ENTERING THE FAITH ZONE

12-12-04 DOGGETT

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17

HUMOR???

For the umpteenth time Mrs. Youngston came to her pastor to tell him, “I’m so scared! Joe says he’s going to kill me if I continue to come to your church.”  ”Yes, yes, my child,” replied the pastor, more than a little tired of hearing this over and over. “I will continue to pray for you, Mrs. Youngston. Have faith – the Lord will watch over you.”  ”Oh yes, he has kept me safe thus far, only…..”  ”Only what, my child?”  ”Well, now he says if I keep coming to your church, he’s going to kill YOU!”  ”Well, now,” said the pastor, “Perhaps it’s time to check out that little church on the other side of town.”

SATANS ZONE DEFENSE

One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. Luke 5:1

In the game of basketball Zone defenses are usually designed to keep the ball out of certain areas, especially areas close to the basket. Even more common are zones designed to match up with players in certain areas and still attempt to keep the ball out of the basket area. Satan is always found near the zone trying to trip you up by filling your heart and mind with doubt and unbelief. Our enemy major desire is to ‘Protect the Zone’, to stop the opposition from scoring. He makes sure the most dangerous opposition players are covered first (are you strong in faith). If a player (believer) is free and likely to score, he trys to cover them to stop the score.  As believers we need to ‘Shut Down’ his defense by operating in strong faith. Jesus is always found within the zone (the place of faith) to help you when it comes to winning the game of faith. The zone defense is to keep you and me from getting close to Jesus. Once you penetrate that zone defense of the enemy by pressing in with your faith you can then begin to take and make that shot of faith.

HEARING AND BELIEVING THE WORD WILL BREAK DOWN SATANS ZONE DEFENCE / IF YOU WANT STRONGER FAITH ASK FOR IT.

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17 (KJV)

Let’s look at the definition of faith. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”Faith is the evidence. That makes faith a noun!A noun, according to my grade school teachers, is a person, place, or thing.  Faith becomes the evidence, the proof, that what we are seeking does exist! Does that make sense?  It is already in existence! Your faith WILLmove that mountain that God wants moved!!  It is your faith that allows God to do His thing!!  How do you get more, stronger faith?In Chapter 9 of Mark the disciples couldn’t cast out a spirit in a boy. The boy’s father asked Jesus to help and Jesus told him in verses 23-24, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”Notice, the father must have heardthat Jesus had the power to deliver his son, but was struggling with his faith. In other words, the father might have said, “I want to believe because you say that is what it will take, but I am having difficulty because it is believing something I have not yet seen. Help me to have unwavering faith.” So, the answer to the question of how do we get more, stronger faith is to ask for it.

God wants us to have strong faith. If He wants it then we will get it if we ask for it. Read Matthew 7:7-8, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”Remember, God cannot lie. Ask and it SHALLbe given you. Seek and ye SHALLfind. Knock and it SHALLbe opened unto you. GLORY

PRESSING INTO THE ZONE

And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. She said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. Mark 5:25

This woman whom was bound in torment and disgrace teaches us much about faith. She was diseased for 12 years with the issue of blood, which made her unclean during the entire time. With the pain and discomfort that accompanies her illness along with the strict ordinances of separation the Mosaic Law demands, she might as well have had a disease. Below is the law that was followed for women with an issue of blood. Lets all turn to Leviticus 15:25-27 “25

These particular passages do not say anything about her social status or where she was living. The do speak much of her courage and faith. Even after 12 years, she never gave up the faiththat she would be healed someday. Her faith was so great that she went and sought Jesus, and braved the crowd around her just to touch the hem of his garment. She knew that there would be those who knew of her uncleanness, and if she would accidentally touch someone else, they would be unclean also. A person, who knew she was unclean, would not be happy to have made contact with her.  The woman pressed beyond satans zone defense and into the faith zone.

To touch the hem of his garment, she would have to have been crawling along the ground somehow, or walked up behind Jesus and stooped down. I believe she was as discreet as possible as not to draw attention to herself. If she wanted attention, she would have gone up to Jesus or cried out to him. She knew that by asking him to heal her, she would also be asking that he become unclean for her. That would be unacceptable to many in the crowd, and would have started trouble. She probably self-conscience and maybe even to embarrassed to ask for healing because of the nature of her problem. She was thinking that if I could just sneak in the crowd and touch the hem of his garment, I’ll be whole.  At the moment she touched Jesus’ garment, he turned around and told her that her faith made her whole. Yes, Jesus said her faith made her whole. Jesus did not say that he made her whole, but it was her faith that made her whole. She was one of the few who were healed that Jesus said it was their faith that actually healed them. This type of faith is very strong. What impresses me the most about it is that there is basically no question in the person’s mind about what is going to happen when they apply their faith.

STEPPING INTO THE FAITH ZONE

“The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. Matthew 8:8 (NIV)”

“While he was saying this, a ruler came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.” Matthew 9:18 (NIV)”

Just as the woman knew she would be whole, the centurion in Matthew 8:8 knew that his servant would be healed. It is an unshakable faith that the certain ruler in Matthew 9:18 had when he went to Jesus even though he knew is daughter was already dead. It is that type of faith that many people strive for, but is also the hardest to understand and apply.

A BLIND MAN STEPS INTO THE FAITH ZONE

“And they came to Jericho: and as he (Jesus) went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me. And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus. Mark 10:46

WALKING BY FAITH

“So then, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message comes through preaching Christ. Romans 10:17 (TEV) “

Rom 10 17 Faith comes by hearing, not by seeing. Isaac should have known better. His father, after all,  was the most famous father when it comes to faith.  The Scriptures tell us that “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.” The voice was Jacob’s (Gen 27:22), but it “felt” like Esau.   Millions have been fooled by their feelings or misled by what they saw. It is natural to want to “see,” or to “feel” everything is alright.  Missouri is not the only “show me” state. All who demand evidence and proof are headed for a state of misery.  Such a state is populated by those who “walk by sight.”  But those who walk by sight cannot really see at all. ”Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen.”

Our faith must feed on the hearing of the Word of God, not by what we feel.   ”Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” The temptation is always the same: to walk by sight, to live by might, and to forget what’s right. “Who art thou my son? And Jacob said unto his father, I am Esau…” Remember we still live in a world where the “father of lies” spins his web. Though a thousand voices whisper or shout in the streets, may we long to hear only one familiar voice and say with Samuel, “Speak [Lord] thy servant heareth” 1Sam. 3:10.  I dare not trust the way I feel Be something smooth or coarse Only faith is really real God’s Word truth’s only source

HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO HAVE “EARS TO HEAR?”

The Scriptures say much about the ears and hearing. To be able to hear with attention or interest, to listen to, to give heed to, to yield to, and to obey the Scriptures is a “great blessing”.

In the gospel of Matthew our Lord said:

Matthew 13:16“But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.”

And in the Old Testament we read:

Proverbs 20:12“The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them.”

Psalm 78:1“Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your earsto the words of my mouth.”

Proverbs 4:20“My son, attend to my words; incline thine earunto my sayings.”

So basically we can explain an “hearing ear” by three simple commands:

  • “Give ear… to My law”;
  • “Incline your ears to the words of my mouth”;
  • “attend to My words.”

THE HEARING EAR

The “hearing ear” is sensitive to God’s Word and obeys it. Two more Scriptures that depict the “hearing ear” are also found in the Book of Proverbs:

Proverbs 15:31“The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise.”

Proverbs 13:1“A wise son heareth his Father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.”

The “hearing ear” is the ear that listens to correction. It gives heed to reproof and rebuke. It receives all punishment and chastisement from the Lord. It “heareth the reproof of life.” As a wise son, it hears the Father’s instruction which includes all the checks and restraints, rebukes and reproofs, correction and instruction that comes from the Father’s hand

Are all of God’s children “wise” sons and daughters? Do they all hearken to the Father’s commands as outlined in His Word? Do they all “hear” the Father’s chiding and reproof?

No, as Proverbs 13:1 tells us “…A scorner heareth not rebuke.” These are those who are arrogant boasters and mockers of “harsh” or corrective words from the Lord.

In 2 Timothy Paul tells us:

2 Timothy 4:3“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears:”

They are desirous of hearing “pleasant” things from the Lord. They want “smooth” words from God that conform to their carnal wishes and feelings. They want to hear the kind of instruction that will allay their restless and uneasy sinful desires.

The apostle Paul goes on to tell us about those who turn away their ears from the Truth and turn them unto fables and falsehoods in the next verse:

2 Timothy 4:4“And they shall turn away their earsfrom the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE

“But my people didn’t listen, Israel paid no attention; Psalm 81:11 (Msg)

In John 10:27 our Lord says, “My sheep hear my voice…” Nonetheless, Hebrews 3:15 warns, “…Today if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts…”

Even though we are God’s children and hear His voice, there are times when the Father speaks things to us that we do not like to hear. The temptation presents itself to become stubborn or obstinate to the Father’s command. The Scriptures abound with example after example of times when the Father cried unto Israel, His people, and they would not hear.

They were supposedly God’s sheep, yet they would not give heed to His Word. They did not like His terms. They refused to be ruled by His commands. “Israel would none of Me.” What does this mean? They refused or rejected God. They did not incline their ear to Him. They did not worship Him or find satisfaction in Him. They were no longer attached to Him or cleaving to Him as their “All-in-All”.

Christ’s last message to the church – “Listen”

Blessedis he who reads and those who hearthe words of this prophecy, and keepthose things which are written in it ..Revelation 1:3 (NKJV)


Even though all believers have “heard” and have responded in saving faith to Christ, too often as they continue on they seem to experience a “loss of hearing”.The expectation is that “listening” will characterize the believers’ walk but believers can also drift. Believers can become “dull of hearing” (cf. Heb. 5:11).  If a person refuses to listen either they have never TRULY been saved or they have a serious problem in their walk (cf. 1 Cor. 3:1-3).  In either case they need to REPENT!  Hence, five of the seven churches in Revelation 2-3 are called upon to “repent”.  Seven times (once to each church) we hear the refrain, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”  Listening is an evidence of salvation (cf. 1 Thess. 2:13) but also the on-going condition for spiritual blessing for those who are believers.

Revelation 1:3 (NKJV) Blessedis he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. (emphasis mine)

“That dog is all ear!” Response of someone about a well-trained hunting dog who wouldrespond on command to his master. God help us to be “all ear” to our Master!

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WHY SIT HERE UNTIL WE DIE?

Doggett 8-9-05

“Now there were four lepers sitting outside the city gates.  ”Why sit here until we die?” they asked each other. 2 Kings 7:3 (Living)

A guy has a talking dog.  He brings it to a talent scout.  ”This dog can speak English,” he claims to the unimpressed agent.  ”Okay, Sport,” the guy says to the dog, “what’s on the top of a house?” “Roof!” the dog replies.  ”Oh, come on…” the talent agent responds.” All dogs go ‘roof’.”  ”No, wait,” the guy says.  He asks the dog “what does sandpaper feel like?”  ”Rough!” the dog answers.  The talent agent gives a condescending blank stare.  He is losing his patience.  ”No, hang on,” the guy says.  ”This one will amaze you.”  He turns and asks the dog:  ”What book in the bible begins with the letter “R?”  ”Ruth!” goes the dog.  And the talent scout, having seen enough, boots them out of his office onto the street.  And the dog turns to the guy and says, “Maybe I should have recited the Lords prayer

Aggressively Pursuing God

“From the time of John the Baptizer until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful people have been seizing it.

Matthew 11:12 (GW)”

“Hello?  Mr. Doggett This is Mike from Picture-Perfect Window Company.  How are you today?”  Sound familiar?  It always seems as though telemarketers (whether they’re window companies, lawn companies, insurance agents, or credit card companies) call at the most inopportune times.  You would think that cold-calling people would have to be the most unproductive way of drumming up business.  Yet it seems as if my family gets at least three or four of these annoying calls a night—right in the middleof dinner.  Still, companies use telemarketers because they know that if they sit around waiting for more business, they will more than likely not get it.  They have to be aggressive.  Turn Read 2 Kings 7:3-19

The bible tells a story about four men who sat at the entrance of the city’s gate dying with leprosy, an incurable disease which causes terribly visible swelling and sores on the skin, only then to eat inward to the bones.  These lepers sat outside of the city because they were not permitted to live within the city because of this contagious and incurable disease.  These men were faced with a fatal disease, they were outcasts, and they were starving because of a famine in the land.  This type of dark and gloomy life and no perceived future would make the average person throw in the towel and just give up on life - but not these men.

And there were four leprous men at the entering in of the gate: and they said one to another, Why sit we here until we die? If we say, We will enter into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there: and if we sit still here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us fall unto the host of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die.”  (II Kings 7:3-4)

Sitting and examining their situation, they realized that just simply sitting and doing nothing would result in having and being nothing, so they asked themselves the question, “Why do we sit here until we die?“  They knew that if they entered the city, they would die because of the famine.  They also knew that if they sat there and did nothing, that they would die as well.  What did they do?  They made the decision to ACT. Regardless of their gloomy circumstance, they got up from were they were and decided to do something to change their situation.  They made the choice to face their obstacles and do something different.  They went into the city realizing that difficulties may be ahead, for if the city dwellers spared their lives, they would live, and if not, they would die–but given the situation that they were in, things were not going to just get better.  Our opening verse of scripture and its surrounding story focuses on the way the four Samaritan lepers thought and acted on their situation.  They realized that no one was going to offer them food in the midst of a famine, and if they were going to get rid of that gnawing in their stomachs, then they would have to take matters into their own hands.  If they maintained the unchanging status quo, then they were going to get the same results that they had been getting—no food and ultimately death.  They realized that they would have to be aggressive.

: Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there. — Will Rogers

God Will Work In Your Situation If You Make The Decision To Act

“I will place on his shoulder (Jesus) the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open Isaiah 22:22 (NIV)”

God will open wonderful doors of opportunity for the believer who will obey His word.  He will also close doors in situations where the enemy is trying to enter your life to hinder you.

Continuing our story: Upon entering the city, to their pleasant surprise, no one was there, because God had caused the city dwellers to abandon their tents. ….. Because of their decision to change their situationand the decision to act, these hungry dying men when into a tent, and feasted as they ate, drank, and carried off silver, gold, and clothing.  However, it did not end there, after putting away the silver, gold, and clothing, they entered another tent and again met great fortune.

You, just like the lepers, may be in your decision place today.  If you are in a place, or situation that seems lifeless, regardless of where that place may be, or how things look, ask yourself the question, why do I sit here until I die? Take a good look at where you are, and where you want to be.  Then take the necessary steps to find yourself in that desired place.  Because in the midst of misfortune – choice, and then action will find you reaping the great benefits that God has purposed for your life.

Pew Warmers / View from The Pew

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 (NIV)

The expression “pew warmer” is a familiar word to most Christians, who have learned over the years some of the ‘Christian’ jargon.  Now many churches don’t even have pews, but they still have ‘pew warmers’.  For the uninitiated, they may be defined as “those who do nothing more for the Lord than sit in church on Sunday” and, sad as it may seem, they are the most common, garden variety Christian in our country today. In a decade of harvest and outreach, at a time of God’s Spirit moving on hearts in a deeper way, they sit, detached and very often critical, guarding their seat lest it be stolen in the middle of a meeting!  The deceiving thing is that they look the same, and sound the same as those serving God, at least until you look a little deeper.  They may sit praising Him; they usually have a comment about how everybody should be doing it.  They very often love God, and are right into positive words, faith, and showing love to the brethren.  So what’s missing?  They are people who refuse to act –Members who sit back to receive without getting up to give. Of course it is tempting to sit back, to take it easy, to let others do the work.  The result however is devastating.  First of all to the church, because there is more work than a few so-called experts can handle.  But also for those who think they can sit back and watch.  Non-involvement means dying for both the church and those members, who unlike Jesus, seek to be ministered unto, rather than to minister.  Why sit here until we Die?

The comfortable pew

Means that the burdens of the ministry are left for the shoulders of a few.  And it will result in quick burnout.  It will result in, sometimes; severe criticism on the part of those who do nothing and that will bring more discouragement to hard workers….  and one more result may be that those who stand back will live on the edge of the church, always in danger of falling over the edge and losing it all. But the Bible has news for us.  Being a member of the church means that you, according to your ability take part in the ministry of the church.  No one is exempt, not even those who think there is nothing they have to contribute.  Every church member has been given at least one gift.  So what we need to do is to: DISCOVER YOUR GIFTS and use them for the glory of God- Why sit here until we die?  Make a contribution to the church- Serve the Lord with gladness!

Body Gifts

“I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. John 17:4 (NIV)”

In 1 Corinthians 12:11, Paul, writing about the Spirit giving gifts, says: “He gives them to each person.” And that gift is a body gift.  By that he means that these gifts are given to the body of Jesus for the work of the church.  It is important for us to think about the fact that together all members form the body of Jesus. And of that body, Jesus is the Head.   What does that imply’?

When Jesus was with us, here on earth, He finished the work that He came to do.  He opened the way to the Father, the way home. He removed the terrible roadblock formed by our sin.  That however did not mean that nothing remained to be done.  For instance there are children who need to be informed that the way home is open.  They need an invitation to come back to the Father.  They need to be guided.  Furthermore all God’s children need to be prepared for living at home.  They need that simply because they know naturally how to live in this world, but they have to learn anew how to live in the home with their Father.  They need to be integrated into the body; they need to learn about fellowship, and many other aspects of living with and for God. They need to learn how to live in the kingdom; they need to learn how to assist in the coming of that kingdom. So Jesus, when He had to return to heaven, from there to rule His church, sent us the Holy Spirit in His place.  The Spirit came to live in our hearts, to transform us, or sanctify us for living at home. By His very nature, He remains in the background.  He works behind the scenes. There He encourages us to do the work of Jesus, to finish what is still left uncompleted: Gathering all the nations in, calling all men to give God the glory, uniting into the body of Jesus.   No more spectators-No More Bench Warmers- Get in the Game! –Why sit here until we die!

Being Aggressive About What You Believe / The Grasshopper & The Ant

“As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. John 9:4 (NIV)”

I know we all have heard the story about, “The Grasshopper and the Ant.” The grasshopper in the story is considered a lazy insect, while the ant is looked upon as industrious and economical. As the story unfolds, during the summer while the days were pleasant and sunny, the grasshopper would sing and play and have a merry good old time, never thinking about tomorrow!  One day the grasshopper decided to visit the ant. Upon his arrival, to his surprise, he found the ant hard at work.  He said to the ant, “Why do you work so hard? Why don’t you rest and have a good time like me, and enjoy the beautiful summer days?

The ant replied, “I must work in order to be prepared when the stormy days shall come.”

So the grasshopper went away as idle and as unconcerned as before, singing, playing and sleeping the fine sunny day away, while the ant was busy preparing for the chilly winter days that would surely come.  Soon a change began to take place.  Cold winds began to blow, and snow covered the ground.  This stopped the grasshopper’s dancing and singing and it stopped his playing.  For he became cold and he had no shelter, so he went around to see the ant to get some food and shelter from the cold; but the ant said, “Not so, I have but enough for myself, you have spent your time in idleness throughout the summer days, now it is cold, and winter has set in.

It is too late, “The door is shut!” Let me ask you which of these two was the wiser?

I believe we all will agree it was the ant! You will admit that the grasshopper was unwise.   So what is the meaning to this parable?  It is saying to adults, children, and our youth; it is not wise to wait until you become men and women to give your hearts and your time to God.  No it is not wise to play when you should be learning and getting involved in the work.  To the young while you are young, give your hearts and your time to God.  While you are young, give of your best to the Master, give of the strength of your youth, start preparing while you can give Him a full life; I know how easy it is not to take life serious, we all have been young, but remember the lesson of the grasshopper, for sure as there is spring and summer, there will be a fall; and when the fall is over, winter is not far behind!  See Matthew 25:1-13  story of The 10 virgins

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, Matthew 25:1-13- Philip. 2:12 (NIV)

Why Sit Her Until We Die? Make your decision today To Act!

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GODLY WISDOM IS A TREE OF LIFE

“For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. [7] He stores up sound wisdom for the upright.”  Proverbs 2:6-7 (NASB)

HUMOR

After the Sunday school teacher finished the day’s lesson he asked the class if they had any questions. Mr. Johnson, “announced little Joey, “there’s something I can’t figger out.”  “What’s that Joey?”  asked Johnson.  “well accordin’ to the Bible, the Children of Israel crossed the Red Sea, right?  Right? ”  “An the Children of Israel beat up the Philistines, right?’  “Er-right.”  “An the Children of Israel built the temple, “right?”  “Again you’re right.”  “An the Children Of Israel fought the gyptians, an’ the Children of Israel fought the Romans, an’ the Children of Israel wuz always doin’somethin’ important right?”  “All that is right too agreed Johnson.  “So what’s your question?”  “What I want to know is dis, “demanded Joey.  “What wuz all the grown-ups Doin?”

WE NEED WISDOM- THE GOD KIND

“So we have continued praying for you ever since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you a complete understanding of what He wants to do in your lives, and we ask Him to make you wise with spiritual wisdom. [10] Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and you will continually do good, kind things for others. All the while, you will learn to know God better and better.”  Col. 1:9-10 (NLT)

When you look around and observe life and things that surround us, you would probably agree that we need wisdom more than we’ve ever needed wisdom before.  One out of two marriages ends in divorce.  Crime rates are up- especially crimes against children and young people.  The drug problem is totally out of control.  The sexual evolution has resulted in a disease evolution.  The national debt is in such high figures that the average person cannot comprehend that amount of money.  Gangs roaming our streets.  The homeless rate is up.  Unemployment is at it’s all time high.  The leaders of our country making wrong decisions.  Abortionist are killing more than 2million babies a year in the United states alone.  Things are out of control!  Never have we needed wisdom more than we need it today.  When you look at the world situation, the problems are compounded. Everything that is wrong in America is wrong in other nations, and sometimes in far greater proportions. Never has the need for wisdom been greater.  And the best news I can share with you this morning is that God wants to give you His wisdom more than you want to have it.  He longs for you to have His wisdom, to experience it fully in all areas of your life, and to walk in it day by day.

WHAT IS WISDOM?-THE BAPTISM OF WISDOM

“Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly.” Proverbs 3:18 (NLT)

“The Spirit’s presence is shown in some way in each person for the good of all. [8] The Spirit gives one person a message full of wisdom, while to another person the same Spirit gives a message full of knowledge.  1 Cor. 12:7-8 (TEV)

Wisdom is the God given ability to perceive the true nature of a matter and to implement the will of God in that matter. Wisdom has two facets to it.  First, it is the God-given ability to perceive the truth of a matter.  What is real?  What is true?  And furthermore what is real and true from God’s perspective?  Man’s reality and God’s reality are often very different. When the King told the three Hebrew boys in Daniel 3 that he was going to throw them into the fiery furnace if you don’t bow down to my image.  Natural wisdom would say, “I’d better bow down. What good am I going to do for God on this earth if I don’t bow and am burned alive?”  Natural wisdom looks at the facts and makes choices that seem right for the welfare of the person (or persons) involved.  Spiritual wisdom, however says, “take your stand.  You are commanded by God not to bow down to an idol at any time.  Trust God in this.  If you die, you die.  The consequences are up to God.  Your entire life is under God’s control. So trust God and obey.”  Spiritual wisdom makes a decision based upon the absolutes of God.  Nearly every situation or circumstance you face in life can be approached from these two angles: Natural wisdom and Spiritual wisdom.

Wisdom is always a gift.  That is to say, it is something bestowed by God freely and from the depths of His own nature and mercy.  Godly wisdom is like a great river available to each one of us.  We each need to draw from it and to be baptized in it.  A word of wisdom is like a bucket of water taken from that river and applied directly to the lips of someone dying of thirst.  A word of wisdom is the application of wisdom at a particular time.

“The Lord gives wisdom.  From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.  Proverbs 2:6 (GW)

God‘s wisdom is for us all.  God does not desire that He alone possess wisdom.  If so. He never would have made wisdom available to you or have challenged you to obtain it.  If wisdom were impossible to find, He never would have challenged men and women to seek it. Furthermore, God does not withhold His wisdom from those who desire it.  He hasn’t set aside one class of people, one race, one nationality, one sex, one age group, or one socioeconomic segment of society to possess wisdom. Wisdom is God’s desire for you. Wisdom is God’s vehicle for getting you to the place you want to go.  Cars are vehicles of transportation that can get you to where you want to go very quickly.  Similarly, wisdom is your vehicle for getting from where you are to the place where you want to be in life.  Do you need financial stability?, your children to obey you?  Some would say I need my children to obey me.  My home is so unsettled and in turmoil.  Things would be perfect only if my children will obey. I would say to you , No.  That isn’t what you really need.  You need WISDOM to know how to be a good parent and to know how to lead your family.  Someone might say, “I need for my spouse to start loving me.”  I would say to you “What you really need is the WISDOM to know how to be a good spouse yourself.  You might say I need a friend – someone to talk to.  “My response?  No. You need the WISDOM to know how to be a good friend to someone first.  Wisdom is the single and greatest need of your life.

THE CALL OF WISDOM

“Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public squares; [21] at the head of the noisy streets she cries out, in the gateways of the city she makes her speech:      [22] “How long will you simple ones love your simple ways?  How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?  [23] If you had responded to my rebuke, I would have poured out my heart to you and made my thoughts known to you. [24] But since you rejected me when I called and no one gave heed when I stretched out my hand,  [25] since you ignored all my advice and would not accept my rebuke, [26] I in turn will laugh at your disaster; I will mock when calamity overtakes you [27] when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you.  [28] “Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me.  [29] Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord, [30] since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, [31] they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.” Proverbs 1:20-31 (NIV)

God truly wants to impart wisdom to your life.  If you ever get to the point at which you DECIDE that you want supernatural wisdom of God instead of your own natural wisdom and that you will do whatever He prompts you to do, leaving the consequences of your life totally in His hands.  I believe that He will impart to you His wisdom. He truly wants you to have His wisdom. He wants you to live according to His wisdom.  He’s waiting for you to ask.  His wisdom cries in the street.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know.” Proverbs 3:5 (TEV)

KNOWING GOD’S WILL FOR YOUR LIFE

If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask Him, and He will gladly tell you, for He is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask Him; He will not resent it.” James 1:5 (Living)

We must come to the point at which you are willing to say, “I don’t know” without fear, without paranoia, .without embarrassment.  Have you ever noticed that children aren’t afraid to say?  “I don’t know?”  In fact, it seems to be their theme song during a particular stage in life.  You say, “What do you want to be when you grow up? The child looks at you right in the eye and says, “I dunno.”  What are you going to do when you go home tonight?”  “I dunno.  “What is your name and address? I dunno .  Some parents begin to think that there is something wrong wiyth their children because they respond to every question with I dunno.  And then comes that arrogant stage when they think they know everything.  They say I’m now seventeen years old and I know everything..  As we come to God as little children. Its not a crime to say I dunno.”  It’s when we think we know it all that we are in big trouble.

JEHOSAPHAT NEEDED GOD”S WISDOM

“O our God, won’t you stop them? We have no way to protect ourselves against this mighty army. We don’t know what to do, but we are looking to you.” 2 Chron. 20:12 (Living)

In 2 Chronicles 20 we read about Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, who awoke one morning in Jerusalem to find that he was completely surrounded by his enemies.  The people of Moab had joined with the people of Ammon and the people who lived on Mt Seir, and these three enemies had come up against Jehoshaphat.  And Jesoshaphat did four things. First, he set himself to seek the Lord.  Second, he proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.  He called all the people together so they might stand as one person and with one voice cry out to God. Third, Jehoshaphat entered the house of the Lord and began to pray, reminding God of all His blessings and promises to His people. And Fourth, Jehoshsphat concluded his prayer with this admission: “We have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon you” (2Chron. 20:12). “I dunno!” The King himself said this to God!” Now this was the King!  Everyone in the land looked to him as the smartest and the most powerful person in the land.  This was the leader.  And there he stood, as a big adult with a lot of responsibilities, and he said before God and the entire congregation, “Were weak, God.  We don’t know what to do.  BUT OUR EYES ARE ON YOU.”

It’s important to reach out to God for answers to the things we don’t know. He wants you to have His wisdom more that you may want to have it.

Blessings to all in Jesus  valleyoftheson.com

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ETERNAL SECURITY

(There is no heaven with a little corner of hell in it)

BOOK OF LIFE

11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.Rev 20:13

BLOTTED OUT

I want to start out by saying that eternal security does not exist in the bible. Fifteen times the book of life is mentioned in the bible and the term “blotted out” is used in these passages. If your name is in the book of life and all of our names are, it can be blotted out.

Revelation 3:5 – He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
Exodus 32:33 – And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.

CAN A BELIEVER STILL SIN LIKE THE DEVIL AND BE SAVED?

to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the Book of Life the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come.”

Can person can continue to murder, rape, hate, fornicate, do drugs, and still be saved as long as they believe in Jesus, right? Eternal Security Heresy. This heresy says that once you have believed on Jesus, then it doesn’t matter what you do or how much sin you commit, you will still go to heaven when you die.  This is a lie.

If the Eternal Security Proponent used the excuse that a true believer would never truly live a life like that, they will be teaching a doctrine of immorality because the VERY message they would be preaching to others would give other people the wrong thinking that they can sin and still be saved

When Eternal Security Proponents say that a person can never lose their salvation by anything that they do, then they are going to think they CAN sin and still be saved (Thereby giving them a license to sin).

SINNERS BY OCCUPATION

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1John 1:8

Once we repent of our sins and give our lives to Jesus we are no longer sinners. All of our sins are under the blood Jesus. Is it possible to sin after we are saved? Yes

Sinning is missing the mark, missing the bull’s eye and this we all do. When we sin God is faithful and just to forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” John 1:9

However there are those who delight in iniquity and are sinners by occupation; this is what they live to do. They take the blood off of the lintel and place it on the threshold and trample underfoot

“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God”.Heb 10:26-31

NO ONE CAN PLUCK YOU OUT OF GOD’S HANDS BUT YOU CAN WALK OUT

No man can pluck you out of God’s hands but you can walk out if you want to

My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. 28I give them eternal life,and they will never perish. No one can snatchthem out of My hand. 29My Father who has given them to Me is greater than all. No one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand.…John 10:27-29

Hebrews 6:4-8.

“It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit,  who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because [Or repentance while] to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.”

Calvinists, who deny that salvation can ever be lost, reason on the subject in a marvelous way. They tell us, that no virgin’s lamp can go out; no promising harvest be choked with thorns; no branch in Christ can ever be cut off from unfruitfulness; no pardon can ever be forfeited, and no name blotted out of God’s book! They insist that no salt can ever lose its savor; nobody can ever “receive the grace of God in vain”; “bury his talents”; “neglect such great salvation”; trifle away “a day of grace”; “look back” after putting his hand to the gospel plow. Nobody can “grieve the Spirit” till He is “quenched,” and strives no more, nor “deny the Lord that bought them”; nor “bring upon themselves swift destruction.” Nobody, or body of believers, can ever get so lukewarm that Jesus will spew them out of His mouth. They use reams of paper to argue that if one ever got lost he was never found. John 17:12; that if one falls, he never stood. Rom. 11:16-22 and Heb. 6:4-6; if one was ever “cast forth,” he was never in, and “if one ever withered,” he was never green. John 15:1-6; and that “if any man draws back,” it proves that he never had anything to draw back from. Heb. 10:38,39; that if one ever “falls away into spiritual darkness,” he was never enlightened. Heb 6:4-6; that if you “again get entangled in the pollutions of the world,” it shows that you never escaped. 2 Pet 2:20; that if you “put salvation away” you never had it to put away, and if you make shipwreck of faith, there was no ship of faith there!! In short they say: If you get it, you can’t lose it; and if you lose it you never had it. May God save us from accepting a doctrine, that must be defended by such fallacious reasoning!”

May God rid the Body of Christ of this devilish doctrine, which offers false hope to the ungodly.

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HOW TO KNOW THAT YOU HAVE ETERNAL LIFE

1 John 5:11-13 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

We see here in this passage three main points. First is that you can KNOW that you have eternal life, second is that eternal life is in God’s Son (Jesus), and third is that if you have Jesus then you have eternal life. God wants you to know that you have eternal life. In fact, he says you can know for sure without a doubt. The chances are that if you don’t know for sure that you have eternal life, it’s probably because you don’t have it.

There are two types of people: those who have Jesus, and those who do not have Jesus. The question then becomes, how does a person receive Jesus and therefore eternal life? There are many ideas about how we receive Jesus and inherit eternal life. Some say you must be baptized, that you must be a good person, or that you must be a good Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Mormon, etc. However, I am not concerned with the opinions of man, and neither should you be. Let’s look at what the Word of God says.

The first thing you must realize is that you are a sinner.

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

Everyone has sinned before, and looking at the Ten Commandments will illustrate this. How many lies have you told in your life? How many times have you stolen things (even small things)? Hopefully you have never murdered anyone, but the Bible says that God sees hatred in the heart as murder. How many times have you hated someone? Hopefully you’ve never committed adultery, but Jesus said if you look on someone and have lust in your heart, you commit adultery in your heart. How many times have you done that? These are only four of the ten commandments, but the point is that you are a sinner and so am I.

1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

The second thing you must realize is that sin has a penalty.

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

Ezekiel 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

Notice it says that the SOUL that sins shall die. This is speaking of eternal damnation in what we would call hell or the lake of fire.

Luke 16:19-31 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets [the Bible]; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets [the Bible], neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

The third thing you must realize is that good works or being religious does not save you from this penalty.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.

Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Eternal life is found in Jesus, and having eternal life means that we are saved from our sins and the punishment of them. The above verses tell us that we are saved “not by works.” This means that you do not receive Jesus or eternal life by doing good works or religious deeds and rituals like baptism, communion/Eucharist, confession of sins to a priest, joining a church, giving money to charity, etc.

The fourth thing you must do is personally receive Jesus.

John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.

Now, Let’s see what the Bible says is the way we receive Jesus:

Acts 16:31 Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

John 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

John 10:7-9 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

John 11:25-26 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

We must believe on Jesus. In today’s world, believing in God means believing he exists, but this is not what it means to believe on Jesus in the Bible. To believe in someone means to trust their abilities or their character. For example, If I said I believe in you to pick me up from school, it would mean I have faith in your abilities. In the same way, we must depend on or have faith or believe in Jesus and his ability to save us. This is another reason why good works or being religious cannot save us, because we must have faith in Jesus’ ability and not our own. If you are depending upon your own goodness to save you, then by definition you are not believing on Jesus!”

You must personally make the decision to receive Christ by placing your faith (trusting and depending) in Christ, and repenting (turning in your heart and desiring to be changed) of your sin. This is how you receive Jesus Christ. You do NOT receive Christ by being religious or “good.” Will you receive Jesus today so that you can “know that ye have eternal life”? The only way for you to know that you have eternal life is by receiving Jesus on God’s terms and not your own. It is not possible for you to know that you have eternal life if your eternal life is dependent upon your good works or how religious you are. This is not how eternal life is attained.

1 John 5:11-13 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

If you would like to receive Jesus today, will you right now pray to him, asking him to save you and change you? This is how you receive Christ. Please receive him today

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PEOPLE MATTER TO GOD

6-6-04 DOGGETT

“When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened (Jonah 3:10 NIV).”

One day two Christian carrots were walking down the street.  They were the best of friends.  Just as they started to step off the curb a car came speeding around the corner and ran one of them over.  The unhurt carrot cradled his buddy, telling him over and over again that he would be ok. Finally the ambulance arrived and rushed the injured carrot off to the hospital.  His friend rode with him.  Once at the hospital the uninjured carrot paced back and forth in the emergency room waiting to hear how his friend was going to be.  After many minutes of agonized waiting the doctor came out.  He walked over to the distraught carrot and said “I have good news and I have bad news.  The good news is that your friend is going to be all right.  The bad news is that he is going to be a vegetable all his life.”

ALL PEOPLE MATTER TO GOD –NOT JUST SOME PEOPLE- BUT ALL PEOPLE

“But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?” (Jonah 4:11)  -read Jonah

God told Jonah that Nineveh has more than 120,000 people in it who could not discern their right hand from their left hand or in other words they needed help and they mattered to Him. The census of 2000 showed us that Cincinnati had a total population of 331,285 making it the third largest city in Ohio.  Hamilton County is located in the southwest corner of the state and as of 2000; the population is 845,303 which makes it the third largest county in Ohio. I’m certain that there are those in this city and county who are having trouble discerning what is right and wrong as well as the people who were in Nineveh ,and were in need of Gods help. The people of Cincinnati and Hamilton county matter to God just like those people of Nineveh. These people matter to God and they should matter to us. Regardless of their moral condition, attitude, lifestyle, race, gender, religious label, political views, education or circumstance.  They all matter to Him.

GOD IS PASSIONATELY IN LOVE WITH EVERYONE

“But You, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” (Psalms 86:15)

If we are to ever understand God, we need to understand this about Him:  He is irrationally, passionately in love with every person he has ever created.  They all matter to Him.  Most of us have something that we cherish like paintings, jewelry, pottery or clothing, etc.  Some of us have piles of things that (to put this delicately), needs to be placed in a landfill or just thrown out.  I’m reminded of the many times that I picked up some of my sons broken toys and placed them in the trash can.  When he noticed the toy in the can he “quickly said” who threw my toy away?”  The current saying is one man’sjunk is another mans treasure.  To me it was junk, however to him it still had value. If I would have insisted that we throw it away he would have frowned or may have cried in order to keep it. Why do children do this?  Because to children every toy has infinite worth and value.  It all matters to them. They don’t want to lose any of it.  Now, while children eventually get over having their toys throw away, God never, ever, ever gets over the loss of anyone of the people He created.  No matter how crinkled, distorted and stained we get by our rebellious choices or by our circumstances we are now and always will be supremely valuable to the one who created us.

JESUS IS LOOKING FOR LOST PEOPLE

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19: 9 NIV)

People are so valuable to God that He sent His only son Jesus to seek out the lost people who mattered so much to Him, so much he was willing to die on a cross so that the people He created could find forgiveness and life with God forever.  The truth is:  None of us has ever looked into the eyes of someone who did not matter to God.

  • The irritated driver who cuts us off in traffic
  • The coworker we cannot stand
  • The cashier at the market
  • The teenager or the parent who’s driving us up the wall
  • The teacher who laughs at our faith
  • The person on the opposite extreme of the political spectrum
  • The immoral lifestyle of our neighbor
  • The homeless person on a park bench
  • The person who hurt us in the past
  • Every person we have ever met and will ever meet

They are all masterpieces in God’s eyes.  They all matter to Him (God don’t make no junk).  God will stop at nothing to retrieve them and bring them back to where they belong- in a relationship with Him. I believe that’s the reason you are here today in Sunday school- You matter to God too!  You may not feel like a masterpiece, you may feel insignificant you may feel like you’ve trashed your life so badly that you couldn’t possibly be acceptable; you may even feel unlovable or unloved.  I need to tell you this morning that God doesn’t just love the world, he loves you!  Personally!  He’s been looking for you even when you weren’t looking for Him.  He loves you so much that even if you were the only person on earth who ever lived, God still would have sent His son to die for you.  You matter to God and every person you meet matters to God.

SEEING PEOPLE THE WAY THAT GOD DOES

“But God demonstrates His own love for in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).”

The book of Jonah is not only about God’s heart for lost people like the Ninevites, and like you and like me, it’s also about His passionate desire for Jonah and us to begin to see people the way God sees them, and to love people as God loves them.  This only makes sense right?  I mean if every person I meet is a person who matters to God regardless oftheir personal circumstance, gender, race, lifestyle, politics or religious label; a personloved enough for Jesus to give up His life for them, then shouldn’t I value them and lovethem as well? If lost people matter that much to God, shouldn’t they matter enough to me that I would be willing to set aside my own selfish agenda, endure any inconvenience, expend any amount of time or energy, do whatever it takes to let them know how much they matter to God so that they might come into a relationship with the God who loves them so much?

We know the lost people matter to God- the question we need to ask ourselves is:  Do lostpeople matter to us?  Do they really matter to us? I don’t know about you, but this is a question I have been wrestling with myself since we began this Evangelism theme.  I have come to realize that more often than not, the answer to that question in my life is “No,not really”.  In this I am more like Jonah than I want to admit.  Jonah knew intellectuallywhat we know- that the Ninevites mattered to God.

THE NINEVITES DIDN’T MATTER TO JONAH

“But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish (Jonah 1:3 NIV).”

The Ninevites didn’t matter to Jonah.  He didn’t like the Ninevites.  He didn’t want to spend time with them.  He didn’t want to be gracious wit them.  He didn’t want to invest his life in theirs.  He just wanted God to judge them and be done with it.  That’s why Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh.  And that’s why Jonah is so angry at the end of the book- because God was gracious to them.  He knew the Ninevites mattered to God; they just didn’t matter to him!

In the end Jonah is ultimately more concerned with his own comfort than the 120,000 people who turned their hearts towards God.  Jonah was totally and completely self-centered!  Unfortunately, I can relate to Jonah.  Can you? Like Jonah I can get more passionate about my own comfort, getting my own needs met, than I ever get about reaching lost people who need a savior.  Like Jonah, there are people in my world who I know God has called me to love, and I have just said “No! I don’t want that job. They don’t matter that much to me. I’m not proud of that but if I’m honest, I have to admit while I know that people matter to God, all too often, the way I live suggests that they really don’t matter that much to me.  What about you? Just how much do the people who matter to God matter to you?  Are there some people in your world who just don’t seem to matter much to you?

MOVING OUT OF OUR COMFORT ZONES

“Go into the street corners and invite to banquet anyone you find. (Matthew 22:9 NIV)”

I believe that, like Jonah, God is calling us individually and as a church to move out ofour comfort zone as we take seriously His command to love others as He has loved us.

  • To let God develop such a passion in our hearts for lost people that we are willing to set aside self-centeredagendas and replace them with other-centeredministry of care and compassion in our homes, offices, in our neighborhoods, in our classrooms and wherever else we happen to be each day.
  • To find other areas of common ground with the people of God places in our path, to build bridges of friendship with them so that the love of Christ can walk into their lives through us.
  • To develop a love for people that we are willing to invest ourselvesin their lives, be inconvenienced by their problems and become heart broken by their pain.  And in so doing to let them know in tangible ways that they matter to God. Because the truth is they will never know that they matter to God, until they see in tangible ways they matter to us.

HOW DO WE DEVELOP GOD’S HEART FOR LOST PEOPLE?  [What will motivate us to move beyond our self-centered focus to an other-centered passion that can impact the world?]

In my own life, the only power I have discovered that can break me of my self-centered preoccupation with my own comfort and needs and get me to invest myself in others is power of prayer!  In fact we see the power of prayer working in Jonah’s life.  (See Jonah 4) – Jonah 4 is an extended prayer- a dialogue between Jonah and God where Jonah feels the freedom to tell God exactly how he feels; where God gently reveals the heart of Jonah’s problem and begins the painful work of creating in Jonah’s heart a love for lost people.  It’s a powerful model for us.  In prayer we are free to confess the truth about our attitudes towards the people God loves. “But I don’t like them, God!  And I don’t want to spend time with them!”  God then gently begins the process of softening our hearts towards those people we thought we could not love.  Prayer changes people and things!

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BECOMING MORE LIKE JESUS / THE DANGER OF GOSSIP

2-8-04 DOGGETT

One Sunday a cowboy went to church.  When he entered, he saw that he and the preacher were the only ones present.  The preacher asked the cowboy if he wanted him to go ahead and preach.  The cowboy said, “I’m not too smart, but, if I went to feed my cattle and only one showed up, I’d feed him.”  So the minister began his sermon.  One hour passed, then two hours, then two and one half-hours.  The preacher finally finished and came down to ask the cowboy how he liked the sermon.  The cowboy answered slowly, “Well, I’m not very smart, but if I went to feed my cattle and only one showed up, I sure wouldn’t feed him all the hay!”

All of us make a lot of mistakes. If someone doesn’t make any mistakes when he speaks,he would be perfect. He would be able to control everything he does. [3] We put bits in the mouths of horses to make them obey us, and we have control over everything they do. [4] The same thing is true for ships. They are very big and are driven by strong winds. Yet, by using small rudders, pilots steer ships wherever they want them to go. [5] In the same way the tongue is a small part of the body, but it can brag about doing important things.  A large forest can be set on fire by a little flame. [6] The tongueis that kind of flame. It is a world of evil among the parts of our bodies, and it completely contaminates our bodies. The tongue sets our lives on fire, and is itself set on fire from hell. [7] People have tamed all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and sea creatures. [8] Yet, no one can tame the tongue. It is an uncontrollable evil filled with deadly poison.  9] With our tongues we praise our Lord and Father. Yet, with the same tongues we curse people, who were created in God’s likeness. [10] Praise and curses come from the same mouth. My brothers and sisters, this should not happen! James 3:2-10 (GW)

THE POWER OF THE TONGUE

“I can guarantee that on judgment day people will have to give an account of every careless word they say. [37] By your words you will be declared innocent, or by your words you will be declared guilty.” Matthew 12:36-37 (GW)

There is a weapon that is more powerful than any other weapon known to man. And it has been in existence since the creation of mankind; it has been known to start wars, ruin friendships, spark national revolutions.  It has ruined more reputations, wrecked more homes, split more churches, driven more men out of the ministry and caused more hatred than any other weapon in the world. Contrary to popular opinion…. the most powerful weapon in the world is not the atomic bomb….nor is it some laser beamed from outer space.  Indeed it is not even a weapon made by man.  Concealed as a sniper, quick as a bullet and deadly as a gun it is the three-inch animal that lives in a pool of saliva behindan ivory cage of teeth known as the tongue.  Becoming more like Jesus will require you and I to learn how to tame our tongue.

THE TONGUE EXPOSES WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE WE ARE

“You poisonous snakes! How can you evil people say anything good? Your mouth says what comes from inside you. [35] Good people do the good things that are in them. But evil people do the evil things that are in them.” Matthew 12:34-35 (GW)

Jesus says that our words expose out heart…. it tells what kind of person we are.  Our words expose one of three things about us. We either have a heart of a snake; a heart of aevil manor a heart of a good man.  Our words expose our true nature (character)…what lies beneath the surface…. What is deep down within our heart…our motives, desires, and ambitions.  Our words expose our true character: whether good or bad, kind or cruel.  What we say and how we say it is very important. Every word that we speak is an ambassador of life or death.  Death and life are in the power of the tongue; and they that love it shall eat thefruit thereof (Proverbs 18:21).  Our words are conceived in the womb of the heart, our words are delivered with the mouth (see Matt 12:34).  The law of sowing and reaping is ever working while we speak (Gal 6:7-8)  “Anyone who says he is a Christian but doesn’t control his sharp tongue is just fooling himself, and his religion isn’t worth much. James 1:26 (Living)

THE TONGUE DESTROYS

“So also the tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do. A great forest can be set on fire by one tiny spark.” James 3:5 (Living)

The tongue can do great damage if it’s not delivered.  The tongue can be a torch.  It is like a spark in a forest of dead trees.  On October 8, 1871 a barn in Chicago, a cow by the name of Mrs. O’Leary accidentally kicked over a lantern.  That lantern fell into some hay, the hay caught fire and from that the fire spread…. and when the fire was over, over 100,000 people were left homeless….17,500 buildings were destroyed..300 people died…. and it cost the city over 400 million dollars….Just because of one spark.  It onlytakes one inappropriate word to cause a lot of damage.  I wonder how many fellowships have been destroyed…by the careless arsonist called gossip“ And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is full of wickedness, and poisons every part of the body. And the tongue is set on fire by hell itself and can turn our whole lives into a blazing flame of destruction and disaster.” James 3:6 (Living)  “ What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him unclean, but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean. ” Matthew 15:11 (NIV)

GOSSIP

“There are six things that the Lord hates, even seven that are disgusting to him: [17] arrogant eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill innocent people, 18] a mind devising wicked plans, feet that are quick to do wrong, 19] a dishonest witness spitting out lies, and a person who spreads conflict among relatives.” Proverbs 6:16-19 (GW) Gossip destroys three people: the one who spreads it, the one who receives it and the one of whom it’s told.

Gossip is profanity.  Profanity is any speech that comes out of our mouth that is not in agreement with the letter and the Spirit of the Word of God…. words that are not in agreement with Christ’s character and nature.  Profanity is that which disagrees with the Word of truth.  The word profane in the New Testament means to “cross the threshold”, as the heathen or wicked man would do to profane or desecrate the Holy Place.  You are that Holy Place (see 1Cor 3:16,17).  Don’t let the heathen in the door! We profane the temple of the individual, the home, and the local church when we cross the threshold of these areas and speak words, which minister death and not life.  When a person allows you entrance into their heart you are to watch what you say and how you say it.”  “Don’tGossip!”. Satan knows the power of the spoken word.  The only way that he can stir up trouble in the home or local church is with the tongues of men.  It is interesting to note that six is the number of man.  Look at the progression: First, the eyes are mentioned, then the tongue, the hands, the heart, the feet, and then the whole man. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephes. 4:29 (NIV)

THE TALEBEARER / HELP BURN THE GRAPEVINE IN YOUR CHURCH

“ And I tell you this, that you must give account on Judgment Day for every idle word you speak.” Matthew 12:36 (Living)

The talebearer or busybody is a person who travels about carrying or peddling tales.  This person is a slanderer and a whisperer just as the serpent in Gen. 3.  The talebearer himself has deep problem.  He belittles others to exalt himself.  He makes a tall man short by cutting his legs off.  While writing this lesson I’m reminded of the late sixty’s and early seventies when some of the popular Motown sounds were introduced.  One song that was sung by Gladys Knight and the Pips titled “I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE BECAME VERY POPULAR during his era.. It’s important to learn not to repeat something when you know it will harm others.  Some folks feel that they have to always know what’s going on. BURN THE GRAPEVINE IN YOUR CHURCH.

TONGUE OF THE LEARNED (DISCIPLE)

“The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.” Isaiah 50:4 (KJV)

As Disciples of Christ we are learning how to speak the language of the Kingdom of God.  Just as we learned to talk in the Kingdom of Darkness, we are learning how to talk in the Kingdom of Light.  How we talk will reveal to others where we are in God, for your speech will betray you (Matt 26:73).  Our experience, our growth, our knowledge in God will change our speech as we are ever understanding how to speak with “the tongue of the learned”. God is giving his people the “tongue of the learned’ that we may know:

1)    How to speak

2)    When to speak (“a word”)

3)    When to speak (“in season”)

4)    To whom to speak (“to him that is weary’)

THE TONGUE IS USED FOR GLORIFICATION

“With our tongues we praise our Lord and Father. Yet, with the same tongues we curse people, who were created in God’s likeness.” James 3:9 (GW)

Our tongues are to be used to bless God.  Our words ought to be bathed in prayer.  They ought to be soaked in praise.  If our words always bless God, there is no way that we could curse men.  How different our lives would be if we used our tongues to bless God.  How different the church would be if every tongue in our church was used solely for the purpose of blessing God.  How different would our fellowship be……We should use every possible opportunity to shower God with praise.  “

THE TONGUE IS USED FOR EDIFICATION

.  “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” Hebrews 13:15 (KJV)

Our tongues are to be used to build up not tear down.  Here are four practical ways to stop a talebearer, especially when he or she peddles his wares under the guise of bringing something to you to “pray” about. If you don’t have the courage to tell these kind of people the truth, then look them in the eye and say:

  1. “Please write that down and sign it.”
  2. “Let’s go together and pray for that brother.”
  3. “Please…. I don’t want to hear it.  Don’t dump that trash on me”
  4. “Let’s go to the leadership of the church

MY NAME IS GOSSIP

I have no respect for justice. I maim without killing.  I break hearts and ruin lives.  I am cunning and malicious and gather strength with age.  The more I am quoted the more I am believed.  I flourish at every level of society.  My victims are helpless.  They cannot protect themselves against me because I have no name and face. To track me down is impossible. The harder you try, the more illusive I become.  I am nobody’s friend.  Once I tarnish a reputation, it is never quite the same.  I topple governments and wreck marriages.  I cause ruined careers, cause sleepless nights, heartache, and indigestion.  I spawn suspicion and generate grief.  I make innocent people cry in their pillows.  Even my name hisses.  I am called gossip.  Office gossip, shop gossip, Church gossip.  I make headlines and headaches.  The call me Gossip, pardon me have I met your acquaintance?

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THE INFUENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

07-03-2013

“In the last days, God said, I will pour out my Holy Spirit upon all mankind, and your sons and daughters shall prophecy, and your young men shall see visions,and your old men dream dreams.  Yes,the Holy Spirit shall come upon all my servants men and women alike……” (Acts 2:17)

“One day a group of scientists got together and decided that man had come a long way and no longer needed God.  They picked one scientist to go and tell Him that they weredone with Him. The scientist walked up to God and said, “God, we’ve decided that we no longer need you.  We’re to the point that we can clone people and do many miraculous things, so why don’t you just go on and get lost.” God listened patiently and kindly to the man and after the scientist was done talking, God said, “Very well!  How about this?  Let’s have a man making contest.”  To which the man replied, “Ok, great! But God added, “Now we’re going to do this just like I did back in the old days with Adam.”  The scientist said, “Sure, no problem” and bent down and grabbed himself a handful of dirt.  God just looked at him and said, “No, no, no.  You get your own dirt!”

THE GREATIST GIFT

For the past 3 weeks we have been sharing with you about your natural abilities and spiritual gifts. I told you how valuable you were in the eyes of God and how important you were to Him in ministry. You are His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10), His handiwork, His work of art – “ you are one of a kind masterpiece”.  In our quest to discover our gift we must first discover God’s Holy Spirit in us, as Christians, is our greatest gift from God. The Holy Spirit is our unity with God, our source of communication from God, and the guarantee that we are His children.  Who is leading you? “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are Sons of God.- And so we should not be like cringing, fearful slaves, but we should behave like Gods very own children, adopted into the bosom of His family, and, calling to Him, “father, father.  For His Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are really Gods children.  And since we are His children, we share His treasures.  For all God gives to His son Jesus is now ours to”. (Romans 8:14 LV)

The Holy Spirit is promised to those who receive Jesus Christ as Savior.  “Then Peter said to them, Repent, and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for remission of sins: and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38-39)

THE HOLY SPIRIT IS PROMISED TO THOSE WHO ASK

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13).  The only limitation to God’s Holy Spirit in you is you.  For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. (John 3:34)  The Holy Spirit produces rivers of liquid life inside of you.  “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood up and cried out, saying, “if anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.  “he who believes in Me, as the Scriptures has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. “ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:37-39)

THE HOLY SPIRIT IS GIVEN TO YOU SO THAT YOU CAN BE A BLESSING TO OTHERS.

“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the prophet of all:…..(1Cor. 12:7) – But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. (1Cor 12:11)

Jesus said in Luke 4:18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lords favor.”

THERE ARE SEVEN IMPORTANT PROMISES THAT CHRISTIANS CAN COUNT ON RECEIVING FROM THE HOLY SPIRIT- SEVEN MANIFESTATIONS OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD- SEVEN SPIRITS OF GOD

  1. The Holy Spirit shall remain with you forever
  2. 2. The Holy Spirit gives you wisdom
  3. 3. The Holy Spirit gives you understanding
  4. 4. The Holy Spirit gives you counsel
  5. The Holy Spirit gives you power (faith)
  6. 6. The Holy Spirit gives you knowledge
  7. 7. The Holy Spirit gives you delight in the fear of the Lord

(Isaiah 11:1-4 NKJV) “There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.  The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and power, The Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. His delight is in the fear of the Lord, And He shall not judge by the sight off His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears; But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, And decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall he slay the wicked.

·     The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him –(Jesus had the Spirit with out measure (John 3:34)

  • Shall descend upon Him, and remain upon Him

“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever; “The Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17 NKJV)

THE SPIRIT OF WISDOM AND UNDERSTANDING

Wisdom –chokmah: Skill and insight, knowledge to accomplish and perform;

The word of wisdom might be defined as a supernatural revelation of the mind and purpose of God communicated by the Holy Spirit that reveals something.

1Corinthians 12:8- for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit…

Understanding – Discernment, the ability to separate and judge righteously truth from falsehood, and good from evil.  To comprehend, have insight, perception, and the ability to use information wisely. 1Corinthians 12:10- …to another discerning of spirits…

Wisdom and understanding are both needed in all types of work and ministry for it to be successful. Through wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established; (Proverbs 24:3). Wisdom is a creative idea, an insight; but understanding is needed to accomplish the goal.  Wisdom may see hidden information, but understanding knows why, and how to deal with the information.

In Exodus 31:25 we read about a man named Bez-alel- “I have filled him The Spirit of God, with ability, intelligence, and knowledge in every kind of craft….”

THE SPIRIT OF COUNSEL AND POWER

Counsel- advice, plan, advisement, counsel, purpose 1 Corinthians 12:10…. to another prophecy

Might- force, valor, victory, mastery, might, power, strength

“To another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles….” (1Corinthians 12:9-10)

Counsel and power go together because power is faith, and faith comes by hearing a word from God through the Holy Spirit.  The just shall live by faith because when they receive a word from God through the Holy Spirit they obey and produce fruit that glorifies God.

THE SPIRIT OF KNOWLEDGE AND THE FEAR OF THE LORD

Knowledge- is the supernatural revelation of the existence, or nature, of a person or thing, or the knowing of some event, given to us by the Holy Spirit for a specific purpose.  Knowledge of the deep things of God, to perceive.  “..To another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit” (1Corinthians 12:8)

  • The fear of God is the beginning of the knowledge of God.  It is impossible to know God without having the most awesome trembling respect of Him.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7)

Ephesians 1:17-19 NKJV –that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ , the Father of Glory, may give to you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him……”

HIS DELIGHT IS IN THE FEAR OF THE LORD

The reverential fear of God causes us to perfect holiness in our lives, knowing that we will reap what we sow, knowing that God will chastise the children He loves as a good Father does, helps us to stay close to God.  Holiness is delightful because we then have the joy of a clean heart and right relationship with our God.  “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and Spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of the God. (2Cor 7:1)

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THE NATURE OF FAITH

12-7-03 Doggett

“What is faith?  It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen.  It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us even though we cannot see it up ahead.” Hebrews 11:1 (Living)

A great flood of water suddenly came upon a small town, in which caused many in this town to evacuate.  A religious man looked out of his first floor window and noticed a man in a rowboat shouting unto him “Get in the boat I’ll row you to safety “Get in, Get in!”The religious man replies, “No I have faith in God, He will save me.” Later the water rises to the second floor and a speedboat comes by and the guy tells him to get in I’ll take you to safety.  The man again responds that he has faith in God and that ‘God would savehim. With the water at the roof level the man is now standing on top of the chimney when a helicopter throws down a ladder “the pilot using a bull horn shouts down to the man “Grab it, Grab it, Grab it!” Again the man turns down the request for help stating that he had faith in God, and that God would save him.  The man drowns and arrives at the gates of heaven with broken faith and says to Peter, I had belief that God would save me but he didn’t and I have been let down.”  St. Peter chuckles and responds, “I don’t know what you are complaining about, God sent you a row boat, a speed boat and a helicopter, “What more did you want?

NATURAL FAITH / SPIRITUAL FAITH

  • “God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” Romans 12:3 (KJV)
  • “…..not everyone has faith”. 2 Thess. 3:2 (NIV)
  • “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen” Heb 11:1
  • “Now without faith it is impossible to please Him” Hebrews 11:6

Sound like a contradiction, Not at all, All people live by faith, society is built on a foundation of faith. We drink water out of a faucet with perfect confidence that it is safe.  We eat food in a restaurant, confident that it is not contaminated.  We drive down two lane highways trusting the other guy to control his vehicle.  We put our money in banks trusting them not to lose it.  We cross bridges, go under bridges, get on airplanes, get into boats, go up in high rise buildings, we trust doctors and nurses with our lives, we submit to the surgeons scalpel entirely by faith.  This kind of faith is What’s called “NATURAL FAITH”.  Natural faith is often mistaken for Spiritual faith. Natural faith trusts itself to things seen, in the realm of the natural senses and in the word of others.  Paul says, “All men have not faith” (2 Thessalonians 3:2).  Untold numbers who exercise faith in the natural realm have no faith in the Spiritual realm.  Natural faith rests itself wholly on things, things visible and things temporal.  “SPIRITUAL FAITH” rests itself in things unseen, things invisible and things eternal

FAITH TOWARDS GOD

“Let us stop going over the same old ground again and again, always teaching those first lessons about Christ. Let us go on instead to other things and become mature in our understanding, as strong Christians ought to be. Surely we don’t need to speak further about the foolishness of trying to be saved by being good, or about the necessity of faith in God;” Hebrews 6:1 (Living)

In repentance one turns from sin, while in faith one turns toward God.  They are like the two sides of a coin; they belong to each other in a Biblical conversion.  The writer of Hebrews states for us the absolute importance of faith when he says “without faith it is impossible to please God, for he that comes to God must believe that He is (Hebrews 11:6). This is faiths beginning.  Faith must begin with the fact that God is, and that He rewards those that diligently seek Him.  Nothing can be known or received of God unless man first believes that God is.

HEAD FAITH (What faith is not) / HEART FAITH (What faith is)

Head faith is simply agreement to a set of historical and doctrinal facts about Christ, God and the Bible.  Multitude of religious people “believe” in the Bible, God and Christ but it is merely a mental assentto facts without any real heart faith in Christ.

“So you see, it isn’t enough just to have faith. You must also do good to prove that you have it. Faith that doesn’t show itself by good works is no faith at all–it is dead and useless.     [18] But someone may well argue, “You say the way to God is by faith alone, plus nothing; well, I say that good works are important too, for without good works you can’t prove whether you have faith or not; but anyone can see that I have faith by the way I act.”     [19] Are there still some among you who hold that “only believing” is enough? Believing in one God? Well, remember that the demons believe this too–so strongly that they tremble in terror! [20] Fool! When will you ever learn that “believing” is useless without doing what God wants you to? Faith that does not result in good deeds is not real faith.”  James 2:17-20 (Living)

FAITH IS NOT PRESUMPTION

“Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.” Psalm 19:13 (KJV)

Presumption means to take for granted, to suppose to be true without having positive proof. It means to be arrogant, over confident. Presumption is often mistaken for faith because it imitates faith.  By faith the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, but the Egyptians presumed to do so and were drowned (Hebrews 11:29).  The faith of Israel was in thereceived Word of God.  The presumption of the Egyptians was to imitate the faith-action of Israel without having received a word from God.  Presumption is to imitate the faith-actions of others without personally having a Word of God Quickened in your heart.

FAITH IN ONESELF

The principle is “Faith towards God”, not faith in oneself.  Much “faith” preaching today teaches man too have faith in himself, his own abilities and latent soul powers.  This kind of faith makes man his own savior and god.  However, the Bible shows that true faith is in God, through Christ.

WHAT IS FAITH?

“Faith” simply means “trust, assurance, confidence in another and another’s word.”  Faith towards God is simply to trust God. To trust His Word and to have confidence in Him that His Word is true and that He will keep it.  It is to wholly trust and rely on God and His Word.  There is but one true and proper source of faith, the Word of God.  If faith is not built upon the Word, it can never stand the storms and tests of life. The key verse to this fact is Romans 10:17 “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”

To truly hear the Word is to hear the Lord Jesus Christ speaking to our hearts by the Spirit. The living Word is the Christ of God. He is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2)

TWO ELEMENTS INVOLVED IN FAITH

(1)   INTELLECTUAL ELEMENT– It is impossible to have faith without knowledge, though it is possible to have knowledge without faith.  When a person hears the word of faith, it brings the knowledge of God, Christ, salvation and redemption just like it’s doing this morning in this class.  This is to create faith not mental assent, as I have already noted

(2) THE EMOTIONAL ELEMENT- this is the response of the heart to the truth of the Gospel. Feelings must not be mistaken for faith, but faith will involve feelings.  God’s order is fact, faith and feelings, never feelings and faith.  The Christian life is not to be governed by feelings, but neither is it to be without feelings.  Faith is solidly founded on the fact of the Gospel, not feelings. The feelings will follow the faith.

“They believed His words; They sang His praise” (Psalms 106 12 NKJV)

FROM FAITH TO FAITH

The New Testament shows that there are various aspects of faith, and the believer is to proceed from “Faith to faith” until he comes to the fulness’ of the Son of God.

  • SAVING FAITH-saving faith is God’s gift to the repentant sinner that he might be saved.  This aspect of faith is passive.  Here the person trusts Christ and His word for salvation  “For it is by God’s grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God’s gift, so that no one can boast about it. Ephesians. 2:8 (TEV)

FRUIT OF FAITH- thisaspect of faith is spoken of as a fruit of the Spirit.  It is more of an active faith.  It is faith with obedience.  Passive faith trusts the Word when it can do nothing.  Active faith obeys the word when God has spoken it (turn read Hebrews 11: 8-10, 17-19,28,30,31; Luke 5:4-6; Galatians 5:22)

GIFT OF FAITH

This aspect of faith is spoken of as a fruit of the Spirit.  It (1 Corinthians 2:1-13).  It is among the nine spiritual gifts and is a supernatural impartation of faith for the miraculous.  This faith involves speaking the Word.  It is given to members in the body of Christ “as he will”(manifestation).  It is not to be mistaken for the other aspects of faith.

PERFECT FAITH

I believe that this aspect of faith will be manifested when the saints come to perfection, when every doubt and measure of unbelief will be driven from the heart. It is then that the word will be made flesh in the believer and no unbelief will be manifested, for all will come to full faith.

Can’t you see? His faith and his actions worked together; his faith was made perfect through his actionsJames 2:22 (TEV)

This is how the believer will go from “faith to faith”. Jesus was The Word made flesh and no element of doubt and unbelief was ever found in Him.  This is God’s will for His people.  Unbelief came by the fall, by man hearing the word of unbelief through the lips of the serpent (Gen 3:1-6).  Faith comes by redemption, by hearing the word of faith from the lips of the Lord Jesus.

DEGREES OF FAITH

When a person repents and accepts Christ as his Savior, and receives saving faith, then he has to move into the life of faith.  The justified are to live by faith (Habakkuk 2:4)

The Bible indicates that there are degrees or measures of faith.  It is God’s will that all move on in the life of faith and indeed go from faith to faith.  This can only be as a person maintains the life of faith in a personal relationship with Christ and His Word, the source of continuing faith.  Here is a list.  “The Measures of Faith”

No Faith(Mark 4:40)- Little Faith(Matthew 8:26; 14:31)-Weak Faith(Romans 14:1)

Dead Faith (James 2:17)- Vain Faith (1Corinthians 15:14)- Great Faith (Luke 7:9)

Fulness of Faith (Acts 11:24)- Steadfast Faith (Colossians 2:5)- Rich Faith (James 2:5)

Strong Faith (Romans 4:19-20)- Measure or Proportion of Faith(Romans 12:3-6; 1:17)

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GOD SEEKS TRUE WORSHIPPERS, NOT JUST WORSHIP

10-26-03 Doggett

“But say, tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here [at Mount Gerizim], where our ancestors worshiped?” [21] Jesus replied, “The time is coming, ma’am, when we will no longer be concerned about whether to worship the Father here or in Jerusalem. [22] For it’s not where we worship that counts, but how we worship–is our worship spiritual and real? [23] Do we have the Holy Spirit’s help? For God is Spirit, and we must have his help to worship as we should. The Father wants this kind of worship from us” John 4:20-24 (Living)

A college student was in a philosophy class, where there was a class discussion about whether or not God exists, The professor had the following logic:  “Has anyone in this class heard God?” Nobody spoke.  “Has anyone in this class touched God?”  Again, nobody spoke.  “Has anyone in this class seen God?” When nobody spoke for the third time, he simply stated, “Then there is no God.”  The student didn’t like the sound of this at all, and asked for permission to speak. The professor granted it, and the student stood up and asked the following questions of his classmates: “Has anyone in this class heard our professor’s brain? Silence.  “Has anyone in this class touched our professor’s brain?” Absolute silence. “Has anyone in this class seen our professor’s brain?”  When nobody in the class dared to speak, the student concluded, “Then, according to our professor’s logic, it must be true that our professor has no brain!”

The Sacred and the Secular

Last week here in Sunday school our lesson talked about believers Coming Back To The Heart of Worship. Marion’s message was a powerful one, entitled “It’s All About Him.” These two teaching taught us that our eyes must be fixed on Jesus and not on ourselves.  We learned in Sunday school that most Christians have segmented their lives into the sacred and the non-sacred, or secular.  When we go to church and lift our hands and sing, that is sacred.  But when we are standing in the line at Wally World (Wal-Mart) patiently waiting our turn to be served as Christians we are honoring God, giving him glory.  This approach to life has hindered us from becoming true worshippers of God.  As Christians we must see all of life as sacred.  We talked about how for many of us we needed to repent for our wrong approach to worship.  Many have shifted the emphasis from the condition of the heart of the worshipper to the expertise of the musicians, singers and dancers.  We sung the song by Matt Redman – I’m coming back to the heart of worship- I’m sorry for the things that I have made it.

“Well, I’ll tell you why. It is because you must do everything for the glory of God, even you’re eating and drinking” 1 Cor. 10:31 (Living)

God is not seeking just Worshippers God is not seeking worshippers because the world is full of worshippers.  Even though the first commandment says, “YOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME” (Deut 5:6) Many Christians are still placing things before Him, worshipping houses, land and cars.  They are not putting God first in every area of life. God is looking for people whose minds and hearts are bent toward Him.  It’s critical for His true worshippers to understand that.  One reason I think some people have trouble worshipping is because they’re afraid of what somebody else is going to think about them.  We have to keep in mind that real worship means we’re focused on Jesus. We’ve come into complete God consciousness and are praising Him- not worrying what somebody else is thinking. True worship cannot be told to worship. You cannot be told to worship- it’s best when it is spontaneous, when comes out of a lifestyle of worship 24/7.

Worship is Not Tied To A Place

The Samaritan woman on John 4:19 was saying that the ability to worship was tied to a place. She wanted to know what the best place was to go in order to truly worship God.  Was it Jerusalem or was it Samaria?  Now before you snicker at her primitive ideas of worship and think that she is a bit naïve in thinking that worship is tied to geography, we need to understand what Jesus says.  He says to her, “You are right it is a place but it is a not a geographical one.  It is a spiritual place that those who are going to worship me must get to so that they can worship Me.”

Misplaced Worship

Worship is misplaced when people revere the sanctuary.  How can you tell when this is happening?  You can tell when people fight over pews, get upset over the P.A. system or argue over material things at the church.  Worship is also misplaced if people adore a person, such as a pastor, music leader or any other type of minister instead of God.  When people find out their pastor or music leader is not perfect and the leave the church, then where was their focus?  We need the people her at Abundant Life to understand that they are not to place their focus on a person, pastor, elders, minister of music or church leaders.  We’re not worthy of worship.

Worship is misplaced if people clamor for power on committees, or care more about church programs than to give reverence to God.  The devil is working overtime in getting people to misplace their worship.

Worshipping In Spirit And In Truth

When people worship in spirit, they are worshipping in sincerity and from the heart.  A lot of people miss it by about 18 inches-their worship is all in their minds and, not their hearts.  There are four requirements to worshipping in spirit. They are:(1)  To be born again, (2) to give adoration and praise to God, (3) to maintain a repentant and contrite heart toward God and, (4) to focus on God

In the many churches in our country, the minds of our people are focused on a thousand different after church things like where are they going to eat after church service.  Who’s going to win the ballgame today?  People focus on the problems in their marriage, the praise team etc.  We are to focus on the Lord Jesus Christ.  To worship in truth means people are willing to confront, confess and abandon their sins.  Worshipping God in truth is worshipping Him with a with a honest heart

True Worshippers Will Worship In The Good Times And The Bad

Think back with me thousands of years ago to a story we find in 2 Chronicles 20.  A King by the name of Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, hears that there are three countries that have gathered their armies and are coming to annihilate him.  He knows that there is no possible way that he can stand against them, so he sent messengers out and gathered the people together in Jerusalem, and prayed.

We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.” 2 Chron. 20:12 (NLT)

God responded by speaking to a priest, who said this:

But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out there tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!” 2 Chron. 20:17 (NLT)

How did they react?

Then King Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground. And all the people of Judah and Jerusalem did the same, worshiping the Lord. 2 Chron. 20:18 (NLT)

Before they even saw the results, they fell on their faces and worshipped God.  Do you have anything to be grateful for these days? A new baby, a friendship that’s brought you a lot of joy, your job, a raise, a promotion, an answer to prayer?  There’s only one proper response to that: to worship God.  Sometimes before we’ve even experienced a blessing of God, we catch a glimpse of his majesty and power.  Has that ever happened to you?  You then fall on your face before God and say, “Wow! You are a mighty God. I’m so glad I know you and can worship you”-have you ever experienced that?  We have many reasons to worship God this morning but lets look at the flip side of that you know The Story of Job

True Worship Cannot Be Stopped

One day, Job received word that his oxen and donkeys were all stolen, and all of his farmhands were killed except for one.  No sooner had he received this message than another messenger arrived, announcing that all of his sheep and shepherds had been killed, except for one.  Then another messenger came telling him that his camels and servants had all been killed, except for one.  If this wasn’t bad enough, a final messenger came with the news that his children were killed in an accident, and they were all dead.

How would you react? Here’s what Job did:

Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground before God. [21] He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be stripped of everything when I die.  The Lord gave me everything I had, and the Lord has taken it away.  Praise the name of the Lord!”  Job 1:20-21 (NLT)

Question: Did Job feel like worshipping God at that moment?  Probably not I think that Job had so conditioned himself spiritually that he knew the only way to order his life at its lowest point was to worship God.  His was not a heart that felt worship, but was a heart that needed it. A TRUE WORRSHIPPER CANNOT BE STOPPED REGUARDLESS OF THE DISASTER- THEY KEEP THEIR FOCUS ON GOD

What about David in the Psalms?  How many times do you begin to read a Psalm and hear David cry out to God?  His life is a mess; his enemies are all around him; he can’t sleep; his life is wasting away and a remarkable thing happens as he begins to worship God.- all of a sudden his entire attitude has changed. Although outward circumstances have not changed, all of a sudden something inside of him has changed.

Psalm 95:6 (NLT) Come, let us worship and bow down.Let us kneel before the Lord our maker, Psalm 96:9 (NLT)

Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor.Let all the earth tremble before him. Psalm 138:2 (NLT)

I bow before your holy Temple as I worship. I will give thanks to your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness, because your promises are backed

by all the honor of your name.

Jesus isn’t just looking for worshippers, the world is full of them.  He is looking for true worshipper who will worship Him in Spirit and Truth.  Are you a true worshipper?  What do you idolize?  Do you have any other God’s before Him.  Make the commitment and become a true worshipper today

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