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: Our Digital Masks

2018-10-14
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Romans 8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.

Romans 8:5-8 (NLT) 5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. 7 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. 8 That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.

Our Digital Masks

Are living in the Spirit or in the Flesh?

James 4:1-8 (NLT) What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? 2 You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. 3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. 4 You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. 5 Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him. 6 And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world

1. Rage and Anger – Hiding behind our digital masks allows us to act as we never would face to face

Vs 1 What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?

Galatians 6:10 Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.

Ephesians 4:15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church

2. Jealousy – Envy leads us to attack, denigrate, and criticize others

Vs 2a You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them.

Vs 2b-3 Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. 3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.

James 3:16 For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.

3. Desire for Acceptance – Our lack of self acceptance leads to a false “us”

Vs 4-5 You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. 5 Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him.

4. Pride – Digital masks permit us to put pride on parade

Vs 6 And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Proverbs 11:2 Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

Proverbs 16:5 The Lord detests the proud; they will surely be punished.

5. Our Response

Vs 7-8 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.

– Social media is not evil but can be used for evil

– Think about the words you share BEFORE you post

– Recognize that God created us IN HIS OWN IMAGE, you don’t need to try to be anybody else but YOU!

– Know that every word you speak, share or post can either help you accomplish God’s will for your life or keep you from it

People’s decisions about how they intend to live determines how they think about things. Moral choice precedes and determines intellectual orientation. People do not think themselves into the way they act but act themselves into the way they think.

Mounce, R. H. (1995). Romans (Vol. 27, p. 177). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

Masquerade: Building Real Relationships

2018-10-07
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Colossians 3:14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection

Colossians 3:12-17 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. 16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. 17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.

We are continuing in our series, Masquerade, with a discussion today on the masks we wear in our relationships. This is not specifically a sermon on marriage relationships, while this could certainly be relevant within some marriages. It is a discussion on all relationships such as our families, our work relationships, friendships and more. Today, let’s allow the Bible to give us a clear definition of healthy relationships. But before we talk about what’s healthy, we must recognize and identify what is unhealthy.  

How we wear masks in our relationships that create toxic and unhealthy futures?

A. False presentation and unrealistic expectations

– making people believe what is not true

– expecting from others what is impossible 

B. Self-serving motives

– your desire in every relationship is to see what you can get out of it

C. Secretly holding on to past hurts instead of forgiveness

– acting as if we’re okay while continuing to harbor pain and anger

D. Treating your relationship in a defensive manner

– expecting the worst in every situation and every person

E. Hiding what’s truly going on

– basic deception in life

Building Real Relationships

1. Approach every relationship with holiness

vs 12a Since God chose you to be the holy people…

– we have been “set apart” by God

– this consecration is what allows us to have the Godly relationships we desire

Vs 12b …He loves…

– it is possible because of how He has shown us love

2. Approach every relationship with the right motives

Vs 12c you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

– this is a six point outline for healthy relationships 

– if we would simply put these elements into practice daily, it would change everything

3. Approach every relationship putting others first

Vs 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

– forgiveness is a picture of recognizing the value in others

4. Approach every relationship as an opportunity

Vs 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. 16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.

– every relationship is an opportunity impact others in a positive way

5. Approach every relationship with Him at the center

Vs 17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father

– this is probably the most critical element of this entire discussion

– if we treat others incorrectly, we are not only giving ourselves a bad reputation, we are 

reflecting poorly on Christ Himself

Masquerade: The Art of Covering

2018-09-30
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Matthew 10:26 Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.

For the next several weeks, we are going to talk about an issue that all of us struggle with to varying degrees throughout our lives. Some struggle continually and never find success in defeating this dangerous condition. What we are talking about today is the art of covering. In other words, masking who we really are to try to be who we really aren’t. This takes on many forms and paths and over the next few weeks, we will talk about a number of different ways we stay behind the masks of life in order to hide what is really going on inside. But today, we’re going to simply set the stage for our discussions over the next few weeks.

Genesis 27:1-29 (NLT) One day when Isaac was old and turning blind, he called for Esau, his older son, and said, “My son.” “Yes, Father?” Esau replied. 2 “I am an old man now,” Isaac said, “and I don’t know when I may die. 3 Take your bow and a quiver full of arrows, and go out into the open country to hunt some wild game for me. 4 Prepare my favorite dish, and bring it here for me to eat. Then I will pronounce the blessing that belongs to you, my firstborn son, before I die.” 5 But Rebekah overheard what Isaac had said to his son Esau. So when Esau left to hunt for the wild game, 6 she said to her son Jacob, “Listen. I overheard your father say to Esau, 7 ‘Bring me some wild game and prepare me a delicious meal. Then I will bless you in the Lord’s presence before I die.’ 8 Now, my son, listen to me. Do exactly as I tell you. 9 Go out to the flocks, and bring me two fine young goats. I’ll use them to prepare your father’s favorite dish. 10 Then take the food to your father so he can eat it and bless you before he dies.” 11 “But look,” Jacob replied to Rebekah, “my brother, Esau, is a hairy man, and my skin is smooth. 12 What if my father touches me? He’ll see that I’m trying to trick him, and then he’ll curse me instead of blessing me.” 13 But his mother replied, “Then let the curse fall on me, my son! Just do what I tell you. Go out and get the goats for me!” 14 So Jacob went out and got the young goats for his mother. Rebekah took them and prepared a delicious meal, just the way Isaac liked it. 15 Then she took Esau’s favorite clothes, which were there in the house, and gave them to her younger son, Jacob. 16 She covered his arms and the smooth part of his neck with the skin of the young goats. 17 Then she gave Jacob the delicious meal, including freshly baked bread. 18 So Jacob took the food to his father. “My father?” he said. “Yes, my son,” Isaac answered. “Who are you—Esau or Jacob?” 19 Jacob replied, “It’s Esau, your firstborn son. I’ve done as you told me. Here is the wild game. Now sit up and eat it so you can give me your blessing.” 20 Isaac asked, “How did you find it so quickly, my son?” “The Lord your God put it in my path!” Jacob replied. 21 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Come closer so I can touch you and make sure that you really are Esau.” 22 So Jacob went closer to his father, and Isaac touched him. “The voice is Jacob’s, but the hands are Esau’s,” Isaac said. 23 But he did not recognize Jacob, because Jacob’s hands felt hairy just like Esau’s. So Isaac prepared to bless Jacob. 24 “But are you really my son Esau?” he asked. “Yes, I am,” Jacob replied. 25 Then Isaac said, “Now, my son, bring me the wild game. Let me eat it, and then I will give you my blessing.” So Jacob took the food to his father, and Isaac ate it. He also drank the wine that Jacob served him. 26 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Please come a little closer and kiss me, my son.” 27 So Jacob went over and kissed him. And when Isaac caught the smell of his clothes, he was finally convinced, and he blessed his son. He said, “Ah! The smell of my son is like the smell of the outdoors, which the Lord has blessed! 28 “From the dew of heaven and the richness of the earth, may God always give you abundant harvests of grain and bountiful new wine. 29 May many nations become your servants, and may they bow down to you. May you be the master over your brothers, and may your mother’s sons bow down to you. All who curse you will be cursed, and all who bless you will be blessed.”

1. Putting on our masks starts with deceit

vss 5-10 But Rebekah overheard what Isaac had said to his son Esau. So when Esau left to hunt for the wild game, 6 she said to her son Jacob, “Listen. I overheard your father say to Esau, 7 ‘Bring me some wild game and prepare me a delicious meal. Then I will bless you in the Lord’s presence before I die.’ 8 Now, my son, listen to me. Do exactly as I tell you.  9 Go out to the flocks, and bring me two fine young goats. I’ll use them to prepare your father’s favorite dish. 10 Then take the food to your father so he can eat it and bless you before he dies.”

– This entire situation began with a desire to deceive

– The same could be said of our own attempts to mask reality, it all begins with a desire to deceive, for many different reasons:

a. Fear

b. Embarrassment

c. Greed

2. Putting on our masks starts with feelings of inadequacies

vss 11-12 “But look,” Jacob replied to Rebekah, “my brother, Esau, is a hairy man, and my skin is smooth. 12 What if my father touches me? He’ll see that I’m trying to trick him, and then he’ll curse me instead of blessing me.”

– The idea that we are just not good enough leads us to hide behind man-made masks

3. Once we put on the mask, it starts a never ending cycle

Vss 18-24 So Jacob took the food to his father. “My father?” he said. “Yes, my son,” Isaac answered. “Who are you—Esau or Jacob?” 19 Jacob replied, “It’s Esau, your firstborn son. I’ve done as you told me. Here is the wild game. Now sit up and eat it so you can give me your blessing.” 20 Isaac asked, “How did you find it so quickly, my son?” “The Lord your God put it in my path!” Jacob replied. 21 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Come closer so I can touch you and make sure that you really are Esau.” 22 So Jacob went closer to his father, and Isaac touched him. “The voice is Jacob’s, but the hands are Esau’s,” Isaac said. 23 But he did not recognize Jacob, because Jacob’s hands felt hairy just like Esau’s. So Isaac prepared to bless Jacob. 24 “But are you really my son Esau?” he asked. “Yes, I am,” Jacob replied.

– Leading to more deceit, more pain, more broken relationships

4. Our masks will all be removed

– No matter how hard we try to conceal, every mask will be removed

– Our goal should be to remove it ourselves before it is removed another way

Hebrews 4:13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.

Matthew 10:26 “But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything that is covered will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all.

HOW Church? Confidence for the Mission

2018-09-23
Pastor Jonathan Falwell
Key Verse: Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
Last week, Matt encouraged you to START living a life on mission. He encouraged us to take active steps moving forward in fulfilling the Great Commission which Christ gave. However, I know that often times, the greatest hindrance to carrying out this mission is what is inside our heads. We are our own worst enemy in doing what Christ has called us to do.  Today, I want to encourage you…YOU CAN DO IT! Most people don’t do the work of the Great Commission because they believe someone else can do it better, because they’re distracted, because they believe they’re too busy.  These are all excuses that have no basis in fact.
TRBC Mission Statement: To change our world by developing Christ followers who love God and love people.
TRBC Values:
1. Committed to Scripture
2. Culture of prayer
3. Lifestyle of worship
4. Connected in community
5. Heart for serving
6. Passion for sharing
TRBC Actions:
1. Tell (Matthew 28:19 Therefore go…)
2. Grow
3. Send
Confidence for the Mission
Acts 1:4-8  And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Hindrances:
1. Distracted
vs 4 And being assembled together with them
* Distractions are the enemy to purpose and mission. How do we overcome? Balance and intentions.
2. Not good enough 
vs 4b-5 He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
* No one can do it better because the Gospel does it on its own. We are nothing more than the carrier, the salesman.
3. Too Busy 
vs 6-8 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
* Too busy? Reality is that this is an excuse that has no merit. We are all busy, but the mission Christ gave us was to “be witnesses” along the way! In other words, no matter what you are doing, it can be missional!
* The question is…what is your way?
Urgency:
1. It matters now
Mark 16:15-16 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

HOW Church? My Commission

2018-09-16
Matt Willmington

Key verse:
Matthew 28:19-20
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

We know WHY we should be in the church. But HOW do we do church? Simply put, we do church by carrying out the Great Commission Jesus gave us. Church is the family of God, under the authority of God, living out the word of God, on the mission of God.

Church is Family of God, under the Authority of God, living out the Word of God, on the Mission of God.

Matthew 4:18 NLT One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. 19 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” 20 And they left their nets at once and followed him.

Matthew 11:28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Yoke. Direction, destination, experience, energy, assignment, companionship, reward

How many steps 10-1 are you from Jesus?

Who you FOLLOWING? WHO’S with you? WHO are you bringing?

Matthew 28:16 Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted! 18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Tell, Grow, Send. [START book]

1. TELL – “Preach”, “Be witnesses”. Pray for people. Tell them your story / Jesus’ story- ask about their story. Help them get baptized. WHO? Work, school, neighbor, kids…

• OBEY = Have YOU come to Jesus? been baptized?
• OBEY = WHO will you pray / tell / invite?

2 GROW – “Obey ALL” Read, pray with them

• OBEY = Are you reading, praying with ‘family’?
• OBEY = Who are you helping do this?

3 SEND – “Go” [participle], “make disciples” [verb]. Global or Local? Glocal!

• OBEY = Are you going? START! Across street, Across the HALL, across world
• OBEY = Who are you helping to go? Giving, praying,

Daniel 7:13 As my vision continued that night, I saw someone like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient One and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, honor, and sovereignty over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language would obey him. His rule is eternal—it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed.

Revelation 7:9 After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. 10 And they were shouting with a great roar, “Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!”

Why Church? The Promise of the Church

2018-09-09
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Acts 2:42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers

We’ve discussed over the past few weeks the importance of the local church. We’ve talked about what we believe as a church, why it’s important to be a part of a local church, the purpose of the church and today, we talk about the promise of the church. This is not a discussion of what we “get” from a church but rather what being part of a church does for our overall joy and experience in life.  The church is not only the institution Jesus builds to reach the world, it is also the institution Jesus builds to give us the “abundant life” that John 10:10 promises.

Definition of the church: A church is an assembly of believers in whom Christ dwells, under the discipline of the Word of God, organized for evangelism, education, fellowship, and worship, administering the ordinances and reflecting the spiritual gifts. – Elmer Towns

Acts 2:42-47 (NLT) All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. 43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.

The Promise of the Church

1. Encouragement

vs 42a …to the apostles’ teaching

– through the study of God’s Word, we are reminded of the faithfulness of God in the midst of every problem

– through the study of God’s Word, we are reminded of the forgiveness given through the gift of God’s Son

2. Fellowship (never alone)

vs 42b …to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper)…

vs 44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need.

beyond the admonishment to serve within the context of the church, we are also given the great opportunity of enjoying the fellowship of other believers, God doesn’t expect us to be alone

3. Communion

vs 42c …and to prayer

– this is not referring to the Lord’s Supper (an ordinance of the church)

– this is referring to the opportunity we have to be in communion with our Holy God through a personal relationship that affords us an “open door”

– In the beginning of Acts 2, the believers (the early church) were gathered together in prayer and the power of God changed them forever

4. Impact

vs 47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.

– impact on the individual

– impact on the world

Why Church? The Purpose of the Church

2018-09-02
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key verse: Ephesians 1:13-14 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

We’ve talked about why we must not allow ourselves to buy into the lie that it is not important to gather together as the visible church. (Hebrews 10). Last week, we talked about the definition of a church. What is a church, the “ekklesia” that the Bible describes. We are the body of Christ, all different parts but critical to the whole as we live out our lives as the church.

Today, let’s talk about the purpose of the church. If God “built His church” with the idea of being His own body, wanting us to get together regularly, knowing there is strength in numbers as we gather, then what exactly does He want us to do?

A church is an assembly of believers in whom Christ dwells, under the discipline of the Word of God, organized for evangelism, education, fellowship, and worship, administering the ordinances and reflecting the spiritual gifts. – Elmer Towns

 

Dr. Towns gives us a great definition of what a church “is”, today let’s talk about what a church “does.”

 

1. We give Him Glory

Ephesians 1:12-14 (NLT) God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. 13 And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. 14 The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.

 

2. We bring Him Growth

a. Through the proclamation of the Gospel (Mark 16, Matt 28, Acts 1)

Colossians 1:28–29 (NLT) So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ. 29 That’s why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.

b. Through discipleship (our own spiritual growth as well as others) Col. 2

Ephesians 4:14-15 (NLT) Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.

 

3. We celebrate Grace

a. Grace shown to us

Ephesians 1:6-8 (NLT) So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. 7 He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. 8 He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

Grace is the offer of God’s ceaseless presence and irrational love that cannot be stopped. It’s the flow of God’s power and presence and favor in your life from one moment to the next that enables you to do whatever it is God has for you to do. – John Ortberg

b. Grace shown to others

1 Peter 2:9 (NLT) But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

1 Peter 4:8-10 (NLT) Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. 10 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.

 

4. We recognize His Grip  – His keeping power

Mark 16:15 (NLT) And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.

Hebrews 7:25 (NLT) Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.

1 Corinthians 1:8-9 (NLT) He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 9 God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Why Church? What is the church?

2018-08-26
Pastor Jonathan Falwell
Key verse: Ephesians 2:19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.
Church – ekklesia (the called out ones)
–  appears 114 times in the NT, 109 in direct reference to the community of God’s people
– often used in Greek culture to refer to political gatherings, brought together to accomplish
The NT Church is both local and universal. In the context of the local, it is what we are here today. In the context of the universal, it is all believers everywhere as the expression of the body of Christ.  In this conversation, we are discussing why it is important for me to be a part of the local body, the gathering of believers.
Definition of the church: A church is an assembly of believers in whom Christ dwells, under the discipline of the Word of God, organized for evangelism, education, fellowship, and worship, administering the ordinances and reflecting the spiritual gifts.
– Elmer Towns
Eph. 2:19-22 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
1. We are “called out”
– vs 19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God
– we have been made right with God through the gift of His Son
– we are a peculiar people
– 1 Peter 2:9-10 (NLT) But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. 10 “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.
2. We are “filled up”
– vs 20a having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets…
– we are not part of the church because of a personality, a place, a program or prestige… we are part of the church because we are children of God
– When a person becomes a Christian, he doesn’t just join a local church because it’s a good habit for growing in spiritual maturity. He joins the local church because it is the expression of what christ has made him – a member of the body of Christ! 1
3. To “stand up”
–  vs 20b …Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,
– this expression of what Christ has made us is all about the fact that we were unworthy but Christ changed us anyway and He is the One upon whom we stand
– we have not right to disassociate ourself from the church because of people because the church is not about people it is about Christ
– Formerly, God’s earthly abode was thought to be on Mount Zion and in the Jerusalem temple. Now he makes his abode in the church. 2
– Eph. 1:22-23 (NLT) God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. 23 And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.
4. To “stand out”
– vs 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord,
– 1 Cor. 12:12 (NLT) The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.
– 1 Cor. 12:27 (NLT) All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.
5. To “rise up”
– vs 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
– Acts 2:42 (NLT) All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.
– Acts 2:47 (NLT) …all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.
1 Dever, Mark (2005). What Is A Healthy Church?, pg 26.
2 Wood, A. S. (1981). Ephesians. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians through Philemon (Vol. 11, p. 42). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

Why Church? The Importance of Together

Why Church? The Importance of Together

2018-08-19
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Today, we are going to begin a conversation that will take us through the next few weeks discussing the church. Not this church, but THE CHURCH! Christ’s church and the importance of it in today’s culture, and more importantly, in your life. So many today are questioning whether it is important to be a part of the church so we will spend time digging into God’s Word to see how truly important it is and why everyone should consider church a non-negotiable. So, WHY CHURCH?

To discuss the importance of why we should be part of the church, we must begin with a discussion of the message of the church.

What was and what now is

Hebrews 10:11-18 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. 15 But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, 16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” 17 then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” 18 Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

Hebrews 10:19-25 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

1. Christ’s death on the cross provided the way

12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God,
14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

2. A final payment for our sins

16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” 17 then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” 18 Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

Our Response

1. Desire to be in His presence

19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

2. Complete confidence in our faith

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

3. Recognition that we need one another

24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,

4. Accepting the importance of together

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

Moffatt says, “Any early Christian who attempted to live like a pious particle without the support of the community ran serious risks in an age when there was no public opinion to support him”

The power of the cross

Hebrews 10:10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Morris, L. (1981). Hebrews. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews through Revelation (Vol. 12, p. 105). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

Flannelgraph Faith: Passing It On

2018-08-12
Pastor Jonathan Falwell
Key Verse: Acts 18:5 When Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ.

Today, we travel through a number of passages in the book of Acts and the letters to Timothy to see the importance of Passing It On. What is it? The mission that God has given to us. It’s not just ours alone, it is for all of us, and it is for all of us to share.

1. Changing Our World Must Include The Next Generation

– Paul understood the only way for us to complete the mission that God has for us is to bring others on board to help

– Paul gave us the great example of allowing others to serve with him, to encourage them in their walk and service

– Acts 16:3-5 Paul wanted to have him go on with him. And he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in that region, for they all knew that his father was Greek. 4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered to them the decrees to keep, which were determined by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily.
2. Trusting The Next Generation
– Acts 17:14 Then immediately the brethren sent Paul away, to go to the sea; but both Silas and Timothy remained there.
– Acts 18:5 When Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ.

– Including the next generation in our mission must also include trusting them, even if they do things a little bit differently than we do

– As long as they are grounded in the Gospel, in God’s Word, we must trust them to be about the mission

3. Commissioning The Next Generation
– Acts 19:22 So he sent into Macedonia two of those who ministered to him, Timothy and Erastus, but he himself stayed in Asia for a time.
– Not only must we trust them when they are by our side, we must send them on

– To let them venture out on their own journeys that God has planned

– Believing that you have the only way to reach people will limit your ability to reach

4. Celebrating The Next Generation
– 2 Timothy 1:1-2 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, 2 To Timothy, a beloved son:

– Recognizing that their victories are just as important as our victories

– Rejoicing with the next generation as they impact the world is the greatest way to raise up the next generations to reach the world

Flannelgraph Faith: God Can Use Anyone, Anywhere

2018-08-05

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Acts 16:13 (NKJV) So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

1. God can use anyone

Acts 16:13 And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there. 14 Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. 15 And when she and her household were baptized…

– Lydia had traveled from her home to Philippi to do business

– She was faithful woman who worshiped God, but had not yet been saved. She was following Jewish tradition but not Christ

– Then, we she heard the Gospel from Paul, immediately everything changed. She was the first Christian convert in Europe and one of the key players in the church’s arrival in Europe (her home was the first house church)

2. God can use anyone…anywhere

Acts 16:25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. 28 But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.” 29 Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.

– Paul and Silas had been beaten and thrown in jail

– They had every reason to be angry and disenfranchised with their faith, but they weren’t, because something was different inside them. What was it?

Three attributes of “anyone” being used “anywhere”…

1. Worshiping

– In the midst of suffering, they didn’t complain, they worshipped

2. Listening

– In the midst of worshipping, they had their ears open for God’s plan and purpose

3. Willing

– When they heard God’s plan, they responded

Flannelgraph Faith: The Power of Purpose

2018-07-29

Pastor Jonathan Falwell Key Verses: Acts 18:9-10 9

Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.”

1. Reputation Matters Acts 18:1-3

After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome); and he came to them. So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers.

– Priscilla and Aquila were Jewish Christians thrown out of Rome

– Paul sought them out because of their trade, but they became key workers in the ministry

– He talked about them in Acts 19 and Romans 16 (“all of the churches are grateful for them”)

– Your reputation as a Christian, both within the church and without, are vital if you are going to fulfill God’s purpose for your life

2. Solidarity Matters Acts 18:6-11

But when they opposed him and blasphemed, he shook his garments and said to them, “Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” And he departed from there and entered the house of a certain man named Justus, one who worshiped God, whose house was next door to the synagogue. Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized. Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.” 11 And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

– The Jews came against Paul for his teaching

– In verse 6, he “gave up” on them

– Justus, Crispus, Aquila, Priscilla and others stood with him

– God told him “DON’T QUIT I WILL BE WITH YOU”

– Today, I believe many Christians are silent because they feel they are alone

3. Commitment Matters Acts 18:18-21

So Paul still remained a good while. Then he took leave of the brethren and sailed for Syria, and Priscilla and Aquila were with him. He had his hair cut off at Cenchrea, for he had taken a vow. 19 And he came to Ephesus, and left them there; but he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they asked him to stay a longer time with them, he did not consent, 21 but took leave of them, saying, “I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem; but I will return again to you, God willing.” And he sailed from Ephesus.

– Priscilla and Aquila left Corinth and sailed to Ephesus with Paul

– They had served with him in Corinth but now they commitment to Christ led them to GO!

– They helped plant churches in Ephesus

– They were passionate about carrying on the work of the Gospel and even stayed in Ephesus as Paul traveled on

4. Growth Matters Acts 18:24-28

Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. 25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. 27 And when he desired to cross to Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him; and when he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace; 28 for he vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ.

– Apollos preached the Gospel powerfully but needed to grow in his understanding

– Priscilla and Aquila came alongside and discipled him in the truth of the Gospel

– What a great lesson for all of us! We must all continue to grow in our understanding of the Word and the Way

Priscilla and Aquila were largely unknown when they connected with Paul. Yet through their commitment to Christ and willingness to do what He called them to do, God used them to impact many cities for Christ.

This all happened because they knew and understood that it was the Gospel of Jesus Christ that brought hope for the world. Jesus is the only way.

Flannelgraph Faith: The Importance of Action

2018-07-22
Pastor Jonathan Falwell
Key Verses: Acts 10:42-43 And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. 43 To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”
Today, we continue in our Flannelgraph Faith series where we reach back into our memory banks and retell stories from the Bible we may have learned as a child and see what new truths God might have for us through these important moments in history. Today, we are in Acts 10 and we will be discussing the importance of action.
The Importance of Action
1. Action is actually obedience
Vss 13-14 And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.”
– He knew it was the Lord who was speaking and he said no
– Peter is often seen as a zealous follower of Christ but also one that is disobedient
– Notice Cornelius, who was not a Christian, immediately obeyed
– vs 7 And when the angel who spoke to him had departed, Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devout soldier from among those who waited on him continually. 8 So when he had explained all these things to them, he sent them to Joppa.
James 4:17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
2. Action is obedience that fits God’s plan
Vss 30-33 So Cornelius said, “Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your alms are remembered in the sight of God. 32 Send therefore to Joppa and call Simon here, whose surname is Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea. When he comes, he will speak to you.’ 33 So I sent to you immediately, and you have done well to come. Now therefore, we are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God.”
– God had prepared the way for the Gospel to be taken around the world
– Peter’s obedience fulfilled God’s plan of reaching outside of the Jewish people
– To this point, the Gospel was a message bound by exclusivity. Now, it became a universal hope given to all
– Today, we at times still treat the Gospel with exclusivity and many may never hear because of our lack of action
3. Action is what results in impact
Vss 44-46 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.
– Through the action and obedience of Peter, the Gospel spread far and wide, beyond what Peter thought possible
What do you think God wants to do through our action?

Flannelgraph Faith: The Courage of Conviction

2018-07-15
Pastor Jonathan Falwell
Key Verses:  Acts 4:19-20 But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. 20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
Today, we continue in our series, Flannelgraph Faith. Last week, we talked about the conversion of Saul (Paul) and we talked about the calling of God. Today, we’re going to roll back a few chapters and talk about the power of that call in our lives and what it should drive us to be.
1. Courage in our faith comes from above before it comes from within
Acts 4:23-31 And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24 So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, 25 who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: ‘Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? 26 The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the Lord and against His Christ.’ 27 “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. 29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.
– the courage of our faith, of our convictions, do not naturally flow from within
– all of us struggle with the sinful nature that will crowd out the courage of our faith
– prayer is the jumping off point standing firm in our faith
2. Courage in our faith is from the overflow
Acts 6:8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.
– Stephen was “FULL” of faith and power before he did the work of the calling
– This “fullness” comes from immersion in God’s Word and God’s presence
3. Courage in our faith will protect us from beginning to end
Acts 7:57-60 Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; 58 and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
– Stephen knew the end was near but never wavered in his faith
– Why? Because he was confident in what he believed and in Whom he believed
Romans 8:38-39 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Flannelgraph Faith: When He Calls, LISTEN!

2018-07-08
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Acts 9:20  Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.

Today, we’ll begin a Summer series walking through some familiar, powerful stories from the New Testament that I believe can help bolster our faith. These are stories that most of us have heard or read, yet today we’re going old school once again and using the “power of flannel graph” to revisit these stories. And today’s story is about a man named Saul, or Paul, as we now know him.

1. When He Calls, LISTEN!

– Even if you think you’re doing the right thing.

– Paul thought he was doing important work for his religion
Acts 9:1-2 Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

2. God’s Call Is Unmistakable

Acts 9:3-4 As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”

– while most of us will never have a blinding light and a loud voice show up in the midst of a walk, when God calls us it is still undeniable

– He speaks through His Word

– He speaks through His Spirit

3. God’s Call Can Be Confusing

Acts 9:10-15 Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. 12 And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.” 13 Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.

– God didn’t give Ananias the luxury of reason

– Though Ananias wasn’t sure about the task he was given, he obeyed because it came from God

– Even though the work seemed to be scary and uncomfortable

4. God’s Call Is Urgent

Acts 9:20-22 Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God. 21 Then all who heard were amazed, and said, “Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?” 22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ.

The Church Here and There

2018-07-01
Pastor Jonathan Falwell
Key Verse: Matthew 16:18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
Last week, we talked about the way He uses us to build the church and we ended with this verse:
Ephesians 4:16 (NLT) He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
Today, we’re going to rewind to the first part of Ephesians 4 and talk about our role, our mission and our reward.
Ephesians 4:1 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.  2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.  4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.  5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism,  6 and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.
1. We are called
Vs 1 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.
a. To accomplish our calling requires us to live as the called
b. We didn’t ask for the calling, it was given the moment we accepted Christ
2. To live differently than the world
vs 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.

a. This verse is the antithesis of the human experience

b. Selfless rather than selfish

c. Calm rather than angry

d. Caring rather than dismissive

3. To be united in mission
vs 3-4a Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.  4 For there is one body and one Spirit…

a. We must know that our ultimate goal is reaching the world with the Gospel

b. When that is your primary focus, it takes a lot of pressure off of everything else

c. You’ll care about people that others think you shouldn’t care about

4. To celebrate our future
vs 4b …just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.
– a future that we can’t keep to ourselves
– to keep our eyes fixed on what’s ahead not what’s around us
– Phil. 3:13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead
– Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.
5. All because of HIM
vs 5-6 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism,  6 and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.

a. Here’s what it all comes down to…our lives our about HIM!

b. He is the author and finisher of our faith (Heb 12:2)

c. He started it…He’ll finish it!

The Church There and Here

2018-06-24
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Matthew 16:18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

For the next two weeks, we’re going to have what might be considered a family meeting. This will be an opportunity for us to come together and celebrate what God has done and dream about what He wants to do in the days ahead. We’re going to break this sermon down into two parts, part 1 today and part 2 will be next Sunday. Here’s the question that we’ll attempt to answer; What does God want us to do as His Church? Well, let’s get into the Word of God and find out

Matthew 16:18-19 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Eph. 4:7-16 (NLT) However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ. 8 That is why the Scriptures say, “When he ascended to the heights, he led a crowd of captives and gave gifts to his people.” 9 Notice that it says “he ascended.” This clearly means that Christ also descended to our lowly world.10 And the same one who descended is the one who ascended higher than all the heavens, so that he might fill the entire universe with himself. 11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

The Church – There and Here

1. It is Christ that builds the church

– Matt 16:18b “… I will build My church,”

– It’s not up to us

– We can’t destroy it, we can’t stop it!

– Nor can the world

– The world, and some within the church, desire to keep the church from being what Christ intended…but 1 John 4:4 gives us the encouragement that He  equips us with the ability to see their attempts.

2. Christ has chosen us to be His tools

– Eph. 4:7 However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ.

– While Christ builds the church, He has chosen us to help

– If we fail in our duty, He’ll raise up someone else

3. He has equipped us for the job

– Eph. 4:11-12 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.

4. He uses the church to grow us

– Eph. 4:13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth

– This is where 1 John 4:4 comes into play, our growth within the church helps us to discern the problem outside the church

5. And then He uses us to grow the church

– Eph. 4:15-16 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

– Go into all the world…

– “so that the whole body is healthy and growing…”

– that phrase is not about TRBC Lynchburg, it is about the global church

Eph. 4:1 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.

Our Responsibilities As Christ Followers

2018-06-17
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse:
Gal. 6:9
And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart

Today, on Father’s Day, we focus on dads. We celebrate their impact and importance on all of us. While that’s important, it is far more important that we recognize the responsibility we all have to be the kinds of positive role models and leaders that the Bible calls us to be.

Galatians 6:1-10 (NLT)
Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. 2 Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. 3 If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important. 4 Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. 5 For we are each responsible for our own conduct. 6 Those who are taught the word of God should provide for their teachers, sharing all good things with them. 7 Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. 8 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. 9 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. 10 Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.

1. We are responsible to and for one another

– vs 1a Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path.

– We have a duty to hold each other accountable for our actions

– We have a duty to be active participants in restoration NOT destruction

– We have a duty to be active participants in evangelism

– We have a duty to be active participants in discipleship

2. We are responsible to God

– vs 1b And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.

– We have a duty to seek and foster personal spiritual growth

– We have a duty to recognize our own sin and actively seek to fight our sinful nature

3. We are responsible to care

– vs 2 Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. 3 If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.

– This is the opposite of pride and arrogance

– This is the opposite of “what’s in it for me”

– It is the idea of “coming alongside”

– burden (baros – a heavy weight or stone)

4. We are responsible to do what’s right

– vs 5 For we are each responsible for our own conduct.

– This does not contradict verse 2. Paul is describing a different type of load

– Burden here is the word far-TEE-on – the obligation Christ lays on us

– vss 7-8 Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. 8 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.

– it does matter what we do and how we do it

– Pastor RG Lee’s sermon, PAYDAY SOMEDAY

R.G. Lee said, “:Sin will take you farther than you want to go, Sin will keep you longer than you want to stay, Sin will cost you more than you want to pay.”

5. We are responsible to NOT QUIT

– vss 9-10 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. 10 Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.

– “At just the right time…”

– Greek word, “ki-ROS – the perfect time”

– Maybe not our time, but His time, which is always far better

Spirit Led Living

2018-06-10
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Galatians 5:24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

For the last few weeks, we’ve been talking about the Holy Spirit’s presence and purpose in our lives. Going back to Acts 1 when He was promised, Acts 2 when He arrived, and on and on as His present work continues to lead and guide us. Spirit-filled and Spirit-led living is the only way to find joy in life. Today, let’s talk about the importance of LETTING Him do His work in our lives.

Galatians 5:16-26 (NLT) So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. 19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. 22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.

Spirit Led Living

1. Live in poverty

– Total dependence

– vs 16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.

2. Because it’s an uphill battle

– vs 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.

– Doing the right thing is always tough but always right

– Paul said even he struggled with doing right in Romans 7:15

– There’s an internal battle going on daily in your heart and mind. Let God’s Word and His presence strengthen you to be on the right side.

3. But you can do it

– vs 18a But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.

4. He will make you what you need to be

– vs 22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

– When allowed, the Holy Spirit will do a great work in our hearts which will naturally flow out in what we do.

– Complete surrender is the only way to let it work.

5. And He will give you victory

– vs 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.

– Does this mean you will not sin anymore? Of course not. But it does mean that we will see His victory at work within us.

Keys To Living Right

2018-06-03
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Prov. 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.

Prov. 14:12 There is a path before each person that seems right,
but it ends in death.
Proverbs 21:2 People may be right in their own eyes,
but the Lord examines their heart.

The phrase, “every man did that which was right in his own eyes”, appears multiple times throughout the Old Testament. In each case, it was a picture of the nation going in the wrong direction as a result of people not following God’s Word or God’s plan. The situation then was not much different than the situation now. We are once again living in a “every man did that which was right in his own eyes” culture and the results are the same; We are in trouble, the church is in trouble, our future is in trouble. It’s time to turn things around and stop living in a way that we think is right and start living in the way that God has told us is right.

Psalm 119:9 (NLT) How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word. 10 I have tried hard to find you— don’t let me wander from your commands. 11 I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. 12 I praise you, O Lord; teach me your decrees. 13 I have recited aloud all the regulations you have given us. 14 I have rejoiced in your laws as much as in riches. 15 I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways. 16 I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word.

Keys To Living Right

1. Obey His Word (vs 9)

– It is only possible to live right through obedience, you can’t make it up along the way

– “Obedience is the very best way to show that you believe. Doing exactly what the Lord commands, doing it happily.” 1

 James 4:17 Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.

2. Seek Him (vs 10)

– “tried hard” – lav (layve) = with my whole heart, everything that I am

– In order to live right, we must diligently seek him

– Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

3. Memorize Scripture (vs 11)

– vs 11 I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

– Can there be a clearer statement about the importance of memorizing God’s Word

– This is how we find out what we are to obey. If we are not hiding His Word in our hearts, then we’re either making up what is right and wrong or we’re letting someone else tell us what God desires to tell us at the risk of not getting the whole story.

– Take time daily to allow God’s Word to sink in

4. Worship Him (vs 12-13)

– Living right is a statement on what you believe about Christ

– If you’re not living according to God’s Word, you are saying that it’s not that important to honor His Word. Meaning, that He is not that important in your life.

– Our responsibility in life is to bring praise to Him in everything we do, by not living right, we are living in Sin

5. Find Joy In Following (vs 14-16)

– It is actually fun to follow Him. Living our lives according to God’s Word and God’s plan brings joy that you can’t even describe.

– The world’s plan only brings disappointment, fear, discouragement. God’s plan brings life, and life more abundant. – John 10:10

 

 1 Mike and Ruth Greene, Majesty Music Inc.

Words Matter

2018-05-27
Scott Bullman

“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.”
Galatians 5:16-17 (NLT)

KEY VERSE:

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
Psalm 19:14 (NLT)

The Power of our Words:

“People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue…”
James 3:7-8a (NLT)

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
Proverbs 18:21 (NKJV)

“Words kill…words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.”
Proverbs 18:21 (The Message)

OUR WORDS CAN BE LIFE-GIVING

• Words that Encourage

“So, encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NLT)

• Words that Inspire

“So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”
1 Corinthians 15:58 (NLT)

• Words of Kindness and Gentleness

“Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”
Proverbs 16:24 (NLT)

“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”
Colossians 3:12 (NLT)

“Gentle words are a tree of life, a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”
Proverbs 15:4 (NLT)

• Words of Truth and Honesty

“The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.”
Proverbs 27:29 (NLT)

“In the end, people appreciate honest criticism far more than flattery.”
Proverbs 28:23 (NLT)

“…Speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ…”
Ephesians 4:15 (NLT)

• A Timely Word

“Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time.”
Proverbs 15:23 (NLT)

“The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry.”
Proverbs 25:11 (The Message)

• A Smart Word

“From a wise mind comes wise speech…”
Proverbs 16:23a (NLT)

“Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.”
Proverbs 10:19 (NLT)

“The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.”
Proverbs 17:27-28 (NLT)

“Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.
3 We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. 4 And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. 5 In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.
But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. 6 And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.”
James 3:2-6 (NLT)

OUR WORDS CAN BE TOXIC

• Critical Words

“Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.”
Proverbs 12:18 (NLT)

“Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”
Ephesians 4:29 (NLT)

• Slanderous Words

“There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.”
Proverbs 6:16-19 (NIV)

Proverbs 16:2 – “All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord.”

“Telling lies about others is as harmful as hitting them with an ax, wounding them with a sword, or shooting them with a sharp arrow.”
Proverbs 25:18 (NIV)

• Gossip

“A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends.”
Proverbs 16:28 (NLT)

“Rumors are dainty morsels that sink deep into one’s heart.”
Proverbs 18:8 (NLT)

Proverbs 11:13 “A gossip goes around telling secrets,but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence.”

Romans 12:17 – “Never pay back evil for more evil.”

“Fire goes out without wood, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops.”
Proverbs 26:20 (NLT)

• Inappropriate Words

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil”
Proverbs 4:23-27 (NIV)

CONCLUSION

 

A heart filled with BITTERNESS speaks ANGRY words
A heart filled with FORGIVENESS speaks GRACIOUS words

A heart filled with ENTITLEMENT speaks COMPLAINING words
A heart filled with GRATITUDE speaks UPLIFTING words

A heart filled with GUILT speaks HARSH words
A heart filled with PEACE speaks TENDER words

A heart filled with REJECTION speaks RESENTFUL words
A heart filled with ACCEPTANCE speaks KIND words

A heart filled with GRUMBLING speaks NEGATIVE words
A heart filled with THANKSGIVING speaks POSITIVE words

A heart filled with CONDEMNATION speaks JUDGMENTAL words
A heart filled with LOVE speaks COMPASSIONATE words

A heart filled with JEALOUSY speaks words of GOSSIP
A heart filled with CONTENTMENT speaks words of BLESSING

A heart filled with SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS speaks CRITICISM
A heart filled with HOPE speaks ENCOURAGING words

8 No one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. 10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! 11 Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? 12 Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.”
James 3:8-12 (NLT)

 

The Power of His Presence

2018-05-20
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key  Verse: Acts 2:21

And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.’

Acts 2:1-21 NKJV
1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.
7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?
8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?
9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,
10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,
11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”
12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”
13 Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”
14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. 15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only [e]the third hour of the day.
16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.
18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in heaven above
And signs in the earth beneath:
Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.
20 The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.
21 And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.’

The Power of His Presence

1. Pentecost
* 50 (festival of weeks – 50 days after Pentecost0
* Signals beginning of the church age
* Wind and Fire (wind-OT references under God’s Control; fire-presence of God)
* Tongues – so all could understand. Specifically, when God’s Spirit is in us He will give us supernatural power to reach the world

2. Supernatural power of the Holy Spirit in our lives
a. It was promised (Acts 1:8 – But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”)
b. It was obvious
– And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
c. It was significant – vss 7-13 “Then they were all amazed…” – it didn’t make sense
d. It was life-changing
– vs 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that
day about three thousand souls were added to them e. It should be convicting
– we’ve lost the sensitivity to the Spirit
– we’ve lost the passion to do what Christ commanded (you shall) – we’ve lost the urgency
– vs 17 And it shall come to pass in the last days

 

The Power of a Testimony

2018-05-13

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Jeremiah 33:3

‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’

Hope In the Hurting

2018-05-06
Pastor Jonathan Falwell
Key Verse: Psalms 34:1 NKJV “I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”

Today, we find ourselves constantly reminded of the suffering all around us. Tragedies abound. Heartache and heartbreak seem to be ever-present. Our joy, however, is not defeated in the midst of these difficult moments. The world constantly is looking for happiness. As a result, they look for the temporal, the worldly, in order to find that happiness. And they are left defeated and discouraged. Stop looking for happiness, seek joy.

Psalms 34:1-22 NLT “I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt his name together. I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need. Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing. Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the Lord. Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous? Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies! Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil; he will erase their memory from the earth. The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous; not one of them is broken! Calamity will surely destroy the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be punished. But the Lord will redeem those who serve him. No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.”

 

Hope for the Hurting
1. When you hurt – worship (vs 1-3)

– the greatest avenue for overcoming pain is praise

– vs 1 I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises

– vs 2b let all who are helpless take heart

– worship is an ever-present reminder of an ever loving, ever-working, ever-worthy God!

2. When you hurt – pray (vs 4-7)
 – vs 4 I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me

– vs 6 In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles

you are never closer to the power of God than when you are in the presence of God though prayer

– a prayerless Christian is a powerless Christian

3. When you hurt – run (vs 8-10)

– run to HIM!

– vs 8 Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!

– when in the midst of pain and problem, many run FROM not TO

4. When you hurt – listen (vs 11-14)

– listen to His Word

– listen to His calling

– listen to His promises

5. When you hurt – trust (vs 15-18)
 – vs 15 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help.- Pain is the great distractor. It distracts us from the promises of God because we are focused on our own problems, not His ability to deliver us

6. When you hurt – don’t quit (vs 19-22)

– vs 19 The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.

– vs 22 But the Lord will redeem those who serve him. No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

– God has never promised a life free from pain and suffering, but He has promised us a life of victory over our pain and suffering.

The TakeAway –

1. Make it a practice to spend at least ten minutes of every day thanking and praising God for the good in your life

2. Spend time everyday asking God for clarity and wisdom in navigating this thing called life.

3. Read God’s Word daily

– a Proverb and Psalms every day

4. Don’t walk away when it seems that things aren’t working

5. Remember the greatest of all promises and the greatest of all hopes – – our Salvation!

Following a God sized vision, again

2018-04-29
Sergio Guardia

Revelation 7:9-10
Main idea: May your Kingdom be done on earth, as it is seen in Heaven.
God’s strategy is the body of Christ doing ministry together

God’s vision is UNITY IN DIVERSITY
Here God is showing us who He envisions on being in Heaven with Him. Every nation, all tribes, peoples and tongues from earth. The only color here is the blood of the Lamb, the only nation is the nation of the Lamb, we are all people of the Lamb. We were not part of his people, and he made His people, we were not part of His covenant, and He died to make us part of the New Covenant, we did not belong to His Heaven, but he made us citizens of the New Jerusalem. All of us are just sojourners on our way home.

When it comes to racial reconciliation, We need to take more than forward steps, we need to be a model for the world of what heaven would look like.

In Heaven, we will all be sinners forgiven by the same blood, called from a sin status to sons and daughters status, with the same citizenship given to us by the same King.

God’s vision is great, and the price to accomplish this vision had to be great.
This vision cost God the precious blood of Jesus. A price given to have a body of believers from every nation, tribe and tongue. God paid the Son’s blood to make it EVERY.

EVERY was expensive, and God paid it because it was important to him, thus, it should be important to us as well.

Let’s be part of making disciples that can become citizens of heaven. Let’s do our part to preach the Kingdom and to live out the culture of King Jesus’s kingdom.

Are we committed more to culture than Christ? Is it more important how people will perceive us than what the Bible is telling us to do?

How can we foster racial reconciliation? Dr. Tony Evans says this should be not the end in itself, It is a mean to a common cause.

The Kingdom is near, repent. We need to repent if we want reconciliation. Reconciliation cannot happen before repentance. Peace and unity cannot happen before reconciliation. We need to close the circle, in order to close the circle, we need to start the circle, and it starts with repentance. This is not a call to one race only, this is a calling to the church of Jesus Christ. When we have not lived to the standards God set, we need to repent.

What it would look if we do outreach together? What if several life groups would adopt a School in their area to minister? This would reach out diversity itself.
On a personal level. How many people have you mentored that is a different skin color than yours? That has a different background? We cannot force this, it has to be done in a natural way when we build the relationships

God’s vision done in His power
God is worshiped because of who He is and because of what He has done.
He deserves Glory, because He is the deliverer.
He deserves Honor and thanksgiving. Those are the marks of a grateful heart.
We praise him for His wisdom. He has a deliverance plan, he knows the way to go, He is the way.
We praise him for His strength. He is wise to come up with the better plan, and He has the strength to make it happen.

He brings his to people to his presence, and His presence is synonym of protection, provision and fellowship. In his presence they shall hunger no more, they shall thirst no more, no heat no more. He meets our greatest needs and he comforts from our deepest sorrows.

Meanwhile, we still suffer of heat or cold, hunger and thirst, of broken families, broken lives, and broken dreams. It is still a broken world. But, in the midst of a broken world, God provides HIS UNBREAKABLE PRESENCE.

I might cry, but he is my comfort
I might thirst, but he is living water
I might be hungry, but He is the bread of life
I might lose sight, but He is the light of the world

We cannot accomplish this great vision without depending on Him. As a church, we need to seek him. Not only we cannot do this as an individual, but, we cannot do this as a church without depending on God. We need to keep trusting Him, and follow Him on this God sized vision, and we need to do it together.

Maranatha!

A Brand New Day of Serving

2018-04-22
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Ephesians 4:1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,

Ephesians 4:1-7 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all. 7 However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ.

1. You have been called

Vs 1 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.

– Not one of us has the luxury of taking it easy in our walk with God

– God has a purpose and a plan for each of us

– We will be held accountable to what we have done in response to that call

2. Called to SERVE

2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.

– Our calling is never self centered, it always revolves around others

– Serving others requires patience

– “binding” – soon-DES-mohs = of ligaments by which the members of the human body are united together

3. You’ve been equipped vs 7

7 However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ

Romans 12:4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. 6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. 9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.

– God will never call us to do that which we are not enabled and empowered to be able to do successfully. In other words, what God calls us to He ensures we will be able to pull it off

– That service must always flow from our love for one another (vs 9)

– Service out of duty rather than love will never develop a habit and will never produce joy

– The calling He has placed on us will never be a breeze, but it will always be worth it (vs 11)

4. You’ve been blessed vs 16

– Eph 4:16 “He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”

– When God’s people do God’s work according to God’s calling, it produces a healthy, loving, and happy family of God

Brand New Day: A Brand New Day of Relating

2018-04-15
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Ephesians 4:24 (NKJV) and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

Ephesians 4:17 With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. 25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. 26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil. 28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. 29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. 30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

1. Sin will damage your relationships beyond repair

Vss 17-19 With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.

– hopelessness can never result in happiness

– full of darkness, wandering FAR from the life God gives

– John 10:10 “life more abundantly”

– Phil 4:7 “peace that passes all understanding”

2. The “TURN” that happened when you came to Christ is a daily commitment

Vss 20-24 But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

– we are a new creation, but we must work daily to remain where God wants us

– “throw off” (a-paw-TITH-a-me) = to put away or to cease what one is accustomed to doing

How does this play out in our relationships?

1. Honesty

Vs 25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.

– Prov 12:22 The Lord detests (an abomination) lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth

2. Self-control

Vss 26-29a And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil. 28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. 29 Don’t use foul or abusive language.

– controlling our anger requires complete dependence on God

– uncontrolled anger provides fertile ground for the devil

– turn what is natural (sin) into what is eternal (God’s plan)

3. Building up

Vs 29b Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

– be an encourager, lifting others up every chance you get

4. A change in action and attitude

Vss 30-32a And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted…

5. A life of forgiveness

Vs 32b …forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

– forgiveness is the primary action to stronger relationships

– Luke 17:3 So watch yourselves! “If another believer[a] sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive. Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive.”

Brand New Day: A Brand New Day of Living

2018-04-08
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

 

Memory Verse:  1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

 

1 John 1:1 (NLT) We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. 2 This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy. 5 This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. 6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. 7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

 

1. A Brand New Day of Salvation
– recognition
– belief – Romans 10

 

2. A Brand New Day of Action
– baptism  (Matthew 3:13-17) “it should be done”
– seeking him daily

 

3. A Brand New Day of Living
Vss 5-6 This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. 6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth.
  • this epistle of John addresses a heretical view at that time that Jesus and the Christ were not the same
  • John was addressing the absolute holiness of God to counter the viewpoint that one can “know” God and still be living in darkness
  • Knowing God, as declared by Jesus Himself, is through Jesus alone – John 14
4. A Brand New Day of Walking
Vss 7-8 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.
  • John, again, dealing with the heretical view that one can know God apart from Christ
  • Yes, we are all sinners, but through Christ we obtain forgiveness of our sins
  • But, living in the light, requires a new way of walking through life
  • This new way is not found in believing that we can do whatever we want and still be fine in our relationship with Him
  • God is a holy God and cannot tolerate sin; the OT dealing with Israel is a clear picture of this
  • Paul addressed the problem of sin in the heart of the believer in Romans 7:14-25
5. A Brand New Day of Forgiveness
vs 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
  • And so while we must live our lives dedicated to moving away from our sinful desires and moving towards holiness, there will be times we fail
  • Our failure does not equal losing our salvation or our hope in Him, in fact, it is another reminder of the great hope we have because of Him because of the forgiveness He quickly offers

Easter – A Brand New Day

2018-04-01
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

The Cross. A powerful symbol. Think of what it must have been like that day. Three wooden crosses, fashioned from the rough wood of a recently felled tree. They didn’t spend time putting the finishing touches on these works. No smooth finish, no shiny lacquer. Just rough, splintering wood. Left that way to ensure the greatest pain for the criminal who would die there. As the condemned would slowly push up with their legs to grasp for air, getting ever more difficult with each move, the splinters from that rough tree would rip at their already shredded skin.

Three crosses stood that day. The whole town no doubt came out to see what this was all about, to watch these men die. The pharisees and religious leaders there to see their plan come to fruition. Their friends and family, with tears in their eyes, standing by in denial of what they would see witness. The soldiers simply doing what they were told to do, just another day at work.

Soon, the crowd grew larger as these men were led to the hillside. Their pain already more than most could withstand. They were brought to where the wooden crosses were waiting. Nailed to these trees then lifted to begin the agonizing process of dying as they hung for the world to see. Three men dying for the sins committed. Two for their own sins, one for the sins of us all.

2 Cor. 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

“Him who knew no sin” became our sin. That’s why Jesus died. The substitutionary atonement for the sins of the world. Payment for your sins and mine. You see, someone had to pay. That’s what His substitutionary death was all about.

God is a Holy God. A righteous God, and the righteous Judge. He hates sin, cannot allow sin to go unpunished, to go unpaid. He had to judge and punish sin. But God is also a God of love. Ultimate love, unending love. And so, through His great love, He found a way for our sins to be punished, for the price to be paid, without getting what we deserve.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death…

That way was for His only Son, Jesus, to pay that price. To bear the weight of our sins, to be punished for our wrongdoing.

Isaiah 53:5 But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.

Jesus came to this earth, hung on that cross, died a horrible death. Not for what He had done, but for what we had done. Not for His bad acts, but for ours. Not for His sin, but for mine, and yours, and for all of mankind. Why? Because God loves us that much. Jesus stepped in and took the punishment so we wouldn’t have to suffer. To save us from our sin, to save us from Hell, to save us for Heaven.

That day was a long day. As they watched Jesus hanging on the cross, the pain he endured became greater and greater. The words He uttered became more troubling with each passing breath. And eventually, He breathed His last.

Luke 23:46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.'” Having said this, He breathed His last.

When He died, the earth shook, the sky darkened, dead people came out of their tombs, the veil in the temple was ripped in two. It was utter chaos. The family, friends and disciples who stood nearby were gripped by grief and fear. Tears rolled down their cheeks as they watched the man they loved, the man they had followed, for whom they had given up everything, slowly lose His life. Now, they probably slipped further away from the crowd, not sure what to do next.

The pharisees and religious leaders, those who had set this into motion, were no doubt filled with pride. Never again would they hear of this man Jesus, never again hear His teachings, never again see Him turn over the tables in the temple, never again dealing with those He healed, never again listening to what they perceived to be blasphemies uttered from His lips. Never again, this Jesus. They walked away with heads held high, they had won. The day had ended in defeat for this Jesus.

The soldiers? Just another day at work. They had done what they were told to do, accomplished their assigned tasks. No big deal, just another day at the office. The day was over, it had ended. Time to go home.

Soon, His body was taken down from that cross. Wrapped and prepared for burial. Carried off to the tomb borrowed for this purpose, not a great distance from where they stood. He was placed in the tomb, the entrance way sealed with a great rock. Guards placed there to ensure that no one would steal the body to cause confusion. The day was done, Jesus was dead, it was finished.

Not much is said about what took place between that day and a few days later. Reading the Gospel accounts, we are aware of a number of different events that took place on that morning. Angels appeared, soldiers knocked out, stone rolled from the entrance way to the tomb, disciples coming and going. Peter looking into the space seeing that Jesus wasn’t there and running away. But there’s an account in John 20 that I want to take a brief look at this morning because I believe it captures a special moment after the resurrection of Jesus.

John 20:11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” 14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).

Mary had come to the tomb filled with hopelessness, pain, loss and grief. She had come that day to continue to grieve. To anoint His body as Mark 16 tells us. Her heart was broken because Jesus was dead. Now, to add insult to injury, His body was gone.

As she stood there, angels spoke to her asking her why she was upset. She answered because they had taken away the body of Jesus. Then she sees another man who also asks why she was upset. Thinking this man was the gardener, she begs him to just tell her where the body is, tell me where they’ve taken him! With the tears in her eyes, the grief in her heart, the pain that flooded her spirit, she had no idea who she was talking to at that moment. Then, one word changed everything. The man simply said…MARY!

A simple word, her name, that immediately changed everything about this situation. She heard her name spoken, she had heard it a million times before, but this wasn’t just another mention, she wasn’t overhearing this common name spoken by someone else, this was her name uttered by someone that meant everything to her. It was Jesus. He was alive. She immediately recognized His voice, she looks at Him and speaks, RABBONI (rabb-ee-oh-NEE). Teacher! The one who had taught her everything that really mattered. The one who had healed her. Seven demons cast out of her by this Man. It was Jesus. He was ALIVE! It was a BRAND NEW DAY! Everything changed! Jesus is ALIVE!

Lamentations 3:22-26 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” 25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him. 26 It is good that one should hope and wait quietly. For the salvation of the Lord.

I love that phrase in verse 23…”they are new every morning!” What an amazing concept. Everyday is a brand new day with Him.

DARKNESS, SLEEP AT NIGHT, WAKE UP
a. Darkness
b. Uncertainty
c. Worry

You just want your mind to shut down, to stop thinking about all of the problems, the challenges, the hurts and worry. But yet in the midst of the darkness of night, sometimes it seems as if that is all we can think about and it just won’t stop. But, when day arrives, when dawn breaks, when the light begins to shine, it seems as if everything is okay once again.

That’s a picture of verse 23…NEW EVERY MORNING! That’s the picture of His resurrection. Darkness reigned, worry consumed, grief overwhelmed, fear abounds, then morning came! The light shines, Jesus raised from the grave! GREAT IS THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD! No matter how bad it might seem, He is faithful because HE LIVES.

Verse 24 states, “Therefore I hope in Him, the Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who sees Him!”

Our hope is in Him because He has defeated death, the grave and hell. He has destroyed the plans of Satan himself. The darkness that was all-consuming when they rolled the stone in front of the entrance to the tomb was shattered by an ever-burning, ever-present light that can never be extinguished. Jesus rose from the grave, HE IS ALIVE FOREVERMORE! Darkness, then the dawn.

Verse 25 states, “It is good that one should hope and wait quietly. For the salvation of the Lord.”

For the salvation of the Lord! That is what Easter is all about, the salvation of the Lord. God the holy One, the righteous judge, has to see sin punished. He hates sin and cannot allow sin to go without payment. Our sin, the sins of the world, is something that God cannot tolerate and will not let slide. He has to punish sin. The sin must be covered and it requires the shedding of blood to atone for our sins.

Hebrews 9:22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.

There must be blood to pay for our sins and the blood that was required was our own. For the wages of sin is death…We deserve to pay that price, we deserve to suffer, we deserve to die for our sins. But yet God, the righteous judge, loves us so very much that He wouldn’t hear of it. He doesn’t want us to pay with our blood, our lives, for our sin. He doesn’t want us to pay eternally for the sin in our lives. His desire is for there to be a covering and Jesus is that covering.

1 John 2:1-2 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

For the whole world. He is that covering, He Paid that price. That is the Gospel in a nutshell. He died for our sins according the Scripture, and he was buried, and He rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15). Jesus died and rose again so that everyone of us, all of us, could have victory over the darkness of our lives, the pain of our past, the severity of our sins, the suffering we deserve. He died and rose again so that we might have life in His name. He died and rose again so that by believing in Him, we can escape the reality of the Hell we deserve to experience the hope of the Heaven we’ve been given through Jesus Christ.

Today we celebrate, not because it’s Spring, not because of the Easter bunny, not because we might like candy, not because we like to look for little plastic eggs. We celebrate because there’s a God in Heaven who loves us so very much that He gave His all (His Son Jesus) to pay it all, for us all, so we could have it all…if we will just believe.

Jesus shed His blood. He died. He was buried. But praise God, on the third day, He shattered the darkness, He broke through the bondage, He cast aside the shackles, He tossed off the guilt, He wrapped His arms around us, He welcomed us into His family, and gave us the greatest gift that one could ever imagine. He gave us A BRAND NEW DAY! A BRAND NEW TOMORROW! A BRAND NEW ETERNITY!

BECAUSE HE LIVES!

They thought He was dead. They thought He was defeated. They thought it was over, that Jesus had been stopped. They thought they would never again have to hear about what He had done, no more miracles, no more sermons, no more throwing the money changers from the temple, no more graves robbed, no more supposed blasphemies from His lips. He was dead, locked away in His tomb, sealed away for all time, dead, gone, forever! BUT…

UP FROM THE GRAVE HE AROSE;
WITH A MIGHTY TRIUMPH OVER HIS FOES;
HE AROSE A VICTOR FROM THE DARK DOMAIN,
AND HE LIVES FOREVER, WITH HIS SAINTS TO REIGN.
HE AROSE, HE AROSE, HALLELUJAH, CHRIST AROSE!
Robert Lowry, 1826-1899

Crossroads – Facing Points of Brokenness!

2018-03-18
Dr. David Wheeler

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

Focal Passage – John 21:1-19 Holman Christian Bible
21 After this, Jesus revealed Himself again to His disciples by the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed Himself in this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called “Twin”), Nathanael from Cana of Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two others of His disciples were together. 3 “I’m going fishing,” Simon Peter said to them. “We’re coming with you,” they told him. They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. 4 When daybreak came, Jesus stood on the shore. However, the disciples did not know it was Jesus. 5 “Men,” Jesus called to them, “you don’t have any fish, do you?” “No,” they answered. 6 “Cast the net on the right side of the boat,” He told them, “and you’ll find some.” So they did, and they were unable to haul it in because of the large number of fish. 7 Therefore the disciple, the one Jesus loved, said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tied his outer garment around him (for he was stripped) and plunged into the sea. 8 But since they were not far from land (about 100 yards away), the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish. 9 When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish lying on it, and bread. 10 “Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught,” Jesus told them. 11 So Simon Peter got up and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish—153 of them. Even though there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 “Come and have breakfast,” Jesus told them. None of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?” because they knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread, and gave it to them. He did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to the disciples after He was raised from the dead.
Jesus’ Threefold Restoration of Peter
15 When they had eaten breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said to Him, “You know that I love You.”
“Feed My lambs,” He told him.
16 A second time He asked him, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said to Him, “You know that I love You.”
“Shepherd My sheep,” He told him.
17 He asked him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”
Peter was grieved that He asked him the third time, “Do you love Me?” He said, “Lord, You know everything! You know that I love You.”
“Feed My sheep,” Jesus said. 18 “I assure you: When you were young, you would tie your belt and walk wherever you wanted. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will tie you and carry you where you don’t want to go.” 19 He said this to signify by what kind of death he would glorify God. After saying this, He told him, “Follow Me!”

Here are some highlights –

John 1:40-42 – Jesus calls Peter and recognizes his great potential.
When Jesus saw him, He said, “You are Simon, son of John.[ad] You will be called Cephas” (which means “Rock”).

Matthew 14:22-33 He walked on water – but fell to the flesh and took his eyes off of Jesus and in his own strength, began to sink!
27 Immediately Jesus spoke to them. “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28 “Lord, if it’s You,” Peter answered Him, “command me to come to You on the water.” 29 “Come!” He said. And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid. And beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Matthew 16:13-20 He confessed Jesus as Messiah:

He asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets. 15 “But you,” He asked them, “who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah (Christ), the Son of the living God!”

Peter then continued and blew it in Matthew 16:21-23:
21 From then on Jesus began to point out to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and be raised the third day. 22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, “Oh no, Lord! This will never happen to You!” 23 But He turned and told Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me because you’re not thinking about God’s concerns, but man’s.”
. . . Peter’s mouth and his mind were disconnected from his heart – they wrote a check that his heart could not cash. Talk is cheap, knowing about Christ without personally and fully connecting to His eternal plan emasculates our faith and results in religious pride without personal surrender. Bottom line, for wisdom to be effective – it must be connected to understanding. Again, Peter displayed Charisma over character!

Luke 9:28-36 – Mount of Transfiguration
30 Suddenly, two men were talking with Him—Moses and Elijah. 31 They appeared in glory and were speaking of His death, which He was about to accomplish in Jerusalem. 32 Peter and those with him were in a deep sleep, and when they became fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men who were standing with Him. 33 As the two men were departing from Him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it’s good for us to be here! Let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said.
34 While he was saying this, a cloud appeared and overshadowed them. They became afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 Then a voice came from the cloud, saying:
This is My Son, the Chosen One; listen to Him!
He was at the Transfiguration – he sought outward sacrifice over inner surrender. Peter is like the person recording their experience on social media without really living it out, or the guy missing the moment because he is too concerned in impressing others with his social posts. Remember . . . Jesus always desires mercy over sacrifice!

John 13:36-38 Prediction that Peter would deny Christ
33 “Children, I am with you a little while longer. You will look for Me, and just as I told the Jews, ‘Where I am going you cannot come,’ so now I tell you . . . 36 “Lord,” Simon Peter said to Him, “where are You going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you will follow later.” 37 “Lord,” Peter asked, “why can’t I follow You now? I will lay down my life for You!” 38 Jesus replied, “Will you lay down your life for Me? I assure you: A rooster will not crow until you have denied Me three times.
John 18:1-11 – Peter cuts the ear off of the High Priest’s Slave, Malchus
10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. (The slave’s name was Malchus.) 11 At that, Jesus said to Peter, “Sheathe your sword! Am I not to drink the cup the Father has given Me?”
John 18: 15-18; 25 -27 Peter Denies Christ Three Times
16 But Peter remained standing outside by the door. So the other disciple, the one known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the girl who was the doorkeeper and brought Peter in. 17 Then the slave girl who was the doorkeeper said to Peter, “You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” “I am not!” he said. 18 Now the slaves and the temple police had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold. They were standing there warming themselves, and Peter was standing with them, warming himself . . .
25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said to him, “You aren’t one of His disciples too, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not!” 26 One of the high priest’s slaves, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said, “Didn’t I see you with Him in the garden?”27 Peter then denied it again. Immediately a rooster crowed.

John 20:1-10 Peter goes to the empty tomb

Now we come to John Chapter 21 . . .

1. It always begins with the Resurrected Lord

Too many people try to cheapen Easter and the Trivialize the resurrection.

In spite of the World’s Attempts to Trivialize Christianity and to Marginalize Christians . . . Make NO Mistake that from the Immaculate Baby to the Miraculous Risen Savior, the Message is the same . . . It is all about Hope and Restoration!!!

Joy to the World:
Verse 1
Joy to the world! the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.

2. How did Peter respond seeing the empty tomb, the first thing he did was return to what he knew – He fished!

Fishing was Peter’s default mode. In spite of Jesus having already twice revealed Himself to the disciples in His resurrected state, he appears to be so caught up in himself that all he can do is default back to his previous self.

What is our default? We all have a default!

3. Then it all changed when Peter was again confronted by the Risen Jesus:

15 When they had eaten breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said to Him, “You know that I love You.” “Feed My lambs,” He told him.
16 A second time He asked him, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” “Yes, Lord,” he said to Him, “You know that I love You.” “Shepherd My sheep,” He told him.
17 He asked him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved that He asked him the third time, “Do you love Me?” He said, “Lord, You know everything! You know that I love You.” “Feed My sheep,” Jesus said.

4. What should we notice: Peter was desperate and broken – he was finally moldable and willing to surrender – this is always the KEY!

I love what Jim Cymbala says in his book, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire:

“I discovered an astonishing truth: God is attracted to weakness. He can’t resist those who humbly and honestly admit how desperately they need Him”

5. It was then that Peter finally spoke the eternal words that transformed his life, “Lord, you know everything!”

6. Here is the KEY Crossroads Principle for today . . . Life begins when you do not care if you die, you just care the Christ is glorified and that His gospel is proclaimed regardless of the price . . . in life or in death – We must willingly surrender everything under His authority!

By the time we get to Chapter 21, Peter is broken
John 21 – the apex of the Peter story, after denying Christ three times, he is exiled to the loneliness of his self imposed grief – he lacked courage, belief, he lacked true understanding! He was finally so miserable and afflicted that he was willing to admit that Jesus as God “knew everything!” The transfer of ownership was finally complete. He would now become the man who preached powerfully at Pentecost, who stood up to the religious elite and faced almost certain death in Acts 4, to become the leader of one of the greatest movements of prayer and truth in history! Would he die, YES, but not before he finally lives!!! He was home – he was redeemed! As Jesus called him out in John 4, he would now begin “fishing for men!”

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

Crossroads: Walking to Heaven

2018-03-25
Jerry Vines

Memory verse:
Micah 6:8
He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

Scripture says of Enoch that he “walked with God.” This is a descriptive way of saying that Enoch lived his life in fellowship with God. The Christian faith is sometimes described as “the way.” Throughout Church history this figure of walking has been used. John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” follows this theme. To walk with God suggests the three phases of the Christian life. We walk in- that’s conversion; we walk on- that’s sanctification; we walk out- that is glorification!

Gen. 5:21-24 KJV
21 And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah:
22 And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:
23 And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:
24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

Enoch walked IN, ON, OUT.

Crossroads – Hope for Tomorrow and Forever

2018-03-11
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.

Last week, we started our walk towards Easter with a new series entitled, “Crossroads.” This is a series that takes a brief look at those whose lives intersected with Jesus during His earthly ministry on the way to the cross and how they were forever changed. Last week, we talked about the blind men from Matthew 20. Today, we’re going to look at someone a bit closer to Jesus. His intersection occurred when he was called to be a disciple, to follow Jesus. We know him as Thomas.

John 11:1 (CSB) Now a man was sick, Lazarus, from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, and it was her brother Lazarus who was sick. 3 So the sisters sent a message to Him: “Lord, the one You love is sick.” 4 When Jesus heard it, He said, “This sickness will not end in death but is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha, her sister, and Lazarus. 6 So when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. 7 Then after that, He said to the disciples, “Let’s go to Judea again.” 8 “Rabbi,” the disciples told Him, “just now the Jews tried to stone You, and You’re going there again?” 9 “Aren’t there 12 hours in a day?” Jesus answered. “If anyone walks during the day, he doesn’t stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 If anyone walks during the night, he does stumble, because the light is not in him.” 11 He said this, and then He told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I’m on My way to wake him up.” 12 Then the disciples said to Him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will get well.” 13 Jesus, however, was speaking about his death, but they thought He was speaking about natural sleep. 14 So Jesus then told them plainly, “Lazarus has died. 15 I’m glad for you that I wasn’t there so that you may believe. But let’s go to him.” 16 Then Thomas (called “Twin”) said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go so that we may die with Him.”

Here, we pause in the story because usually, one continues to read the amazing story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. And, that is an amazing story, but not the one we focus on today. Today, we focus on Thomas. In John 11, Thomas appears, not as the doubter we believe he might be, but a man willing to walk into harm’s way, following the Master. The other disciples were concerned (John 11:8) for their safety since people in Judea were seeking to stone Jesus. But Thomas was ready…to follow Jesus even if it meant his own death. So then, why do we have the view of Thomas as the “doubter.”

Hope for Now and Forever

John 14:1 “Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. 3 If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also. 4 You know the way to where I am going.” 5 “Lord,” Thomas said, “we don’t know where You’re going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

1. Thomas was unsure of what tomorrow might hold (vs 5)

– Thomas wanted more information, he wanted to know the way

2. Jesus gave the answer (vs 6)

– I AM (eggo EYE-me)

3. Thomas’ tomorrow came quicker than expected

– Jesus was soon arrested, tried, and killed

John 20:24  But one of the Twelve, Thomas (called “Twin”), was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples kept telling him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “If I don’t see the mark of the nails in His hands, put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will never believe!”

4. Thomas forgot what Jesus had said (vs 25)

– Jesus had shared His mission with them (Mark 8)

26 After eight days His disciples were indoors again, and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them. He said, “Peace to you!” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and observe My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Don’t be an unbeliever, but a believer.” 28 Thomas responded to Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Those who believe without seeing are blessed.”

5. Jesus again gave the answer – HOPE (vs 27-28)

– “Trust me”

– “My Lord and my God”

John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. 26 Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die—ever. Do you believe this?”

6. Jesus’ answer is always the same – I AM (eggo EYE-me_)

HOPE FOR TODAY, TOMORROW AND FOREVER

Crossroads – Crossing His Path

Crossroads
2018-03-04
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse:
Matthew 15:30 Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them.

Matthew 15:29 Jesus departed from there, skirted the Sea of Galilee, and went up on the mountain and sat down there. 30 Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them. 31 So the multitude marveled when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.

When our paths cross His path, everything can be made whole. Notice the word used in the previous sentence…”can.” It’s critical for us to notice that the greatest hindrance to Christ doing His greatest work, outside of Salvation, in our lives is us, not Him.  Over the next few weeks, leading to Easter, we’re going to take a look at some of the moments found in Scripture where people’s lives crossed with Jesus, some of which were inadvertent, and they were forever changed because of the intersection of their lives with Christ. Our prayer is that these stories of life change will be a catalyst to all of us to remember the power found in Christ and for some of us, that He is the only way to Heaven.

Matthew 20:29-34 (Christian Standard Bible) As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed Him. 30 There were two blind men sitting by the road. When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” 31 The crowd told them to keep quiet, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” 32 Jesus stopped, called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 33 “Lord,” they said to Him, “open our eyes!” 34 Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they could see, and they followed Him.

What they did…

1. They heard…

vs 30b When they heard that Jesus was passing by…

– this indicates that they had already heard of this man Jesus
– they knew of His power- the stories of what Jesus had done had no doubt brought about serious conversations for these men, but they had not acted on it.

2. They called…

vs 30c …they cried out…

3. They knew…

vs 30d …Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!…

– theirs was not a problem of lack of belief, it was a problem of lack of action

4. They persisted…

vs 31a The crowd told them to keep quiet, but they cried out all the more…

– when they finally decided to act, nothing was going to stop them

What He did…

5. Jesus listened…

vs 32 Jesus stopped, called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?

– in every situation found in Scripture when people called out to Jesus, He listened. Not once did He ignore those calling.

6. Jesus cared…

vs 34a Moved with compassion…

– the constant state of Jesus during His ministry here, and still today

7. Jesus healed…

vs 34b … Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they could see…

– what Jesus ALWAYS did

8. They followed…

vs 34c …and they followed Him.

Difference Makers: To Serve Is To Give

2018-02-25
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse:
2 Corinthians 8:9
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

Last week, from Galatians 5

1. Serving is the antidote to selfishness

2. Serving is fulfilling God’s command

3. Serving will keep us together

Last week, we began this sermon of which we will conclude today. It is the final sermon in our series, Difference Makers. Last week we talked about the importance of serving. Today, we continue and talk about giving. Giving is how we serve. Giving of our time, our talent and our treasure. Today, I want to talk specifically about the treasure element of that statement.

But first, let’s take a quick journey through the history of giving our treasure as it relates to the Bible.

Gen. 14 – Melchizadek received a “tithe” from Abraham as he returned from war

Lev. 27 –   400 years later, Moses receives the law which states that they are to give a tenth

Deut. 14 – 40 years later, Moses reminds them, “You must set aside a tithe… Bring this tithe to the designated place of worship…”

Mal. 3 –    1,000 years later.  “Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me!  But you ask, ‘What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?’  You have cheated me of the tithes (mah-ah-SAY-er = a tenth) and offerings due to me.” (Malachi 3:8)

Now, we’ll move into the New Testament. Some have argued that the tithe was an Old Testament thing, under the Mosaic Law, not applicable to the New Testament. However, the New Testament continues to teach regular, systematic giving, to the church. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 16.

1 Cor. 16:1-2 Now regarding your question about the money being collected for God’s people in Jerusalem. You should follow the same procedure I gave to the churches in Galatia.  2 On the first day of each week, you should each put aside a portion of the money you have earned. Don’t wait until I get there and then try to collect it all at once.

So, a New Testament picture of giving that emulates the Old Testament.

1. First

2. Intentional

3. Proportionate

We have a clear mandate from God’s Word that giving is a critical part of following Christ. Jesus says in Matthew 23:

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

TO SEND IS TO SERVE, TO SERVE IS TO GIVE, TO GIVE IS TO LOVE

2 Corinthians 8:1-12 Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia. 2 They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity. 3 For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will. 4 They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem. 5 They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do. 6 So we have urged Titus, who encouraged your giving in the first place, to return to you and encourage you to finish this ministry of giving. 7 Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us—I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving. 8 I am not commanding you to do this. But I am testing how genuine your love is by comparing it with the eagerness of the other churches. 9 You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich. 10 Here is my advice: It would be good for you to finish what you started a year ago. Last year you were the first who wanted to give, and you were the first to begin doing it. 11 Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving. Give in proportion to what you have. 12 Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have.

TO SERVE IS TO GIVE

4. Giving Is The Pathway To Abundant Joy

– Vs 2 They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity.

5. Giving Is A Sign Of Spiritual Maturity

– vs 5 They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do.

6. Giving Is A Calling From God

– Vss 6-7 So we have urged Titus, who encouraged your giving in the first place, to return to you and encourage you to finish this ministry of giving. 7 Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us—I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving.

– excel in serving AND giving

7. Giving Is A Response To Your Love For Christ

– vs 8 I am not commanding you to do this. But I am testing how genuine your love is by comparing it with the eagerness of the other churches.

Difference Makers: To Send Is To Serve, To Serve Is To Give, To Give is to Love

2018-02-18
Key verse:

Galatians 5:13
For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

The last several weeks we’ve talked about being a difference maker. We’ve talked about making an impact in our world, in our community, with the Gospel. Not just in helping people know who Jesus is and what He has done, but helping them grow in their faith and become witnesses for Him. That is called discipleship, which is a command from God to all of us.  Last week specifically, we ended with this statement:

SEND them out on mission

– In other words, we need to help them map their mission to impact others with the Gospel story (this is replication)

Today and next week, I want to talk about how to make that happen. And the one clear understanding we must all have about discipleship, about SENDING them, is this:

TO SEND IS TO SERVE, TO SERVE IS TO GIVE, TO GIVE IS TO LOVE

Galatians 5:13-15 (NLT) For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. 14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.

TO SEND IS TO SERVE

1.   Serving is the antidote to selfishness

– vs 13b But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.

2.   Serving is picture of God’s command (the great commandment)

– vs 14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

3.   Serving will keep us together – division will dissipate

– vs 15 But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.

SERVE
– serve them by helping them walk in the way and the word
– START book
– Group Life
– Serve TOGETHER

2 Corinthians 8:1-12 Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia. 2 They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity. 3 For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will. 4 They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem. 5 They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do. 6 So we have urged Titus, who encouraged your giving in the first place, to return to you and encourage you to finish this ministry of giving. 7 Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us—I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving. 8 I am not commanding you to do this. But I am testing how genuine your love is by comparing it with the eagerness of the other churches. 9 You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich. 10 Here is my advice: It would be good for you to finish what you started a year ago. Last year you were the first who wanted to give, and you were the first to begin doing it. 11 Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving. Give in proportion to what you have. 12 Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have.

TO SERVE IS TO GIVE

4.   Giving Is The Pathway To Abundant Joy

– vs 2 They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity.

5.  Giving Is A Sign Of Spiritual Maturity

– vs 5 They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do.

6.   Giving Is A Calling From God

– vss 6-7 So we have urged Titus, who encouraged your giving in the first place, to return to you and encourage you to finish this ministry of giving. 7 Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us—I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving.

7.   Giving Is A Response To Your Love For Christ

– vs 8 I am not commanding you to do this. But I am testing how genuine your love is by comparing it with the eagerness of the other churches.

Next week, we’re going to talk about what giving really is…

Difference Maker: What does the walk look like?

2018-02-11
Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: John 9:25 He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.”

Two Weeks Ago:
1. Know who you are
2. Know who they are
3. Know what your job is

Last Week:
1. Identify them
2. Pray for them
3. Tell Them
4. Invest in them
5. Walk with them

John 9:6   When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. 7 And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing. 8 Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, “Is not this he who sat and begged?” 9 Some said, “This is he.” Others said, “He is like him.” He said, “I am he.” 10 Therefore they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered and said, “A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and I received sight.”

What does that walk look like?

TELL– the Gospel story, pray for them, invite and invest, show God’s love to them

GROW – help them grow in their obedience to God’s Word, invite them to church/group, START book

SEND – help them do with others what you’ve just done with them

1. Tell them the Gospel story 

Vs 11b …So I went and washed, and I received sight.”

Vs 25 He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.”

– The greatest waste in life is not a person who has failed but a person who never tried

– The distance between a missed opportunity and making a massive difference is one simple step

2. Help them grow in their awareness of, and identity in, Christ

vs 26 Then they said to him again, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?”27 He answered them, “I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?” 28 Then they reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples. 29 We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from.” 30 The man answered and said to them, “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! 31 Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. 32 Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. 33 If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.

– The hope we have in Christ should be enough to make us want to let others know

3. SEND 

– Help them map their mission

Vs 35  Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” 36 He answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” 37 And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.” 38 Then he said, “Lord, I believe!”  And he worshiped Him.

What are the simple steps you can take today?

1. a call, a visit, a letter

2. Stopping to notice

3. Engaging

Difference Maker: Come See A Man…

2018-02-04
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verses:
John 4:28-29
The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men,  “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?”

Last week:
Know who you are…
Know who they are…
Know what your job is…

John 4:1 (NLT)
Jesus knew the Pharisees had heard that he was baptizing and making more disciples than John 2 (though Jesus himself didn’t baptize them—his disciples did). 3 So he left Judea and returned to Galilee. 4 He had to go through Samaria on the way. 5 Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. 7 Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” 8 He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food. 9 The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” 10 Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” 11 “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? 12 And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?” 13 Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. 14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” 15 “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.” 16 “Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her. 17 “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied. Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband—18 for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!” 19 “Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. 20 So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?” 21 Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. 23 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” 25 The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26 Then Jesus told her, “I Am the Messiah!” 27 Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked to find him talking to a woman, but none of them had the nerve to ask, “What do you want with her?” or “Why are you talking to her?” 28 The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, 29 “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” 30 So the people came streaming from the village to see him.

1. Identify them

family members, neighbors, co-workers, friends, fellow students

– all of them are people for whom Jesus died (2 Peter 3:9)

2. Pray for them – No one call tell your story but you, and if you don’t…

Romans 10:1-4
Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. 2 I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. 3 For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. 4 For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God.

3. Tell them your story – No one call tell your story but you, and if you don’t…

vs 28-29 The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, 29 “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?”

Acts 26:15-18 Who are you, lord?’ I asked. “And the Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. 16 Now get to your feet! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and witness. Tell people that you have seen me, and tell them what I will show you in the future. 17 And I will rescue you from both your own people and the Gentiles. Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles 18 to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.’

4. Invest in them

– Spending time with them, helping them follow Jesus

Matthew 28:19-20a Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you…

– nothing to fear because He will give you everything you need

Vs 20b And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

5. Walk with them

– Recognize you will grow as you help them grow

Difference Maker: Where Do I Start?

2018-01-28

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

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

2 Peter 3:9-10 (NLT)
The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.

Last week, we started our series, Difference Makers, talking about the God-given duty and responsibility we all have to make a difference – a positive difference – in our world today through the Gospel. We discussed the four characteristics of a difference maker:

1. They change their thinking

2. They put others first

3. They look for ways to help

4. They start from the perspective of Christ.

Where do I start?

 

1. Know who you are

–  a Christ follower

– What is a Christ Follower

A. One who has believed and received the Gospel story of Jesus [His death, burial, resurrection], has followed Jesus in baptism, is obeying all that Jesus taught, and is helping others do the same

– The Gospel story (Good News)

1 Corinthians 15:1-4a Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures…

– Believing and Receiving

John 14:6  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Romans 10:9-13 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

B. One who is loving God with their heart, soul, mind, strength and loving others like Jesus

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

 

2. Know who they are

– those whom Christ died for

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

– Look at the people with whom you live, work, and play near

– Make a prayer list of those people you know who are far from God or don’t know God and pray fervently for them

 

3.  Know what your job is

 

– To Tell

– “Go into all the world…”

Difference Makers: What does it mean?

2018-01-21
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

 

Key Verse: Acts 1:8
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

 

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

 

John 20:21b Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.

God has called us all to be Difference Makers in our world today. These verses, and many others throughout the Bible, clearly indicate we have a responsibility to impact our world for Christ. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to talk about how we can make sure we are fulfilling our God-given mission.

The TRBC Mission Statement:
To Change Our World By Developing Christ Followers Who Love God and Love People!

 

What does it mean to be a difference maker?

 

Nehemiah 1:1-4 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. It came to pass in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the citadel, 2 that Hanani one of my brethren came with men from Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who had survived the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. 3 And they said to me, “The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.” 4 So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

 

The definition of a difference maker

 

1. Changes their thinking

 

– negative thinking will always lead to negative results

 

– positive thinking will always lead to positive results

 

– Nehemiah could have responded to the reports of those in Jerusalem with the attitude that nothing could be done, there’s no use.

 

2.  Puts others first

 

– humility

 

– care and concern for others

 

– Nehemiah – “sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.”

 

3.  Looks for ways to help

 

– not a critic

 

– sees every challenge or problem as an opportunity to make things, and others, better

 

– Nehemiah 2:4 Then the king said to me, “What do you request?”  So I prayed to the God of heaven. 5 And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.”

 

4.  Starts from the perspective of Christ

 

– sees things, and people, the way Christ does

– LOVES PEOPLE, USES THINGS

– a difference maker has a heart for the hurting (Nehemiah)

– a difference maker has a heart for the lost (Christ)

– Matthew 9:35-38 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

 

– A Christ Follower

 

– One who has believed and received the Gospel story of Jesus [His death, burial, resurrection], has followed Jesus in baptism, is obeying all that Jesus taught, and is helping others do the same

 

– One who is loving God with their heart, soul, mind, strength and loving others like Jesus

Our Response To Christ’s Church

2018-01-14

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Colossians 1:18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

Ephesians 2:19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.

Last week, we talked about the church. We focused on what the church really is and used the Bible to give us a clearer description of the church. Today, I want to talk about our response to knowing what the church truly is. But first, let’s revisit what we talked about last week:

1. The church is God-ordained

2. The church is not a building, it’s you

3. Jesus is the Head of the church

4. Jesus gave us the plan for the church

5. Jesus gave us the keys to the church

So in knowing these truths about the church and having a deeper understanding of the importance of the church, what should we do?

1. We are required to carry out His plan

– the Great Commission

Matthew 28:19a Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…

– tell grow send

2. We are required to serve within the church

Ephesians 4:11-12 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.

(NLT) 11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ

– the responsibility every leader within the church has is to help the church (all of us) do the work of building up the church

3. We are required to baptize believers 

Matthew 28:19b …baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit

-Baptism is an “ordinance” of the church – or “an act we must perform” per the Word of God.

– Matthew 3:15 “it is fitting”, “NLT says “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.”

4. We are required to remember how Christ established the church

– through the broken body & shed blood of Jesus Christ!

– Communion is an ordinance of the church

I Corinthians 11:23-26 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”  26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.

5. We are required to pray that the world would believe

1 Timothy 2:3-7a For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, 7 for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle

Luke 10:1-2 After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. 2 Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.

– In other words, we actually are required to care about the world

– We must have the same desire Christ has, to see the world come to know Him

– 2 Peter 3:9 “not willing that any should perish”

Luke 19:10 – “the Son of man has come to seek and to save that which was lost”

WE ARE REQUIRED TO…

…TELL our salvation story to all

…GROW others in their walk with Christ

…SEND ourselves and others out into the world to let them know

A New Day In The Old Way

2018-01-07
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
Matthew 16:18 (NKJV)
And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

What is the church?
Why is the church important?
Is it still relevant today?
Do I really need to be a part of the church?

These are questions that many people ask often about the church. Today, on the first Sunday of the year, it might be good for us to review our understanding of what makes the church the church.

Matthew 16:13-18 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” 14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

1. The church is God-ordained
(vs 18b I will build My church)

– Jesus builds our church

– church (ekklesia) A group called out for a particular purpose

– what we do here is not a construct of man, it is a God-ordained, God-planned movement

– And, when done according to His plan, there’s no stopping it!

(vs 18c and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.)

2. The church is not a building or an organization, it’s YOU!

I Corinthians 1:1-3 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, 2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

– “the church” is not a specific place, title, denomination…it is “a group called out for a particular purpose”

– meaning, WE ARE THE CHURCH

(vs 2a To the church of God which is at Corinth)

3. Jesus is the Head of the church

Colossians 1:18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

– The “head” (kay-FALL-ay) the leader, one responsible to care for

– “preeminence” (pro-TOO-oh) the first, the most prominent

– Any time that anything is placed in higher priority or importance than the proclamation of the Gospel and the preeminence of Christ in a church, the church ceases to be the church Jesus talked about in Matthew 16:18

4. Jesus gave us the plan for the church

Acts 2:42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

– the teaching, the gathering, the fellowship, the praying, the serving

– Worship, Bible teaching, Lifegroups, personal growth, service=

Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

– The acting? The proclamation of the Gospel

– Outreach, missions, camping ministry, personal evangelism

5. Jesus gave us the keys to the church

John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.

– The keys? Belief in Jesus Christ as the only savior of the world!

Ephesians 2:19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.

Pressing On

2017-12-31

 

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

 

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

 

Philippians 3:1 (NLT) Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith. 2 Watch out for those dogs, those people who do evil, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved. 3 For we who worship by the Spirit of God are the ones who are truly circumcised. We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort, 4 though I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could. Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more! 5 I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. 6 I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault. 7 I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. 8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ 9 and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. 10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11 so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!  12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

 

1. The past should stay there

 

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

 

A. Our beliefs about the past

Hanging on to our past guarantees a difficult future

– Regrets from yesterday will translate into regrets tomorrow

– Allowing the failures of yesterday to write today’s narrative will lead to tomorrow’s pain

– we’re not good enough (vs 2)

– following the narrative of our beliefs could never be enough (vss 4-6)

– all of it is worthless (vs 7)

– following the narrative of our beliefs could never be enough (vss 4-6)
– all of it is worthless (vs 7)

 

B. What we should believe

– knowing Christ is all there is (vs 8)

– this should be our goal in 2018 – One With Him (vs 9)

– faith

2. The goal is clear

 

– Knowing Him

 

vs 10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death,

 

– Serving Him

 

– Being honest with ourselves

 

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

 

3. The goal? Pursuit of Christ and the Promise of Heaven

 

Vs 13-14 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Things to do:

S (specific), M (measurable), A (awe inspiring), R (relevant), T (timed)

1. Set specific time to meet God (Prayer, Bible reading/study)

2. Set specific goals of enhancing relationships (family, friends, coworkers, strangers)

3. Set specific ways to serve (giving self, giving stuff)

4. Set specific goals of making yourself better (health, knowledge, wisdom)

5. Set specific goals of handling your finances more responsibly (“act your wage”)

Christmas Eve – The Light of the World

2017-12-24

Jonathan Falwell

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

* Wonderful – the wonder of Christmas season is nothing compared to the wonder He brings

* Counselor – When life falls apart and we don’t know what to do, He came to be the One to guide us through our most difficult day

* Mighty God – With Him, nothing is impossible

* Everlasting Father – In the loneliness of life, He is the one with always open arms

* Prince of Peace – In the midst of chaos, He is the constant source of peace

He is all of these things, but so much more. He is the LIGHT OF THE WORLD. He is your light in the midst of all the darkness we face.

Isaiah 9:2 The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined.

* “land of the shadow of death” – Heb. 9:27, …appointed unto man once to die
Rom 5:12 …through one man..death entered

* We are all in the land of the shadow of death

* We need LIGHT

“A light has shined” is the image of what the birth of Christ would mean for us all. And, oh how that light is needed.

Isaiah 60:1-3 Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. 2 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. 3 The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising.

The wise men came to see this baby born as the light of the world.

Matthew 2:1-2 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”

John 1:1-5 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

Sad words indeed. The light shines, but world didn’t understand. The story of Christmas is the light that shines to take away the darkness from the world, from you!

Will you let Him?

The Point of Christmas: From Fear to Peace

2017-12-17
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key verse: 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.”

Luke 2:8-18 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 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. 10 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. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” 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!” 15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

1. The shepherds were not expecting this arrival (vs 9a)

– Why these shepherds?  Some believe the shepherds were watching the sheep that would be used for the sacrifices at the Temple (Mishna)

– This was their daily routine of watching, protecting the animals from all dangers to ensure they were able to fulfill their destiny

– The angel changed their routine, and changed their destiny

2. Fear was the first response (vs 9b)

– no one can blame the shepherds for their response, this wasn’t a normal occurrence in the hills of Bethlehem

– this was a disruption of what was normal which causes fear in most people

3. Alleviating fear requires listening (vss 10-14)

– the implication is that the shepherds clearly listened to the Angel’s pronouncement

– in our daily journeys, we too often fail to listen to the message because we are gripped in fear over the disruption

– Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!

4. When fear vanishes, peace arrives (vss 15-16)

– as the shepherds listened to the angel, immediately their fear was replaced by wonder and amazement…because God’s power and glory was revealed

– what a great lesson for all of us!

5. When peace arrives, there’s a story to tell (vss 17-18)

– “the saying” – meaning this was the messiah

– “GOOD TIDINGS” (evangelizō) which means to preach the good news, the Gospel

– vs 11 – For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord

– about 700 years before Jesus was born, this messianic prophecy was given

Micah 5:2-5 But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.” 3Therefore He shall give them up, Until the time that she who is in labor has given birth; Then the remnant of His brethren Shall return to the children of Israel. 4 And He shall stand and feed His flock In the strength of the Lord, In the majesty of the name of the Lord His God; And they shall abide, For now He shall be great To the ends of the earth; 5 And this One shall be peace.

– and so they couldn’t help but go, and tell

The point of Christmas is that Christ came to cover our sins, to alleviate our fear, to fill us with peace and to send us to tell the world.

The Point of Christmas Is… SACRIFICE

2017-12-10
Matt Willmington / Harold Willmington

Memory Verse:
Genesis 22:14
And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

Genesis 22:1-14 (NKJV)
1 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”
2 Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.
4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off.
5 And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.
6 So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together.
7 But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”
8 And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.
9 Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood.
10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
11 But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.”
12 And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”
13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.
14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

QUESTION: What do you have to put on the altar?

The Point of Christmas – The Covering

2017-12-03
Pastor Jonathan Falwell
Key Verse:
Hebrews 10:5

Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me.”

Hebrews 10:1-18 (NLT)
The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. 2 If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared. 3 But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. 4 For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 5 That is why, when Christ came into the world, he said to God, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings. But you have given me a body to offer. 6 You were not pleased with burnt offerings or other offerings for sin. 7 Then I said, ‘Look, I have come to do your will, O God— as is written about me in the Scriptures.’ ” 8 First, Christ said, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings or burnt offerings or other offerings for sin, nor were you pleased with them” (though they are required by the law of Moses). 9 Then he said, “Look, I have come to do your will.” He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect. 10 For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time. 11 Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. 12 But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 13 There he waits until his enemies are humbled and made a footstool under his feet. 14 For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy. 15 And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so. For he says, 16 “This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” 17 Then he says, “I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds.” 18 And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices.
The point of Christmas – The Covering

1. All have sinned (vs 1)

– 1 The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship

2. We needed an out (vs 2)

– 2 If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared

3. The old way was never enough (vss 3-4)

– 3-4 But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. 4 For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins

4. We needed a covering (vs 5)

– 5 That is why, when Christ came into the world, he said to God, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings. But you have given me a body to offer

– Genesis 3:6-11 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. 8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”11 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”

5. Jesus paid it all

– 7 Then I said, ‘Look, I have come to do your will, O God— as is written about me in the Scriptures.

– 10 For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.

The Heart of Thanksgiving

The Heart of Thanksgiving
2017-11-26

Key Verse:
Colossians 3:17
And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Colossians 3:12-17 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

The Heart of Gratitude

1. Be different (vs 12)

– the world has a picture of what life is supposed to be like, God’s plan is different

2. Be caring (vs 13-14)

– the world is hurting, make a difference

– help one another

– forgive one another

– love one another

3. Be together (vs 15)

– peace and thankfulness go together

4. Be consistent (vs 16-17)

– have a heart of gratitude to God for all He has done

– let your life be a picture of gratitude in how you act, serve, live

Tiny Giants: Jude – Remaining Faithful

2017-11-19

Memory Verse: Jude v20-21

20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

 

Pastor Jonathan Falwell
This letter is from Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and a brother of James. I am writing to all who have been called by God the Father, who loves you and keeps you safe in the care of Jesus Christ. 2 May God give you more and more mercy, peace, and love. 3 Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. 4 I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. 5 So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful. 6 And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment. 7 And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment. 8 In the same way, these people—who claim authority from their dreams—live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at supernatural beings. 9 But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (This took place when Michael was arguing with the devil about Moses’ body.) 10 But these people scoff at things they do not understand. Like unthinking animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and so they bring about their own destruction. 11 What sorrow awaits them! For they follow in the footsteps of Cain, who killed his brother. Like Balaam, they deceive people for money. And like Korah, they perish in their rebellion. 12 When these people eat with you in your fellowship meals commemorating the Lord’s love, they are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you. They are like shameless shepherds who care only for themselves. They are like clouds blowing over the land without giving any rain. They are like trees in autumn that are doubly dead, for they bear no fruit and have been pulled up by the roots. 13 They are like wild waves of the sea, churning up the foam of their shameful deeds. They are like wandering stars, doomed forever to blackest darkness. 14 Enoch, who lived in the seventh generation after Adam, prophesied about these people. He said, “Listen! The Lord is coming with countless thousands of his holy ones 15 to execute judgment on the people of the world. He will convict every person of all the ungodly things they have done and for all the insults that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” 16 These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want. 17 But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ predicted. 18 They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. 19 These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them. 20 But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, 21 and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love. 22 And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. 23 Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives. 24 Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. 25 All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.

 

1. How you live really does matter

 

– vs 4. I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

– many today believe that they are free to do whatever they want to do because of what Christ has done

– truth of the matter is that we are free NOT to do the things of the world because of what Christ has done. We have been set free, no longer slaves to sin.

Romans 6:6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.

 

2. Living right is always under attack

 

– vs 12-13 When these people eat with you in your fellowship meals commemorating the Lord’s love, they are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you. They are like shameless shepherds who care only for themselves.

 

– vs 16 These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want.

– it is not politically correct to live right, do it anyway

– do not allow yourself to fall into the trap of verse 16

 

3. We must remain faithful and fruitful

 

– vs 20-23 But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, 21 and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love. 22 And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. 23 Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.

 

How?

a. Encouragement

 

– vs 20a … build each other up in your most holy faith…

– be a person who genuinely cares for others and wants to help

– don’t tear others down for the purpose of making you look better

 

b. Prayer

 

– vs 20c … pray in the power of the Holy Spirit

– prayer actually does make a difference

– Acts 4:31 says, “And when they prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.” God shook them physically and spiritually. I believe that our churches today could use a good spiritual “shaking.”  The early Christians prayed, God shook them by filling them with the His Spirit, and then he shook the world as they witnessed boldly for Christ.

God ministered to through them to perform mighty miracles. There was no way to they were going to keep silent. They had “seen and heard” too much from their Lord. Their lives had been radically changed. It all began with prayer! Perhaps if we would pray as they did, we too would be “shaken.” We just might “see and hear” more from the Lord then we do presently – Steve Gaines 

c. Outreach

 

– vs 22b-23a … show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. 23 Rescue others…

 

d. Remaining true

 

– vs 23c … but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.

* https://prayforrevival.wordpress.com/tag/steve-gaines/

Tiny Giants – 3 John: Do What’s Right

2017-11-12
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: 3 John 3-4 For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

Today we continue our study of the the shortest books of the Bible. We’ve looked at Philemon, 2 John and today we move to the shortest of all the books in the Bible…3 John. This book was written by John in the late first century, probably around 90 A.D. from the city of Ephesus. John, as the last living apostle wrote this letter to help strengthen the local church and to provide guidance on how to act within the church. While 1900 years old, this book is timely as the same struggles and challenges continue to exist within the modern day church.

3 John 1 (NLT) This letter is from John, the elder. I am writing to Gaius, my dear friend, whom I love in the truth. 2 Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit. 3 Some of the traveling teachers recently returned and made me very happy by telling me about your faithfulness and that you are living according to the truth. 4 I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth. 5 Dear friend, you are being faithful to God when you care for the traveling teachers who pass through, even though they are strangers to you. 6 They have told the church here of your loving friendship. Please continue providing for such teachers in a manner that pleases God. 7 For they are traveling for the Lord, and they accept nothing from people who are not believers. 8 So we ourselves should support them so that we can be their partners as they teach the truth. 9 I wrote to the church about this, but Diotrephes, who loves to be the leader, refuses to have anything to do with us. 10 When I come, I will report some of the things he is doing and the evil accusations he is making against us. Not only does he refuse to welcome the traveling teachers, he also tells others not to help them. And when they do help, he puts them out of the church. 11 Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God’s children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God. 12 Everyone speaks highly of Demetrius, as does the truth itself. We ourselves can say the same for him, and you know we speak the truth. 13 I have much more to say to you, but I don’t want to write it with pen and ink. 14 For I hope to see you soon, and then we will talk face to face. 15  Peace be with you. Your friends here send you their greetings. Please give my personal greetings to each of our friends there.

 

1. Someone who encourages (vss 1-8) – Gaius

– 3 John 3 Some of the traveling teachers recently returned and made me very happy by telling me about your faithfulness and that you are living according to the truth. 4 I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth.

– Gaius had a good reputation (vs 3a)

– he was living in the truth of God’s Word (vs 3b)

– he was helping and serving others (vss 5-6)

– This is a picture of what was right in the early church

2. Someone to avoid (vss 9-11) -Diotrephes

– 3 John 9-10 I wrote to the church about this, but Diotrephes, who loves to be the leader, refuses to have anything to do with us. 10 When I come, I will report some of the things he is doing and the evil accusations he is making against us. Not only does he refuse to welcome the traveling teachers, he also tells others not to help them. And when they do help, he puts them out of the church.

-he was filled with pride (vs 9)

– he rejected others’ wisdom and leadership

– he spread gossip about those in church

– he sought ways to hurt them

– This is a picture of what was very wrong in the early church

3. Someone to emulate (vs 12) – Demetrius

– 3 John 12 Everyone speaks highly of Demetrius, as does the truth itself. We ourselves can say the same for him, and you know we speak the truth.

– Gaius was given the right example in how to continue to live and lead

– vs 11 Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good

Lessons we can learn from 3 John:

1. Follow the example of Christ in serving and encouraging others

2. Be careful to never fall into the trap of pride

– seeing yourself as more important than others in the church is the first

step towards being the modern day pharisee

3. Surround yourself with the right kind of Christ followers as this will make

everyone better

Tiny Giants: Truth In Love

2017-11-05
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: 2 John 6 This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.

2 John 1 (NLT) This letter is from John, the elder. I am writing to the chosen lady and to her children, whom I love in the truth-as does everyone else who knows the truth-2 because the truth lives in us and will be with us forever. 3 Grace, mercy, and peace, which come from God the Father and from Jesus Christ-the Son of the Father-will continue to be with us who live in truth and love. 4 How happy I was to meet some of your children and find them living according to the truth, just as the Father commanded. 5 I am writing to remind you, dear friends, that we should love one another. This is not a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning. 6 Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning. 7 I say this because many deceivers have gone out into the world. They deny that Jesus Christ came in a real body. Such a person is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8 Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked so hard to achieve. Be diligent so that you receive your full reward. 9 Anyone who wanders away from this teaching has no relationship with God. But anyone who remains in the teaching of Christ has a relationship with both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to your meeting and does not teach the truth about Christ, don’t invite that person into your home or give any kind of encouragement. 11 Anyone who encourages such people becomes a partner in their evil work. 12 I have much more to say to you, but I don’t want to do it with paper and ink. For I hope to visit you soon and talk with you face to face. Then our joy will be complete. 13 Greetings from the children of your sister, chosen by God.
This letter is a clear statement against the common misconception in today’s world that it really doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere. John emphasizes the importance of truth and of love, but he defines love in the clearest of terms meaning obedience to God’s Word, which is truth.

1. The encouragement of truth (vs 1-3)

Verse 3a Grace, mercy, and peace…

– Truth is not subjective, it is objective. It is not something you decide on your own, it is given from the beginning.

– …because the truth lives in us and will be with us forever. (vs 2)

– Today’s world determines to decide truth based on feelings, situations, and desires.

– Truth is based on truth (God’s Word) John 14:6

2. The requirement of love (vs 4-6)

– Truth and love go hand in hand. It is impossible to truly love without loving in truth.

Verse 4a I am writing to remind you, dear friends, that we should love one another…

– HOW DO WE LOVE? WHAT DOES LOVE REALLY MEAN?

Verse 6 Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning.

– Love is not accepting what the world says regardless of what God’s Word says.

– Love is obeying God’s Word by reflecting it to the world.

– Is it truly love if we accept the sin of another without trying to speak truth into their lives?

3. The importance of discernment (vs 7-11)

Verse 7a I say this because many deceivers have gone out into the world.

– The world, and the church, is full of deceivers who have subverted God’s Word to allow for that which disobeys God’s Word.

Verse 8a Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked so hard to achieve.

– Acceptance of sin and bad theology is a sure way to slow or destroy the work of a church and of a believer.

Verse 8b  Be diligent

– Know truth by being IN GOD’S WORD so we can spot deceit the moment it walks in.

– The world’s call for tolerance is based on a false view of love.

– Are we really showing God’s love if we are not really showing God’s truth?

– Allowing someone to continue in sin without showing them truth, in love, will lead  to their ultimate destruction. That is not love!

Verses 10-11 If anyone comes to your meeting and does not teach the truth about Christ, don’t invite that person into your home or give any kind of encouragement. 11 Anyone who encourages such people becomes a partner in their evil work.

4. The value of fellowship (vs 12-13)

Verse 12b For I hope to visit you soon and talk with you face to face. Then our joy will be complete.

– This is a first century encouragement to develop real relationships, not just virtual ones.

– God’s design is one that involves fellowship, iron sharpening iron.

Tiny Giants: Mercy Matters

2017-10-29
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse: Philemon 7 For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother.

Today, we’re going to begin a a short series, just three weeks, focusing on some small books in the New Testament. They’re not small in content or impact, just small in size. We’ve entitled this series, Tiny Giants, and today we’re going to spend time in the book of Philemon, the third shortest book in the Bible (335 words.) Next week, we will move to 2 John (245 words) and then conclude the series with 3 John (219 words.)

Philemon 1 (NLT) This letter is from Paul, a prisoner for preaching the Good News about Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy. I am writing to Philemon, our beloved co-worker, 2 and to our sister Apphia, and to our fellow soldier Archippus, and to the church that meets in your house. 3 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. 4 I always thank my God when I pray for you, Philemon, 5 because I keep hearing about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all of God’s people. 6 And I am praying that you will put into action the generosity that comes from your faith as you understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ. 7 Your love has given me much joy and comfort, my brother, for your kindness has often refreshed the hearts of God’s people. 8 That is why I am boldly asking a favor of you. I could demand it in the name of Christ because it is the right thing for you to do. 9 But because of our love, I prefer simply to ask you. Consider this as a request from me—Paul, an old man and now also a prisoner for the sake of Christ Jesus. 10 I appeal to you to show kindness to my child, Onesimus. I became his father in the faith while here in prison. 11 Onesimus hasn’t been of much use to you in the past, but now he is very useful to both of us. 12 I am sending him back to you, and with him comes my own heart. 13 I wanted to keep him here with me while I am in these chains for preaching the Good News, and he would have helped me on your behalf. 14 But I didn’t want to do anything without your consent. I wanted you to help because you were willing, not because you were forced. 15 It seems you lost Onesimus for a little while so that you could have him back forever. 16 He is no longer like a slave to you. He is more than a slave, for he is a beloved brother, especially to me. Now he will mean much more to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord. 17 So if you consider me your partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. 18 If he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge it to me. 19 I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it. And I won’t mention that you owe me your very soul! 20 Yes, my brother, please do me this favor for the Lord’s sake. Give me this encouragement in Christ. 21 I am confident as I write this letter that you will do what I ask and even more! 22 One more thing—please prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping that God will answer your prayers and let me return to you soon. 23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you his greetings. 24 So do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my co-workers. 25 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

Mercy Matters

1. The Right Testimony

Verses 4-7 I always thank my God when I pray for you, Philemon, 5 because I keep hearing about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all of God’s people. 6 And I am praying that you will put into action the generosity that comes from your faith as you understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ. 7 Your love has given me much joy and comfort, my brother, for your kindness has often refreshed the hearts of God’s people.

– Philemon was a church leader who found Christ through Paul, probably in Ephesus

– The church actually met in his home

– His testimony was one that had even reached Paul, in prison, in Rome (1300 miles)

– Our testimony is an important part of our faith walk as it allows us to be known for the things of God

– Paul wrote this letter to bring healing to a tense situation and to restore fellowship

2. The Right Response

Verse 8 That is why I am boldly asking a favor of you. I could demand it in the name of Christ because it is the right thing for you to do.

Verse 10 I appeal to you to show kindness to my child, Onesimus. I became his father in the faith while here in prison

– Key phrase is here is “That is why…” Paul was asking based on what he already knew about Philemon’s character

– Onesimus was a thief, a deserter, and according to Roman law, could have been legally and rightfully punished for his actions.

– Yet, Paul said the right thing to do was forgive and restore

3. The Right Action

Verse 21 I am confident as I write this letter that you will do what I ask and even more!

– Here is the concept of “over-deliver

– Paul knew it was the right thing to do, but he desired for Philemon to not only forgive but to restore and to develop a relationship that had never existed before

– This was not “I’ll forgive but I won’t forget” (1 Cor. 13 – no record of wrongs)

4. The Right Example

Verse 25 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

– Key word – GRACE

This short book is a picture of how to deal with the certain conflicts of life with others, from both perspectives.  Paul knew it was the right thing to do for Philemon to forgive and restore. But, Paul also knew it was the right thing to do for Onesimus to go back. Onesimus didn’t have to tell Paul of his wrongdoing, but he did. Every element of this story is a great example of how to do everything right.

START: Taking the Next Step of Service

2017-10-22

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key Verse:
John 13:15
For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.

Today, we conclude our brief series entitled START: Taking the Next Step From The Step You’re On. We’ve talked about awareness of our security in Him, the security of His Word, the power of prayer, and fighting for what really matters. Today, I want to conclude by discussing how to take the next step of service. The church should never be a haven for placeholders but rather a launching pad for world changers! This comes through service.

John 13:4 (NLT) So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, 5 and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him. 6 When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.” 8 “No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!” Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.” 9 Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!” 10 Jesus replied, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For Jesus knew who would betray him. That is what he meant when he said, “Not all of you are clean.” 12 After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. 14 And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. 16 I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. 17 Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.

 The Next Step of Service

1. Putting Jesus First

– serving others is not done for a feeling of self worth or validation, it is done as an expression of love for Christ

– Matthew 25:40 And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’’

 

2. Putting Others First

Phil 2:3-4 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. 

How?

1. With what you have

– vs 4-5 So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, 5 and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him

– Don’t wait until you feel you are equipped to serve, serve now!

2. With what you know

– vs 6-8 When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.” 8 “No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!” Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.”

– we are all uniquely gifted in certain ways and can use those gifts and that knowledge  for the Kingdom

3. With Christ as the model

– vs 13-15 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. 14 And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.

– Jesus stepped out of the role of leader/teacher to serve the Disciples in a way that the world would have looked down upon, yet He did so not just to teach a lesson, but because it is the right thing to do.

What’s next?

1. Pray

Pray about what opportunities are around you every day where you can serve

2. Offer

–  Take a step of faith and simply offer to serve

3. Try

– If at first you don’t “like it” try something else! Practice makes perfect!

START: A Fight Worth Fighting

2017-10-15
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
Ephesians 5:15
15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

We live in a world that always seems to be fighting. Fighting in the workplace, fighting online, fighting at home and fighting within. Today, I’d like us to spend some time focusing on fights that are actually worth fighting.

1. FIGHT FOR YOUR HEART

Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.

– Make what you care about what God cares about

– Proverbs 4:24 Avoid all perverse talk; stay away from corrupt speech. (NLT)

2. FIGHT FOR YOUR MIND

Galatians 6:3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

– Don’t let the world define who you are based on the world’s ideas of right and wrong

– The world today bombards us with images and ideas that are intended to take our minds where they should not be. RESIST

– Philippians 4:8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise (NLT)

3. FIGHT FOR YOUR FAMILY

Eph 5:25 (NLT) For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. 29 No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. 30 And we are members of his body. 31 As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” 32 This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. 33 So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

– Lead by example, not by status. Being the spiritual head of the household doesn’t make you the dictator. It just makes you the primary servant.

– The world is desperately trying to destroy your family, serve as the protector within the home.

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. (NKJV)

4. FIGHT FOR THE CHURCH

Hebrews 10:24-25 (NLT) 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.

– Don’t let the world define for you what it looks like to be a leader, look to the word of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit.

– Matthew 16:18 tells us the gates of hell can’t prevail against the church, but that requires the church to PUSH! Are you?

1 Corinthians 16:14 Let all that you do be done with love.

START: Prayer Matters

START: Prayer Matters

2017-10-08

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:

1 John 5:14

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

WE continue a brief series we started two weeks ago entitled START: Taking the Next Step from the Step You’re On. This is really a refresher on a few of the basics of our faith walk. Two weeks ago, we talked about our security in God’s hand. Last week, we talked about the importance of God’s Word. Today, let’s talk about prayer.

15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

Prayer Matters

1. Prayer is talking to God your Father

– 1 Peter 5:6-7 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

– Prayer is actually the ability we have to talk to the One who created us, and everything

– Unfortunately, many treat prayer as a ritual rather than an unbelievable privilege

2. Prayer is a conversation

–  Hebrews 4:14-16 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

– It is an actual conversation where we can find the help and hope we need

3. Prayer is powerful

– James 5:16b …the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

– It actually works, it makes a difference

How do I pray?

– Luke 11:1 Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”

1. Know who God is

… Luke 11:2a So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name…”

2. Recognize the importance of God’s plan

– Luke 11:2b …Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.

3. Know that God cares about you

– Luke 11:3 Give us day by day our daily bread.

4. Be in the right place for prayer

– Luke 11:4a And forgive us our sins…

5. Be in the right attitude for prayer

– Luke 11:4b …For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.

6. Seek God’s leading in your life

– Luke 11:4c …And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.

7. Be thankful for everything

– Luke 17:17 – Jesus taught us that simply saying thanks is important

– He healed ten but only one came back to say thanks

– How many times have we ignored the blessings of God?

START: The Power of the Word

2017-10-01
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory 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,

Today, we’ll continue talking about how to take the next step from the step you’re on in regards to your faith walk by talking about God’s Word. Last week, we focused on our assurance. It is vital if we are going to walk the path that God has for us, we must recognize the keeping power of God. Today, we’ll talk about the incredible way that God speaks to us and guides us along the journey.

THE POWER OF THE WORD – Hebrews 4:12 The Word of God is living (zah-oh – full of life) and powerful (ener-gais – able to make things happen, bring them about)…

– Inspiration – God breathed out His Word

– Inerrancy – every word is accurate and absolute

– Infallible – absolutely trustworthy, exempt from error

Our response to the living and powerful Word…

1. Read what it says

– 16a All Scripture is given by inspiration of God

“It is God’s present Voice which makes His written word all-powerful.  Otherwise it would lie locked in slumber within the covers of a Book.” – A.W. Tozer

 

– Reading the Word of God is the only way to discover the Will of God. If you’re trying to discover God’s Will for your life without reading God’s Word for your life, you’re wasting your time.

2. Learn what it means

16b …and is profitable for doctrine (teach us what is right), for reproof (convict, show us what is wrong), for correction (teach us how to fix it)…

– We must be diligent in studying God’s Word in order to find its meaning and application

– We can do this through church, Bible studies, life groups, books, radio/tv

“God did not write a book and send it by messenger to be read at a distance by unaided minds.  He spoke a Book and lives in His spoken words, constantly speaking His words and causing the power of them to persist across the years.” – A.W. Tozer

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

– Psalm 119:11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.

3. Put it into practice

– 16c …for instruction in righteousness

– 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

– Our lives, or more importantly, our success in life is directly dependent on how we put God’s Word into practice in our daily lives

– If we are not actually applying His Word to life, we not only will fail, we are living in sin

– James 1:22   But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

“It is one thing to know that the Scripture is the Sword of the Spirit, but it another thing to know how to use it effectively. God expects us to use the Sword, not merely hang it up as a decoration.” – Rev. Jerry Falwell

I Corinthians 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, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.

START: How Can I Be Sure?

2017-09-24
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

 

Memory Verse:
Ephesians 2:4-5
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

Last week, we talked about suffering. Why does it exist? Why is this world so broken? Simply put, why God? We took time to examine how the brokenness of this world is not God’s fault, it’s ours. We landed last week in Romans 8 talking about the promise of God that nothing can separate us from His love. That is what I’d like to talk about today…How can we be sure?

Romans 8:39b …(nothing) shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Ephesians 2:1-9 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 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.

How can I be sure?

The Holy Spirit regenerated, sealed, baptized, and indwells—and prays for us. The Son was crucified, resurrected and intercedes for us forever. Finally, the Father said the elect would never perish (John 3:16, 10:27-29), thirst (Jn 4:14), be judged (1 Corinthians 1:8,9), die spiritually (Jn 8:52), or be forsaken (Philippians 1:6, Heb 13:5)

1 John 5:13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

 

1. Because I can do nothing to secure my own salvation – John 14

2. Because He has declared us righteous through Justification

Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

3. Because Jesus has us firmly in His grip

Hebrews 7:23-25 (NLT) There were many priests under the old system, for death prevented them from remaining in office. 24 But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever. 25 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.

John 10:27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”

From our newly published START book: Reading 1 John is meant to help with our assurance. Guard your feelings to deal with the emotional fear and know the facts to confront the mental doubt. As 1 John shows, true Christians have these marks in their life, either past or present:

Hebrews 7:23-25 (NLT) There were many priests under the old system, for death prevented them from remaining in office. 24 But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever. 25 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.

John 10:27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”

From our newly published START book: Reading 1 John is meant to help with our assurance. Guard your feelings to deal with the emotional fear and know the facts to confront the mental doubt. As 1 John shows, true Christians have these marks in their life, either past or present: 

1. You will want to know Him (1:3,4), look forward to seeing Him (3:2,3), and relate to Him by His Spirit within them (4:13).

2. Convicted of your sin (1:5-10), despise their sin (2:15), and practice sin less and less (3:5,6).

3. Seek fellowship with other Christians (1:3,4; 3:14).


4. Understand the power of prayer – They have seen prayer work and had God answer their prayer (3:22, 5:14,15).

5. Recognize the importance of God’s Word – They believe Scripture (5:1-2), know what is not Scripture (4:1-3), and want to obey Scripture (2:3-5).

Why Then Do We Suffer?

2017-09-17
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
Romans 8:18 NKJV
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Life is full of trouble and pain. Often, we are left wondering why. Questions fly over how God could allow such suffering to take place if He is a loving God, or does He even exist at all. Today, let’s spend some time asking the question, WHY?

Job 5:7 Yet man is born to trouble, As the sparks fly upward.

Job 14:1 Man that is born of woman is of full days and full of trouble

1. This World Is Not What God Intended

Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.

– God created a perfect world and a perfect world must include choice

– A perfect world could not include forced servitude and worship

– Garden of Eden created a perfect place (Genesis 2:9 – every good tree, pleasant to sight)

15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”Proof of man’s ability to choose good or evil

– Through an act of choice, sin entered into the world. Through that one act, the world

was forever changed.

– The world, and everything in it, are still God’s perfect creation but we messed it up, and we still do

“The problem of reconciling human suffering with the existence of God who loves, is only insoluble so long as we attach a trivial meaning to the word ‘love’ and look on things as if man were the centre of them.”

(The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lewis)

2. Even Still There Is Hope

Romans 8:18  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?

– Our hope is found in looking not at the pain and suffering of today but in the joy and promise of what is to come. But it requires patience.

25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

3. Our God Is Still In Control And Taking Care Of Us

Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? 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. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 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.

– In the midst of the pain of this world, we remain fully in the perfect love of God

– Adrian Rogers said, “Sin is not just breaking the laws of God, it is breaking the heart of God.

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world…No doubt Pain as God’s megaphone is a terrible instrument; it may lead to final and unrepented rebellion. But it gives the only opportunity the bad man can have for amendment. It removes the veil; it plants the flag of truth within the fortress of a rebel soul.

(The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lewis)

“Nothing is impossible with God”

2017-09-10
Ben Guttierez

MEMORY VERSE: Matthew 19:26 (NKJV)

But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

 

What type of person Does God use?  Does a person of real influence have to be a ‘perfect’ person? What determines if we are going to do great things for God?  Can God use me?  Answer:  God Can Use Anybody!   God is the forgiver of sins & the determiner of one’s mission in life. If we submit our hearts and lives to God, God can use us to bring Him great glory. God uses a heart that has humbly confessed all sin and desires forgiveness by God. God uses a heart that is submissive to His Will. God can receive glory from a heart that is totally committed to living for Him.  Therefore, God Can Use Anybody! We need only submit to Him in all things.  You can be used of God! You don’t have to be experienced in ministry, professional, perfect, or sinless.  As long as you have a submissive heart that remains sensitive to the Holy Spirt, God Can Use You!

 

Matthew 10:2-4

2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these:
The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him.

Matthew 9:9

As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the tax collector’s booth; and He said to him, “Follow Me!”
And he got up and followed Him.

Luke 3:12-13

12 And some tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” 13 And he said to them,
“Collect no more than what you have been ordered to.”

Luke 18:10-11, 13a

10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 “The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector… 13a “But the tax collector, standing afar off was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’”

Luke 5:27

After that He went out and noticed a tax collector named Levi sitting in the tax booth.

Matthew 9:9

As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the tax collector’s booth…

 

Matthew 9:1-6

1 Getting into a boat, Jesus crossed over the sea and came to His own city. 2 And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, “Take courage, son; your SINS are FORGIVEN.” 3 And some of the scribes said to themselves, “This fellow blasphemes.” 4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? 5 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your SINS are FORGIVEN,’ or to say, ‘Get up, and walk’? 6 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to FORGIVE SINS”—then He said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your bed and go home.”

Matthew 9:10-13

10 Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many TAX COLLECTORS and SINNERS came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the TAX COLLECTORS and SINNERS?” 12 But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are SICK. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but SINNERS [to REPENTANCE].”

Matthew 16:26

For what shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

Luke 7:34

“Jesus…is a friend of tax collectors and sinners!”

Matthew 19:26

…With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

The Believer’s Exciting Future!

2017-09-03

Dr. Ed Hindson

Memory Verse:

1 Thessalonians 4:17 NKJV

Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

Dr. Ed Hindson, Dean of the Rawlings School of Divinity at Liberty University will speak on, “The Believer’s Exciting Future.” He will point over seven key promises in the Bible that clearly predict our eternal future from the Rapture to the New Jerusalem. These seven promises will bless your heart and fill you with wonderful anticipation of our eternal home in heaven.

1. Rapture

“We which are alive and remain shall be caught up…”

1 Thessalonians 4:13-17

2. Bride to the Father’s House

“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

John 14:2-3

3. Judgment Seat of Christ

“We shall all appear before the judgment seat of Christ to receive the things done in the body.”

2 Corinthians 5:10

4. Marriage of Lamb

“Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!  For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.  Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.”

Revelation 19:7-8

5. Triumphal Return

“The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.”

Revelation 19:14

6. Millennial Reign


“they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years”

Revelation 20:1-6

7. Eternal City

“Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.”

Revelation 21:1-2

Flannelgraph Faith – Jonah

2017-08-27
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse: Jonah 2:9 But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.

Today, we conclude our Summer series, A Flannelgraph Faith: Reframing the Familiar, with one of the most familiar stories in the Old Testament. The story of Jonah and the Whale (even though whale is not used in the Bible.) This is another of the great stories of God’s provision and protection. Although this one has a slightly different twist. Unlike Daniel and Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego who were protected for the faithfulness, Jonah was protected even through his lack of faithfulness.

What can we learn from this great story?

 

1. God’s Call Trumps Our Comfort

Jonah 4:2 So he prayed to the Lord, and said, “Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm. 3 Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!”

– Jonah fled from the call of God because it didn’t fit in his plan

– He questioned God’s call, but not God’s mercy

– Interesting that many of us today do the same thing

2. God’s Redemption Trumps Our Contempt

Jonah 4:7  But as morning dawned the next day God prepared a worm, and it so damaged the plant that it withered. 8 And it happened, when the sun arose, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat on Jonah’s head, so that he grew faint. Then he wished death for himself, and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” 9 Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” And he said, “It is right for me to be angry, even to death!” 10 But the Lord said, “You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. 11 And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left—and much livestock?

– He wanted to see the evil get what they deserved rather than receive what God can freely give

– Unfortunately, that still happens today

– This is another great revelation that God is not willing that any should perish and that He is willing to “go the extra mile” to bring salvation

3. God’s Salvation Trumps Everything

Jonah 2:2 And he said, “I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction, And He answered me. “Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, And You heard my voice. 3 For You cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas, And the floods surrounded me; All Your billows and Your waves passed over me. 4 Then I said, ‘I have been cast out of Your sight; Yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.’ 5 The waters surrounded me, even to my soul; The deep closed around me; Weeds were wrapped around my head. 6 I went down to the moorings of the mountains; The earth with its bars closed behind me forever; Yet You have brought up my life from the pit, O Lord, my God. 7 “When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the Lord; And my prayer went up to You, Into Your holy temple. 8 “Those who regard worthless idols Forsake their own Mercy. 9 But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.”

10 So the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

– This prayer is a statement from Jonah within the fish that captures all of our stories, we have all been to that place of utter darkness and desperation, the question is whether we have cried out to Him for salvation

– God sent that fish to protect Jonah when he really didn’t deserve any protection, yet God was willing to make provision for Jonah despite Jonah’s sin of disobedience

– The key to this story is God’s care for the people of Ninevah, God’s call on the life of Jonah, and God’s forgiveness of both

Flannelgraph Faith: Daniel

2017-08-20

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
Daniel 6:27
He delivers and rescues, And He works signs and wonders, In heaven and on earth, Who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.

Today, we build on the fantastic story of last week of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. We now move to Daniel 6 and find him in a similar situation that these three found themselves last week. Different King, different conspirators, same old story. Jealousy leading to deception leading to what they hoped would be certain death. But God had a different plan.

Daniel 6:3 Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm. 4 So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him. 5 Then these men said, “We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God.”

1. Being Faithful In The Tough Times Is Vital
Daniel 6:10 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.

– Even when Daniel knew that he would pay a price for his faithfulness, he was faithful anyway

2. Our Faithfulness Will Be Noticed By Even Those Against Us
Daniel 6:16 So the king gave the command, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. But the king spoke, saying to Daniel, “Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you.”

– The King knew that Daniel was firm in his trust in God

– The King probably didn’t agree that he would be saved, but he knew that Daniel believed it

3. Our Faithfulness Breeds Confidence When We Need It Most
Daniel 6:21 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.”

4. Our Faithfulness Changes Others
Daniel 6:26 I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel. For He is the living God, And steadfast forever; His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed, And His dominion shall endure to the end. 27 He delivers and rescues, And He works signs and wonders In heaven and on earth, Who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.

– Daniel was comforted in knowing that the same God that had sustained him in the good times is the same God that would sustain him in the bad times

5. Our Faithfulness Is Only Possible When It Comes From The Heart
Daniel 1:8 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.

– Half hearted faith will never result in total victory

– Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself early in his life and it sustained him throughout his days

Flannelgraph Faith: Prayer and His Presence

2017-08-13
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
Daniel 3:17
If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king.

Today, we’ll take a look at one of the great Old Testament stories of faithfulness and deliverance. There are many such stories in the OT but the supernatural power found in this and next week’s story are unmatched. Today, we’re talking about the fiery furnace and Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego.

These three were dear friends of Daniel and, like him, had been taken from their homes to serve before the King as described back in Daniel 1. God had protected them and given them special wisdom and strength during their time in captivity.

Daniel 1:17 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.

Through some pretty interesting circumstances, they had been given special authority by the King because of the events of Daniel 2. But things were about to change. The trials of life were about to hit them head on.

 

How To Make It Through When It Doesn’t Seem Possible

1. Pray Like It Matters…Because It Does

Daniel 2:16 So Daniel went in and asked the king to give him time, that he might tell the king the interpretation. 17 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 men of Babylon. 19 Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. So Daniel blessed the God of heaven.

* When their life depended on it, they prayed, do you?

2. Compromise Will Never Deliver

Daniel 3:17  If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from 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.”

* Once again, their very lives depended on their decision at that very moment, but they didn’t waiver. Their trust in God was absolute

* Many Christians today trust God and believe His Word but when another option shows up that might seem better, they fold

* Had they agreed to bow down at that moment, they may well have been saved from being thrown into the fiery furnace, but at what cost?

3. The World’s Power Is No Match For His

Daniel 3:27 And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together, and they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them.

Daniel 3:28 Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God!”

* These three didn’t enter the fire alone, God was with them

* Today, God has sent His Holy Spirit to walk through anything with us

John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

Isaiah 43:2b – 3a When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. 3 For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

Matt. 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Flannelgraph Faith: David – Facing the Giant

2017-08-06

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse: 1 Samuel 17:47 NKJV

Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.

Today, we continue in our Flannelgraph series and talk about one of the most popular stories of the Old Testament. The story of David and Goliath. This is a story of human power defeated by the power of God. A story all of us have been inspired by in our lifetime.  But there are lessons that we can also walk away with from this story. And these are lessons that we can use in facing the giants in our own lives.

1. The greatest challenge in life is rarely the actual challenge

* If David had listened to the crowd, he would have never walked onto that field

* If David had listened to his brother, he would have no confidence

2. Facing opposition while doing God’s will should be expected

* David walked into a wall of opposition when he said he could defeat Goliath

* Eliab – a brother who thought David was useless – 1 Samuel 17:28

* Soldiers – who thought David was a joke

* Saul – a King who thought there was little hope

* We see the same type of opposition in our own lives

3. Your success or failure is directly related to how you handle that opposition

* So Many Christians Never Achieve The Maximum Potential In Their Lives    Because They Never Conquer The Thing That They Fear The Most

* Recognize that it is in God’s power that we find our victories

* David responded to his brother in 1 Sam. 17:29 – IS THERE NOT A CAUSE!

4. Depending on God’s power in the face of your biggest giant is always a winner

* Goliath lost this battle because he trusted in himself

* David won because he trusted God alone

* God didn’t simply hand Goliath over to David and Israel, He made them fight the battle

– 1 Samuel 17:51b …And when the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled

When we depend solely on the power of God in our lives, and His sufficiency, we will walk through the battlefields of life in victory.

2 Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God

Flannelgraph Faith: Samuel – God’s Way, Always!

2017-07-30
Ben Gutierrez

Memory Verse
I Samuel 15:22 NKJV
So Samuel said:
“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams.”

The Story of the Life of Samuel is both a familiar story in the Bible and a significant season in the life of Israel. Samuel is highly regarded as one of the greatest prophets and judges that the Lord appointed to rule and guide his people. After reading I Samuel, it is easy to see that the theme of Samuel’s life is “God’s Way, Always!” As a young boy or seasoned adult, Samuel always obeyed God and followed His ways – even when no one else chose to obey God. As you study I Samuel, there is also a strong sub-theme to the story – The importance of making your own CHOICE of whether you will follow God or not! Will you follow the crowd of disobedient people who chose to disobey God? Or, will you make the choice to follow the Lord even when it is not easy or popular. This sermon takes time to observe the circumstances surrounding Samuel’s life and the many individuals who had a choice to make – to follow God’s Way or to disobey God. This sermon encourages the listener to make his/her own choice to “Choose you this day whom you will serve.”

I Samuel 8:5
“Look,” they told him, “you are now old, and your sons are not like you. Give us a king to judge us like all the other nations have.”

I Samuel 13:13-14 NLT
“How foolish!” Samuel exclaimed. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. Had you kept it, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom must end, for the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart. The Lord has already appointed him to be the leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”

I Samuel 15:22 NLT
But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.”

 

CHOICES!

Nothing & No one can make you choose the way You Choose.

Bad Choices lead to Worse Choices!

Judges 2:19 NLT
But when the judge died, the people returned to their corrupt ways, behaving worse than those who had lived before them. They went after other gods, serving and worshiping them. And they refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.

Only Obedience from a Pure Heart Honors God.

I Samuel 15:22 NLT
But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.”

“To Obey is Better Than ___________”

Joshua 24:15a,c
“Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

 

Flannelgraph Faith: Ruth – Everyone Matters

2017-07-23
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
Ruth 2:10
So she fell on her face, bowed down to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?”

We continue through our Flannelgraph series today focusing on the story of a woman named Ruth. This is a fascinating story, particularly a love story that is cherished by so many. It is a story that encourages us but also one that helps to guide many in their marriages.

This story takes place in Bethlehem and in Moab, occurring in the time of the Judges though written after this period had ended. It’s a story of intrigue, romance and redemption

Ruth 1:1 Now it came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem, Judah, went to dwell in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons

Elimelech, Naomi and their sons left the famine of Bethlehem and traveled to Moab to find hope Soon after, Elimelech dies and leaves Naomi with her two sons. They find wives there.

The sons marry Orpah and Ruth. Not long after, both sons die and leave the three women. Naomi tells the wives to return to their families and she will go back to Bethlehem.

They arrive in Bethlehem and Naomi sends Ruth off to glean the fields of barley for their food. She follows along behind the other workers and soon the boss arrives, his name is Boaz.

Ruth catches Boaz’s eye. He takes care of her, feeds her, sends her home with lots of food and is definitely interested. Ruth tells Naomi of this man and Naomi sends her off with a plan.

After finding out that Ruth is his relative, he seeks to marry her. He must find a closer relative to determine if he has a chance. He meets with the man, he comes up with the plan, and seals the deal that he will marry Ruth. They make the contract among the elders.

Boaz marries Ruth and later have a child. This child, Obed, later has a child named Jesse. Jesse later has a child named David, King of Israel. Down through the generations, eventually another child is born. His name is Jesus.

Ruth 4:14-15 Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a close relative; and may his name be famous in Israel! 15 And may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him.”

 

Application

1. God uses the famines of life to bring blessings

– Naomi wanted to be called “Mara” because she felt God had forgotten her

Ruth 1:20-21 But she said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. 21 I went out full, and the Lord has brought me home again empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?”

2. God’s love is not exclusive

– God proved His love through using unfortunate circumstances and unlikely participants to bring about deliverance

Ruth 4:15a And may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age…

3. God’s plan is greater

– When Elimelech and his sons died, no one could have guessed from that broken home the future king of Israel, and the future of King of Kings, would come.

– Our brokenness in life is always an opportunity for God to do the unexpected, the unimaginable

Flannelgraph Faith: Samson – The Promise That Remains

2017-07-16
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
Judges 16:28
Then Samson called to the Lord, saying, “O Lord God, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once, O God, that I may with one blow take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes!”

We continue in our Flannelgraph series today focusing on the familiar story of a man named Samson. This is a story that children, especially young boys, love to hear and tell because it is a story of power and of strength.

This story takes place as Israel was still without a leader and had once again fallen into sin. Their judgement for this sin had begin and they find themselves in the hands of the Philistines.

Judges 13:1 Again the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord delivered them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.

 

Manoah’s wife was visited by an angel who promised her a child. A child that would deliver the Israelites from the Philistines. (Verse 13:2 & 5).

 

This woman was given strict rules for this promise to come to be. Samson was born and grew to a strong young man (Verses 13:24-25). Then Samson found a woman but along the way, his first display of supernatural strength comes to light. (Verses 14:8)

 

Samson marries this young girl who begins to undermine him almost immediately. The Philistines try to destroy him but he shows them who is stronger (Verses 15:4-5).

 

Again, they attacked Samson and tied him to kill him. Once again, he shows his God-given strength and breaks the ropes, gets a jawbone and kills 1000 men. But they just keep coming after him. (Judges 15:14-15)

 

After losing his first wife, he finds a woman named Delilah. He falls for her, another massive mistake in the life of Samson. Like the first one, she begins to undermine him. She searches for his secret and finally discovers it is in his hair. They cut his hair and finally capture Samson and put out his eyes. The power of the Lord had left him.(Judges 16:15-20)

 

After his capture, the Philistines throw a massive party. They parade Samson to celebrate their “victory” but Samson had other plans. He prays for the power of God to return, one last time (Judges 16:23-28)

 

Judges 16:29-30
And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars which supported the temple, and he braced himself against them, one on his right and the other on his left. 30 Then Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” And he pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So the dead that he killed at his death were more than he had killed in his life.

 

Application

1. God’s Promises Are Filled With Purpose (Verses 13:5)
– God has a specific plan for your life

2. God’s Promises Can Be Derailed By Our Actions
– Samson continually sought out the things of the world while retaining a portion of God’s plan
– Our future deliverance in His power is dependent on our obedience

3. God’s Promises Are Forever Promises
– When He speaks truth, the world cannot change the plan

Judges 16:28
Then Samson called to the Lord, saying, “O Lord God, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once, O God, that I may with one blow take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes!”

Flannelgraph Faith: Gideon – Defeating Fear

2017-07-09
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
Judges 6:16
And the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.”

Today we begin a Summer series using a “technology” that is pretty old. That technology is flannelgraph. I remember seeing these stories on a flannel graph board when I was a child. Right here at TRBC, flannel figures were used to teach me and thousands of others the great stories of the Bible. This Summer, we’re going to do the same thing, telling the great stories of the Old Testament through this old-school method while reframing these familiar stories so they apply to us today.

Today’s story is about a man named Gideon. This was about forty years after Israel had entered the promised land, Canaan. Joshua was dead and a new generation of Israelites were now living.

These Israelites had long since forgotten the promises and deliverance of God. They kept falling into sin, into idol worship and walking away from the one true God.

Judges 6:1
The Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight. So the Lord handed them over to the Midianites for seven years.

The attacks were overwhelming. So much so that the Israelites dug holes in the ground in order to hid themselves (Verse 2).

Israel got to the place where they knew that something had to change and once again they remembered the God who had delivered them. So they cried out to God. (Verses 6-10) There was one man that God had chosen to deliver them from their enemies…and from their fears.

The Angel appeared to Gideon and told him that He would deliver them. But Gideon was just as afraid as everyone else. He didn’t believe that he could do it. He said that he was not capable of leading them out of this mess. But God assured Gideon of His faithfulness (Verses 11-16). Gideon then bargained with God for proof…twice!

So Gideon called for help and 32,000 showed up. But God said it was too many so he told those who were afraid to go home. 22,000 left. But God said there were still too many, so he took them to a stream for a test. Gideon was left with 300 men. (Judges 7:1-7)

God told Gideon and his men to go to the Midianite camp and wait until nightfall. They hid there until they heard the dream of one of the men. This dream encouraged them that God was truly with them. They did as God instructed and the Midianites were so afraid, they began killing each other. (Judges 7:9-22) Gideon got more help and continued to pursue the Midianites eventually capturing the kings. (Judges 8:1-21)

After the victory, Gideon asked all the men to bring gold to him. He made a golden ephod and placed it in the midst of the city. While God had made it abundantly clear that He was their victory and the only one to be worshiped, Gideon became a little to comfortable in his power and his celebrity. (Judges 8:22-27)

Judges 8:28
That is the story of how the people of Israel defeated Midian, which never recovered. Throughout the rest of Gideon’s lifetime—about forty years—there was peace in the land.

Judges 8:33
As soon as Gideon died, the Israelites prostituted themselves by worshiping the images of Baal, making Baal-berith their god. 34 They forgot the Lord their God, who had rescued them from all their enemies surrounding them. 35 Nor did they show any loyalty to the family of Jerub-baal (that is, Gideon), despite all the good he had done for Israel.

Application

1. Defeating Fear Requires Faith  (Verses 6:13 & 15, 16)

Faith in yourself

– As a result of your faith in God

2. Defeating Fear Requires Focus  (Verses 7:2 & 7)

– As the men beside the water were focused on the job at hand, we too must be focused on God’s will and plan for our lives

– we do not have the luxury of being distracted by the “things” of the day

3. Defeating Fear Requires Fidelity  (Remaining true to Him) (Verses 8:27 & 33)

The True Definition of Freedom

2017-07-02
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
Titus 3:4-5
But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 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

The true definition of freedom. We use the word freedom in so many different ways. We use it to describe our ability to live the way we choose in America. We use it to describe what happens when we out of school for the Summer. We use it to talk about vacations with the family. But there is one real definition that I want to focus on today and it’s found in the book of Titus.

Titus 3:1-8 (NLT)
1 Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good. 2 They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone. 3 Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. 4 But—When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, 5 he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. 6 He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. 7 Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these teachings so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good. These teachings are good and beneficial for everyone.

1. Freedom Requires Submission

Vs 1 Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good.

– On this July weekend, it’s important to remember the responsibility we have to be good citizens

– Our freedom in Christ requires us to “live right” while here

2. Freedom Requires Humility

Vs 2 They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone.

– Reminder of the great commandment (Love God, Love People)

3. Freedom Requires Reflection

Vs 3 Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other.

– For us to truly celebrate our freedom, we must remember from whence we came

– We were once slaves because of our sins

Galatians 4:3-7
3 And that’s the way it was with us before Christ came. We were like children; we were slaves to the basic spiritual principles of this world. 4 But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. 5 God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. 6 And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” 7 Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.

4. Freedom Requires Release

Vs 4-5 But—When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, 5 he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.

– Freedom comes through salvation, through a release from sin’s bondage

– New birth (change in status) to New life (change in action)

5. Freedom Requires A Future

Vs 6-7 He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. 7 Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.

– If freedom didn’t promise a future, then the benefits would be minimal

– Eternal life is the reward for freedom given through salvation

6. Freedom Requires A Response

Vs 8 This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these teachings so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good. These teachings are good and beneficial for everyone.

– Freedom through salvation should never result in our being selfish with the Gospel

– Outreach and Discipleship are critical components of our freedom in Christ

This is Your Life

2017-06-25

Charles Billingsley

This Sunday Charles Billingsley reminds us that our lives can leave an incredible impact on this world if we will lives totally surrendered to Christ. We will take a close look at the amazing events in Acts 16 and discover important lessons taught to us by the testimonies of Paul and Silas.

Everyone has a story.  What is yours?

Acts 16:6-34 (NKJV)

6 Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. 7 After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit[a] did not permit them. 8 So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.

11 Therefore, sailing from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, and the next day came to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is the foremost city of that part of Macedonia, a colony. And we were staying in that city for some days. 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, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us.

16 Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” 18 And this she did for many days.
But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour. 19 But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities.
20 And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, “These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city; 21 and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe.” 22 Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods. 23 And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. 24 Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

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.

1. The great life: It starts with Surrender:

A. Surrender to the ways of God

6 Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. 7 After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit[a] did not permit them. 8 So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas.

When you don’t know what to do…continue to do what you DO know you are supposed to do.

B.  Surrender to the will of God

9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 Now after he had seen the vision, immediately WE sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.

C.   Surrender daily to God

2. The great life: It’s Energized by a purpose

11 Therefore, sailing from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, and the next day came to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is the foremost city of that part of Macedonia, a colony. And we were staying in that city for some days. 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, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us.

A.  It’s God’s plan

B.  It’s God’s purpose

16 Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” 18 And this she did for many days.
But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour.

GOD wants you to get where He wants you to go, even more than YOU want to get where He wants you to go.

19 But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities.
20 And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, “These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city; 21 and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe.” 22 Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods. 23 And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. 24 Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

Luke 9:23 — “Then Jesus said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”

3. The Great life: Is Sustained by worship

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.

A. There is power in worship

B. There is freedom in worship

4. The great life: Is Motivated by Love

A. Love of God

B. Love for others

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.

it is God’s love for us that should motivate our love for others.

Am I totally surrendered to God?
Am I energized by His plan and His purpose?
Am I sustaining my walk with him with a lifestyle of Worship?
Am I motivated by a genuine love for Him and a love for others?

The choice is yours! It’s your life!
 

 

Act Like Men

2017-06-18

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:

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

1 Corinthians 16:13 (NASB) Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done in love.

1. Man of Protection

v13a Watch

– NASB Be on the alert..

What for?

– Second coming – how we should live in light of that truth

– False Teachers

– Prayer

2. Man of Purity

v13b stand fast in the faith

– NASB ..stand firm in the faith..

– Grounded in truth of God’s Word

– Church at Corinth was one being influenced by the pagan culture

– Church was being influenced more than it was doing the influencing

3. Man of Power

v13c be brave

– NASB ..act like men..

dependable, trustworthy, honest, caring

– this is what our world needs today

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men – Frederick Douglass

4. Man of Purpose

v13d be strong

– Strong in face opposition

– Not giving in at the first sign of trouble

– weakness not an option

5. Man of Perfection

v14 Let all that you do be done with love

1 Corinthians 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. 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.

vs 8 “LOVE NEVER FAILS” (NKJV)

What Does Service Look Like?

2017-06-11
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
Matthew 5:16
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Today, we’re going to look at a familiar passage that underscores the importance of service.

There are many different views of what service should look like in today’s church. Some views are accurate, some are misguided, some are completely wrong. The best guide to becoming a fully engaged servant of Christ is to let Him explain what it looks like.

Matthew 5:13-16
13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

 

1. We are to speak truth

vs 13 You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

– Salt is a seasoning that adds flavor

– It is also a preservative which slows or prevents decay

– Our roles of service in the Kingdom are to fulfill both of these elements

– How?

1. Stand for Truth

2. Call for Repentance

2. We are to show love

vs 14a You are the light of the world…

– The purpose of light is to fill (replace) the darkness

– In the absence of light, darkness prevails

3. We are not to be ashamed

vs 14b A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden

– Our salvation is an amazing gift, an undeserved gift, that should compel us to share

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

4. We are to share the Gospel

vs 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house

– The “light” of the Gospel is given for all, to all, to be shared with all

– The church has been too good at putting our lights under “a basket”

– Reasons:

– “I don’t want to offend”

– “I don’t want to be made fun of or criticized”

– “I’m not sure what to say”

– “What if they ask a question I don’t know the answer to”

5. We are to set the pace

vs 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven

– How do we “let our light shine?”

1. Consecration – “a setting apart”

2. Dedication – working to show ourselves approved (2 Timothy 2:15)

3. Motivation – keep moving forward in our service to Him

– Genesis 24:27 – “being on the way”

1. Daily Bible reading and study

2. Committed to prayer

3. Connected to the local church

4. Telling others about Him

5. A constant pursuit of holiness

6. Giving of myself, my talent, my time, my treasure

Not My Jesus: Christ In Me

2017-06-04
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
Galatians 2:20 (NKJV)
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

During this series, we have examined who Jesus really is. While the world’s view of Jesus is always in conflict with God’s Word, we have been given a proper view of who He is through studying the Scriptures. Last week, we discovered what Jesus believes about you, how He views you which is encouraging. In light of who He is and what He thinks of us, today let’s talk about changing how we live in response to who Jesus really is.

Christ In Me

Galatians 2:20 (NKJV)
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”

Romans 8:9 (NLT)
But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) 10 And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. 11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. 12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
1. The World Does Not Control Us

vs 9a But you are not controlled by your sinful nature.

BUT…
2. He Does

vs 9b You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)

BECAUSE…
3. He Dwells Within Us

vs 10 And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God.

AND…
4. The Holy Spirit Leads Us

vs 11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

1 John 2:6 Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.

TO…
5. A Life That’s Different

12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

1 Peter 1:13 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.”

The world does not control us but He does because He dwells within us and the Holy Spirit leads us to a life that’s different!

Not My Jesus: What Does Jesus Say About You?

2017-05-28
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
John 15:11
“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”

Over the past few weeks, we’ve examined what the world says about Jesus, what God says about His Son, we’ve examined the words of Christ and what Jesus said about Himself. During this journey, we’ve discovered many encouraging truths about who Christ really is. Today, however, I believe we will be encouraged in even greater ways as we spend some time studying what Jesus said about us.

John 15:1-27
1 “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. 5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. 9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 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. 18 “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. 19 The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. 20 Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you. 21 They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the one who sent me. 22 They would not be guilty if I had not come and spoken to them. But now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Anyone who hates me also hates my Father. 24 If I hadn’t done such miraculous signs among them that no one else could do, they would not be guilty. But as it is, they have seen everything I did, yet they still hate me and my Father. 25 This fulfills what is written in their Scriptures: ‘They hated me without cause.’ 26 “But I will send you the Advocate—the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me. 27 And you must also testify about me because you have been with me from the beginning of my ministry.”

1. You are ready

vs 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you.

– We have been prepared by the “vinedresser” through the “vine” to produce

2. You are protected

vs 5a Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches…

– The branches of any plant are only healthy if they are connected to the vine

– Jesus provides us with life giving protection so that we can thrive

3. You are powerful

vs 5b …Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.

– Phil 4:13 “I can do all things…”

– This refers to remaining in His Word, His presence, His impact

– vs 8 refers to the proof of our discipleship or growth

4. You are loved

vs 9-10 I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.

– He loves us with an everlasting love, He proves that love through what He has done and continues to do for us

– We must prove our love in the same way

5. You are promised joy

vs 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!

– We find joy through Him and through finding our purpose in Him

6. You are His friend

vs 14 You are my friends if you do what I command.

7. You are chosen

vs 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.

– We have been chosen to serve alongside the King of the Universe

– That ability is found in the power and presence of God in our lives

8. You are given great help

vs 26 But I will send you the Advocate-the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me.

– We are given the Holy Spirit, the comforter, to come alongside

9. You are called

vs 27 And you must also testify about me because you have been with me from the beginning of my ministry.

– Speaking to the disciples, He calls them to continue the work

– Speaking to us, He calls us to the same work

10. You are forgiven

Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)
6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 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.

Not My Jesus: Who Did Jesus Say That He Is?

2017-05-21
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory verse:
John 8:12 (NKJV)
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

Over the last few weeks, we’ve looked at what the world thinks say about Jesus, what the Father says about Jesus, what Jesus said about us, now this week let’s see what Jesus said about Himself.

John 8:12-58  (NLT)
12 Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” 13 The Pharisees replied, “You are making those claims about yourself! Such testimony is not valid.” 14 Jesus told them, “These claims are valid even though I make them about myself. For I know where I came from and where I am going, but you don’t know this about me. 15 You judge me by human standards, but I do not judge anyone. 16 And if I did, my judgment would be correct in every respect because I am not alone. The Father who sent me is with me. 17 Your own law says that if two people agree about something, their witness is accepted as fact. 18 I am one witness, and my Father who sent me is the other.” 19 “Where is your father?” they asked. Jesus answered, “Since you don’t know who I am, you don’t know who my Father is. If you knew me, you would also know my Father.” 20 Jesus made these statements while he was teaching in the section of the Temple known as the Treasury. But he was not arrested, because his time had not yet come. 21 Later Jesus said to them again, “I am going away. You will search for me but will die in your sin. You cannot come where I am going.” 22 The people asked, “Is he planning to commit suicide? What does he mean, ‘You cannot come where I am going’?” 23 Jesus continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You belong to this world; I do not. 24 That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I Am who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.” 25 “Who are you?” they demanded. Jesus replied, “The one I have always claimed to be. 26 I have much to say about you and much to condemn, but I won’t. For I say only what I have heard from the one who sent me, and he is completely truthful.” 27 But they still didn’t understand that he was talking about his Father. 28 So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will understand that I Am he. I do nothing on my own but say only what the Father taught me. 29 And the one who sent me is with me—he has not deserted me. For I always do what pleases him.” 30 Then many who heard him say these things believed in him. 31 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 “But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?” 34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. 35 A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. 37 Yes, I realize that you are descendants of Abraham. And yet some of you are trying to kill me because there’s no room in your hearts for my message. 38 I am telling you what I saw when I was with my Father. But you are following the advice of your father.” 39 “Our father is Abraham!” they declared. “No,” Jesus replied, “for if you were really the children of Abraham, you would follow his example. 40 Instead, you are trying to kill me because I told you the truth, which I heard from God. Abraham never did such a thing. 41 No, you are imitating your real father.” They replied, “We aren’t illegitimate children! God himself is our true Father.” 42 Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but he sent me. 43 Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear me! 44 For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me! 46 Which of you can truthfully accuse me of sin? And since I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.” 48 The people retorted, “You Samaritan devil! Didn’t we say all along that you were possessed by a demon?” 49 “No,” Jesus said, “I have no demon in me. For I honor my Father—and you dishonor me. 50 And though I have no wish to glorify myself, God is going to glorify me. He is the true judge. 51 I tell you the truth, anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!” 52 The people said, “Now we know you are possessed by a demon. Even Abraham and the prophets died, but you say, ‘Anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!’ 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?” 54 Jesus answered, “If I want glory for myself, it doesn’t count. But it is my Father who will glorify me. You say, ‘He is our God,’ 55 but you don’t even know him. I know him. If I said otherwise, I would be as great a liar as you! But I do know him and obey him. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad.” 57 The people said, “You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I Am!

1. Light of the World

vs 12b “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

-Psalm 119:105 Your Word is a lamp unto my feet, a light unto my path

Following Jesus will illuminate every situation, no matter how dark

2. God Incarnate

vs 19b Since you don’t know who I am, you don’t know who my Father is. If you knew me, you would also know my Father.

vs 23 Jesus continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You belong to this world; I do not.”

– Jesus literally took on flesh without leaving His divine nature behind

– Bible speaks of His incarnation (Isaiah 7, Psalm 2, John 1, Hebrews 1)

3. Messiah

vs 25 “Who are you?” they demanded. Jesus replied, “The one I have always claimed to be.”

vs 28 So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will understand that I Am he. I do nothing on my own but say only what the Father taught me.”

– John 14:11 – Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.

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!”

4. The Word

vs 31-32 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

– John 1 – In the beginning was the Word…

5. The Sent One

vs 42 Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but he sent me.

Even in Luke 2, as a child, he stated that He was “about His Father’s business…”

6. GOD

vs 57-58 The people said, “You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I Am!

– Exodus 3:14 “I am who I am…I AM has sent you”

God in three persons – TRINITY

 

From Dawson McAllister

* God the Father’s role is to generate things. Things originate with him and flow from him. God the Father is equal with the Son and the Holy Spirit, but things start with him. The Father sent both the Son (John 3:16-17) and Holy Spirit (John 14:26) into the world.

* God the Son’s role is to pay for our sins with his blood, which he did on the cross (Romans 5:9). The Son also acts as a lawyer for us before God, acting as a “mediator” between us and God (1 Timothy 2:5), and speaking “to the Father in our defense” (1 John 2:1).

* God the Holy Spirit has many roles. The Spirit helps us pray (Romans 8:26-27). He gives us new life (John 3:3-6). He is our Comforter, and he helps us understand God’s word (John 14:26). He lifts up Christ (John 15:26). He convicts us of sin (John 16:7-11). He helps us to live holy lives (Romans 15:16). He gives us love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). He helps us share our faith (Acts 1:8). And he lives inside us (Romans 8:11).

From Harold Willmington

* Tri-theism: Idea that there are three Gods who cooperate

* Modalism: One God who reveals Himself in three different forms (husband, father, brother

* 3 Leaf Clover, Water, Egg, Man (body soul spirit) are all NOT good representations of the Trinity as they can be separated

* Best example is the Dimensional Illustration

* A book has three dimensions (height, width, length) that cannot be separated

* Another good example: FIRE (three components – fuel, heat, oxygen) take away any of the components and fire ceases to exist

Not My Jesus: What Jesus Really Said

2017-05-14
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
Matthew 5:12
Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 5:1 And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. 2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit. For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers,For they shall be called sons of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Not My Jesus: Who Is The Real Jesus?

2017-05-07

Memory Verse:
Hebrews 1:1-2
1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;

Hebrews 1:1 (NLT) Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. 2 And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. 3 The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. 4 This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave him is greater than their names. 5 For God never said to any angel what he said to Jesus: “You are my Son. Today I have become your Father.” God also said, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son.” 6 And when he brought his supreme Son into the world, God said, “Let all of God’s angels worship him.” 7 Regarding the angels, he says, “He sends his angels like the winds, his servants like flames of fire.” 8 But to the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. You rule with a scepter of justice. 9 You love justice and hate evil. Therefore, O God, your God has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else.” 10 He also says to the Son, “In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundation of the earth and made the heavens with your hands. 11 They will perish, but you remain forever. They will wear out like old clothing. 12 You will fold them up like a cloak and discard them like old clothing. But you are always the same; you will live forever.” 13 And God never said to any of the angels, “Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.” 14 Therefore, angels are only servants—spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation.

1. The Final Word
vs 2 And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son.

John 1:1 In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He existed in the beginning with God. 3 God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. 4 The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

2. God’s Only Representative
vs 3a The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God

3. God’s Greatest Joy
vs 5 For God never said to any angel what he said to Jesus: “You are my Son. Today I have become your Father.” God also said, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son.” 6 And when he brought his supreme* Son into the world, God said, “Let all of God’s angels worship him.”

4. He Is God
vs 8 But to the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. You rule with a scepter of justice. 9 You love justice and hate evil. Therefore, O God, your God has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else.”

Our God is Three Persons In One – Trinity
(Father) God the Father – Galatians 1:1
(Son) the Word was God – John 1:1
(Spirit) Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit . . . ? You have not lied to men but to God. – Acts 5:3–4

5. He Is Creator
vs 10 He also says to the Son, “In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundation of the earth and made the heavens with your hands.”

6. He Is Eternal
vs 11 “They will perish, but you remain forever. They will wear out like old clothing. 12 You will fold them up like a cloak and discard them like old clothing. But you are always the same; you will live forever.”

7. Our Final Hope
vs 3b When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.

vs 13 And God never said to any of the angels, “Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.”

Not My Jesus: The World’s View of Jesus

2017-04-30
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
Matthew 16:15-16
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

When you mention the name, Jesus, everyone on the face of the earth has an opinion. For some, He’s the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the Savior of mankind. For some, a great teacher. For others, a good moral example. And for others, He’s a fraud.

As followers of Christ, it is important that we understand truly who He is and why He is. Over the next few weeks, we will spend time strengthening our view and understanding of the most important person that has ever walked the face of the earth.  Today, we’ll take a brief look at what the world believe, and set the stage for defending what we believe.

READ: Matthew 16:1-17

1. World is always looking for a sign

vs 4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.

Matthew 12:38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” 39 But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here.

2. There are signs from above and signs from below

vs 12 Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Jewish

* He was jewish

* Ignored from 3rd century forward

* From year 1000, Jews felt that Jesus was source of their persecution

* After 14th century, Jesus was a religious and ethical master, reformer

Islam

* They agree with his virgin birth

* He was a prophet

* His divinity is denied

* Ranks after Mohammed

* Spiritual teacher

* Mentioned in Quran 25 times, more than Mohammed

* Messenger of God but NT is not that message

* Believe that he was not killed or crucified

Hinduism

* Some admire but no commitment

* Some love Him, and use Him as guide in their hinduism

* Some believe

* Ghandi admired teaching of Jesus

* No problem with Jesus being divine, but not exclusively

Buddhism

* Some view Christ as an example of denial of self (Kenosis)

* Admire His compassion (Dalai Lama)

* Attracted to His teaching

* Don’t agree with Him as Son of God

* No real view on Jesus as Buddha didn’t focus on God

Atheists for Jesus
Ken Schei says:”Secondly, when I say that I am “for Jesus”, I do not mean to imply in any way that I have converted to Christianity or that I now believe Jesus to be a god. What I do mean is that I have come to have a great deal of respect for the teachings of Jesus. My respect for Jesus is not based on the Cross, but rather on the Mount–not on His death and supposed resurrection, but on His teachings as exemplified by the Sermon on the Mount.

I will be attempting to present convincing evidence that the Ebionites were who they claimed to be (the Original Apostles and their followers), and that they presented the most accurate picture of the life and teachings of Jesus that is available to us today. If I am successful, the major effect will be to show that Jesus taught that the way to get to Heaven was the difficult path of working to live a good life (the position held by the Original Apostles) rather than the easy path of simply believing in a salvation provided by Jesus’ death (as presented by the followers of Paul).” 1

2 Corinthians 11:3 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. 4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted–you may well put up with it!

3. The greatest revelation of who Jesus is? Himself

vs 13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” 14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.:” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.”

Mark 8:29 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said to Him, “You are the Christ.”

 

1 Ken Schei, Founder and President of Atheists for Jesus http://www.atheists-for-jesus.com

Not my Jesus – The Case for Christ

2017-04-23
Lee Strobel

“If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” – 1 Cor. 15:17 (NIV)

1. EXECUTION

“Jesus’ death as a consequence of crucifixion is indisputable.”
— atheist scholar Gerd Lüdemann
2. EARLY ACCOUNTS

“This tradition, we can be entirely confident, was formulated as tradition within months of Jesus’ death.”
– Historian James D.G. Dunn
3. EMPTY TOMB

4. EYEWITNESSES

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, [even] to those who believe in His name.”
– John 1:12 (NASB)

Believe + Receive = Become

Easter: The Outsiders – Truly He Is The Son of God

2017-04-16
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
Matthew 18:11 (NKJV)
For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.

The day started in agony. Jesus had already been ridiculed before Caiaphas, Annas, Pilate and Herod. He had already been beaten and bloodied. But now, the real journey began. The long road to Golgotha.

Mark 15:20 (NKJV) And when they had mocked Him, they took the purple off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him out to crucify Him. 21 Then they compelled a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus, as he was coming out of the country and passing by, to bear His cross. 22 And they brought Him to the place Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull. 23 Then they gave Him wine mingled with myrrh to drink, but He did not take it. 24 And when they crucified Him, they divided His garments, casting lots for them to determine what every man should take. 25 Now it was the third hour, and they crucified Him. 26 And the inscription of His accusation was written above: THE KING OF THE JEWS 27 With Him they also crucified two robbers, one on His right and the other on His left. 28 So the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And He was numbered with the transgressors.” 29 And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 save Yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31 Likewise the chief priests also, mocking among themselves with the scribes, said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. 32 Let the Christ, the King of Israel, descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Even those who were crucified with Him reviled Him. 33 Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” 35 Some of those who stood by, when they heard that, said, “Look, He is calling for Elijah!” 36 Then someone ran and filled a sponge full of sour wine, put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink, saying, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to take Him down.” 37 And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last. 38 Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 So when the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said, “Truly this Man was the Son of God!”

At the moment Jesus breathed His last, the one man commissioned to kill Jesus was the man who immediately recognized Him for who He was. What must have gone through his mind at that moment. He had been present for the trials, he was present when Jesus was mocked and beaten, present for the crown of thorns. And, most certainly, present and complicit in nailing Jesus to the cross, complicit in His death. And now, he sees that Jesus was indeed the Son of God.

Many still mocked at this point, but this man knew Jesus was God. How many today know this same thing, yet ignore the truth?

Jesus was dead. His body removed from the tree and placed in a tomb. The tomb was sealed. The Sanhedrin were done with Him, putting this difficult moment in their past. There was no more worries about this man Jesus.

Mark 16:1
Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. 2 Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. 3 And they said among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” 4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away—for it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. 6 But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. 7 But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.”

“You seek Jesus who was crucified, who was dead, but He is alive!”

Everything was different now. The soldiers feared for their lives, the disciples weren’t sure what to think, the women who were there…confused, frightened, unsure. Until one very important thing happened…they saw Him. And when they did, the fears were gone, confusion ended, uncertainty disappeared. Never again did they have to be encouraged to tell others, never again were they concerned about what others might think. Why? Because they had seen the risen Lord. Their words echoed the centurion who gazed upon the body of Jesus on the cross.

“Truly this Man was the Son of God!”

Two thousand years have come and gone since the events of those days. Two thousand years have passed since Malchus was healed in the garden, since Jesus spoke those supposedly blasphemous words to Caiaphas. Since Jesus uttered “It is as you say” to Pontius Pilate. Since the centurion uttered those amazing words…truly this man was the son of God.

And while the calendar has changed, the truth has not. The same Jesus who died, was buried and rose again is the one who today still lives. And loves. And loves you!

As you gaze into the face of Jesus today, what are your words? Confusion, complacency, not interested? Or are your words, truly this man IS the Son of God?

Matthew 18:11 For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.

Outsiders; Pilate

2017-04-09
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse
John 18:37b
“…For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

John 18:28 Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the Praetorium, and it was early morning. But they themselves did not go into the Praetorium, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover. 29 Pilate then went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this Man?” 30 They answered and said to him, “If He were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him up to you.” 31 Then Pilate said to them, “You take Him and judge Him according to your law.” Therefore the Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death,” 32 that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled which He spoke, signifying by what death He would die. 33 Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered him, “Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” 37 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” 38 Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no fault in Him at all.39 “But you have a custom that I should release someone to you at the Passover. Do you therefore want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” 40 Then they all cried again, saying, “Not this Man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.
John 19:1 So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. 2 And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe. 3 Then they said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck Him with their hands. 4 Pilate then went out again, and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him.” 5 Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, “Behold the Man!” 6 Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him.” 7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.” 8 Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid, 9 and went again into the Praetorium, and said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” 11 Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” 12 From then on Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, “If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar’s friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar.” 13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus out and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” 15 But they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!” 16 Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. Then they took Jesus and led Him away.

1. Complacency

vs 18:29 Pilate then went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this Man?” 30 They answered and said to him, “If He were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him up to you.” 31 Then Pilate said to them, “You take Him and judge Him according to your law.”

* Pilate wanted nothing to do with Jesus, most likely because he didn’t want to be bothered by what he saw as a personal vendetta by the Sanhedrin

vs 18:38b …And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no fault in Him at all.

Matthew 27:19 While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, “Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him.”

2. Confusion

vs 18:33 Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered him, “Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” 37 Pilate therefore said to Him,”Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” 38 Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?”

* Pilate was confused during this conversation because he couldn’t really understand what it was that Jesus was saying.

* Pilate dismissed Jesus’ words with “WHAT IS TRUTH?”  – Our comfort is more important than truth

3. Compromise

vs 19:6b …Pilate said to them, “You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him.” 7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.” 8 Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid,

* Pilate compromised his leadership and authority by stating “I find no fault..you do it”

vs 19:15b …Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!” 16 Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. Then they took Jesus and led Him away

Matthew 27:24 When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it.”

* This act was to say that he was not responsible for what would take place, but he was

* He compromised what he believed, what is truth, because of cultural pressure

How can we battle Complacency, Confusion and Compromise?

1. Knowing God’s Word and God’s Will will keep you focused on what’s important

2. Knowing God’s Word and God’s Will will help you recognize what’s right and what’s wrong

3. Knowing God’s Word and God’s Will will help you do the right thing, no matter the pressure

The Outsiders: One For All

2017-04-02
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
John 11:50
“…nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.”

Today, we continue our series, The Outsiders. Looking at the story of the passion of Christ from those who helped bring about His death. Last week, we looked at Malchus, the assistant to the High Priest whose ear was cut off by Peter and healed by Jesus. What an amazing story. Imagine what must have been going through Malchus’ mind during Christ’s trial and execution…this man healed me!

Today, we look at the high priest, Caiaphas. The man who wanted Jesus dead.

John 11:45 Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him. 46 But some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus did. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, “What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. 48 If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.” 49 And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, 50 nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad.53 Then, from that day on, they plotted to put Him to death. 54 Therefore Jesus no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there into the country near the wilderness, to a city called Ephraim, and there remained with His disciples. 55 And the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went from the country up to Jerusalem before the Passover, to purify themselves. 56 Then they sought Jesus, and spoke among themselves as they stood in the temple, “What do you think—that He will not come to the feast?” 57 Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a command, that if anyone knew where He was, he should report it, that they might seize Him.
The plot began. Caiaphas was the High Priest of Jerusalem. He was the son in law of the former High Priest, Annas, and was appointed in 18 a.d. to serve in this capacity. He maintained that position until around 36 a.d. when he was thrown out by the Roman procurator. The fact that he served that long proves that he knew what he was doing. He was a politician and knew how to play the games, and please the right people. He knew that he had to keep everything in line if he was going to maintain his power. That’s why he had to stop Jesus.
After the arrest in the garden, Jesus was led from the Garden across the Kidron Valley and taken first to Annas and then to the home of Caiaphas. Annas was appointed high priest by Quirinius, governor of Syria, in 7 A.D. The account of Jesus’ trial before Annas is found in John 18. Jesus was bound and sent to Caipahas.
It was during this time that Peter denied Jesus three times, just as Jesus had said. Let’s pick up the story as Jesus appears before Caiaphas at his house on Mt. Zion.
Matthew 26:57 And those who had laid hold of Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled. 58 But Peter followed Him at a distance to the high priest’s courtyard. And he went in and sat with the servants to see the end. 59 Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, 60 but found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none. But at last two false witnesses came forward 61 and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’ ” 62 And the high priest arose and said to Him, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?” 63 But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, “I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!” 64 Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 65 Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, “He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy! 66 What do you think?” They answered and said, “He is deserving of death.” 67 Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands, 68 saying, “Prophesy to us, Christ! Who is the one who struck You?”
Why is the viewpoint of Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin so important to understand? Their religion was more important than truth. Their tradition was more important than hope. Their power was more important than God’s plan. Sound familiar?

1. The world is always looking for another way

vs 59 Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, 60a but found none…

* Their desired result was more important than truth
* Their comfort was more precious than their faithfulness

2. Jesus claimed to be able to do what no one could imagine

vs 60b …But at last two false witnesses came forward 61 and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’

* This is from John 2:19-22 where Jesus cleaned the Temple
* Jesus was referring to His body as the Temple he would rebuild in three days
* After His resurrection, the disciples remembered these words

3. Sometimes in the most difficult moments of life, He remains silent

Not because He is powerless, but rather because His timing is far better than ours

vs 63a But Jesus kept silent… (He could have saved Himself but His plan was far greater)
vs 63b …”I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!”
64 Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

* Caiaphas played an important role in carrying out the mission of Christ
* Sometimes the most vicious attackers are the greatest opportunities to help bring about God’s perfect plan

4. Jesus’ plan was the one we so desperately needed

John 11:47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, “What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. 48 If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.” 49 And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, 50 nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.”

– Caiphas had no idea that in these few simple words, he gave one of the greatest prophecies in all the Bible. He proclaimed the truth of Christ’s presence on this earth. One for all. The question is…will it be “all for One!”

Outsiders: Jesus at the Center

2017-03-26
Charles Billingsley

Today we begin a 4 week sermon series called “OUTSIDERS.”  In this series we will take a look at the heart and the mindset of 4 different characters in scripture who had a front row seat to the events of the Passion week and even played significant roles in the crucifixion narrative.  None of these characters were followers of Christ, but each one of them encountered Him directly, and each one was impacted by the grace of our Lord.  We will reach a finale to this series on Easter Morning as we examine the response of the Roman centurion at the foot of the cross.  This week we begin in the Garden of Gethsemane, where, after three agonizing hours of prayer, Jesus is confronted and arrested by a small army led by His betrayer, Judas.  But, Judas is not in charge of this mission.  The man in charge is named Malchus, the servant of the High Priest.  Malchus has been commissioned to bring Jesus in for trial and execution.  He’s just there to do His job…but ends up face to face with grace.

Scripture memory 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.”

John 18:1-11

1 When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered. 2 And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His disciples. 3 Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. 4 Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, “Whom are you seeking?”

5 They answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.”

Jesus said to them, “I am He.” And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. 6 Now when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

7 Then He asked them again, “Whom are you seeking?”

And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”

8 Jesus answered, “I have told you that I am He. Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way,” 9 that the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, “Of those whom You gave Me I have lost none.”

10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.

11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?”

1. The Power of Jesus is Undeniable

2. The Love of Jesus is Unconditional

3. The Grace of Jesus is Indescribable

Storytellers: The Story of a Servant

2017-03-19
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
John 4:10
Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”

John 4:1-14
1 Jesus knew the Pharisees had heard that he was baptizing and making more disciples than John 2 (though Jesus himself didn’t baptize them—his disciples did). 3 So he left Judea and returned to Galilee. 4 He had to go through Samaria on the way. 5 Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. 7 Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” 8 He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food. 9 The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” 10 Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” 11 “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? 12 And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?” 13 Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. 14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

Application:

1. See the worth in every person (vs 7)

-no matter the sin, no matter the pain they’ve caused, God values them

2. See them the way Christ sees them (vs 10a)

He is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9)

– He loves us despite our sin and desires to redeem EVERYONE (Rom 5:8)

3. See the value of the message (vs 10b)

the only message that change a life is the Gospel…IT IS WORTH TELLING!

4. See the importance of telling them (vs 11)

– the world has a view that it’s what THEY do that will give them hope

– they need to know that it is what Christ has already done that makes the difference

5. Do whatever it takes (vs 13)

we have a limited time to take this message to the world…OUR WORLD

– your story, simply and genuinely told, can be the catalyst that introduces someone to Jesus

Storytellers: “Story Takers” Matthew 9

2017-03-12
Matt Willmington

Memory Verse: Matthew 9:38 (NKJV)
“Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

When we hear about or see a movie we love, we tend to tell our friends. The gospel is God’s Good News story, better than any movie! Are you taking it to your friends? Bring it to them, or take them to hear – just do it!

The Good News Story – John 3:16

“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.

• God’s Story: He loves me! [John 3:16]
• My Story: I’m a sinner and deserve to be punished [Rom.3:10, 23]
• God’s Story: Jesus paid the price on the cross [1 Peter 3:18]
• My Story: I have been given salvation by His grace. I must call on His name. [Romans 10:13, Eph.2:8-9]
• God’s Story: He promises to save me for eternity! [Rom.8:38-39]

1. TAKE PEOPLE TO JESUS [v.2-8]

v2 Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.” 3 And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, “This Man blasphemes!” 4 But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? 5 For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’? 6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” — then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” 7 And he arose and departed to his house. 8 Now when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God, who had given such power to men.

• team
• work
◦ “They tried to take him inside to Jesus, but they couldn’t reach him because of the crowd. So they went up to the roof and took off some tiles. Then they lowered the sick man on his mat down into the crowd, right in front of Jesus” [Luke 5:18-19 NLT]

• faith
• praise
◦ “the man jumped up, picked up his mat, and went home praising God:”. [Luke 5:25 NLT]

2. TAKE JESUS TO PEOPLE [v.9-13]

v9 As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him. 10 Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

“So Levi got up, left everything, and followed him. Later, Levi held a banquet in his home with Jesus as the guest of honor. Many of Levi’s fellow tax collectors and other guests also ate with them.” [Luke 5:28-29 NLT]

• obedience
• courage
• hospitality

3. TAKE JESUS’ BURDEN [v.35-38]

v35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

• He served those in need
• He had compassion
• He asked God to send workers

Storytellers: The Story of Sight

2017-03-05
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse: John 9:39 NKJV
And Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.”

Today, I’d like to spend some time talking about the importance of a story. How a story can change everything in the eyes of others. How an honest story of God’s love and redemption can change the world.  And, one of the greatest stories to emphasize this truth is found in John 9.

John 9:1-27 NLT
1 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. 2 “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” 3 “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. 4 We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work. 5 But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 Then he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud over the blind man’s eyes. 7 He told him, “Go wash yourself in the pool of Siloam” (Siloam means “sent”). So the man went and washed and came back seeing! 8 His neighbors and others who knew him as a blind beggar asked each other, “Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some said he was, and others said, “No, he just looks like him!” But the beggar kept saying, “Yes, I am the same one!” 10 They asked, “Who healed you? What happened?” 11 He told them, “The man they call Jesus made mud and spread it over my eyes and told me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash yourself.’ So I went and washed, and now I can see!” 12 “Where is he now?” they asked. “I don’t know,” he replied. 13 Then they took the man who had been blind to the Pharisees, 14 because it was on the Sabbath that Jesus had made the mud and healed him. 15 The Pharisees asked the man all about it. So he told them, “He put the mud over my eyes, and when I washed it away, I could see!” 16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man Jesus is not from God, for he is working on the Sabbath.” Others said, “But how could an ordinary sinner do such miraculous signs?” So there was a deep division of opinion among them. 17 Then the Pharisees again questioned the man who had been blind and demanded, “What’s your opinion about this man who healed you?” The man replied, “I think he must be a prophet.” 18 The Jewish leaders still refused to believe the man had been blind and could now see, so they called in his parents. 19 They asked them, “Is this your son? Was he born blind? If so, how can he now see?” 20 His parents replied, “We know this is our son and that he was born blind, 21 but we don’t know how he can see or who healed him. Ask him. He is old enough to speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who had announced that anyone saying Jesus was the Messiah would be expelled from the synagogue. 23 That’s why they said, “He is old enough. Ask him.” 24 So for the second time they called in the man who had been blind and told him, “God should get the glory for this, because we know this man Jesus is a sinner.” 25 “I don’t know whether he is a sinner,” the man replied. “But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!” 26 “But what did he do?” they asked. “How did he heal you?” 27 “Look!” the man exclaimed. “I told you once. Didn’t you listen? Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?”

1. The Beginning of a Story

vs 7 He told him, “Go wash yourself in the pool of Siloam” (Siloam means “sent”). So the man went and washed and came back seeing!

– Story begins with Jesus seeing a man who had always been blind

– It is also a story that begins in Christians judging someone

– But Jesus took what the world sees as a sinful, punished man and turns it into the miraculous

– This took belief and action on the part of the man

2. The Power of a Story

vs 8 His neighbors and others who knew him as a blind beggar asked each other, “Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some said he was, and others said, “No, he just looks like him!” But the beggar kept saying, “Yes, I am the same one!”

– Instantly the man wanted everyone to know about this miracle

– He had spent his entire life blind, and now he sees, and couldn’t stop sharing.

– This story turned the community upside down

3. The Faith of a Storyteller

vs 10 They asked, “Who healed you? What happened?” 11 He told them, “The man they call Jesus made mud and spread it over my eyes and told me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash yourself.’ So I went and washed, and now I can see!”

– There was no fear to share this story, no worry over being ridiculed

– The formerly blind man was now a spokesman for Jesus, who was not there

– This man had absolute faith in what had happened because he could see

4. The Courage of a Storyteller

vs 15 The Pharisees asked the man all about it. So he told them, “He put the mud over my eyes, and when I washed it away, I could see!”

vs 25 “I don’t know whether he is a sinner,” the man replied. “But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!”

vs 26 “But what did he do?” they asked. “How did he heal you?” 27 “Look!” the man exclaimed. “I told you once. Didn’t you listen? Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?”

– His testimony took great courage. His own parents were afraid (vss 18-20)

– Anyone who acknowledged Christ would be put out of the synagogue.

– Yet the man continued to tell the same story…I once was blind but now I see

– The man not only continued to share the story, he pushed back against the Pharisees. (vss 30-34) He was even thrown out for it, yet he stood and believed. (vs 35)

5. The Importance of a Storyteller

vs 4 We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work.

– Jesus made it clear, time is short, we must share our stories NOW!

Overflow: He Is All That You Need

2017-02-26
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Over the course of this series out of Hebrews 12 and 13, we’ve tried to convey a message that is so vital in our lives. Namely, in order to experience God’s best for our lives, we cannot be bogged down by the things of this world. Romans 12:2 says it this way:

Romans 12:2 NKJV
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Romans 12:2 NLT
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Therefore, we must do everything possible to ensure that we follow the instructions of Romans 12:2, and Hebrews 12:1, and get rid of the things that stop us. In doing so, God promises a great reward. We talked about that last week. Today, I want to focus on just two verses that are great reminders that HE IS ALL THAT WE NEED!

Memory Verse:
Hebrews 13:21 NKJV
(May GOD) make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Hebrews 13:20 NLT
Now may the God of peace— who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood— 21 may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.
He is…

1. Our Peace – vs 20a
Now may the God of peace…

Here it reminds us that it is God in whom all our prosperity is centered. There is no well-rounded life that does not depend on him.”

This passage was written to a believers who had been persecuted, who were challenged in their faith, and were questioning their commitment to Christ.

2. Our Shepherd – vs 20b
…the great Shepherd of the sheep…

  • Matthew 9: Jesus had compassion on the people, because they wandered about, like sheep without a shepherd.
  • We all need a shepherd in our lives, one who will watch over us, care for us, guide us when we are lost, protect us when we are attacked

3. Our Deliverer – vs 20c
…and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood.

– a reminder that Jesus made an eternal promise to all of us and this promise was made through the shedding of blood

4. Our Provider – vs 21a
May he equip you with all you need for doing his will…

Katartizo (create, complete, restore) or “guarantee”

5. Our Hope – vs 21b
…May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him.

– key thought: through the power of Jesus…

Overflow: Risk and Reward

2017-02-19
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
Hebrews 13:5
Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Hebrews 13:1
Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. 2 Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! 3 Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies. 4 Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery. 5 Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” 6 So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”

Living our lives in the overflow means we can…

1. Truly love one another

v1 Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters.

philadelphia – brotherly love is encouraged here

– What does brotherly love look like?

– relationship (not helicopter relationships)

– genuine care and concern

– provision of needs

2. Have room to help others

v2 Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! 3 Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.

– When we are not “bogged down” by the burdens of life, we are free to help others, care for others, spend time with others

– These two verses focus on the importance of kindness to all and the importance of helping those who are less fortunate

– Service, Missions, Outreach

3. Have the marriages we’ve always dreamed about

v4a Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage.

– honor = timios (TEAM-eeh-os = valued, costly, prized)

v4b God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery.

4. Have the right attitudes about “stuff”

v5 Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”

– encouragement to “not be greedy, selfish” about money

– 1 Corinthians 4:2 calls us to be “stewards” over what God gives us

– 1 Timothy 6:10 says the “love of money is the root of all kinds of evil”

– Money not that important. Why? Because He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us

5. Have the right attitude about God

v6 So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”

– This is reference to Psalm 118

– Our dependence is on Him, not ourselves, not our money, not our status, not our power, not our job

– Therefore, nothing to fear. No one can destroy us.

Application:

1. Get rid of pride

– If it is a struggle, pray for deliverance

(If it’s all about you, it’s all about over)

2. Look for the opportunities to bless others

– Don’t just wait for the random opportunities, go make those opportunities

3. Look at your spouse as a gift from God, not a burden

– And treat and respect them as such

4. Stop caring so much about things

– There are scores of marriages and families that have been destroyed because they are so focused on “having” rather than “being”

5. Start caring about your relationship with Him

– Take it seriously

– A haphazard faith leads to a hazardous future

– Word/prayer/group/service/sharing