Authority to Witness

Scripture

Acts 4:5-12 (NASB)
5  On the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem; 6  and Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of high-priestly descent. 7 When they had placed them in the center, they began to inquire, “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?” 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people, 9  if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. 11 “He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone. 12  “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your many blessings. Thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit, which provides us the ability to witness in Jesus’ name. May Your name be praised throughout all creation. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Proposition

Jesus Christ is the only Authority by which salvation can be offered and attained.

Probing Question

How do we identify and recognize proper authority?

Transitional Sentence

Proper authority may be identified and recognized by…

Main Points

1. Claims

Acts 4:5-7 (NASB)
5  On the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem; 6  and Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of high-priestly descent. 7 When they had placed them in the center, they began to inquire, “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?”

  • Explicit – Title or Position
    • God
      • Empowered Civil Authority (i.e., Government)
      • Empowered Priestly Authority (i.e., Priesthood)
        • High Priest (foreshadow or “type” of Jesus)
        • Jesus (THE High Priest)
    • “…rulers and elders and scribes…”
    • High Priest
      • Annas (retired)
      • Caiaphas
        • Annas’ son-in-law
        • Condemned Jesus to be crucified
    • Jesus
      • The perfect High Priest
      • Empowered the Priesthood of Believers
        • Apostles
        • Disciples
    • Apostles
      • Peter
      • John
  • Implicit – Vocation or Family Association
    • John
      • Unknown for sure
      • Possibly, Rabbin Jochanan ben Zaccai
        • Very famous at that time in the Jewish nation
        • He found favor in the eyes of Caesar
    • Alexander
      • Unknown for sure
      • Possibly, Alexander Lysimachus
        • One of the riches Jews of that time
        • Made great presents to the Temple
        • Highly esteemed by King Agrippa
    • “…all who were of high-priestly descent”

Claims of Authority: God vs. Man

2. Results

Acts 4:8-9 (NASB)
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people, 9  if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well,

  • Healing
    • God
      • Empowerment of Prophets and Priests for TEMPORARY healing
      • Empowerment of Jesus for PERMANENT healing
    • Jesus
      • Empowerment of Apostles (Jesus is STILL the agent)
      • Empowerment of Disciples (Jesus is STILL the agent)
  • Forgiveness of sin
    • God
      • Empowered Priests for TEMPORARY forgiveness
      • Empowered Jesus for PERMANENT forgiveness
    • Jesus
      • Empowerment of Apostles (Jesus is STILL the agent)
      • Empowerment of Disciples (Jesus is STILL the agent)

Results Produced (i.e., Fruit): God vs. Man

Isaiah 64:6 (NASB)
6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

Matthew 7:15-23 (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. 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 .’

3. Source

Acts 4:10-12 (NASB)
10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. 11 “He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone. 12  “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

  • God
    • “…rulers and elders and scribes…”
    • High Priest
    • Jesus
  • Jesus
    • Apostles
    • Disciples

Source: God vs. Man

Luke 4:16-21 (NASB)
16  And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. 17  And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written, 18 “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR . HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES , AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED, 19 TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD .” 20  And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Matthew 28:18-20 (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; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Conclusion

How do we identify and recognize proper authority?

  • Claims
  • Results
  • Source

The more of these areas which are present and verifiable, the more credence is given.In the life of a true believer, all three should be

  • Present
  • Attributable to Jesus

Consider…

  • Does your life reflect all three?
  • Does your life reflect Jesus in these areas?
  • Do you exercise the authority to witness of Jesus in your life?

Jesus Christ is the only Authority by which salvation can be offered and attained.

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, You possess all authority and empower us through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit to witness to others. May we take that authority and boldly proclaim the name of Jesus and His Gospel to all who do not know him. 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





Empowered to Witness

Introduction

Pentecost (a.k.a., Feast of Weeks)

  • Celebrated 50 days after Passover
  • A festival of thanksgiving for the harvested crops
  • Some scholars believe the Feast of Pentecost was kept in remembrance of the giving of the Law upon Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19:1; Deuteronomy 16:12)
  • The Feast of Pentecost was held on the first day of the week: Sunday
  • It was celebrated as a Sabbath with
    • Rest from ordinary labors
    • Calling of a holy convocation
  • Jews of many nations gathered in Jerusalem for this festival

Scripture

Acts 2 (NASB)
1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2  And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. 5 Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6  And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. 7  They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8  “And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? 9 “Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.” 12 And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.” 14 But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. 15 “For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; 16  but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: 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.’ 22  “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— 23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. 24  “But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. 25 “For David says of Him, ‘I SAW THE LORD ALWAYS IN MY PRESENCE; FOR HE IS AT MY RIGHT HAND, SO THAT I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN. 26 ‘THEREFORE MY HEART WAS GLAD AND MY TONGUE EXULTED; MOREOVER MY FLESH ALSO WILL LIVE IN HOPE; 27 BECAUSE YOU WILL NOT ABANDON MY SOUL TO HADES, NOR ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY. 28 ‘YOU HAVE MADE KNOWN TO ME THE WAYS OF LIFE; YOU WILL MAKE ME FULL OF GLADNESS WITH YOUR PRESENCE.’ 29  “Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 “And so, because he was a prophet and knew that GOD HAD SWORN TO HIM WITH AN OATH TO SEAT one OF HIS DESCENDANTS ON HIS THRONE, 31  he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that HE WAS NEITHER ABANDONED TO HADES, NOR DID His flesh SUFFER DECAY . 32 “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. 33 “Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. 34  “For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: ‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, 35 UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET .”‘ 36  “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.” 37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 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.” 40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” 41  So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. 42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47  praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, may Your name be praised for eternity, procaimed to all of creation, for You are holy and worthy to be praised. We thank You for Your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ for Whom every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord. We also thank You for the Holy Spirit Who empowers us to be imitators of Christ and to spread His Gospel Message throughout all humanity. May it be done according to Your will for it is in Jesus’ name that we pray. Amen.

Probing Question

How does the Holy Spirit empower Jesus’ disciples to supernaturally witness to others?

Transitional Sentence

The Holy Spirit empowers Jesus’ disciples to supernaturally witness to others through…

Main Points

1. Communication

God confounded languages and scattered man because of his pride and arrogance.

Genesis 11:1-9 (NASB)
1  Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words. 2 It came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3 They said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.” And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar. 4 They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” 5 The LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. 6 The LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them. 7 “Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” 8  So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city. 9  Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth.

Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, God empowered the apostles to supernaturally communicate to all of the Jewish nations in their own languages.

Acts 2:1-11 (NASB)
1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2  And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. 5 Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6  And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. 7  They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8  “And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? 9 “Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.”

Today, the Holy Spirit empowers communication through

  • Desire
    Disciples learn new languages, if necessary, before going into the mission field
  • Utterance
    Disciples are inspired with what to say and when they need to say it
  • Understanding
    Hearers are supernaturally receptive and able to comprehend what they hear
    (NOTE: this does NOT guarantee submission/obedience to what is heard)

2. Boldness

Reasons disciples do not witness: Fear of…

  • Failure
  • Rejection
  • Persecution
  • Ridicule

In fact the hearer’s apparent rejection or lack of response to a disciple’s witness is not a failure on the disciple’s part. Disciples are commanded simply to be witnesses.

Matthew 28:19-20 (NASB)
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; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

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.”

Disciples are not held responsible for the result; that is the hearer’s responsibility and hence their failure if they do not respond as God desires.

1 Samuel 8:7 (NASB)
7 The LORD said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.

2 Chronicles 36:16 (NASB)
16 but they continually mocked the messengers of God, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, until there was no remedy.

Proverbs 1:7 (NASB)
7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.

1 Thessalonians 4:8 (NASB)
8 So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.

To overcome persecution and ridicule, the Holy Spirit empowers disciples with boldness.

Acts 2:12-15 (NASB)
12 And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.” 14 But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. 15 “For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day;

Rebuke: “it is only the third hour of the day”

  • 9:00am – hour of prayer
  • Prior to which Jews scarcely ever ate or drank (in preparation for prayer)
  • Custom was so common even the most intemperate Jews would not transgress it
  • Consequently, use of wine prior to 9:00am would be unthinkable by anyone

3. Recollection

The Holy Spirit brings understanding, discernment, and all things into remembrance which have been studied and/or experienced.

John 14:26 (NASB)
26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

Peter received authoritative understanding and recollection of

  • Joel – Joel 2:28-29
  • Events of the Resurrection
  • David – Psalm 16:8-11

Acts 2:16-36 (NASB)
16  but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: 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.’ 22  “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— 23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. 24  “But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. 25 “For David says of Him, ‘I SAW THE LORD ALWAYS IN MY PRESENCE; FOR HE IS AT MY RIGHT HAND, SO THAT I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN. 26 ‘THEREFORE MY HEART WAS GLAD AND MY TONGUE EXULTED; MOREOVER MY FLESH ALSO WILL LIVE IN HOPE; 27 BECAUSE YOU WILL NOT ABANDON MY SOUL TO HADES, NOR ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY. 28 ‘YOU HAVE MADE KNOWN TO ME THE WAYS OF LIFE; YOU WILL MAKE ME FULL OF GLADNESS WITH YOUR PRESENCE.’ 29  “Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 “And so, because he was a prophet and knew that GOD HAD SWORN TO HIM WITH AN OATH TO SEAT one OF HIS DESCENDANTS ON HIS THRONE, 31  he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that HE WAS NEITHER ABANDONED TO HADES, NOR DID His flesh SUFFER DECAY . 32 “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. 33 “Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. 34  “For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: ‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, 35 UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET .”‘ 36  “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”

4. Conviction

At the same time that the Holy Spirit is working in Disciples to empower them for witnessing, He is working in the hearts of the lost, convicting them of their sins and their need for salvation.

  • David’s sins regarding Bathsheba when confronted by the prophet Nathan

Psalm 51:1-3 (NASB)
1 Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me.

  • The Scribes and Pharisees accuse a woman of adultery

John 8:1-9 (NASB)
1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought* a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, 4  they said* to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. 5 “Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” 6 They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. 7 But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court.

And so it was with Peter’s first sermon.

Acts 2:37-41 (NASB)
37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 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.” 40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” 41  So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.

5. Unity of Purpose

Acts 2:42-47 (NASB)
42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47  praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

As His Disciples, saved by His grace, we are to be witnesses for Him, laboring to tell others, in both word and deed, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, God’s gift of grace to us.

1 Corinthians 3:9 (NASB)
9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.

2 Corinthians 6:1 (NASB)
1 And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain—

Conclusion

The Holy Spirit empowers Jesus’ disciples to supernaturally witness to others through…

  • Communication
  • Boldness
  • Recall
  • Conviction
  • Unity of Purpose

Saved:

  • Is your life a living witness which brings honor and glory to God by letting others know of your personal relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ?
  • Do you overlook or ignore the power of the Holy Spirit inside you?
    • Witnessing on your own power
    • Not witnessing at all

Lost:

  • How long will you continue to ignore the feelings of conviction in your heart?
  • How long do you think you have to make up your mind?

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit. We thank You that the same power, which rose Christ from the grave, is the same power which indwells us as Christians and convicts the lost of their need for salvation. May we remember to lean on the Holy Spirit and draw from His energy when performing those tassks You would have us to do, not the least of which is being a witness for You. We pray this in the name of 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





To God Be the Glory

Scripture

Acts 3:1-10 (NASB)
1 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer. 2  And a man who had been lame from his mother’s womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms. 4 But Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze on him and said, “Look at us!” 5 And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. 6  But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!” 7  And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. 8 With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God; 10 and they were taking note of him as being the one who used to sit at the Beautiful Gate of the temple to beg alms, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, almighty God, Creator of all that exists, great is Your glory and honor and You are worthy to be praised. Lead, guide, and direct us as we study Your Word. Give us discernment through the illumination of Your Word by the Holy Spirit. Convict us of those things in our life, which attempt to separate us from You. Draw us to Yourself. May all creation sing Your praises, in Jesus holy name we pray, amen.

Central Idea of the Text

Through the power of Jesus Christ, Peter healed the lame man, resulting in his praising of God.

Main Objective of the Sermon

It was the power of Jesus Christ, not Peter, which healed the lame man and resulted in praise to God.

Proposition

When we witness, we are to do so in the name of Jesus Christ, giving glory to God.

Main Points

1. Where do we go for answers to life’s problems?

Some go to God.

Acts 3:1 (NASB)
1 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer.

  • 9th hour: 3:00pm
  • Jews had three scheduled times of public, daily prayer
    • 3rd hour: 9:00am
    • 6th hour: 12:00pm
    • 9th hour: 3:00pm

Others go to man.

Acts 3:2 (NASB)
2  And a man who had been lame from his mother’s womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple.

  • Relied upon others to carry him to the gate of the temple
  • Beautiful Gate
    • The temple had nine gates, each covered with gold and silver
    • Many scholars believe the Beautiful Gate was the eastern gate
      • It was larger than the rest
      • It had thicker plates of gold and silver
      • It also contained Corinthian brass
      • A favored gate, great multitudes of people passed through
  • More people from which to beg alms

2. What type of answers can we expect?

From man?

  • Material things

Acts 3:3-5 (NASB)
3 When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms. 4 But Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze on him and said, “Look at us!” 5 And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them.

  • Giving money to beggars was praiseworthy in the Jewish religion
  • Jews would bring money for the treasury and extra for the poor
  • Pharisees were especially generous, seeking the publicity

From God?

  • Physical healing

Acts 3:6-7 (NASB)
6  But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!” 7  And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened.

Mark 16:15-17a,18b (NASB)
15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. 17 “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name … 18  … they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

  • Spiritual healing

Acts 3:8 (NASB)
8 With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.

James 5:14-15 (NASB)
14 Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 15 and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.

  • God is honored and glorified

John 9:1-3 (NASB)
1 As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. 2 And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.

3. What should be our response?

Accept God’s answer and give Him the praise.

Acts 3:9 (NASB)
9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God;

Mark 2:9-12 (NASB)
9 “Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven’; or to say, ‘Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk’? 10 “But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—He said* to the paralytic, 11 “I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.” 12  And he got up and immediately picked up the pallet and went out in the sight of everyone, so that they were all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”

Luke 13:11-17 (NASB)
11  And there was a woman who for eighteen years had had a sickness caused by a spirit; and she was bent double, and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, He called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your sickness.” 13  And He laid His hands on her; and immediately she was made erect again and began glorifying God. 14 But the synagogue official, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, began saying to the crowd in response, “There are six days in which work should be done; so come during them and get healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” 15 But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites, does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the stall and lead him away to water him? 16 “And this woman, a daughter of Abraham as she is, whom Satan has bound for eighteen long years, should she not have been released from this bond on the Sabbath day?” 17  As He said this, all His opponents were being humiliated; and the entire crowd was rejoicing over all the glorious things being done by Him.

4. How should others respond?

They should notice a divine change in our lives.

Acts 3:10 (NASB)
10 and they were taking note of him as being the one who used to sit at the Beautiful Gate of the temple to beg alms, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

Conclusion

  • When seeking answers for life’s problems, we should go to God rather than man.
  • At best, man attempts to provide material answers, whereas God provides the exact physical and spiritual healing we need.
  • We should respond by praising God and actively and publicly making use of the answers he has provided.
  • The people around us should be able to notice the divine change in our lives.
  • It was the power of Jesus Christ, not Peter, which healed the lame man and resulted in praise to God.
  • When we witness, we are to do so in the name of Jesus Christ, giving God the glory.

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for grace sufficient for each day. May we always remember that although You may elect to use men to carry out Your divine will, all true healing ultimately comes from You alone. Consequently, please give us the wisdom to place our trust in You rather than man and may You receive all the honor, glory, and praise. 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





The Gift of the Holy Spirit

Background

Pentecost

  • Also called the Feast of Weeks
  • Celebrated 50 days after Passover
  • A festival of thanksgiving for the harvested crops
  • Some scholars believe the Feast of Pentecost was kept in remembrance of the giving of the Law upon Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19:1; Deuteronomy 16:12)
  • The Feast of Pentecost was held on the first day of the week: Sunday
  • It was celebrated as a Sabbath with
    • Rest from ordinary labors
    • Calling of a holy convocation

Scripture

Acts 2:1-4 (NASB)
1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2  And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

Opening Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, hear our prayer. As we study Your Word, please grant us discerment so that we may learn the conditions by which the gift of the Holy Spirit is given. Help us to prepare for and receive the Holy Spirit into our lives that we may begin walking in the truth of the Spirit. May all creation sing Your praises. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Probing Question

What are the conditions surrounding receipt of the gift of the Holy Spirit?

Transitional Sentence

The conditions surrounding receipt of the gift of the Holy Spirit are…

Main Points

1. Expect the Lord

Acts 2:1 (NASB)
1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.

Man has always been instructed to wait upon the LORD.

Isaiah 64:4 (NASB)
4  For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear, Nor has the eye seen a God besides You, Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him.

Psalm 25:5 (NASB)
5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day.

Psalm 130:5-6 (NASB)
5 I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait, And in His word do I hope. 6 My soul waits for the Lord More than the watchmen for the morning; Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning.

Before His ascension, Jesus had instructed His disciples to wait and pray.

Acts 1:4-5 (NASB)
4 Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

2. Recognize the Lord

Acts 2:2-3 (NASB)
2  And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.

God’s presence on Mt. Sinai (direct access limited to Moses and priests only at that time)

Exodus 19:16-25 (NASB)
16 So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. 17 And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently. 19 When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder. 20 The LORD came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain; and the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. 21 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, “Go down, warn the people, so that they do not break through to the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish. 22 “Also let the priests who come near to the LORD consecrate themselves, or else the LORD will break out against them.” 23 Moses said to the LORD, “The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai, for You warned us, saying, ‘Set bounds about the mountain and consecrate it.’ ” 24 Then the LORD said to him, “Go down and come up again, you and Aaron with you; but do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to the LORD, or He will break forth upon them.” 25 So Moses went down to the people and told them.

Direct access to GOD is available to all of Jesus’ disciples now.

Mark 15:37-38 (NASB)
37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last. 38  And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

Hebrews 10:19-25 (NASB)
19 Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

3. Submit to the Lord

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.

John 14:26 (NASB)
26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

Romans 8:5-9,14 (NASB)
5 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6  For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7  because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. … 14  For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

Philippians 2:13 (NASB)
13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

Conclusion

The conditions surrounding receipt of the gift of the Holy Spirit are…

  • Expect the Lord
  • Recognize the Lord
  • Submit to the Lord

Lost?

  • Holy Spirit visits you convicting you of your sin
  • Cycle of expectation, recognition, and conviction; hopefully resulting in conversion
    • Admit to God that you’re a sinner in need of salvation and repent
    • Believe Jesus Christ is God’s Son and accept His gift of salvation
    • Confess Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and submit to Him
  • Permanent gift of the Holy Spirit sealing your gift of salvation from the LORD

Saved?

  • Permanent presence of Holy Spirit provides spiritual guidance/direction
  • Cycle of expectation, recognition, and conviction; hopefully resulting in spiritual growth, witness, and service
  • Holy Spirit empowers for witness and service

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit who convicts us of our need for You, seals us till the day of redemption, and leads, guides, and directs us; bringing us ever closer to You and Your righteousness. May we always be expecting You, always recognize You when You are present, and submit to Your will for our lives. We pray this in the holy name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. 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





All Things New

Introduction

People get excited about new things:

  • Clothes
  • Car
  • Career/Job
  • Home
  • Spouse

People get excited about a new year:

  • New Beginnings/Fresh Start
  • Chance to “Start Over”
  • New Years Resolutions.

Jesus gives those who believe in Him a new life.

When Jesus comes again, the heavens and earth will be made new.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for this day and its many blessings. Thank You for the new experiences You have planned for us. Please lead, guide, and direct us in all that we do so that we will bring honor and glory to Your name. It is in the precious name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ that we ask these things. Amen.

Main Points

1. Jesus Gives Those Who Believe in Him a New Life

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.

Romans 6:3-4 (NASB)
3  Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4  Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

Colossians 3:1-10 (NASB)
1  Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4  When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. 5  Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6 For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, 7 and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10  and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him—

2 Corinthians 5:17-21 (NASB)
17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

2. When Jesus Comes Again, the Heavens and Earth Will Be Made New

New Heaven and Earth

Revelation 21:1-2 (NASB)
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.

Revelation 19:6-9 (NASB)
6 Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. 7 “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” 8 It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. 9  Then he said* to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.'” And he said* to me, “These are true words of God.”

Man’s relationship with God is fully restored.

Revelation 21:3 (NASB)
3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them,

The curse of death is lifted.

Revelation 21:4-6 (NASB)
4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” 5 And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said*, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” 6  Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.

The saved enjoy eternity in God’s presence.

Revelation 21:7 (NASB)
7 “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.

The lost mourn eternity outside God’s presence.

Revelation 21:8 (NASB)
8 “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

Conclusion

Which group will you be in, the saved or the lost?

  • If saved, what about those close to you: friends, family, loved ones?
    • Would you ignore those around you who are lost?
    • Jesus has commissioned you to be a witness and share His Gospel.
  • If lost, why continue in death?
    • Believe in Jesus and be born anew.
    • Look forward to His return when all things will be made new.

Everyone will live forever, the only question is where?

  • In the newness of life in the eternal presence of God?
  • In the torment of death in the eternal absence of God?

You do not have forever to decide, Jesus’ return is imminent.

2 Peter 3:10-13 (NASB)
10  But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. 11  Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! 13 But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, we thank You for each breath that provides us with new opportunities to be in service to You. Lord I pray that if this sermon finds its way to anyone who is lost, that perhaps Your Words, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, would convict them of their situation and that they, in turn, would desire to be reconciled to You through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Alternately, if this sermon finds its way to anyone who is saved, that perhaps Your Words would likewise, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, convict them of the areas of their life which they have yet to turn over to You and that they, in turn, would rededicate their life to You. May You receive all the credit, 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





Freedom

Scripture

John 8:31-36 (NASB)
31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?” 34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35 “The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 36 “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for supplying us with Your Word. As we continue in Your Word, please give us discernment that we may learn to be Your disciples. Help us to grow in Christ-likeness, for it is in His name that we pray. Amen.

Main Points

1. If you continue in Jesus’ Word…

Promise is to believers.

John 8:31a (NASB)
31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, …

You must be a believer to be a beneficiary of the promise.

Promise is conditional.

John 8:31b (NASB)
31  … “If you continue in My word,

“Couch potato” Christians are not beneficiaries of the promise.

2. You are truly disciples of Jesus

John 8:31 (NASB)
31  … thenyou are truly disciples of Mine;

If you are a believer, continuing in Jesus’ Word, then you are His disciple.

  • Basic Meaning
    • Learner
    • Pupil
    • Normally referred to an adherent of a particular teacher or religious/philosophical school
  • Tasks of a Disciple
    • Learn
    • Study
    • Pass along the sayings and teachings of the master

3. You will know the truth…

John 8:32a (NASB)
32 and you will know the truth,

Jesus Is the Truth

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.

He Is the Truth Whether We Believe Him or Not

Romans 3:1-4a (NASB)
1 Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? 2  Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God. 3 What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? 4 May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be founda liar, …

4. The truth will make you free

John 8:32 (NASB)
32  … and the truth will make you free.”

Free from the Law of Sin and Death

Romans 8:2 (NASB)
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

Free Because We Are Being Transformed into the Image of the Spirit of the Lord

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (NASB)
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18  But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

Free to Be an Example to Others

2 Timothy 2:24-26 (NASB)
24  The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

Conclusion

John 8:33-36 (NASB)
33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?” 34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35 “The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 36 “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

Once, we were slaves to sin.

Jesus freed us from the bondage of sin.

To fully experience our freedom through Christ, we must:

  • Know the Truth, which we discover by
  • Being His disciples, which we become by
  • Continuing in His Word

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for setting us free through Your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and through the wisdom of Your Word. Help us to be the disciples You would have us to be. Help us to bring honor and glory to Your name. We pray this in the precious name of 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





True Worship

Illustration

Kids in Church – Source unknown (eMailed from Ennis Howard)

A wife invited some people to dinner.
At the table, she turned to their six-year-old daughter and said,
“Would you like to say the blessing?”
“I wouldn’t know what to say,” the girl replied.
“Just say what you hear Mommy say,” the wife answered.
The daughter bowed her head and said,
“Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?”

A Sunday school teacher asked her children as they were on the way to church service,
“And why is it necessary to be quiet in church?”
One bright little girl replied,
“Because people are sleeping.”

Scripture

John 4:23-24 (NASB)
23 “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, You alone are worthy of worship and praise. May we come with hearts full of joy as we worship and praise You. Please bless us with Your holy presence. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Proposition

True worshipers worship God in spirit and truth.

Probing Question

What does true worship require?

Transitional Sentence

True worship requires…

Main Points

1. Time Awareness

John 4:23a (NASB)
23 “But an hour is coming, and now is, …

Meaning

Jesus instructed the woman at the well:

  • Old Economy about to pass away
  • New Economy about to commence

Trying to get her to understand:

  • Worship is not “here or there” only, but at all times and in all places
  • New Economy was in some sense commencing as He was talking to her

Culminating in His full disclosure to her:

John 4:25-26 (NASB)
25  The woman said* to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” 26 Jesus said* to her, “I who speak to you am He.

Application

We are in the New Economy

  • Worship is not “here or there” only, but at all times and in all places

Illustration

Although this building is set apart as a house of worship, it is still only a building.

  • Worship is from us to God, therefore
  • Worship occurs wherever we happen to be

Some set apart Saturday, others Sunday, for worship.

  • Is not God worthy of worship every day?

2. Spirit Preparedness

John 4:23a (NASB)
23 “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit …

Meaning

It refers to the mind, the soul, the heart

  • It is opposed to rites and ceremonies, and to the pomp of external worship
  • Spiritual worship
    • A sincere mind
    • An offering of our heart with gratitude and prayer
    • A desire to glorify God without external pomp and splendor

Application

We are to approach God with sincerity and humbleness.

Illustration

James 4:4-10 (NASB)
4  You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? 6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.” 7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. 10  Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.

Hebrews 10:22 (NASB)
22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

3. Truth… Nothing Less

John 4:23a (NASB)
23 “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; …

Meaning

Approach God in truth

  • Not through the shadows and types of the Old Economy
  • But through the person of Jesus Christ, the New Economy fulfillment

John 1:17 (NASB)
17  For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.

Application

We are to approach God through Jesus Christ

  • Jesus Christ and His righteousness alone
  • Not our works or righteousness (violates humility vs. pride)

Isaiah 64:6 (NASB)
6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

Illustration

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.

1 Timothy 2:3-6 (NASB)
3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4  who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.

Conclusion

Summary

What does true worship require?

  • Time Awareness
    • We are no longer in the Old Economy
    • We are in the New Economy
      • Worship is not “here or there” only
      • Worship is in all places at all times
  • Spirit Preparedness
    • We are to approach God with sincerity and humbleness
    • Spiritual worship
      • A sincere mind
      • An offering of our heart with gratitude and prayer
      • A desire to glorify God without external pomp and splendor
  • Truth… Nothing Less
    • We are to approach God through Jesus Christ and His righteousness
    • Our works and righteousness are not good enough

John 4:23-24 (NASB)
23 “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Illustration

“Worship is communion with God in which believers, by grace, center their mind’s attention and their heart’s affection on the Lord, humbly glorifying God in response to His greatness and His Word.” – Bruce Leafblad

“Worship is the believer’s response of all that he is – mind, emotions, will, and body – to all that God is and says and does. This response has its mystical side in subjective experience, and its practical side in objective obedience to God’s revealed truth. It is a loving response that is balanced by the fear of the Lord, and it is a deepening response as the believer come to know God better.” – Warren Wiersbe

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love, mercy, and grace. Thank You for the privilege of being able to boldly approach Your throne. We come to You humbly asking that You place within us a heart for worship. We love You Lord and it is in Jesus’ holy 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





Hebrews – Part 10: Christian Living: Life of Love

Prologue

“Christian Living: Life of Love” is part 10 of a 10-part study on the Book of Hebrews. You may view any of the previous parts by clicking one of the links below.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, open Your Word to us. Teach us to be the Christians You would have us to be. We are only able to love because You first loved us. Lead us through the Holy Spirit to live a life of love. In so doing, may we brinig honor and glory to Your name. For it is in Your name and the precious, holy name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, that we pray. Amen.

Probing Question

How can Christians live a life of love, as expected by Jesus, the unchanging Savior?

Transitional Sentence

Christians can live a life of love, as expected by Jesus, the unchanging Savior, by…

Main Points

1. Loving All People

Hebrews 13:1-3 (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. 3 Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.

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.”

Romans 13:8-10 (NASB)
8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 9  For this, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY , YOU SHALL NOT MURDER , YOU SHALL NOT STEAL , YOU SHALL NOT COVET,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” 10  Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Galatians 5:13-15 (NASB)
13  For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14  For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

Matthew 5:43-48 (NASB)
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ 44 “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 “If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Romans 12:14-21 (NASB)
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE , I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. 20 “BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY , FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY , GIVE HIM A DRINK ; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

1 John 4:20-21 (NASB)
20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

1 John 3:10-11 (NASB)
10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. 11 For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another;

1 Peter 1:22 (NASB)
22 Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,

2. Respecting the Sanctity of Marriage

Hebrews 13:4 (NASB)
4 Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

Ephesians 5:22-33 (NASB)
22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27  that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE , AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33  Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to itthat she respects her husband.

1 Corinthians 7:1-35,39-40 (NASB)
1  Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband. 3 The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 But this I say by way of concession, not of command. 7  Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that. 8  But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I. 9 But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. 10 But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband 11  (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife. 12 But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away. 14  For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy. 15 Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace. 16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife? 17  Only, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk. And so I direct in all the churches. 18 Was any man called when he was already circumcised? He is not to become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in uncircumcision? He is not to be circumcised. 19  Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God. 20  Each man must remain in that condition in which he was called. 21 Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that. 22  For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord’s freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ’s slave. 23  You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. 24  Brethren, each one is to remain with God in that condition in which he was called. 25  Now concerning virgins I have no command of the Lord, but I give an opinion as one who by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy. 26  I think then that this is good in view of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is. 27  Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you. 29  But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none; 30  and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess; 31 and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away. 32  But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; 33  but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. 35  This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.

39  A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. 40 But in my opinion she is happier if she remains as she is; and I think that I also have the Spirit of God.

3. Not being Covetous

Hebrews 13:5-6 (NASB)
5 Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,” 6 so that we confidently say, “THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT WILL MAN DO TO ME?”

1 Timothy 6:7-10 (NASB)
7 For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. 8  If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. 9 But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Matthew 6:24-33 (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. 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.

Philippians 4:11b-13 (NASB)
11  … for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Isaiah 41:17 (NASB)
17  “The afflicted and needy are seeking water, but there is none, And their tongue is parched with thirst; I, the LORD, will answer them Myself, Asthe God of Israel I will not forsake them.

Romans 8:31b-32 (NASB)
31  … 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?

Luke 12:4-7 (NASB)
4 “I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. 5 “But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him! 6 “Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

4. Imitating Worthy Leaders

Hebrews 13:7 (NASB)
7 Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.

1 Thessalonians 2:1-14a (NASB)
1  For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain, 2 but after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition. 3 For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit; 4  but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts. 5 For we never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness— 6 nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority. 7  But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. 8 Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us. 9 For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 10 You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers; 11 just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, 12  so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. 13 For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe. 14 For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, …

Hebrews 6:10-12 (NASB)
10  For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. 11  And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, 12  so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

1 Corinthians 4:14-17 (NASB)
14 I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 16 Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me. 17 For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I teach everywhere in every church.

Philippians 3:14-17 (NASB)
14  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15  Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; 16 however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained. 17 Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.

1 Thessalonians 1:2-10 (NASB)
2 We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; 3  constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father, 4 knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you; 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. 6 You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8 For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything. 9  For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, 10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.

5. Centering on the Unchanging Christ

Hebrews 13:8 (NASB)
8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Psalm 90:1-2 (NASB)
Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. 2 Before the mountains were born Or You gave birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

Psalm 102:25-28 (NASB)
25 “Of old You founded the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. 26  “Even they will perish, but You endure; And all of them will wear out like a garment; Like clothing You will change them and they will be changed. 27 “But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end. 28 “The children of Your servants will continue, And their descendants will be established before You.”

Psalm 103:15-18 (NASB)
15 As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. 16 When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, And its place acknowledges it no longer. 17 But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children, 18 To those who keep His covenant And remember His precepts to do them.

James 1:17 (NASB)
17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

Revelation 1:8,18 (NASB)
8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

18 and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.

6. Not Following Strange Teachings

Hebrews 13:9-10 (NASB)
9  Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited. 10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat.

Matthew 24:4-24 (NASB)
4 And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. 5 “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many.

24 “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 (NASB)
13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.

Romans 16:17-18 (NASB)
17 Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. 18 For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.

Colossians 2:2b-4 (NASB)
 … hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument.

1 John 4:1-3 (NASB)
1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spiritof the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.

7. Enduring Isolation and Persecution

Hebrews 13:11-14 (NASB)
11  For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside the camp. 12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. 14 For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.

Matthew 5:11-12 (NASB)
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 10:24-25 (NASB)
24
“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. 25 “It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malignthe members of his household!

1 Corinthians 4:10-13 (NASB)
10  We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor. 11 To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; 12  and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; 13  when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now.

1 Peter 4:12-16 (NASB)
12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13  but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. 14  If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 16 but if anyone suffersas a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.

2 Peter 3:10-14 (NASB)
10  But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. 11  Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! 13 But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. 14 Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless,

8. Praising God and Sharing with Others

Hebrews 13:15-16 (NASB)
15 Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. 16 And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Colossians 3:14-17 (NASB)
14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

1 Peter 2:4-5 (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.

Romans 12:1 (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 isyour spiritual service of worship.

Luke 6:27-36 (NASB)
27 “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 “Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. 30 “Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. 31 “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. 32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 “If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 “If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. 35 “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. 36 “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Matthew 25:34-40 (NASB)
34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

9. Obeying and Praying for Christian Leaders

Hebrews 13:17-19 (NASB)
17  Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you. 18 Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things. 19 And I urge youall the more to do this, so that I may be restored to you the sooner.

1 Timothy 5:17-18 (NASB)
17  The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 (NASB)
12  But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, 13 and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.

1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 (NASB)
19 For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy.

1 Thessalonians 3:8-10 (NASB)
8 for now we really live, if you stand firm in the Lord. 9  For what thanks can we render to God for you in return for all the joy with which we rejoice before our God on your account, 10 as we night and day keep praying most earnestly that we may see your face, and may complete what is lacking in your faith?

Jeremiah 13:17 (NASB)
17 But if you will not listen to it, My soul will sob in secret for suchpride; And my eyes will bitterly weep And flow down with tears, Because the flock of the LORD has been taken captive.

Romans 15:30 (NASB)
30 Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me,

Ephesians 6:18-20 (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, 19 and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

2 Thessalonians 3:1 (NASB)
1 Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it didalso with you;

10. Doing God’s Will

Hebrews 13:20-21 (NASB)
20 Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, 21 equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom bethe glory forever and ever. Amen.

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 .’

Matthew 12:50 (NASB)
50 “For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”

John 7:17-18 (NASB)
17 “If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself. 18 “He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

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.

1 John 2:15-17 (NASB)
15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and alsoits lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

1 John 3:22-24 (NASB)
22 and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. 23 This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. 24 The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

Conclusion

Christians can live a life of love, as expected by Jesus, the unchanging Savior, by

  • Loving All People
  • Respecting the Sanctity of Marriage
  • Not Being Covetous
  • Imitating Worthy Leaders
  • Centering on the Unchanging Christ
  • Not Following Strange Teachings
  • Enduring Isolation and Persecution
  • Praising God and Sharing with Others
  • Obeying and Praying for Christian Leaders
  • Doing God’s Will

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, Creator of Heaven and Earth, we love You. We thank You for loving us. Help us to love You above all else and to love our neighbors as we do ourselves. Teach us to live a life of love and may You receive all the glory, honor, and praise. For it is in Christ 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





Hebrews – Part 9: Endure Chastening

Prologue

“Endure Chastening” is part 9 of a 10-part study on the Book of Hebrews. You may view any of the previous parts by clicking one of the links below.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, Scripture tells us that although it may seem sorrowful at the time, You chasten us because You love us, which results in peaceful righteousness. We thank You for knowing what is best for us. Through Your Word, please teach us to endure chastening and may You receive all glory, honor, and praise. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Probinig Question

Why should Christians not deny God; but rather, endure His chastening?

Transitional Sentence

Christians should not deny God; but rather, endure His chastening; because…

Main Points

1. Jesus Christ’s Supreme Example

Hebrews 12:1-4 (NASB)
1  Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 4 You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin;

What are the limits of our endurance?

What are we even willing to endure?

2. Chastening Is Evidence of Sonship

Hebrews 12:5-11 (NASB)
5  and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM; 6 FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.” 7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

If God didn’t love us, He wouldn’t bother with us.

The sorrow fades with the memory, replaced by peaceful righteousness

3. Chastening Is Necessary for Sanctification

Hebrews 12:12-17 (NASB)
12 Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. 14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; 16 that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.

Stay the course regardless of your infirmities, for they will heal.

Do not become bitter causing ourselves and others to fall away.

Do not give up everything for a brief respite.

Conclusion

Christians should not deny God; but rather, endure His chastening; because

  • Of Jesus Christ’s Supreme Example
  • Chastening Is Evidence of Sonship
  • Chastening Is Necessary for Sanctification

Warning: Don’t Deny God

Mt. Sinai vs. Mt. Zion

Hebrews 12:18-24 (NASB)
18 For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, 19 and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them. 20 For they could not bear the command, “IF EVEN A BEAST TOUCHES THE MOUNTAIN, IT WILL BE STONED.” 21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, “I AM FULL OF FEAR and trembling.” 22  But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, 23  to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the bloodof Abel.

God’s Awesome Holiness

Hebrews 12:25-29 (NASB)
25 See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. 26 And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN.” 27 This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; 29 for our God is a consuming fire.

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love, mercy, and grace. Thank You for chastening us when we need it. Please give us the strength and perserverance to endure it as well as the discernment to learn from it. In the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.

Epilogue

“Endure Chastening” is part 9 of a 10-part study on the Book of Hebrews. You may view any of the following parts by clicking one of the links below.

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





Hebrews – Part 8: What Is Faith?

Prologue

“What Is Faith?” is part 8 of a 10-part study on the Book of Hebrews. You may view any of the previous parts by clicking one of the links below.

Introduction

NOTE: The following information consists of excerpts paraphrased from Albert Barnes, Notes on the New Testament Explanatory and Practical, WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Hebrews 11”.

In the close of the previous chapter the writer of Hebrews had incidentally made mention of faith:

Hebrews 10:38-39 (NASB)
38 BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH; AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM. 39 But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.

The object of the whole argument in this epistle was to keep those to whom it was addressed from apostatizing, from the Christian religion, and especially from relapsing again into Judaism.

They were in the midst of trials, and were evidently suffering some form of persecution, the tendency of which was to expose them to the danger of relapsing.

The indispensable means of securing them from apostasy was faith; and with a view to show its efficacy in this respect, the writer goes into an extended account of its nature and effects, occupying this entire chapter.

As the persons whom he addressed had been Hebrews, and as the Old Testament contained an account of numerous instances of persons in substantially the same circumstances in which they were, the reference is made, to the illustrious examples of the efficacy of faith in the Jewish history.

The object is to show that faith, or confidence in the Divine promises, has been in all ages the means of perseverance in the true religion, and consequently of salvation.

In this chapter, therefore, the writer of Hebrews first describes or defines the nature of faith,

Hebrews 11:1 (NASB)
1  Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

and then illustrates its efficacy and power, throughout the remainder of the chapter, by reference to numerous instances.

In these illustrations he refers to the steady belief which we have that God made the worlds, the examples of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and Rahab in particular, and numerous other examples without mentioning their names.

The object is to show that there is power in faith to keep – steady and firm – mind and heart in the midst of trials, and that, having these examples before them, those whom he addressed should continue to adhere steadfastly to the profession of the true religion.

Scripture

Hebrews 11:1,3,6 (NASB)
1  Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. …
3  By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. …
6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, Scripture tells us that we are saved by grace through faith. Please open up Your Word to us and teach us what faith is. May our faith be strengthened as a result. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Probing Question

How does faith have the power to keep Christians from apostatizing, despite their trials?

Transitional Sentence

Faith has the power to keep Christians from apostatizing, despite their trials, because…

Main Points

1. Faith lays claim to the unseen realities of God and His purpose.

Abel

Hebrews 11:4 (NASB)
4 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.

  • Abel’s name
    • Means, “breath, vapor, meadow”
    • Is associated with the shortness of life
  • The second son of Adam and Eve may have been a twin because Genesis 4:2 literally reads, “And she continued to bear his brother Abel”
  • Some have thought that it was the better sacrifice because it was the sacrifice of an animal, however, the emphasis on “faith” in Hebrews and the idea of a “proper offering” in the Septuagint translation of Genesis 4:7 suggest that Abel’s offering was made with a correct attitude and in the proper manner
  • Because of jealousy, Cain killed Abel
  • Hebrews 12:24 compares Abel’s blood with Christ’s blood
    • Abel’s blood calls for vengeance
    • Christ’s blood carries with it the idea of forgiveness
  • Nevertheless, Abel is outstanding because he was
    • The first person to worship God correctly
    • The first person to demonstrate faith accurately
    • The first person to please God fully
    • The first shepherd and influenced the early Hebrews to place a priority on the pastoral life
    • The first man to be murdered
    • The first human to die

Enoch

Hebrews 11:5-6 (NASB)
5  By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; AND HE WAS NOT FOUND BECAUSE GOD TOOK HIM UP; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

  • Enoch’s name
    • Means, “dedicated.”
    • Is associated with a large body of ancient extra-biblical literature
  • The son of Jared, taken up to God without dying
  • He became the father of Methuselah
  • Enoch lived in such close fellowship with God that he was translated into the presence of God without dying
  • According to Jude, he prophesied

Jude 1:14-15 (NASB)
14 It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, 15 to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”

Noah

Hebrews 11:7 (NASB)
7 By faith Noah, being warned by Godabout things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

  • Noah’s name is a personal name of uncertain meaning, related to “rest”
  • Noah was
    • The son of Lamech, a descendant of Adam in the line of Seth
    • The father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth who were born when he was 500 years old
    • A good and righteous man, and a survivor of the flood
  • God warned Noah that He was going to wipe mankind from the face of the earth
  • Because Noah walked with God and stood blameless among the people of that time, God gave him specific instructions for building the ark by which Noah and his family would survive the coming flood
    • Noah followed the building instructions down to every detail
    • A week before the flood, Noah led his family and all of the animals into the ark just as God directed
    • After seven days, the rain began and lasted for 40 days
    • As he sought to know whether it was safe to leave the ark
      • He sent out first a raven and then a dove
      • When the dove returned with an olive leaf, Noah knew the water had receded
    • Once out of the ark, Noah built an altar and sacrificed clean animals as burnt offerings on the altar
    • The Lord promised never again to destroy living creatures as He had done in the flood and established a covenant with Noah and his sons and sealed that covenant with a rainbow
  • Noah lived another 350 years after the flood
  • Noah died at the age of 950 years

2. Faith presses on even when some of God’s promises remain unfulfilled

Abraham and Sarah

Hebrews 11:8-19 (NASB)
8  By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; 10 for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants AS THE STARS OF HEAVEN IN NUMBER, AND INNUMERABLE AS THE SAND WHICH IS BY THE SEASHORE. 13 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. 15  And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16  But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them. 17  By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; 18 it was he to whom it was said, “IN ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS SHALL BE CALLED.” 19 He considered that God is able to raise peopleeven from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type.

Isaac

Hebrews 11:20 (NASB)
20  By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come.

Jacob

Hebrews 11:21 (NASB)
21 By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.

Joseph

Hebrews 11:22 (NASB)
22 By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones.

3. Faith risks everything for God and His purpose

Moses’ Parents

Hebrews 11:23 (NASB)
23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.

Moses

Hebrews 11:24-28 (NASB)
24  By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that he who destroyed the firstborn would not touch them.

Children of Israel, escaping from Egypt

Hebrews 11:29 (NASB)
29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passingthrough dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned.

Joshua and his army

Hebrews 11:30 (NASB)
30  By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.

Rahab, the harlot

Hebrews 11:31 (NASB)
31 By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.

4. Faith endures even when earthly deliverance does not come

Hebrews 11:32-40 (NASB)
32 And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34  quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; 36  and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. 37  They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated 38 (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. 39  And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.

Conclusion

How does faith have the power to keep Christians from apostatizing, despite their trials?

  • Faith lays claim to the unseen realities of God and His purpose
  • Faith presses on even when some of God’s promises remain unfulfilled
  • Faith risks everything for God and His purpose
  • Faith endures even when earthly deliverance does not come

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the priviledge of studying Your Word so we can learn more about You and what You expect from us. You tell us we are to have the faith of a child. Help us with our faith we pray. In the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.

Epilogue

“What Is Faith?” is part 8 of a 10-part study on the Book of Hebrews. You may view any of the following parts by clicking one of the links below.

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