

Ephesians 4:11-12 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.

(NLT) 11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ

– the responsibility every leader within the church has is to help the church (all of us) do the work of building up the church

3. We are required to baptize believers 

Matthew 28:19b …baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit

-Baptism is an “ordinance” of the church – or “an act we must perform” per the Word of God.

– Matthew 3:15 “it is fitting”, “NLT says “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.”

4. We are required to remember how Christ established the church

– through the broken body & shed blood of Jesus Christ!

– Communion is an ordinance of the church

I Corinthians 11:23-26 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”  26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.

5. We are required to pray that the world would believe

1 Timothy 2:3-7a For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, 7 for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle

Luke 10:1-2 After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. 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.

– In other words, we actually are required to care about the world

– We must have the same desire Christ has, to see the world come to know Him

– 2 Peter 3:9 “not willing that any should perish”

Luke 19:10 – “the Son of man has come to seek and to save that which was lost”

WE ARE REQUIRED TO…

…TELL our salvation story to all

…GROW others in their walk with Christ

…SEND ourselves and others out into the world to let them know

A New Day In The Old Way

2018-01-07
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
Matthew 16:18 (NKJV)
And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

What is the church?
Why is the church important?
Is it still relevant today?
Do I really need to be a part of the church?

These are questions that many people ask often about the church. Today, on the first Sunday of the year, it might be good for us to review our understanding of what makes the church the church.

Matthew 16:13-18 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” 14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

1. The church is God-ordained
(vs 18b I will build My church)

– Jesus builds our church

– church (ekklesia) A group called out for a particular purpose

– what we do here is not a construct of man, it is a God-ordained, God-planned movement

– And, when done according to His plan, there’s no stopping it!

(vs 18c and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.)

2. The church is not a building or an organization, it’s YOU!

I Corinthians 1:1-3 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, 2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

– “the church” is not a specific place, title, denomination…it is “a group called out for a particular purpose”

– meaning, WE ARE THE CHURCH

(vs 2a To the church of God which is at Corinth)

3. Jesus is the Head of the church

Colossians 1:18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

– The “head” (kay-FALL-ay) the leader, one responsible to care for

– “preeminence” (pro-TOO-oh) the first, the most prominent

– Any time that anything is placed in higher priority or importance than the proclamation of the Gospel and the preeminence of Christ in a church, the church ceases to be the church Jesus talked about in Matthew 16:18

4. Jesus gave us the plan for the church

Acts 2:42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

– the teaching, the gathering, the fellowship, the praying, the serving

– Worship, Bible teaching, Lifegroups, personal growth, service=

Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

– The acting? The proclamation of the Gospel

– Outreach, missions, camping ministry, personal evangelism

5. Jesus gave us the keys to the church

John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.

– The keys? Belief in Jesus Christ as the only savior of the world!

Ephesians 2:19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.

Pressing On

2017-12-31

 

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

 

Key verse: Philippians 3:14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

 

Philippians 3:1 (NLT) Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith. 2 Watch out for those dogs, those people who do evil, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved. 3 For we who worship by the Spirit of God are the ones who are truly circumcised. We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort, 4 though I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could. Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more! 5 I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. 6 I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault. 7 I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. 8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ 9 and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. 10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11 so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!  12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

 

1. The past should stay there

 

– vs 13a No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past

 

A. Our beliefs about the past

Hanging on to our past guarantees a difficult future

– Regrets from yesterday will translate into regrets tomorrow

– Allowing the failures of yesterday to write today’s narrative will lead to tomorrow’s pain

– we’re not good enough (vs 2)

– following the narrative of our beliefs could never be enough (vss 4-6)

– all of it is worthless (vs 7)

– following the narrative of our beliefs could never be enough (vss 4-6)
– all of it is worthless (vs 7)

 

B. What we should believe

– knowing Christ is all there is (vs 8)

– this should be our goal in 2018 – One With Him (vs 9)

– faith

2. The goal is clear

 

– Knowing Him

 

vs 10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death,

 

– Serving Him

 

– Being honest with ourselves

 

vs 12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.

 

3. The goal? Pursuit of Christ and the Promise of Heaven

 

Vs 13-14 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Things to do:

S (specific), M (measurable), A (awe inspiring), R (relevant), T (timed)

1. Set specific time to meet God (Prayer, Bible reading/study)

2. Set specific goals of enhancing relationships (family, friends, coworkers, strangers)

3. Set specific ways to serve (giving self, giving stuff)

4. Set specific goals of making yourself better (health, knowledge, wisdom)

5. Set specific goals of handling your finances more responsibly (“act your wage”)

Christmas Eve – The Light of the World

2017-12-24

Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

* Wonderful – the wonder of Christmas season is nothing compared to the wonder He brings

* Counselor – When life falls apart and we don’t know what to do, He came to be the One to guide us through our most difficult day

* Mighty God – With Him, nothing is impossible

* Everlasting Father – In the loneliness of life, He is the one with always open arms

* Prince of Peace – In the midst of chaos, He is the constant source of peace

He is all of these things, but so much more. He is the LIGHT OF THE WORLD. He is your light in the midst of all the darkness we face.

Isaiah 9:2 The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined.

* “land of the shadow of death” – Heb. 9:27, …appointed unto man once to die
Rom 5:12 …through one man..death entered

* We are all in the land of the shadow of death

* We need LIGHT

“A light has shined” is the image of what the birth of Christ would mean for us all. And, oh how that light is needed.

Isaiah 60:1-3 Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. 2 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. 3 The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising.

The wise men came to see this baby born as the light of the world.

Matthew 2:1-2 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”

John 1:1-5 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

Sad words indeed. The light shines, but world didn’t understand. The story of Christmas is the light that shines to take away the darkness from the world, from you!

Will you let Him?