Run The Race: A New Beginning

2020-05-24

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Psalm 122:1 I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the Lord.”

 

Psalm 107:28-32 (NKJV) “Then they cry out to the LORD in their trouble, And He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm, So that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet; So He guides them to their desired haven. Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men! Let them exalt Him also in the assembly of the people, And praise Him in the company of the elders.”

 

All of us have, at certain points, been completely overwhelmed by this thing called life. There are moments when giving up seems to be the better plan than staying the course. Last week, we had a clear sermon on the importance of never giving up. In these coming weeks, we’re going to spend some time focusing on our journey, which can be much like a race. We’re going to focus on the importance of running the race to victory.

 

But, before we begin, we need to be encouraged by the ending.

 

1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanksbeto God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ

 

So, now that we know what the ending looks like, let’s talk about the importance of the journey.

 

Heb 12:1-2 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us,and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of ourfaith, 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.

 

The Elements of the Race

 

1. Remove

Vs 1b – …let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us…

  • No race has ever been won without removing that which slows us down
  • In order to win the race, we must set aside the things in life which will keep us from the race
  • Sin, self, sloth

 

2. Renew

Vs 2a – looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of ourfaith…

  • Running the race requires energy
  • Tapping into the presence of Christ in our lives
  • God has given the Holy Spirit to keep us moving forward

 

3. Return

Vs 2b – …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.

  • We must be encouraged by the prize
  • Jesus has given us the great hope of Heaven
  • There’s a reason we don’t quit…

 

Phil. 3:14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus

 

 

 

 

Run The Race: Never, Never Quit

2020-05-17

Delivered by Rev. Jerry Falwell, April 1999

  1. Never, never quit
    1. 2 Cor 3:5-6
  2. Most Christians have a wrong view of trouble
    1. Being a Christian doesn’t guarantee deliverance from trouble, rather deliverance in trouble
    2. You don’t determine a man’s greatness by his wealth or status as the world does, but rather by what it takes to discourage him
  3. Trouble is a basic need for spiritual growth
    1. God doesn’t give us an overcoming life, he gives us life as we overcome
    2. God will give you the strength
  4. God’s grace is not available for tomorrow, it is for today
    1. 2 Cor 12 – in our weakness we are made strong by his great strength
    2. He gives strength for the moment
  5. God’s ultimate high is only revealed in life’s greatest crisis
  6. You will never get out of trouble
    1. Learn how to live while you’re in trouble
    2. God promises to never leave us nor forsake us
  7. You are not the only one who suffers
    1. 1 Cor. 10:13 – God is faithful
    2. He will never take us past what we are able to bear
  8. Trouble is not always judgment
    1. Hebrews 12:6
    2. Your trouble comes from God. He either allows it or sends it.
    3. Job 13:16 – Yet will I trust Him
  9. Bear your own burdens
    1. God may send someone to help, but we must trust God alone
    2. God will give you everything you need
  10. False optimism are detrimental
    1. Get alone with God in prayer
    2. The world needs pillars of strength
  11. When we complain, our problem is really a heart problem
    1. Pray about your problem
    2. Pray for others, don’t gossip or complain
  12. Satan uses a lot of things to discourage us
    1. Lack of prayer
    2. Physical fatigue
    3. Unconfessed Sin
    4. Failure
    5. Routine
    6. Betrayal and Bitterness
    7. Selfishness
  13. No matter what today holds; never, never quit!

The Power of a Godly Woman…and Man!

2020-05-10

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse:
Jeremiah 17:7 Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord.

 

The Power of a Godly Woman…and Man…is found in three simple attributes which must be present in all of us.

 

1. Learn to Lean

Jer. 17:5-6 Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man, And makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the Lord. 6For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, And shall not see when good comes, But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, In a salt land which isnot inhabited.”

  • Learn to lean on God as the source of everything
  • When we attempt to navigate life in our own power, wisdom and strength…we will always fail

 

2 Cor. 12:9-10 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 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.

 

2. Lean to Lead

Jer. 17:7-8 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord. 8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.

  • Dependence on God is the key ingredient needed if we desire to lead others
  • Without a firm foundation, rooted in Him, we will falter and fail

 

Psalm 62:5-7 My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation isfrom Him. 6He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. 7In God is my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, And my refuge, is in God.

 

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

 

3. Lead in Love

Jer. 17:9-10 “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? 10I, the Lord, search the heart, test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.

 

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

  • Every mom, every dad, is a leader
  • How you lead will determine your child’s future
  • Everyone else, is also a leader, so what will you do with it?

 

Three Leadership Imperatives

 

  1. Leadership requires love
  2. Leadership requires recognition
  3. Leadership requires appreciation

Acorns and Oak Trees 

2020-05-03

Charles Billingsley

Acorns – inside each one is a small seed that carries all the DNA or chemical make up required to become a giant oak tree.  

Each acorn that falls to the ground is up against a lot in order to succeed.   It must end up in the right spot..where it can receive sunlight and rain.  It must be shielded or somehow passed over by squirrels and chipmunks and various other critters that feed off its protein.   it must be given time to germinate.  

If all this happens, then the acorn might just begin to grow into an oak tree. 

But in order for it to grow upward and outward, it must grow downward.   The first thing that happens in an acorn is that the seed begins to grow a taproot deep down into the soil.  Only after this, will a tiny green shoot grow upward above the soil.   Finally, after about 4-5 years, if it is somehow able to avoid the many dangers of animals and storms and flooding, then it will grow into a small little tree known as a sapling.  And eventually, through the years, that sapling matures into an oak tree. 

Oak trees are know as a symbol of strength, sturdiness, beauty and toughness.  

It is on record that some oak trees, especially the red oak in the north, can live upwards of 1,000 years.  

And they can be huge.  One oak tree in Poland measured over 43 meters around its base.  

Oak trees are a picture of steadiness in an restless and ever-changing world.  

Some of us are still in the acorn phase.  We may have said a prayer, or surrendered our heart to Jesus at some point, but for some reason, we’ve never gone any deeper.  No taproots have formed, and we are still just an acorn laying on the ground….useless, exposed, weak, and thrown about by the ever changing winds of culture…at high risk of being destroyed by the evil one, or swayed by public opinion, or tossed about by whatever new distraction comes our way.   

Matthew 16:24  

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” 

This is no small call.  And it certainly doesn’t sound like Jesus expects us to remain acorns.  

At some point, as believers, we must begin to grow.  A taproot must begin to form.  And, having been in church my whole life, it is my estimation, that most church goers are either still in the acorn phase, or you have grown enough to become a sapling.  But where are all the oaks?    Oh every church has them.  That person of faith…many times an elderly person, but it doesnt have to be.  I thing of little Nathan Norman.   Just  13  years old.  He’s battled cancer for most of his life. But because of all he’s been through, he’s a giant of the faith.  I think of Benji Nasser, who just went home to be with the Lord.  He was an oak….a strong and steady believer who inspired thousands with His genuine love for Christ.  

1. Life is fragile 

We’ve all seen how in just a few weeks time we can go from riding high in the stock market, everything cooking on all cylinders, to total devastation.   It’s amazing the transformation we have undergone as a nation and as a world in just 6 weeks.  Shocking.   

And it is a reminder to us all….life is fragile. It is tissue-paper thin.  Things can turn on a dime.  Are we prepared?  

when my doctor told me how bad my blood tests were and how if i wasn’t in decent shape I’d be dead right now…it was a wake-up call to me that my life is truly fragile.  

James 4:13-14

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.

We do not know what tomorrow holds.  But thankfully, we know who holds our tomorrow.  That brings me to my second lesson.  

2. Faith is essential

I asked this question in an earlier message:  When Fear comes knocking at your door, will Faith answer?  

What is faith?  

Heb.11:1 reminds us that it is the substance or the assurance of things hoped for.    But faith is also the evidence of things unseen.  I don’t see it.  I don’t feel it.  But faith is the confidence and the assurance that I WILL see it in due time.  

 

God reminded me of how faith works in all of this.  

God showed me once again, that my faith has a long ways to go. 

Just like an oak tree, faith takes time to grow.  

3. Fear is not an option  

365 times in scripture we are told….do not fear. 

 And it is in His perfect presence that we find perfect peace which allows us to rest in His perfect plan.  

And when you are at rest…you are not in fear. 

His power is perfect in our weakness.  

Anxiety and worry keep us from hearing God. 

Why do we worry? 

Quite simply, because We are focused on the wrong authority. We are in effect saying, “God I’m not sure you are capable of handling this.”

So one thing I began to do, was read Phil. 4:6-7 over and over again.   

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 

One of the cures for worry and anxiety is thankfulness!

It’s amazing, but when we begin to truly just live a live of thanksgiving, it will take your mind off of the negative situation you are in and place you in a positive mindset so you can overcome.  This leads to the peace of God which passes ALL understanding.  No words can describe it.  And this peace places a shield of protection around your heart and your mind through Jesus Christ.  

It was the peace of God and HIs sustaining grace that kept my mind at peace through those 24 days. But when I began to worship the Lord with thanksgiving, He brought me peace that passes all understanding.  

John 14:27 

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 

So…

Life is fragile

Faith is essential

Fear is not an option

and lastly…..

4. No matter what – keep your eyes on Jesus

  

James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Hebrews 12:11 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 12:1-2   Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking 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.

Keep your eyes on Jesus – the author – He is writing your story.  Yes there may be some rough chapters, yes there will be some challenges, some which may seem insurmountable .  Yes there will be many difficult and dark days.  But keep your eyes on Jesus.   He is chastening you and molding you to turn you from an acorn into an oak tree.   He is pushing you to grow up and become a man or a woman of God.  And He is the finisher of your Faith. 

Jesus sees in every acorn, a potential oak tree!!

And as the Author OF YOUR STORY and Finisher of YOUR faith….He is standing in your corner and exhorting you….”LOOK AT ME!   

LISTEN TO ME!  FOLLOW ME!!!!  TRUST ME!   

YOU CAN DO IT! YOU CAN DO IT !!   YOU CAN DO IT!!!!”

And You Shall…

2020-04-26

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Acts 1:8a But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me…

 

Last week, we spent time studying the last words of Jesus on this earth…and the last words of Jesus in the Bible. Those statements gave us two distinct thoughts: 1)We must go and tell, and 2) Jesus is coming soon. Today, I want to build off of those thoughts and personalize His statements to us all.

The one clear thought He gave is this:  AND YOU SHALL!

1. Jesus commanded it

Acts 1:8a But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me…

  • Our call to tell people about Jesus is not a suggestion, it is a directive
  • We don’t have the option of sharing our faith only when convenient or comfortable

2. Jesus taught it

Matthew 4:19 Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

  • Jesus clearly lived His life as an example of “following”
  • If we will spend time studying the life of Christ we will learn how to reach the world for Christ
  • Biblical illiteracy is the reason we have not seen revival

 

3. The world needs it

Matthew 9:37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly isplentiful, but the laborers arefew.”

  • The world is in trouble, not just because of a disease, the world is in trouble because of sin
  • But, the world is ready for a new day. The only question is “will we be faithful?”

Matthew 24:9-12 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.

 

4. You can do it

Matthew 24:14a And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations…

 

1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always beready to givea defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;

 

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

 

  • The good news is God will give you everything you need to reach others for Him
  • Fear is how Satan keeps us from being obedient
  • Now is the greatest time to reach the world!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Famous Last Words: Never Alone

2020-04-19

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse:  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.

 

Today we conclude our look at the “Famous Last Words” of Jesus during His time here on earth. The words we’ve studied to this point were all statements made from the cross, but today we shift to two final statements. Statements made as he left this earth and as He promised to return soon. These statements give us hope, challenge and encouragement. Honestly, there’s never been a better time for us to be reminded of these words.

 

1. Fear Not

Matt. 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”

  • We are told at least 365 times in the Bible to “Fear Not”
  • While those words are often repeated, it is only possible when look at this command from Christ through the lens of Matt. 28:18
  • Christ has been give ALL authority

 

2. Make A Difference

Matt. 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

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.”

Mark 16:15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”

  • In other words, make a difference until I return
  • How do we make a difference? Through the Gospel

3. Do The Right Thing

Matt. 28:20a teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you;

  • Jesus made it clear we have an obligation to obey
  • James 4:17 tells us it is sin to not obey
  • John 14:15 “If you love me, keep my commandments”

4. You’re Not Alone

Matt. 28:20b …and lo, I am with you always, evento the end of the age.” Amen.

  • Isn’t it encouraging to know the same Jesus who stated in verse 18 He has all authority went on to tell us in verse 20 “I will be with you always”

…And, you’ll never be alone!

 

Revelation 22:20-21 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! 21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ bewith you all. Amen.

 

 

 

 

Easter Sunday: He Lives!

2020-04-12

 

A continuation of His Purpose that we discussed last Sunday. His purpose was two-fold. The first part of the purpose was to die for our sins, the second part was to rise from the grave!

 

HE LIVES!

 

The purpose in His death was to give purpose for our lives; the purpose in his resurrection was to give us hope within our death.

 

1. His work was accomplished

John 19:28a After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished…

 

2. The Scriptures proven

John 19:28b … that the Scripture might be fulfilled…

 

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

 

3. His love displayed

John 19:30b … He said, “It is finished!”…

  • Rev 16:17-18 “It is finished”

 

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

 

4. His power confirmed

John 19:30c … And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

  • Jesus was always fully in control
  • Nothing had been taken from, everything had been done according to His will and His power. He willingly gave!

 

John 10:17-18a “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself…

 

5. His promise fulfilled

John 10:18b …I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”

 

2 Corinthians 5:15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again

 

1 Corintians 15:3-4 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures

 

1 Thess. 4:14 For if we believe…

 

Hebrews 10:9-10 then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. 10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

 

ONCE FOR ALL. JESUS DIED ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES AND HE WAS BURIED AND HE ROSE AGAIN ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES!

 

AND HE DID THIS FOR YOU!

 

The Will of God was to reconcile YOU TO HIMSELF

 

Famous Last Words, Pt 2

2020-04-05

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

 

Key Verse: 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.

 

We continue to look at the “famous last words” of Jesus as He hung on the cross. Last week we examined the statements of forgiveness, hope and comfort. Today we’ll look at the statements which point to His pain, His humanity and His purpose. Jesus came for a reason and as we begin this Passion week leading up to Easter, we must never forget the great hope Jesus brings.

 

 

1. His Pain

Matthew 27:45-46 Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

  • This darkness cannot be attributed to anything other than a supernatural occurrence which signified “creation’s awareness of its creator’s death”
  • Just before His death, He cried out to His Father for He now experienced the great pain of our sin
  • His statement is a reflection of Psalm 22:1
    • Psalm 22:1 MyGod, My God, why have You forsaken Me?
      Why are You so far from helping Me,
      And from the words of My groaning?
  • Jesus Himself had questioned this path He was taking
    • John 12:27 “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’?But for this purpose I came to this hour.

2. His Humanity

John 19:28-29 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” 29 Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put iton hyssop, and put itto His mouth.

  • The deity of Christ was never in question, but this does underscore the hypostatic union: the dual nature of Christ as both God and man
  • His statement is a reflection of Psalm 69:21
    • Psalm 69:21 They also gave me gall for my food,And for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
  • This “sour wine” referred to here was a bitter mix of cheap wine and vinegar which would cause the throat muscles to contract restricting the ability cry out in pain

3. His Purpose

Luke 23:45-46 Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 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.

  • Again, the darkness was a supernatural event signifying when the Light of the World is absent, there can be no light at all
  • A world that rejects God’s Son must expect signs that God has rejected the sinful world.[1]
  • The veil was ripped indicating there would be no more separation between God and man
  • Then Jesus clearly gave us the picture of the promise of death; the God-Man reminds us even in death, God is still in control

 

Christ’s purpose was that of salvation. While He had accomplished much during His time on earth as it relates to doctrine, service, example, teaching…it was for the salvation of mankind that He came.

 

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]Butler, T. C. (2000). Luke(Vol. 3, p. 396). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

Famous Last Words, Pt. 1

2020-03-29

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Today, we are beginning to move towards the greatest day in the history of mankind, Easter, by looking at the statements Jesus made as He hung on the cross. These statements give us a beautiful portrait of the heart of Jesus and the plan He had for all of us. Let’s look at these statements, not only for what they meant to those in that time, but for what they continue to mean for us.

 

1. Forgiveness

Luke 23:32-34 There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. 33 And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. 34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

  1. To think, Jesus’ concern at this moment was not about His pain, it was about His people
  2. This plea for forgiveness was for the very people who were currently nailing Him to the cross, and everyone else
  3. “The prayer is answered by his death, which brings the forgiveness of sins[1]

 

2. Hope

Luke 23:39-43 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” 40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” 43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

  1. One criminal dismissed Jesus, one believed
  2. Notice the second criminal used the word “when” and Jesus used the word “today” – clearly an encouragement Jesus gave for when we die
  3. This is the epitome of hope, Jesus promises His presence for eternity

 

3. Comfort

John 19:25-27 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wifeof Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” 27 Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.

  1. In the last moments of Jesus’ life, His concern was to care for others
  2. It shows the constant state of the heart of God is absolute love
  3. Jesus stated in Matthew 20:28 – “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
  4. Jesus’ concern for His mother at this moment is a clear statement of His desire to serve
  5. The real meaning of this episode is that Jesus was caring for his mother and thus fulfilling the Old Testament commandment to “honor thy father and thy mother”(Exod. 20:12) (Boice, V, p. 212).[2]

 

It is telling that Jesus uttered words from the cross that continued to provide forgiveness, hope and comfort to those witnessing this horrific event, as well as for those of us experiencing our own challenges and traumas today. Everything Jesus did was to bring us the forgiveness we need, the hope we crave, and the comfort we long for. Let Him do the same for you today.

 

 

 

[1]Stein, R. H. (1992). Luke(Vol. 24, p. 589). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[2]Gangel, K. O. (2000). John(Vol. 4, p. 351). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

Lessons from the Belly of the Whale

2020-03-22

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key verse: Jonah 2:9 But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise, and I will fulfill all my vows. For my salvation comes from the Lord alone.

These are interesting days. Days of uncertainty, fear and isolation. Today I want to spend a little time talking about the man who faced the most difficult quarantine in the history of mankind. If you think you feel isolated, this guy had it far worse.

The story of Jonah is one that is extremely relevant for us today.

Jonah 1:17 Now the Lord had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights.

T. Kendall says it well: “The belly of the fish is not a happy place to live, but it is a good place to learn.”

Jonah 2:1-10 Then Jonah prayed to the Lordhis God from inside the fish. 2 He said, “I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble, and he answered me. I called to you from the land of the dead, and Lord, you heard me! 3 You threw me into the ocean depths, and I sank down to the heart of the sea. The mighty waters engulfed me; I was buried beneath your wild and stormy waves. 4 Then I said, ‘O Lord, you have driven me from your presence. Yet I will look once more toward your holy Temple.’ 5 “I sank beneath the waves, and the waters closed over me. Seaweed wrapped itself around my head. 6 I sank down to the very roots of the mountains. I was imprisoned in the earth, whose gates lock shut forever. But you, O Lord my God, snatched me from the jaws of death! 7 As my life was slipping away, I remembered the Lord. And my earnest prayer went out to you in your holy Temple. 8 Those who worship false gods turn their backs on all God’s mercies. 9 But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise, and I will fulfill all my vows. For my salvation comes from the Lord alone.” 10 Then the Lord ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach.

1. Crying out to God is more important than crying about our circumstances

Vs 2 He said, “I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble, and he answered me. I called to you from the land of the dead, and Lord, you heard me!

  • Fear and self-pity will never provide the help we need
  • Focusing on the surroundings rather than God will leave us fearful, empty and without hope
  • No matter how isolated you may feel, God is never far away. He is always listening, responding and acting.

2. Focusing on His promises is more important than focusing on our problems

Vss 3-4 You threw me into the ocean depths, and I sank down to the heart of the sea. The mighty waters engulfed me; I was buried beneath your wild and stormy waves. 4 Then I said, ‘O Lord, you have driven me from your presence. Yet I will look once more toward your holy Temple.’

  • Jonah knew that trusting God in this moment was His only hope

3. Worshipping our Master is more important that worrying about our mess

Vss 5-7 “I sank beneath the waves, and the waters closed over me. Seaweed wrapped itself around my head. 6 I sank down to the very roots of the mountains. I was imprisoned in the earth, whose gates lock shut forever. But you, O Lord my God, snatched me from the jaws of death! 7 As my life was slipping away, I remembered the Lord. And my earnest prayer went out to you in your holy Temple.

  • Worship in the midst of our worst days is more meaningful than worship in the midst of our best days
  • Jonah remembered the Lord when common sense would have told him, “You’re Done!”

4. Our crisis is never greater than our God

Vs 9 But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise, and I will fulfill all my vows. For my salvation comes from the Lord alone.”

  • No matter what you’re going through, our salvation comes from Him ALONE!
  • No matter how bad it is, it’s not too much for Him to handle
    • Jeremiah 32:27 “I am the LORD, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me?”

VS 10 Then the Lord ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach.

Today is full of uncertainty and the opportunity for fear. Never forget, the same God who commanded a great fish to swallow a man whole, and then to spit him out again three days later unharmed, is the same God who has you in His grip!

Amos, Obadiah, Jonah(Vol. 19B, p. 241). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

Living the Dash

2020-03-15

Charles Billingsley

Hebrews 9:27

“It is appointed once to die, but after this the judgement.”

 

Romans 3:23

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

and “the wages of sin is death.”

 

The Wake 

 

Two sides to every wake:

1. Tasks 

2. Relationships 

 

We live life looking forward, but we understand life looking backward. 

 

I. Living the Dash – through the waiting  

 

John 11:1-7;

1 Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. 3 Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.”

4 When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

5 Now Jesus loved Martha and 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 this He said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.”

 

John 11:17

17 So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days.

 

John 11:18-20

18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles away. 19 And many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.

20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house. 21 Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.”

 

 

 

 

John 11:32

32 Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”

1. Keep your eyes on the Big Picture

 

The life of unbelief places our circumstances between ourselves and God.

The life of faith places God between ourselves and our circumstances 

 

2 Corinthians – 5:7 – “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

2. Keep your faith in His blessed Promises

You might be waiting, but that doesn’t mean God isn’t moving.

3. Keep your heart tuned into His beautiful presence.  

Always remember: God works in the space of the entire dash, not just a sliver of it.

 

John 11:21-22

21 Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.”

 

Hebrews 13:5 – “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

 

God doesn’t have mixed feelings toward you. 

Psalms 27:14

“Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!”

 

As you move through your dash, Wait on the Lord, and you will eventually discover His impeccable plan. 

 

II.  Living the Dash – through the weeping

 

1. The Lord understands your pain  –      

Psalm 34.17-18
“The righteous call to the LORD, and he listens; he rescues them from all their troubles. The LORD is near to those who are discouraged; he saves those who have lost all hope.”

John 11:33-35

33 Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. 34 And He said, “Where have you laid him?”

They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.”

35 Jesus wept.

 

Psalm 31:7

I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy,

For You have considered my trouble;

You have known my soul in adversities

 

Hebrews 4:15

“We do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses”

2. Joy comes in the morning 

Psalms 30:5

“…weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”

 

Isaiah 43:2

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.

When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.”

 

Psalms 23:4

“though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.”

 

III.  Living the Dash – through the watching 

 

John 11:38-40

38 Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”

Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.”

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

 

This verse carries two of those themes.

 

First: Belief

 

Hebrews 11:1

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things NOT seen. “

 

Second: The Glory of God

 

God’s glory is the fleshing out of His presence, His power, and His perfection.

 

Our engaged obedience and sensitivity to all that is going on around us often plays a key role in the supernatural handiwork of God.  

 

Every life that is changed by the grace of God is a testimony to the glory of God. 

 

So we see that:

 1. Through the waiting, we discover His impeccable plan. 

 2. Through the weeping we find His incredible peace

 3. Through the watching we see His immeasurable power.

 

IV. Living the Dash – through the wonder

 

John 11:41-44a

41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 And  I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” 44 And he who had died came out

 

Colossians 1:16

All things were created through Him and FOR Him.

 

As we move through our dash, If you live for Him…we discover the wonder of worship and His intimate presence.

 

John 11:44

And he who had died came out – bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”

 

The lifestyle of worship is a perpetual celebration over the freedom and forgiveness God has given you.   

 

James 4:14

Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.

 

 

 

2 Corinthians 5:17

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

 

John 11:25-26

25 Jesus said to her (Martha), “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

 

Let Him show you His plan in your waiting. 

Let Him show you His Peace in your weeping.

Let Him show you His power in your watching

Let Him show you His presence in your worship. 

 

A Changed Life

2020-03-08

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key verse: Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men

As we discussed last week, our salvation is not a “one and done” transaction with God, it is a life-changing, life-altering decision which should guide you for the rest of your days. The greatest hindrance to allowing this decision to not only change our eternity but also to change the here and now is how we value this gift.

Titus 2:11-15 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself Hisown special people, zealous for good works. 15 Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.

 

1. We are saved by the grace of God

Vs 11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men

 

Eph 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it isthe gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast

  • Salvation is an undeserved gift
  • How do you value this gift?

 

2. Which should affect the way we live and act

Vs 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,

  • Is your status as redeemed altering your actions?

 

3. As we wait for the great promise

Vs 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

  • What we are waiting for is far greater than you can imagine

 

 

4. Because He has changed us for a reason

Vs 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself Hisown special people, zealous for good works.

 

Vs 14 (NLT) He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.

  • Our Father changed us so we could be more like Him

 

5. So we can change the world through Him

Vs 15 Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.

  • So what do we speak to a world that is running from truth?

Titus 3:1-7 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

 

The Best Job With The Best Pay

2020-03-01 

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Titus 1:1-4a (NKJV) Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior; To Titus, a true son inourcommon faith…

 

Titus 1:1-4a (NLT) This letter is from Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. I have been sent to proclaim faith to those God has chosen and to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live godly lives. This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—promised them before the world began. And now at just the right time he has revealed this message, which we announce to everyone. It is by the command of God our Savior that I have been entrusted with this work for him. I am writing to Titus, my true son in the faith that we share.

The message of the Gospel is the single most important element of the Christian’s life. It is not a
“one and done” transaction with God, it is a life-changing, life-altering decision which should guide you for the rest of your days. The hope of the Gospel is absolute, the spread of the Gospel is up to us.

1. We don’t have a choice

Vs 1 – …a bondservant of God/a slave of God

  • Greek word – doulos= one who is a slave in the sense of becoming the property of an owner
  • Paul recognized his faithfulness to the Gospel and to the giver of the Gospel was not an option, it was required

2. Not just to know truth, but to live truth

Vs 1b – …according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness

Vs 1b (NLT) – …teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live godly lives.

  • This is a picture of our own spiritual growth: faith, knowledge, godliness
  • When we come to Christ, we are not simply given a key to Heaven, we are given the duty of representing Heaven here

3. This truth matters

Vs 2 – in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began

  • The promise of the Gospel is an eternal reward, which cannot be removed, lost, or destroyed
  • This is God’s promise

4. It’s our job, It’s our joy

Vs 3 – but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior;

 

Vs 3 (NLT) – It is by the command of God our Savior that I have been entrusted with this work for him.

  • As a result of the truth and the promise of the Gospel, it should be our absolute joy to talk about it

 

5. Given to us all

Vs 4 – To Titus, a true son in ourcommon faith…

  • This was not an exclusive calling only to Paul, it was one that requires us to help others accomplish
  • Titus was a gentile who Paul challenged to be faithful in sharing the Gospel and growing the church…can we be trusted to do the same?

 

 

 

 

God’s Road Is Better Than Ours

2020-02-23

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

 

Key verse: Exodus 13:18a So God led the people around by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea…

 

Exodus 13:17-18a (NKJV) Then it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not lead them byway of the land of the Philistines, although that wasnear; for God said, “Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.” 18 So God led the people around byway of the wilderness of the Red Sea…

 

1. Letting go is better than taking charge

Vs 17b …that God did not lead them byway of the land of the Philistines…

  • The Philistines were lined up on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea on the border of Egypt
  • They were a daunting military force which Israel would not have been prepared for at that time
  • God had a very specific process for the Israelites as they begin this victory story

 

2. The easy way is not always the best way

Vs 17c …although that wasnear…

 

Vs 17c (NLT) even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land.

  • The easiest and fastest route from Egypt to the Promised Land was the Via Maris which was the coastal road that was a fairly direct path
  • The Via Maris would have led directly through the Philistine territory at a time when the Philistines were planning to expand their dominance
  • The Philistines would have most certainly attacked a strange people walking through their territory
  • And, the Israelites would not have been prepared for battle. In fact, at this time, it is likely they had few if any weapons with them.

 

3. God sees our potential weakness even when we don’t

Vs 17d  …for God said, “Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.”

  • God knew the Israelites would have been attacked and destroyed
  • God knew the mental state of the Israelites would have led to a hasty retreat running back to what they knew, not what was best for them
  • So why wouldn’t God just destroy the Philistines for them as He had done with the Egyptians when crossing the Red Sea?

 

4. God leads us on the path that will lead to His best, not our wants

Vs 18a So God led the people around byway of the wilderness of the Red Sea…

 

Vs 18a (NLT) So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea.

  • God knew the Israelites had much growing to do in order to fully trust Him and become the people He wanted them to be
  • Had He led them directly into the Promised Land without the wilderness experience, it is likely the Israelites would never have become as fully dependent on Him as they could have
  • The narratives found in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy and Joshua clearly show a people needing to follow God’s path, not their own

 

 

 

The Truth That Sets You Free

2020-02-16

Phil Waldrep

“The Truth That Sets You Free”

Psalm 41:9 ESV

“Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.”

• Forgiveness frees me forever.

• Forgiveness frees me from the person who betrayed me.

• Forgiveness frees me from the pursuit of my betrayer.

• Forgiveness frees me from the pain of my betrayal.

Psalm 27: Afraid and Alone?

2020-02-09

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key verse: Psalm 27:13 I would have lost heart,unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the LordIn the land of the living.

 

1 Samuel 21:1 Now David came to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest. And Ahimelech was afraid when he met David, and said to him, “Why areyou alone, and no one is with you?”

1 Samuel 21: 10 Then David arose and fled that day from before Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath. 11 And the servants of Achish said to him, “Isthis not David the king of the land? Did they not sing of him to one another in dances, saying: ‘Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands’?” 12 Now David took these words to heart, and was very much afraid of Achish the king of Gath. 13 So he changed his behavior before them, pretended madness in their hands, scratched on the doors of the gate, and let his saliva fall down on his beard. 14 Then Achish said to his servants, “Look, you see the man is insane.

 

1. Feeling alone is a common condition (vss 1-3a)

Psalm 27: 1 The Lordismy light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lordisthe strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? 2When the wicked came against me To eat up my flesh, My enemies and foes, They stumbled and fell. 3Though an army may encamp against me, My heart shall not fear;

 

2. Feeling alone should not shake your confidence in God (vss 3b-5)

3b Though war may rise against me, In this I will beconfident. 4One thingI have desired of the Lord, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LordAll the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in His temple. 5For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.

 

3. Trusting God in our trouble is the first step towards victory (vss 6-7)

6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord. 7Hear, O Lord, whenI cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.

 

4. Trusting God requires seeking God (vss 8-9)

8 When You said,“Seek My face,” My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.” 9Do not hide Your face from me; Do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; Do not leave me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation.

 

5. When all else fails, trust Him (vss 10-14)

10 When my father and my mother forsake me, Then the Lordwill take care of me. 11Teach me Your way, O Lord, And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies. 12Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries; For false witnesses have risen against me, And such as breathe out violence. 13I would have lost heart,unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the LordIn the land of the living. 14Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!

 

SO MUCH MORE: Reaching Beyond Our Grasp

2020-02-02

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

 

Key Verse: Ephesians 3:20 (NLT) Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think

 

We all have a responsibility to reach beyond our grasp when it comes to the Gospel. God has entrusted us with a great calling and great opportunity to reach this world for Christ. If we are going to see God do infinitely more in the days ahead, we must be faithful in carrying this message outside of our comfort zone.

 

1 Corinthians 9:16 Yet preaching the Good News is not something I can boast about. I am compelled by God to do it. How terrible for me if I didn’t preach the Good News!

 

Matthew 4:19 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!”

 

The Importance of Reaching

 

1. It is COMMANDED BY GOD

Mark 16:15-16 And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.16 Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned

 

2. It is GOD’S PLAN FOR US ALL

2 Peter 3:9 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

 

3. His love COMPELS US

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. 15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them

 

4. The world NEEDS JESUS

Ephesians 2:1-3 Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.

 

 

5. Time is SHORT

Matthew 24:36 However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows

 

Reasons Why We Don’t Reach

 

1. We don’t know the GOSPEL OURSELVES

 

2. We don’t care where people spend eternity

Hebrews 9:27 And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment

 

3. Weworry about what THEY MIGHT THINK

 

Let’s Remember the Gospel

 

1. God is our LOVING CREATOR

John 1:1-5 In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

 

2. His creation IS FULL OF SIN

Romans 3:23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.

 

3. Jesus paid FOR OUR SINS

Romans 3:24 Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins

 

John 3:16 For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life

 

4. We receive this payment THROUGH FAITH IN CHRIST

Romans 3:25a For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood…

 

5. The result of our faith isETERNAL LIFE THROUGH CHRIST OUR LORD

Romans 3:25b-26 This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus

 

SO MUCH MORE: Being Faithful

January 26, 2020

 

Key Verse: Ephesians 3:20 (NLT) Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

 

1 Timothy 6:17-19 Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. 18 Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. 19 By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.

 

The Struggle to be Faithful

 

1. GREED – We all know people who are greedy, we just THINK WE DON’T STRUGGLE OURSELVES

 

Vs 17a Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable.

 

2. DOUBT – Can God really TAKE CARE OF ALL OF MY NEEDS?

 

Vs 17b Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.

 

Philippians 4:19 And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

 

3. COMFORT– We think WE’VE DONE ENOUGH OR FOCUS ON SELF

 

Vs 18-19 Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. 19 By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.

 

Our RESPONSIBILITYto be Faithful

 

1 Corinthians 4:2 Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful

 

1. It all BELONGS TO GOD

Psalm 89:11The heavens are yours; and the earth is yours; everything in the world is yours – you created it all.

 

James 1:17-18 Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. 18 He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession

 

a. WE belong to God

 

b. OUR STUFF belongs to God

 

c. OUR HOPE comes from God

 

2. Our response to God

2 Corinthians 9:7-9 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. As the Scriptures say, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”

 

a. Give ABUNDANTLY

1 Peter 4:10 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.

 

b. Give REGULARLY

2 Cor. 9:7a You must each decide in your heart how much to give.

 

c. Give JOYFULLY

2

2 Corinthians 9:7-9  NLT

Cor. 9:7b …For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.

 

 

Our ACCOUNTABILITYin being Faithful

 

Romans 14:12 Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God

 

1. We are accountable to OURSELVES

 

2. We are accountable for OURPOSSESSIONS

 

3. We are accountable for OUR TIME

 

4. We are accountable for OUR GIFTS

 

SO MUCH MORE: The Heart of Gratitude

2020-01-19

Key Verse: Ephesians 3:20 (NLT) Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power

at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

“Whatever you don’t turn into praise turns into pride.”

– Mark Batterson

The Struggle to be Grateful:

1. We live entitled lives. “I DESERVE THIS AND MORE”

2. We live discontented lives. “IF I ONLY HAD MORE…”

3. We live jealous lives. “THEY DON’T DESERVE THAT”

Living with Gratitude

Luke 17:11-19 (NLT) As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between

Galilee and Samaria. 12 As he entered a village there, ten men with leprosy stood at a distance,

13 crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14 He looked at them and said, “Go show

yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy. 15 One of them,

when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” 16 He fell to the

ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus

asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give glory to

God except this foreigner?” 19 And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has

healed you.”

“It’s not happy people who are grateful; it’s grateful people who are happy”

– Craig Groeschel

Turn every blessing into praise

1. Praise God for your NEW POSITION

Vs 15 One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting,

“Praise God!”

Vs 18 Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?”

– Recognize the MASSIVE DIFFERENCE GOD HAS MADE IN YOUR LIFE

– Recognize WHERE YOU WOULD BE IF IT WERE NOT FOR HIM

2. Praise God for HIS PROVISIONS

Vs 16 He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man

was a Samaritan.

– Our joy in life is never based on our CIRCUMSTANCES

3. Praise God for THE POSSIBILITY FOR IMPACT

Vs 19 And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.”

– Be a blessing in SOMEONE ELSE’S LIFE

– We show our thanks to God by WORSHIPPING HIM AND SERVING OTHERS

God wants to fulfill his plan through you and that is always dependent on our Gratitude. God’s

will is to use His children to reach the world through the Gospel. His will can be easily thwarted

by the ingratitude of those same children.

So, our response?

2 Chronicles 16:9-13 Sing to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.

10 Exult in his holy name; rejoice, you who worship the LORD. 11 Search for the LORD and for his

strength; continually seek him. 12 Remember the wonders he has performed, his miracles, and the

rulings he has given, 13 you children of his servant Israel, you descendants of Jacob, his chosen

ones.

Thank God Always.

1. For what GOD HAS DONE

Vs 9b …Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds…

2. For God IS OUR REWARD

Vs 10 Exult in his holy name; rejoice, you who worship the LORD

3. For GOD IS OUR GOD AND HE WILL NEVER CHANGE

vs 11 Search for the LORD and for his strength; continually seek him…

4. For GOD SAVED US FOREVER

Vs12a Remember the wonders he has performed, his miracles

“The beginning of a man’s rebellion against God was, and is, the lack of a thankful heart.”

– Francis Schaeffer

SO MUCH MORE: Conversations and Commitments

2020-01-12

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Ephesians 3:20 (NLT) Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

 

In order to see God accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think, we actually need to ASK AND THINK!

 

Today, we’re going to focus on the importance and power of prayer and fasting in our lives.  There are some important truths about prayer as it relates to our relationship with God.

 

Prayer is the reflection of our relationship with God.

 

1. A relationship between THE CREATOR AND HIS CREATION

 

2. A relationship between the KING AND HIS SUBJECTS

 

3. A relationship between a FATHER AND HIS SON

 

Mark 9:14-29 When they returned to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd surrounding them, and some teachers of religious law were arguing with them. 15 When the crowd saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with awe, and they ran to greet him. 16 “What is all this arguing about?” Jesus asked. 17 One of the men in the crowd spoke up and said, “Teacher, I brought my son so you could heal him. He is possessed by an evil spirit that won’t let him talk. 18 And whenever this spirit seizes him, it throws him violently to the ground. Then he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn’t do it.” 19 Jesus said to them, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” 20 So they brought the boy. But when the evil spirit saw Jesus, it threw the child into a violent convulsion, and he fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth. 21 “How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father. He replied, “Since he was a little boy. 22 The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.” 23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” 24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” 25 When Jesus saw that the crowd of onlookers was growing, he rebuked the evil spirit. “Listen, you spirit that makes this boy unable to hear and speak,” he said. “I command you to come out of this child and never enter him again!” 26 Then the spirit screamed and threw the boy into another violent convulsion and left him. The boy appeared to be dead. A murmur ran through the crowd as people said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him to his feet, and he stood up. 28 Afterward, when Jesus was alone in the house with his disciples, they asked him, “Why couldn’t we cast out that evil spirit?” 29 Jesus replied, “This kind can be cast out only by prayer.”

 

In our lives today, we should all be looking for the “infinitely more”that only God can accomplish. So why is it we miss out so often on God’s “more?”

1. Our LACK OF FAITH

Mark 9:19a Jesus said to them, “You faithless people!…

 

2. Our LACK OF COMMITMENT

 

3. Our LACK OF ASKING

Mark 9:29 Jesus replied, “This kind can be cast out only by prayer.”

 

Mark 9:29 (NKJV) So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”

 

“Prayer CONNECTSus to the Father while fasting DISCONNECTS us from the world”

– Chris Hodges

 

Fasting is more about REPLACING than it is about ABSTAINING.”

– Gary Rohrmayer

 

In the Bible, God’s people fasted before a major victory, miracle, or answer to prayer:

 

SEEKING MIRACLES: 2 Samuel 12:16 David begged God to spare the child. He went without food and lay all night on the bare ground.

 

SEEKING REPENTANCE: 1 Samuel 7:6So they gathered at Mizpah and, in a great ceremony, drew water from a well and poured it out before the Lord. They also went without food all day and confessed that they had sinned against the Lord. (It was at Mizpah that Samuel became Israel’s judge.)

 

MAKING DECISIONS:Acts 13:2-3 One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Appoint Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them.” So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid their hands on them and sent them on their way.

 

Why Prayer and Fasting Matters

 

1. We rely onHIS STRENGTH

 

2. We FOCUS ON THE ETERNAL

 

3. We REPENT OF OUR SINS

 

4. We RECEIVE THE DIRECTION WE NEED

 

How to Pray:

Philippians 4:6 — Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

 

  • Tell Him WHAT YOU NEED

 

  • Thank Him FOR ALL HE HAS DONE

 

How to Fast:

 

1. Set a REALISTIC GOAL

 

2. Determine THE SCOPE OF YOUR FASTING

 

3. Make it about YOUR HEART

 

4. Focus on WHAT YOU HAVE TO GAIN RATHER THAN WHAT MIGHT MISS

 

SO MUCH MORE: A Walk In The Word

2020-01-05

Charles Billingsley

Key Verse: Ephesians 3:20 (NLT) Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

 

“The more you read the Bible; and the more you meditate on it, the more you will be astonished with it.” – Charles Spurgeon

 

2 Timothy 3:16-17 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.

 

Key thought: Physical growth is automatic. Spiritual growth is a choice. Until we get in God’s Word, we will never know the MORE God has in STORE!

 

The Importance of God’s Word

 

1. You can TRUST THE WORD OF GOD

Vs 16a All Scripture is inspired by God…

 

2. It NEVER CHANGES

Vs 16b …and is useful to teach us what is true…

 

3. It will always CHANGE YOU

vs 16c – 17 …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.

 

The Power of God’s Word

 

1. It is our WEAPON AGAINST SATAN’S ATTACKS AND LIES

Ephesians 6:12 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.

 

2. It FEEDS OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST

Matthew 4:4 But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone,  but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

 

3. It keeps us FOCUSED ON ETERNITY

Colossians 3:1-4 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

 

The Integrity of God’s Word

 

1. Jesus Christ IS THE WORD

John 1:1-3 In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God,  and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him.

 

2. The Word is LIVING AND ACTIVE

Hebrews 4:12-13 For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. 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.

 

3. The Word is the ROADMAP OF THE WAY

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.

 

Our Commitment to God’s Word

 

1. We need to HEAR GOD’S WORD

Romans 10:17 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”

 

2. We need to READ GOD’S WORD

Acts 17:11 And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.

 

3. We need to STUDY GOD’S WORD

Joshua 1:8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.

 

4. We need to MEMORIZE GOD’S WORD

Psalm 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

 

5. We need to OBEY GOD’S WORD

James 1:22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.

 

The Most Important Thing

2019-12-29

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

We’ve had an amazing year in 2019. God has blessed in incredible and eternal ways. But we are trusting God for more in 2020. SO MUCH MORE!

Ephesians 3:14-21 (NLT) When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. 20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

 

1. No limit to God’s greatness or God’s goodness

Vss 15-16 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.

  • There is nothing God will hold back from you as it relates to His perfect will and way in your life
  • God will never call us to defeat or failure
  • God will never give us an impossible task
  • The key is making sure our direction is His path!

Jeremiah 32:17 O Sovereign Lord! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you!

 

Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”

 

2. Our contentment is based on our connection

Vs 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.

  • The world is constantly looking for happiness
  • This is only possible through our connection to Him

3. God wants us to trust Him that much

Vs 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.

  • His “covering” goes far beyond our human understanding
  • We attempt to define trusting God in human terms, this never works
  • His ways our not our ways – Isaiah 55:8

4. We will be complete

Vs 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

  • Our completeness in life doesn’t come from outward influences, it comes from within

Ephesians 3:20-21 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

Sing Noel: Joy to the World

2019-12-22
Pastor Jonathan Falwell
Key Verse: Luke 2:11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Today, we’re focusing on the the great Christmas hymn of the faith, Joy To The World…the LORD HAS COME. This song has less to do with the trappings of Christmas and far more to do with God’s plan of salvation. We sing these words during this time of year simply because of our focus on Christ’s birth, but the words of this song paint a picture of God’s redeeming work regardless of the time of year.
The song was first published in 1719 in Watts’ collection The Psalms of David: Imitated in the language of the New Testament, and applied to the Christian state and worship.  It has been a staple of the church, and our faith, ever since because it is a clear doctrinal statement of the Gospel.
Luke 2:13-14 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!
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.
His birth brought joy because:
1. It was certainly from God
Verse 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
• This was a miraculous event
• This was a faith test for Joseph
2. It was exactly what was needed
Verse 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.
• The word will is a promise from God
• Romans 3:23  For all have sinned
3. It was always God’s plan
Verse 22-23 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.
• Prophecy from Isaiah 7:14
• Written around 740 B.C.
• God’s plan was first revealed in Genesis 3:15 (protoevangelium)
Genesis 3:15 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.
4. It was God’s plan from the beginning for all of us
Verse 21b …for He will save His people from their sins.
Isaiah 53:5 But He  waswounded for our transgressions,  He wasbruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace  wasupon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning  Hispromise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
• The birth of Jesus wasn’t an afterthought or a plan B
• God’s plan was always to give us the promise of Heaven through His Son, Jesus
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joy_to_the_World

O Holy Night – The Space Between

2019-12-15

Charles Billingsley

 

We are in the middle of our sermon series entitled “Sing Noel” where we are exploring the powerful messages of a few of our most beloved Christmas Carols.  Each song has a unique story, and today’s hymn, O Holy Night, is very unique, indeed.  The message of O Holy night is a powerful one.  It is full of wonderful, Biblical truths has inspired untold millions through the generations.  Today we will explore the lyrics of this great old song and how it’s poetic lyrics tell the Biblical story of Christ’s birth.

Key Verses:   Colossians 1:15-18

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.  All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.  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 Space Between

1. He is Holy 

O Holy Night – 

Luke 1:35 New King James Version (NKJV)

35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.

The word “Holy” means to be “set apart” – and this night above all nights is certainly set apart!  This night split time in two!  This night is the space between BC and AD.

I think sometimes we forget that this Jesus who was born in a manger, has always been.  He was there when God roamed the expanses of the Heavens.  He was there when God lit the Sun and the stars with just a spoken word….Let there be Light!  And then….That word became flesh….and He was there again…in physical form.

Jesus is the embodiment of holiness itself.

 Colossians 1:15-18

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.  All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.  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.

Jesus is Holy!

Yes!  It was a holy night because the King of Kings left his throne in glory, and Humbled himself before us so that we might see the face of God.

Phil. 2:5-8

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to  the point of death, even the death of the cross.”

Hebrews 7:26-27

26 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He died once for all when He offered up Himself.

 

Phil. 2:9-11

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus is Holy.

And also….

2. He is Here

“Long Lay the world in sin and Error Pining till He appeared!”

Christmas is not about our presents under the tree.  It is about His Presence with us….right now!   

Long lay the world in sin and error pining – till He appeared and the soul felt it’s worth 

What is the soul? 

We all have worth!  We are worth so much to God that He gave His only son to suffer and die on a cross for your sin and mine.

 

He is here – And the more time you spend with Him, the more you discover that He is the one who can fill thespace between who you are now, and who He created you to be.

 

This Christmas, let’s remember that:

1. He is Holy

2. He is Here

and

3. He is Hope!

 

The story of Christmas is filled with hope.

 

A thrill of Hope the song says.  Not hope for just that moment – but hope for eternity!!!

 

Jesus is the light we seek.

Jesus is the help we need.

Jesus is the deliverance we long for.

 

This Hope is thrilling because of the confidence and the salvation that it brings.

 

Romans 15:13 New King James Version (NKJV)

13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit

1 Peter 1:3 New King James Version (NKJV)

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead

 

vs 3 of the carol says:

“Truly He taught us to love one another.

His law is love and His gospel is peace.

Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother

And in His name, all oppression shall cease.”

 

Luke 4:16-21

16 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. 17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me [a]to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are [b]oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

 

So the space between the throes of despair and the thrill of Hope – is Jesus !  

The space between your reality and your expectations can be filled with the hope of Jesus! 

 

Our response to Him should be one of hope-filled worship and praise!

 

Oh that this weary world might some day rejoice in the sweet and precious presence of the Savior  – for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn !

 

He’s Worthy of Our Praise!!

 

Fall on your knees!!!  O hear the angel voices.  O night divine!

 

And let the

Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,

Let all within us praise His holy name.

 

Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,

His power and glory evermore proclaim!!!!

 

O Holy night has had quite a history and it has blessed the hearts of untold millions.  But so much more…infinitely more important ….is the  story from which O holy night is written that truly changes lives.  We could live without the hymn.  We cannot live without Jesus.

 

The Space between your eternal hope and eternal despair is bridged by Jesus – It is bridged by His cross, His blood, His sacrifice, His forgiveness, His peace, His grace, His mercy.

He is Holy.  He is Here.  He is our hope. 

And the story of Christmas, in the space between what happened in a lowly manger over 2000 years ago until this morning in Lynchburg, Va….. in that space screams one big loud message –

 

YOU ARE LOVED!  YOU ARE LOVED!  YOU ARE LOVED!

 

Sing Noel: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

2019-12-08

Scott Bullman

Key Verse:   Luke 2:13-14   And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

 

Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new-born King!
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled.”
Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th’ angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem.”
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new-born King!

 

Christ, by highest heaven adored:
Christ, the everlasting Lord;
Late in time behold him come,
Offspring of the Virgin’s womb
Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see;
Hail, th’incarnate Deity:
Pleased, as man, with men to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel!
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new-born King!

 

Hail! the heaven-born Prince of peace!
Hail! the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Risen with healing in his wings
Mild he lays his glory by,
Born that man no more may die:
Born to raise the son of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new-born King !”

 

 

 

 

THE MESSENGERS – What the Bible teaches about ANGELS:

 

Angels are mentioned 273 times in the Bible…108 times in the Old Testament and 165 times in the New Testament.

 

Angels are CREATED beings.

 

“For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.”   Colossians 1:16 (NIV)

 

Angels are SPIRIT beings.

 

Hemakes His angels spirits,His ministers a flame of fire.”  Psalm 104:4 (NKJV)

 

Angels are INNUMERABLE.

 

Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands…”.  Revelation 5:11 (ESV)

 

Angels have PERSONALITIES.

 

  • Intellect – Ezekiel 28:17
  • Will – Isaiah 14
  • Emotions – Luke 2:13 / 1 Peter 1:12

 

There are RANKS of Angels

 

  • Archangels
  • Cherubim and Seraphim
  • Living creatures – (Revelation)
  • Guardian Angels – Matthew 18:10 / Hebrews 1:14

 

Angels are POWERFUL beings.

 

  • Rolled the stone away – Luke 24
  • Revelation 7, 8, 16

 

Angels are FUNCTIONAL beings.

 

  • They Worship God – “And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,who was and is and is to come!” Revelation 4:8 (ESV)
  • They Observe the People of God – “Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:10 (NKJV)
  • They Protect – “The angel of the Lordencamps all around those who fear Him…anddelivers them.”Psalm 34:7 (NKJV)
  • They Comfort – 1 Kings 19
  • They Inform and Instruct – The Story of the Birth of Christ
    • Zechariah – Luke 1:19
    • Mary – Luke 1:26
    • Joseph – Mt. 1:20 / Mt. 2:13, 19
    • Shepherds – Luke 2:9

 

 

THE MESSAGE – Christ the SAVIOR is Born

 

Mild he lays his glory by

”Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.” Philippians 2:6-7 (NLT)

 

Veiled in flesh the Godhead see

“For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.” Colossians 2:9 (NLT)

 

Pleased as man with men to dwell

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…”  John 1:14 (ESV)

 

“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.”                        2 Corinthians 8:9  (NKJV)

 

God and sinners reconciled

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;that is, in Christ God was reconcilingthe world to himself…” 2 Corinthians 5:17-19

 

Light and life to all he brings

”In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.”  John 1:4 (NKJV)

 

Born that man no more may die

“But we see him (Jesus) who for a little while was made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”  Hebrews 2:9 (ESV)

 

Born to give them second birth

“Jesus replied, I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” John 3:3 (NLT)

The First Noel: A Birthday Like No Other

2019-12-01

Key Verse: Luke 2:11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord

 

Noël is the French word for Christmas and is from the Latin natalis, meaning“birthday.” Most medieval poetry was written to be sung, so it is presumed that the words were written with an existing tune in mind. … ‘The First Nowell‘ was first published in Gilbert’s Some Ancient Christmas Carols in 1823.[1]

 

The first Noel the angel did say
was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay;
in fields where they lay keeping their sheep,
on a cold winter’s night that was so deep.

 

Chorus:
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel,
born is the King of Israel.

 

They looked up and saw a star
shining in the east, beyond them far;
and to the earth it gave great light,
and so it continued both day and night.

And by the light of that same star
three Wise Men came from country far;
to seek for a king was their intent,
and to follow the star wherever it went.

This star drew nigh to the northwest,
o’er Bethlehem it took its rest;
and there it did both stop and stay,
right over the place where Jesus lay.

Then entered in those Wise Men three,
full reverently upon the knee,
and offered there, in his presence,
their gold and myrrh and frankincense.

 

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel,
born is the King of Israel.

 

The announcement of His birth was:

 

1. Delivered to people just like you and me

Luke 2:8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.

 

Matthew 2:1-2a 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, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?

 

2. Confusing and Scary

Luke 2:9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.

 

Matthew 2:3-6 When Herod the king heard this,he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: 6‘Butyou, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;For out of you shall come a RulerWho will shepherd My people Israel.’ 

 

3. Life-Changing

Luke 2:10-11 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

 

Matthew 2:7-8 Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him,bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.

 

4. Miraculous

 

Matthew 2:2b For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”

 

Matthew 2:9-11a When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him…

 

[1]http://www.classichistory.net/archives/first-noel-carol

Being Grateful When Things May Not Be Great

2019-11-24

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key verse: Ephesians 5:20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ

 

Ephesians 5:17-21 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.

 

1. Do Not Be Drunk With Wine

A picture of masking life by giving something else control

  • Day of Pentecost

2. Be Filled With The Spirit

Be filled (play-ROE) complete

  • Continually be filled

3. Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.

The joy of music

  • Psalms-like
  • Melody in your heart

4. Giving Thanks Always For All Things

“all things” is difficult

  • Why?

1 Thess. 5:16-18 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of Godin Christ Jesus for you.

 

Romans 8:28 – ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD!

 

Psalms 50:15 Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”

 

1 Cor. 11 – COMMUNION

A Season of Giving and the Joy of Living

2019-11-17

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: 2 Corinthians 9:7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

Malachi 3:8-10 “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.    9 You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. 10Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.

Windows of Heaven” – The word translated “floodgates” (or windows) occurs nine times in the Hebrew Bible and usually refers to an opening in the wall of a building, whether a window (Eccl 12:3) or a chimney (Hos 13:3). The phrase “floodgates of heaven” occurs elsewhere in Gen 7:11; 8:2 (where it is translated “floodgates of the heavens”) as the source of the rain that flooded the earth.[1]

Rick Warren says:“The Bible is very clear: God uses money to test your faithfulness as a servant. That’s why Jesus talked more about money than he did about either heaven or hell”[2]

1.  God wants us to give

1 Cor. 16:1-2 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first dayof the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.

Matthew 23:23 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier mattersof the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.

  • The pharisees were considered hypocrites by Jesus because they tithed on every little thing yet neglected justice, mercy and faith
  • But He does say…these you ought to have done…

2. God wants us to give properly

2 Cor 9:7a So let each one giveas he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity…

  • Faithfulness

Deut 16:17 Every man shall giveas he is able, according to the blessing of the Lordyour God which He has given you

  • Not to be seen (Matthew 6:1-4 …do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them.)
  • Not because of being manipulated (vs 7 “of necessity” – anan-kēs= pressure)
  • Not to receive in return

3. God wants us to give with the right heart

2 Cor. 9:7b …for God loves a cheerful giver.

  • Worship
  • Cheerful (hilaros “hee-la-ROS”)

4. God’s response to our giving

2 Cor. 9:6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

• Sparingly (pheidomenõs “fade-oh-MEAN-os”= limited, scant)

1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds ofevil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

• Bountifully (eulogia “you-lo-GIA”= generous gift)

Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

 

[1]Taylor, R. A., & Clendenen, E. R. (2004). Haggai, Malachi (Vol. 21A, p. 424). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[2](The Purpose-Driven Life [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002], 267).

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.