Gospel Tract – But Who Do You Say That I Am? (NASB) – July 9, 2018

Gospel Tract

Tract – But Who Do You Say That I Am? (NASB)

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Gospel Tract – But Who Do You Say That I Am? (NASB) – July 9, 2018
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Dissolution of Saved by Grace Inc.

Greetings All,

For the past couple years, it has been increasingly difficult to carry on the international missions projects with respect to man-hours, financial costs, due-diligence, local, state, federal, and international regulations, and many other significant efforts and requirements, every detail of which, must be strictly adhered to, in order to perform fund-raising and financially assist impoverished ministries and others in need around the world. Saved by Grace, Inc. simply does not have the resources to properly vet everyone we would like to assist to make sure they are “who they say they are” and that every penny of every dollar reaches its intended destination once it leaves Saved by Grace Inc.’s control.

After considerable prayer and meditation, I have made the difficult (but, I feel God-led) decision to dissolve Saved by Grace, Inc. and its operations. Please note that Saved by Grace Ministries, the Internet-based ministry I began in April 2003, to spread the Truth of God’s Word and the Gospel of His Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, will not be affected. This website and ministry will still exist. However, Saved by Grace, Inc. will no longer exist. I will no longer be performing any fund-raising or corporately seeking financial assistance to provide aid to impoverished ministries and others around the world. I will trust that responsibility and ministry to other organization who have the resources and expertise to provide that assistance in today’s chaotic climate. I will return to my roots and focus on the ministry of sharing God’s Word and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

To that end, please be in prayer for me as I am in the process of redesigning the format of this website. Please check back soon. I should have the new format ready within the next month. May God be glorified in everything that is done.

Thank you for your support over the past few years.

An orphanage was saved from closure in Kenya…

A church was rebuilt after destruction from a storm in Kenya…

Many received life-saving medical treatment in Kenya and Liberia…

Orphans received food, clothing, and education in India, Kenya, and Liberia…

And pastors were educated and encouraged to evangelize their congregations, villages, and surrounding communities in India, Kenya, Liberia, and Sierra Leone…

These things happened because of your generous support and compassion.

May God richly bless each of you exceedingly beyond your ability to measure as you have selflessly, generously, and compassionately blessed those in need.

In Christ’s service and yours,
Bro. Chris

“Given Revelation 3:5, Can Salvation Be Lost?”

The question of losing your salvation has been covered before: “Is It Possible for Me to Lose My Salvation?”. However, as mentioned in that post:

This question has troubled many Christians throughout history. In fact, many still struggle with it today. To make matters worse, many theologians are divided on the issue making it even more difficult for laymen to arrive at a definitive answer to the question since both sides have Scripture to support their viewpoint.

One passage of Scripture which adds to the confusion for some is Revelation 3:5, in which Jesus is having John write to the church in Sardis:

Revelation 3:5 (NASB)
5 ‘He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

The question becomes, for those who do not overcome, will their names be erased from the book of life? What does the Bible say about it?

The key to understanding Revelation 3:5 is understanding to whom Jesus is referring in this verse. To determine this, the verse must be examined in the context of the entire passage.

Revelation 3:1-6 (NASB)
1 “To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 2 ‘Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. 3 ‘So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. 4 ‘But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. 5 ‘He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. 6 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

By examining the entire passage, it becomes evident that Jesus was talking to people who were Christians in name only; but, were actually not. In other words, they were never truly saved.

Revelation 3:1b (NASB)
1 ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.

Matthew 7:21-23 (NASB)
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS .’

In the main passage, Jesus goes on to warn them to “wake up” to their current state (i.e., being lost) and repent before it is too late.

Revelation 3:2-3 (NASB)
2 ‘Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. 3 ‘So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.

Jesus then promises to the few who are saved and to those who will be saved (i.e., “He who overcomes”), they will be dressed in white garments and their names will not be erased from the book of life. Or, as those who believe in the “perseverance of the saints” would say, “once saved, always saved.”

Revelation 3:4-5 (NASB)
4 ‘But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. 5 ‘He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

Concerning those who do not overcome (i.e., are lost), their names are never written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. However, to those who do overcome (i.e., are saved), their names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life and will never be erased.

John 10:27-30 (NASB)
27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will 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 the Father’s hand. 30 “I and the Father are one.”

Glorify God In All Things

Scripture

1 Peter 4:7-11 (NASB)
7  The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. 8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Be hospitable to one another without complaint. 10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Opening Prayer

Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation; but, deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Probing Question

How can a Christian glorify God in all things?

Transitional Sentence

Christians can glorify God in all things by…

Main Points

1. Being Alert

1 Peter 4:7 (NASB)
7 The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.

End of All Things

  • Illustrations (sources unknown)
    • When your 5, 18 sounds old; when your 18, 40 sounds old; when your 40, 70 sounds old; when your 70, 90 sounds old; and when your 90, nothing sounds old.
    • A little boy asked his grandma, “Grandma, were you on the ark?”
      “Of course not!” she replied.
      Then the little boy said, “Well grandma, why didn’t you drown?”
  • Peter’s Perspective (ca. 60-61AD)
    • Pending destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans
    • End of the Levitical Priesthood
    • End of the Jewish economy
  • Our Perspective (20th-21st Century)
    • World conflicts/terrorism
    • Worldwide religious persecution/terrorism
    • Economic collapse of nations (e.g., Soviet Union)
  • There is NO TIME to procrastinate; we are in the last days now.  They began at Pentecost and will conclude upon the Second Coming of Jesus.

Acts 2:17-21 (NASB)
17 ‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; 18  EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT And they shall prophesy. 19 ‘AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW, BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE. 20 ‘THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME. 21 ‘AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.’

Sober

  • Be of sound mind
    • This literally means to have a correct understanding of what being a Christian is all about
    • Having a thorough and correct understanding of God’s Word
    • The last days will be days of
      • Religious deception
      • Spiritual illusion
      • Deceiving spirits and doctrines of devils
      • Abandonment of sound doctrine

Jude 1:17-25 (NASB)
17  But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, 18 that they were saying to you, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.” 19 These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. 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, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on some, who are doubting; 23 save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh. 24  Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

  • Make a prudent and moderate use of all you possess
  • Self-restrained (the opposite of lasciviousness)

1 Peter 4:3 (NASB)
3  For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries.

Watch unto Prayer

  • Watch against all occasions of sin
  • Be soberly vigilant
  • Watch that ye may pray and pray that ye may watch

Ephesians 6:18 (NASB)
18  With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,

2. Loving One Another

1 Peter 4:8-9 (NASB)
8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Be hospitable to one another without complaint.

Fervent – intense, earnest

Charity (i.e., love) shall cover the multitude of sins

So as not to harshly condemn or expose one another’s faults; but, to bear the others’ burdens, forgiving and forgetting past offenses.

“As God with His love covers my sins if I believe, so must I also cover the sins of my neighbor.” – Luther

Proverbs 17:9 (NASB)
9 He who conceals a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates intimate friends.

Hospitality one to another

Romans 12:13 (NASB)
13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.

But not just to other saints…

Hebrews 13:1-2 (NASB)
1 Let love of the brethren continue. 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.

Without Grudging – done out of love, and not obligation

Matthew 22:36-40 (NASB)
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, ” ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART , AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL , AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND .’ 38 “This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF .’ 40 “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

3. Ministering One to Another

1 Peter 4:10-11a (NASB)
10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; …

Good Stewards of God’s Gracious Gifts

  • Some people, well aware of their abilities, believe that they have the right to use them as they please
  • Others feel that they have no special talents at all
  • Peter addresses both groups in these verses
  • Everyone has some gifts; find yours and use them
  • All our abilities should be used in serving others; none are for our own exclusive enjoyment
  • Peter mentions speaking and serving
  • Paul lists these and other abilities

Romans 12:6-8 (NASB)
6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

1 Corinthians 12:8-11 (NASB)
8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11  But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

Ephesians 4:11-12 (NASB)
11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;

Speak Only as God Directs

John 12:49-50 (NASB)
49 “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. 50 “I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.”

Acts 2:4 (NASB)
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

Give God All Credit

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NASB)
19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20  For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

Matthew 5:16 (NASB)
16 “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Conclusion

How can a Christian glorify God in all things?  By…

  • Being alert,
  • Loving one another, and
  • Ministering one to another

1 Peter 4:11b (NASB)
11  … so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

And as Paul also reminded the church at Corinth,

1 Corinthians 10:31 (NASB)
31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love, mercy, and grace. You are worthy of honor, glory, and praise. Please lead, guide, and direct all that we think, say, and do, so that in all, Your name will be glorified throughout all creation. We pray this in the precious name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expecttions for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

Contact Form





What About My Needs?

Scripture

Matthew 6:19-21,24-34 (NASB)
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. 25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 “And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Proposition

If we will seek God above all else, He will provide for all our needs.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, almighty Creator, we thank You that You know us better than we know ourselves. Furthermore, You can see through our wants to exactly what we need. Please guide us through Your Word to a better understanding of our actual needs and the pleasure You take in providing for them. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.

Probing Question

How can we provide for our needs?

Transitional Sentence

We can provide for our needs by…

Main Points

1. Understanding the Difference between Our Wants and Needs

Matthew 6:19-21 (NASB)
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Wants vs. Needs

  • Wants are things we desire, but can live without
  • Needs are necessary for survival

Want or Need?

Item Wants Needs
Material Spiritual Material Spiritual
Joy/Happiness Joy/Happiness Happiness   Joy
Job     Trade Evangelism
Education     Skill/Trade Bread of Life
Money Luxuries   Essentials  
Transportation Luxury Car   Transportation  
Shelter Mansion   Shelter  
Clothing Designer   Clothing  
Food/Water Steak   Food/Water  
Air     Air  
Health Physical     Spiritual
Relationship Neighbors Family & Neighbors Spouse & Believers God, Jesus, & Holy Spirit
Prayer       Prayer
Bread of Life       Bread of Life
Salvation       Salvation

2. Establishing a Relationship with One Who Can Meet Our Needs

Matthew 6:24 (NASB)
24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

Providers

  • Wealth/Man/Self
    • Wealth is allusive and fleeting

Proverbs 11:28 (NASB)
28 He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like the green leaf.

1 Timothy 6:7 (NASB)
7 For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.

Luke 12:19-21 (NASB)
19 ‘And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”‘ 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ 21 “So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

1 Timothy 6:17-19 (NASB)
17  Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. 18 Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.

    • Man cannot be trusted

Psalm 118:8 (NASB)
8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD Than to trust in man.

Isaiah 2:22 (NASB)
22  Stop regarding man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils; For why should he be esteemed?

Jeremiah 17:5-8 (NASB)
5  Thus says the LORD, “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind And makes flesh his strength, And whose heart turns away from the LORD. 6 “For he will be like a bush in the desert And will not see when prosperity comes, But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, A land of salt without inhabitant. 7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD. 8  “For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit.

    • Self is insufficient

Isaiah 47:10-11 (NASB)
10 “You felt secure in your wickedness and said, ‘No one sees me,’ Your wisdom and your knowledge, they have deluded you; For you have said in your heart, ‘I am, and there is no one besides me.’ 11 “But evil will come on you Which you will not know how to charm away; And disaster will fall on you For which you cannot atone; And destruction about which you do not know Will come on you suddenly.

Obadiah 1:3-4 (NASB)
3  “The arrogance of your heart has deceived you, You who live in the clefts of the rock, In the loftiness of your dwelling place, Who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to earth?’ 4 “Though you build high like the eagle, Though you set your nest among the stars, From there I will bring you down,” declares the LORD.

Proverbs 28:26 (NASB)
26  He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But he who walks wisely will be delivered.

1 Corinthians 10:12 (NASB)
12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.

  • God

Philippians 4:19 (NASB)
19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 9:8-12 (NASB)
8  And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; 9  as it is written, “HE SCATTERED ABROAD, HE GAVE TO THE POOR , HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS ENDURES FOREVER.” 10  Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; 11  you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God.

Psalm 36:7-9 (NASB)
7 How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. 8  They drink their fill of the abundance of Your house; And You give them to drink of the river of Your delights. 9 For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.

Ephesians 3:20-21 (NASB)
20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

Establishing and Maintaining a Relationship

  • Our greatest need: Salvation

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 14:6 (NASB)
6 Jesus said* to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

John 10:9-11 (NASB)
9 “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. 11 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

Romans 10:9-13 (NASB)
9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”

Hebrews 4:16 (NASB)
16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

  • Maintaining our relationship

Matthew 7:21 (NASB)
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.

Luke 8:21 (NASB)
21 But He answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.”

John 15:1-11 (NASB)
1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. 3 “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. 6 “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. 7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. 9 “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. 10 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

3. Trusting the One Who Will Meet Our Needs

Matthew 6:25-34 (NASB)
25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 “And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Worry gets you nowhere

  • “When I don’t have anything to worry about, I begin to worry about that.” – Walter Kelly
  • “To carry care to bed is to sleep with a pack on your back.” – Thomas Haliburton, quoted in MSC Newsletter
  • “Why worry when you can trust?  It is like a rocking chair.  It gives you something to do but doesn’t get you anywhere.” – Anonymous
  • Worry pulls tomorrow’s cloud over today’s sunshine.” – Anonymous
  • “Worry is wasting today’s time to clutter up tomorrow’s opportunities with yesterday’s troubles.” – Anonymous
  • “Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.” – Swedish proverb
  • “Men will spend their health getting wealth; then gladly pay all they have earned to get health back.” – Anonymous
  • “Measure wealth not by the things you have, but by the things you have for which you would not take money.” – Anonymous

God is trustworthy

Psalm 100 (NASB)
1 Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth. 2 Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. 3  Know that the LORD Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. 4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. 5 For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 40:8 (NASB)
8 I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart.”

God is generous

Luke 12:32 (NASB)
32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.

Matthew 7:7-11 (NASB)
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 “Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? 10 “Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? 11 “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!

Romans 8:32 (NASB)
32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

Conclusion

If our needs are to be provided for, we must:

  • Understand the difference between our wants and our needs
  • Establish a relationship with One who will meet our needs
  • Trust the One who will meet our needs

If we will seek God above all else, He will provide for all our needs.

Matthew 6:33 (NASB)
33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Psalm 84:11-12 (NASB)
11  For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. 12 O LORD of hosts, How blessed is the man who trusts in You!

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love, mercy, and grace. Thank You for Your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As Your children, You know what we need and we thank You for providing for those needs. Help us to be satisfied with what You provide. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expecttions for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

Contact Form





What Do You Think?

Introduction

French mathematician, scientist, and philosopher Rene Descartes in his work Discourse on Method made the claim – more famous in its Latin translation than the original French – “Cogito, ergo sum”, which translated into English is “I think, therefore I am.”

  • We think, therefore we exist
  • What we think affects our existence
    • It affects our feelings
    • It affects our words
    • It affects our actions
    • We experience consequences based upon our words and actions

Long before Descartes, God expressed this truth through Solomon in Proverbs 23:7.

Proverbs 23:7a (NASB)
7 For as he thinks within himself, so he is. …

The thought life is the beginning of victory or the beginning of defeat. Victories are
won and lost here. The battle starts here and is won or lost here. Much is said in God’s Word about our thoughts and what we do with them.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, Jesus’ thoughts were pure and stayed on You and Your will. Please show us the importance of our thoughts and their effect on our words and deeds. Help us to bring them in line with Your will so that we may live our lives in a manner that would bring honor and glory to Your name. We pray this in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Proposition

For good or bad, we are what we think.

Probing Question

What do you think?

Main Points

1. Who Determines Your Thoughts?

You do.

Do not believe it?

  • Close your eyes for a moment
  • Think of an elephant
    • Make him taller than your house
    • Make him small enough to fit in a dog house
    • Make him bright pink
  • Can you see the elephant changing in your mind?
    • You are controlling how you see this elephant
    • You are controlling your thoughts
  • You can open your eyes now

Some thoughts may be initiated by an outside stimulus; however, you are still in control of them.

  • Control your thoughts
  • You can turn your mind to the things that pertain to life and Godliness
  • God has given us very powerful weapons to help us control our thoughts and in turn fulfill prove God’s Word true

2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (NASB)
4  for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, 6  and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.

  • Thoughts can become strongholds or they can be the vehicle you steer to the obedience of Christ
  • Cast down these worldly thoughts and replace them with God’s thoughts

Romans 12:2 (NASB)
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

  • Your mind is renewed by God’s Word
    • It is not renewed by watching television
    • It is not renewed by playing video games
    • I am not saying not to watch television or play video games, but if television or video games is more important to you than God, then you will program the computer that is your mind with these things rather than God’s Word
    • The choice is ours and ours alone to make
    • Too much of anything can be a bad thing

1 Corinthians 6:12 (NASB)
12  All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.

    • Things that are lawful can dominate you and bring you under their power if you let them
    • You must cast down these worldly thoughts and replace them with God’s thoughts
    • You do this by changing what you think on

2. How Does your Thinking Determine How You Feel?

Imagine two people, John and Jane, who have pretty similar lives.

  • Same job
  • Two kids on the honor roll at school
  • Same vehicles
  • Same type of house
  • Same furniture
  • John compares himself with others who have more in life and feels cheated
    • “Why do they have such a big house?”
    • “I am never going to amount to anything!”
    • “Look at that nice car that he has.”
    • “Look at my crummy car.”
    • No matter what John has, he will never be happy because he is too busy looking at what others have instead of appreciating all that he has been given
  • Jane feels blessed because of all she has
    • “God has really blessed me with this beautiful house, two fantastic children, nice vehicle, and beautiful furniture. I am not responsible for obtaining any of these things. All is a gift from God. God has really blessed me.”
    • No matter what comes Jane’s way, she will see it as a gift from God and be thankful
    • She is not comparing herself with others
    • She is fortunate to have the things that God has blessed her with

Now that you know that you determine your thoughts and your thoughts determine how you feel, you should choose thoughts that make you feel:

  • Faith instead of Worry
  • Hope instead of Despair
  • Love instead of Hate
  • Trust instead of Doubt
  • Courage instead of Fear
  • Joy instead of Sorrow
  • Admiration instead of Jealousy
  • Determination instead of Resignation
  • Gratitude instead of Complaining
  • Self-respect instead of Self-condemnation
  • Forgiveness instead of Guilt
  • Generosity instead of Greed

3. How Does Your Thinking Determine What You Say?

In similar fashion to your feelings, your thoughts determine what you say.

In our illustration, John’s comments are negative:

  • “Why do they have such a big house?”
  • “I am never going to amount to anything!”
  • “Look at that nice car that he has.”
  • “Look at my crummy car.”

In contrast, Jane’s comments are positive:

  • “God has really blessed me with this beautiful house, two fantastic children, nice vehicle, and beautiful furniture.”
  • “All is a gift from God.”
  • ”God has really blessed me.”

Matthew 12:34-35 (NASB)
34 “You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. 35 “The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil.

4. How Does Your Thinking Determine How You Act?

Imagine further that John and Jane are called by God to teach Biblical principles to others.

  • John hears the call but thinks to himself:
    • “I cannot do that.”
    • “What will people think and say?”
    • “I am not capable.”
    • “I am a nobody.”
    • “Who do I think I am that I can share God’s Word with others?”
  • Jane thinks to herself:
    • “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
    • “I will be of good courage.”
    • “God is directing my path; He is with me.”
    • “I will be bold and strong knowing God is with me.”

If you feel you cannot do something:

  • You will not put forth much effort
  • The opportunity can slip by

When you believe and have faith:

  • You become bold and display amazing courage and power
  • You can do whatever God asks of you

5. You Can Choose Your Actions or the Consequences, Not Both

We live in a world governed by cause and effect.

  • Each action has one or more consequences
  • You can choose your actions, in which case you must deal with the resulting consequences
  • Or you can choose the consequences, in which case your actions are chosen for you, dictated by the desired result

In our illustration, John’s thoughts are negative:

  • Thoughts:
    • “I am never going to amount to anything!”
    • “I cannot do that.”
    • “What will people think and say?”
    • “I am not capable.”
    • “I am a nobody.”
    • “Who do I think I am that I can share God’s Word with others?”
  • Chosen Actions:
    • John rarely gets involved in anything for fear of failure and rejection
  • Resulting Consequences:
    • Not having put forth much effort, John experiences both failure and rejection, as his attitude brings about a self-fulfilling prophecy
    • Opportunities slip by

In contrast, Jane’s thoughts are positive:

  • Thoughts:
    • “God has really blessed me.”
    • “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
    • “I will be of good courage.”
    • “God is directing my path; He is with me.”
    • “I will be bold and strong knowing God is with me.”
  • Desired Consequences:
    • Blessings from God
    • Joy, happiness, and satisfaction from successful handling of opportunities which arise
  • Required Actions:
    • Jane must believe and have faith in God
    • She must be of good courage and be bold and strong
    • She must allow God to direct her path
      • Doing whatever God asks of her
      • Expending whatever effort is necessary

Conclusion

For good or bad, we are what we think.  If you desire good, focus on thoughts like these:

  • I am a valuable person worthy of respect
  • Great things always happen in my life
  • I will! I can!
  • Be of good courage (Psalm 31:24)
  • Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed (Joshua 1:9)
  • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13)
  • God is directing my path

I challenge you to look through the Bible and add 20 more verses to this list. Keep them in a handy place. Refer to them often. Memorize them.

Always remember:

  • God-like power comes from God-like thoughts
  • If you live constantly in wise and noble thoughts, you become wise and noble in character and actions
  • Choose your thoughts carefully
  • Never verbalize a negative thought
  • Expect the best!
  • Act as if you already are what you are meant to be
  • God is always with you
  • You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you

You are not going to be victorious if you are always walking in a defeated attitude.
You will not even fight because you see yourself as having already lost the battle, but it doesn’t have to be this way. God has a better way for you. As a matter of fact He has already set the example for you in His thoughts toward you.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NASB)
11 ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

If God will not think bad or evil thoughts toward us, who are we to think bad or negative thoughts toward ourselves? We should not. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.

When we follow God’s directions, we get God’s results.

Joshua 1:8 (NASB)
8  “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

Something happens in this process. Some people think of meditation as some kind of mystic eastern religious thing, but this is not what God’s Word is saying at all. When you spend time pondering God’s Word, it will change you like nothing else can. It will renew and transform your mind which will allow you to prove the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

We have control over our thoughts, our thoughts have control over our faith, and our faith has control over our destiny.

Philippians 4:8 (NASB)
8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father help us to dwell on those things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and of good repute, as well as anything that is excellent and worthy of praise. Please direct all that we think, say, and do. May all be done for Your glory. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expecttions for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

Contact Form





Christians – A Chosen People

Introduction

Christian Attitude in Trials

  • Christians Experience Trials
  • Christians Have Hope
  • Christians Can Rejoice
  • Christians Must be Holy

1 Peter 1:16 (NASB)
16  because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”

Holy = A characteristic unique to God’s nature, which becomes the goal for human moral character.

  • To be “set apart” – applies to places where God is present, like the Temple and the tabernacle, and to things and persons related to those holy places or to God Himself.
  • To be “perfect, transcendent, or spiritually pure, evoking adoration and reverence” – applies primarily to God, but secondarily to saints or godly people.
  • Something or someone who evokes “veneration or awe, being frightening beyond belief” – applies to God and is the primary meaning of “holy.”
  • Filled with “superhuman and potential fatal power” – applies to God, but also to places or things or persons which have been set apart by God’s presence.
    • A saint is a holy person.
    • To be sanctified is to be made holy.

Christians are

  • Set Apart
  • A Chosen People
  • Chosen by God for His Glory

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us enough to save us from our sin through the selfless sacrifice of Your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Thank You for providing Your Word so that we can learn more about You, more about ourselves, and more about Your plan for us. As we open Your Word, we pray for discernment and the moving of the Holy Spirit. May we be obedient to His convictions and submit oursleves to Your authority. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Main Points

1. Chosen to Grow Spiritually

1 Peter 2:1-3 (NASB) 1 Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, 2 like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, 3 if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.

 We are to rid ourselves of the cancers that retard our growth

  • Malice
  • Deceit
  • Hypocrisy
  • Envy
  • Slander

We are to desire the pure milk that promotes our growth

Why?  Because we have tasted both and know the difference!

  • We know sin is bad and leads to death
  • We know the Lord is good and gives life

John 10:10 (NASB)
10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

John 4:13-14 (NASB)
13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

2. Chosen to Offer Spiritual Sacrifices

1 Peter 2:4-6 (NASB)
4  And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, 5  you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For this is contained in Scripture: “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”

We are the church

Ephesians 2:17-22 (NASB)
17 AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY , AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR; 18 for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, 20  having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21  in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22  in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

We are to present ourselves to Him as living sacrifices

Romans 12:1-2 (NASB)
1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Our faith is not in vain, as our foundation, He is steadfast and sure

Isaiah 28:16 (NASB)
16 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed.

3. Chosen to Proclaim His Praises

1 Peter 2:7-9 (NASB)
7 This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, “THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone,8 and, “A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE”; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed. 9 But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

As God’s chosen, we are victorious

Romans 8:28-30,33-37 (NASB)
28  And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29  For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34  who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36  Just as it is written, “FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.” 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

As God’s chosen, we are to praise Him for His mercy

Romans 9:14-18 (NASB)
14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! 15 For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.” 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.” 18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.

4. Chosen to Receive Mercy

1 Peter 2:10 (NASB)
10 for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.

Conclusion

Christians are a chosen people, chosen by God for His glory.

  • God expects us to grow spiritually and offer ourselves to Him in service

2 Timothy 2:19 (NASB)
19 Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NASB)
16  All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17  so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

  • God deserves our praise for the mercy we have graciously received

Hebrews 4:12-16 (NASB)
12  For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13  And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. 14 Therefore, since 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 One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for choosing us through Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Please use us as You see fit and may we bring honor and glory to your name. It is in the name of Jesus Christ that we pray. Amen.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expecttions for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

Contact Form





The Three Crosses of Calvary

Introduction

Jesus is not just our Savior. He is our Lord and King. He is the King of Kings.

Scripture

Luke 23:35-43 (NASB)
35 And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.” 36 The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine, 37 and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!” 38 Now there was also an inscription above Him, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 39  One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” 40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 “And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” 43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, we thank You for Christ’s atoning sacrifice upon the cross at Calvary. Without His gift of redemption, we would all be dead in our sins. Help us Lord to share the story of the cross with those who need to hear it and may their lives be transformed for Your honor and glory. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Main Points

We tend to focus only on one cross at Calvary, but there were three, each significant.

1. The Cross of Rejection – which holds a man dying in sin

Luke 23:35-39 (NASB)
35 And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.” 36 The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine, 37 and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!” 38 Now there was also an inscription above Him, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 39  One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!”

Traditionally known as Gestas

This thief represents those who stubbornly refuse to repent, even after experiencing God’s love

He tried to bend Heaven and Earth to his own advantage

Now, on the brink of eternity and pinned to his cross, he has two choices

  • Accept Jesus Christ the King
  • Reject Jesus Christ the King

Hardened by countless crimes

  • He rejects Divine Grace
  • Rather than assuming the posture of allegiance

Instead, he joins the mob in their brutal attack on Christ

Together, they tragically fail to recognize the promised King Who came to

  • Shepherd rather than dominate
  • Serve rather than be served
  • Ultimately give His life as a ransom for many

2. The Cross of Reception – which holds a man dying to sin

Luke 23:40-42 (NASB)
40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 “And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!”

Traditionally known as Demas

This thief allows Divine Love to clear his vision and see the mighty difference between good and evil

Having led a life of rebellion himself

  • He knows he deserves to suffer
  • But moved by the Lord’s quiet majesty and calm dignity, he exclaims “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!”

In utter defiance of the mob, he unites himself with the King, completely trusting in our Savior’s power over life and death

His display of allegiance moves our Redeemer to respond with authority, “… today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

Demas’ simple request to be remembered is generously granted

3. The Cross of Redemption – which holds our King dying for sin

Luke 23:43 (NASB)
43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

In Biblical times, it was customary to transfer the inhabitants of a defeated kingdom into the victorious one

Defeating the Kingdom of Darkness through the Cross of Redemption, our Savior

  • Regained Paradise that was lost because of man’s iniquity
  • Transferred us to His Kingdom

Colossians 1:13-14 (NASB)
13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

By His Cross of Redemption

  • Justice and peace are brought together
  • God and man are finally reconciled

It is no coincidence that our faith has chosen the meek but majestic cross

  • As the banner of discipleship
  • And the symbol of our allegiance to Christ the King

Conclusion

Summary

Our study has presented Christ the King on His Cross of Redemption

  • Suffering and agonizing
  • But also showing grace, mercy, and majesty

The Three Crosses of Calvary teach us allegiance to Christ the King ensures the promised salvation

Every now and then, our allegiance to Christ is challenged by way of physical and spiritual battles

Demas reminds us to take a stand even though we may find ourselves outnumbered and confronted with hate and anger

The Gospel also reminds us it is never too late to return to the Lord Jesus Christ

So long as there is life, the King’s invitation to enter His courts knocks upon our hearts

The Cross of Redemption transcends time, having the power to qualify even the very last child conceived

Acts 2:39 (NASB)
39 “For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.”

Therefore

Colossians 1:12-20 (NASB)
12  giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. 13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16  For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. 19 For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

Application

Jesus Christ our Savior, Lord, and King died for sins on the Cross of Redemption

Which cross will you die on?

  • The Cross of Rejection – dying in sin
  • The Cross of Reception – dying to sin

The King is waiting for you answer

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, the three crosses of Calvary not only remind us of our need for redemption; but also the resulting fate of our decision to accept or reject Jesus’ gift of salvation. Help us to share the message of the cross(es) with those who need to hear it. Use us to lead others to Christ and may you receive all the honor, glory, and praise for You are worthy. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expecttions for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

Contact Form





Unity of Purpose

Scripture

Acts 4:32-37 (NASB)
32  And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them. 33  And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. 34 For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales 35 and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need. 36 Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement), 37 and who owned a tract of land, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, we can do all things through You who strengthens us. Please help us to be Christ-like, Christ-minded in all that we do. Give us unity of purpose so that we can collectively produce fruit that is pleasing to You and provides a powerful witness of Your love and righteousness. Thank You for Your Son, our Lord ands Savior, Jesus Christ in whose name we pray. Amen.

Illustration

When man fell from grace, we inherited a tendency to

  • Hide from God
  • Hide from one another as well

We struggle with conflicting desires

  • On the one hand, we desire to be close to one another
  • On the other, we want to keep one another at arm’s length

We have learned to be suspicious of other people’s motives

  • At times we’ve been burned and so we fear being burned again and erect barriers
  • These barriers effectively insulate us from one another, and block Church unity

Proposition

When united in heart and soul, the church is richly blessed, wanting for nothing, and able to accomplish anything.

Probing Question

How do you recognize unity?

Transitional Sentence

Unity can be recognized by…

Main Points

1. Lack of Division

Acts 4:32a (NASB)
32  And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; …

“United we stand, divided we fall”

Paul stressed the importance of unity throughout his ministry

Romans 12:5 (NASB)
5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

1 Corinthians 12:24b-27 (NASB)
24  … But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, 25  so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.

1 Corinthians 12:12-13 (NASB)
12 For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

1 Corinthians 1:10 (NASB)
10 Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.

2. Lack of Selfishness

Acts 4:32b (NASB)
32  … and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them.

Illustration

Burger King: an elderly couple came in and ordered one burger, one order of fries and one coke with two glasses. When they got to their booth, the man placed a napkin in front of himself and one in front of his wife, then proceeded to divide the fries, cut the burger in half and divided the coke equally.A gentleman nearby noticed and offered to buy them another burger, fries and Coke.

The woman then said, “No you don’t understand. We’ve been married over 50 years and all our life we agreed to split everything right down the middle.”

Her husband then began eating, as she sat with her hands in her lap. The gentleman nearby noticed and asked the lady why she wasn’t eating.

She replied, “As I said before, we split everything right down the middle, and it’s his day to use the teeth first.”

Selfishness is never satisfied and always desires more as if it could be owned

True disciples recognize that all belongs to God and we’re at most stewards

1 Chronicles 29:10-16 (NASB)
10 So David blessed the LORD in the sight of all the assembly; and David said, “Blessed are You, O LORD God of Israel our father, forever and ever. 11 “Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. 12 “Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone. 13 “Now therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name. 14  “But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from You, and from Your hand we have given You. 15 “For we are sojourners before You, and tenants, as all our fathers were; our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no hope. 16 “O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided to build You a house for Your holy name, it is from Your hand, and all is Yours.

3. Lack of Shyness

Acts 4:33a (NASB)
33  And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, …

Remember, the disciples had just prayed for and received boldness

Acts 4:31 (NASB)
31  And when they had 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.

Jesus had promised them they would receive power and be witnesses

Acts 1:8 (NASB)
8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

1 Thessalonians 1:5 (NASB)
5  for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.

These same promises exist for us

4. Lack of Need

Acts 4:33b (NASB)
33  … and abundant grace was upon them all.

There were none among them that wanted for anything

Acts 4:34-35 (NASB)
34 For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales 35 and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need.

We are given an immediate example in Barnabas, who would later become Paul’s traveling companion on his missionary journey

Acts 4:36-37 (NASB)
36 Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement), 37 and who owned a tract of land, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

Illustration

Bruce Larson, in his book, Wind and Fire, points out some interesting facts about sand-hill cranes:

“These large birds, who fly great distances across continents in a ‘V’ formation like geese, have three remarkable qualities.

    • First, they rotate leadership.  No one bird stays out in front all the time.
    • Second, they choose leaders who can handle turbulence
    • And third, all during the time one bird is leading, the rest are honking their affirmation.”

This is not a bad model for the church: we all should be honking encouragement to each other.

Conclusion

Unity can be recognized by

  • Lack of Division
  • Lack of Selfishness
  • Lack of Shyness
  • Lack of Need

When united in heart and soul, the church is richly blessed, wanting for nothing, and able to accomplish anything.

Jesus prayed, in John 17, that we might be one, even as He and the Father are one

  • For that to happen, many barriers have to fall
    • Suspicion has to be replaced with openness
    • Uncertainty has to be replaced with willingness
    • Fear has to be replaced with love
  • On the day of Pentecost, that is precisely what happened
    • The barriers came falling down
    • The Holy Spirit moved in, producing unity in that first group of believers

John 17:11 (NASB)
11 “I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are.

John 17:20-23 (NASB)
20 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.

The first believers shared a

  • Unity of Spirit
  • Unity of Resources
  • Unity of Purpose

The Lord expects no less from His believers today.

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for Jesus Christ Who unites all Christians in love and service. may we never be found wanting or divided in these areas. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expecttions for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

Contact Form





Recognizing Jesus

Scripture

Acts 4:13-22 (NASB)
13  Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus. 14  And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in reply. 15 But when they had ordered them to leave the Council, they began to confer with one another, 16  saying, “What shall we do with these men? For the fact that a noteworthy miracle has taken place through them is apparent to all who live in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. 17 “But so that it will not spread any further among the people, let us warn them to speak no longer to any man in this name.” 18 And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19  But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; 20 for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” 21 When they had threatened them further, they let them go (finding no basis on which to punish them) on account of the people, because they were all glorifying God for what had happened; 22  for the man was more than forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, despite what threats and persecutions might await us, please give us the courage, strength, and endurance to thwart them all. Help us to live our lives in such a way that Jesus may be seen as our constant companion and that He might be glorified. We pray this in His most precious name, amen.

Central Idea of the Text

Although threatened, Peter and John were released; because they were recognized as having been with, and acting on behalf of, Jesus.

Proposition

Christians’ lives should cause others to recognize Jesus and His authority in our lives.

Probing Question

Can others see Jesus and His authority when they look at you?

Transitional Sentence

When looking at you, do others see…

Main Points

1. Jesus

Acts 4:13 (NASB)
13  Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.

God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called

Matthew 11:25-27 (NASB)
25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. 26 “Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. 27 “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.

Therefore, it’s not by our power; but, the Lord’s; so, we can boast only in the Him

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 (NASB)
26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 29 so that no man may boast before God. 30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31  so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS , BOAST IN THE LORD.”

2. Jesus’ Results

Acts 4:14-18 (NASB)
14  And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in reply. 15 But when they had ordered them to leave the Council, they began to confer with one another, 16  saying, “What shall we do with these men? For the fact that a noteworthy miracle has taken place through them is apparent to all who live in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. 17 “But so that it will not spread any further among the people, let us warn them to speak no longer to any man in this name.” 18 And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.

It is difficult to argue intelligently against results (bad fruit vs. good fruit)

Matthew 7:15-20 (NASB)
15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 “So then, you will know them by their fruits.

  • Bad Fruit

Titus 1:16 (NASB)
16 They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.

James 2:14-17 (NASB)
14 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

  • Good Fruit

James 1:22 (NASB)
22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.

Psalm 1:1-3 (NASB) 1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.

James 3:17-18 (NASB)
17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. 18 And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

3. Jesus’ Authority

Acts 4:19-20 (NASB)
19  But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; 20 for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

Jesus has all authority and has commanded us to act on His behalf

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

John 15:9-10 (NASB)
9 “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. 10 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

Matthew 28:18-20a (NASB)
18 And Jesus came up 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 the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; …

Acts 1:8 (NASB)
8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

1 John 1:1-3 (NASB)
1  What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life— 2  and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.

4. Jesus’ Protection

Acts 4:21-22 (NASB)
21 When they had threatened them further, they let them go (finding no basis on which to punish them) on account of the people, because they were all glorifying God for what had happened; 22  for the man was more than forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.

God protects those who obediently do His will

1 Samuel 17:45-47 (NASB)
45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. 46 “This day the LORD will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47 and that all this assembly may know that the LORD does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the LORD’S and He will give you into our hands.”

Romans 8:31-39 (NASB)
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34  who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36  Just as it is written, “FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.” 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38  For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Conclusion

Christians’ lives should cause others to recognize Jesus and His authority in our lives. Others should be able to see:

  • Jesus
  • Jesus’ Results
  • Jesus’ Authority
  • Jesus’ Protection

Do others see evidence of these things in your life?

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, the only Bible some people will “read” is we Christians. The only Jesus some people will “see” is we Christians. Dear Lord, let our lives be an embodiment of Your living Word. May everything we think, say, and do be filtered through Your Word and reflect Your will in our lives. We pray that others will recognize Jesus when they look at us, for it is in Jesus’ name that we pray. Amen.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expecttions for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

Contact Form