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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JUDGEMENT VERSES RIGHTEOUSNESS

The prophets of doom , gloom and judgement are prophesying that God will destroy America, God will destroy America. Books are wriitten by these men of God about the coming judgements, but some have forgotten to write about the Mercy of God. Other prophets are prophesying the out pouring of blessings and abundance that are coming upon our lives,but many have forgotten to write about God’s judgement for sin, lawlessness and disobedience. These conflicting prophesy’s could confuse the average bible believer. Who’s right? Well both contain some truth; the prophets of JUDGEMENT and the prophets of MERCY. The truth is God will judge all sin and rebellion however if America repents and makes the turn or that individual repents before God and has a change of mind God will have mercy and will send His favor and blessings. If you are saved, this should excite you: In James 2:13 “MERCY REJOICETH AGAINST JUDGEMENT ”, and the word “rejoiceth” means to “boast against” and “exalt against…to glory against.” It is like this. Mercy brags against judgment and though JUDGEMENT WANTS US DEAD according to the Law of God. MERCY WANTS US TO LIVE because of the LOVE OF GOD!

Prophets of Judgment screams DIE! Prophets of Mercy screams LIVE!
Prophets of Judgment screams DO! Prophets of Mercy screams DONE!

Look at Psalm 85:1-13 and notice v.10 “MERCY AND TRUTH are met together; RIGHTEOUSNESS AND PEACE HAVE KISSED EACH OTHER .”

Where did Mercy and Truth meet and Righteousness and Peace Kiss? Read Eph. 2:4-18 and note v14-18. When Christ died on the cross, MERCY AND TRUTH MET …Truth said “the sinner shall die.” Mercy said… “THE SAVIOUR DIED FOR THEIR SINS.” RIGHTEOUSNESS SAID, “Then I am satisfied.” PEACE SAID, “there is no more condemnation and kissed Righteousness.” Judgment said, “My work is done” and Mercy “rejoiced.”

If you are still lost, TRUTH AND RIGHTEOUSNESS still call for Judgment, until your sin has been forgiven through the Blood of Christ. You are under the Judgment of God until you have received Christ as your own personal Lord and Saviour. The moment you receive Christ, Mercy (HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS) rejoiceth against Judgment. Get yourself under the blood of Jesus and out from under God’s judgement, the Law of sin and death. Speaking Truth In Love!

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HIDDEN TREASURE

(Transcript) 8-3-03 Doggett

“…the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field” Matthew 13:44

“ A young boy had just gotten his driving permit.  He asked his father, who is a minister, if they could discuss the use of the car. His father took him to his study and said to him, “I’ll make a deal with you.  You bring your grades up, study your Bible a little and get your hair cut and we’ll talk about it.” After about a month the boy came back and asked his father if they could discuss the use of the car.  They again went to the fathers study where his father said, “Son, I’ve been real proud of you.  You have brought your grades up, you’ve studied your Bible diligently, but you didn’t get your hair cut!”  The young man waited a moment and replied,  “You know Dad, I’ve been thinking about that.  You know, Samson had long hair, Moses had long hair, Noah had long hair, and even Jesus `had long hair”.  To which his father replied, “Yes, and they walked everywhere they went”.

THE ENLIGHTENED CHURCH “ I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints…” Ephesians 1:18

I read in a newspaper, not long ago, of a beggar who died penniless.  He was accustomed to having nothing, living in condemned buildings and always lacking sufficient food and clothing.  Loneliness and poverty were certainly his continual companions. After his death, the local officials searched the appropriate records in order to notify the man’s relatives. Much to their surprise, they discovered that the man they thought was just a tramp was actually heir to an extremely large sum of money.  Apparently, he never knew it.  He could have had all the good things of life, but instead, he lived and died in squalor and destitution.  This was an awful tragedy.  But there is a tragedy far worse that happens continually.  Children of God, ignorant of the riches of their inheritance, often live like beggars spiritually; slaves to circumstances and sin, when they should be living like kings in the abundant life that Jesus promised. Apostle Paul wrote to the church of Corinth “Now concerning spirituals brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant” (1Corinthians 12:1 )

TREASURE IN A FIELD …”.The Kingdom of heaven is like……..”(Matt 13:44)

It our above scripture it is vitally important that we realize this particular reference to the Kingdom Of Heaven is not just referring to a place that the soul of a believer goes to at the moment of death.  It is referring as well to a spiritual realm of intimacy with God that we can walk in and live in…. right here, right now!

This treasure is in us.  All that the King does and is contained within the seed of God in us. This hidden treasure was initially the revelation of who Jesus is.  Now, this treasure, having been transferred to our hearts, is the ever unfolding revelation of “Who we are in Christ”.

HAVE WE DONE OUR BEST? / UNTAPPED POTENTIAL

Last week’s teaching focused on the “Parable of the Talents” outlined in the book of Matthew chapter 25.  We learned that we have an amount, we must give an account, an dwe must make out life count.  God wants you and me to be all that he has purposed.  The greatest threat to being all you could be is satisfaction with who you are.  There are many individuals who have buried their talent, gifts, and abilities- “yes, just like a real cemetery burial”. They have settled for less than the best what a tragedy!

EXPOSING YOUR GLORY “God is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20)

Our common goal in life is to release the glory that God placed within us.  There is no greater purpose in life than to expose your personal glory.  It is a fact of creation that everything possesses its own glory and exists for the purpose of manifesting that glory.  We must all strive to “be in our glory”.  Last week I noticed that one particular flower in our yard (Rose of Sharon) were in full bloom.  Whether it’s a flower, a bird, a butterfly, we have all experienced their moment of glory. These glories exist in everything andeveryone. The glory of a boy is a man; the glory of a girl is the woman.  Every animal, plant, star, and human being possesses glory consistent with their purpose for being.  Even the Creator Himself is said to be full of glory.

DON’T BURY GOD’S GLORY “…You wicked lazy servant! Matthew 25:26-30

Glory is the full expression of the true nature of a thing. Tragically, many people die and never fully express who they were. The seeds of glory are hidden within us.

The wealthiest spot on earth is not the diamond mines of South Africaor the oil fields ofSouth America, but the cemetery.  Graveyards all over the world are great repositories of lost treasure: unwritten books, unpainted paintings, uncomposed music, unpenned poetry, unrealized dreams, unfulfilled hopes, unexpressed ideas, unreleased potential, and unfinished growth.  Every day thousands of people go to their graves without ever having revealed their true or full glory.  Whether due to poverty, ignorance, oppression, illness, spiritual blindness, procrastination, or just plain disobedience, multitudes of people either fail or never have the opportunity to fully become everything God meant for them to be.  They take their hopes and dreams to the grave and their glory dies with them.

CONTAINERS OF GLORY/ JARS OF CLAY

“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But wehave this treasure in jars of clayto show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.  We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in ourbody.” (2 Corinthians 4:6-10)

For many of us, our “jars of clay” are very ordinary looking, perhaps even unimpressive; not the kind of vessel in which anyone would expect to find treasure.  It would be like concealing a diamond in a shoebox.  Paul did say –“we have this treasure in jars of clay”to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We must first discover (ascertain, determine and unearth) this great wealth of wisdom and knowledge that is veiled in mystery, hidden deep down in the secret chambers of the regenerated spirit; then we must bring it forth.

“Electricity has always existed, but it had to be discovered.  Gravity, friction, inertia, and the other natural laws of the universe have always existed; but they had to be discovered”.

“Jesus said- “ A good man out of the good treasureof the heart brings forthgood things.” (Matthew 12:35)

We are walking, talking treasure chests, a “casket of Jewels”/ “Bars of bones” full of the diamonds, rubies, pearls of gifts to be brought forth.  This is His glory and God does not want us to take that treasure with us to the grave.  He didn’t place His glory in us for it to end up buried in a cemetery.  God hid His treasure in “jars of clay” but He doesn’t want it to stay there.

GOD’S PURPOSE / HIS INTENT “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10)

The Master Creator and Designer established His purpose for each item in creation and built into each the ability or potential to perform and fulfill that purpose or assignment.

For example, the purpose for seeds is to produce plants, therefore, by design; all seeds possess the ability and potential to produce plants.

This ability to reproduce does not, however, guarantee that the seed will produce a plant.  This is a tragedy of nature.  The destruction of a seed is in essence the termination of a forest.  This principle is applied to all God’s created beings. You were created because there is something that God wants done that demands your presence on this earth.  You were designed and dispatched for destiny. This destiny and purpose is also the key to your ability.  You were created with the inherent abilities, talents, gifts, and inclinations to fulfill this purpose.

YOU ARE GIFTED

Each year thousands travel to the ancient city of Rome to visit historical sites frozen in time. One of the most sought-out sites is the Sistine Chapel.  Tourists come by the busloads to look at and photograph the work of the great master Michelangelo.  The masterpiece painted on the ceiling of this revered chapel has become one of the great wonders of the world and serves as a standard for developing artist. What is this work that generates so much attention and pride?  It is simply the glory of a man.  It is the manifestation of the hidden glory of the artist.  In other words, Michelangelo filled the earth with his glory and left the essence of his life and nature in the earth.

Many people walk around with their masterpiece in their minds, buried under wishful thinking, procrastination, fear, excuses, and intimidation.  What a tragedy!  Suppose Michelangelo had died with these works of art in his mind.  What a waste that would have been.

OUR GOAL IS TO “DIE EMPTY” “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do” (John 17:4)

As long as we are alive the possibility exists for us to reach our full potential.  God has endowed us with gifts, talents, and abilities, and He wants us to use them for His glory and for mankind’’ good.  We should strive to freely pour out all that is in us in unselfish service to the world.  If we fully express ourselves in this life, as God desires, we will not take any unfulfilled potential with us to the grave.  Our goal should be to “die empty”.

Your glory is who you really are, The “ultimate you,” the true person hidden inside that no one has ever really seen.  Your full glory is everything you were born to do that you haven’t done yet; everything you’ve dreamed but haven’t accomplished yet.  Once recognized and revealed your full glory will bring your life satisfaction than anything else.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.” Psalms 19:1

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A GREAT CLOUD OF WITNESSES

(Transcript 12-21-03)  Thomas Doggett

“ Since we have such a huge crowd of men of faith watching us from the grandstands, let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up; and let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us”. Hebrews 12:1

This scripture above implies that “The Heroes of Faith”listed in Hebrews chapter 11 are watching us from the grandstands of heaven encouraging us in our faith.  Some preachers used to preach that these witnesses have filled a big heavenly stadium and we are running in a track down here and they’re rooting us on.  The picture here is that they are witnesses to the validity of living faith.

THE GRANDSTANDS

In a race everyone runs, but only one person gets first prize. So run your race to win. [25] To win the contest you must deny yourselves many things that would keep you from doing your best. An athlete goes to all this trouble just to win a blue ribbon or a silver cup, but we do it for a heavenly reward that never disappears. [26] So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I fight to win. I’m not just shadowboxing or playing around. [27] Like an athlete I punish my body, treating it roughly, training it to do what it should, not what it wants to. Otherwise I fear that after enlisting others for the race, I myself might be declared unfit and ordered to stand aside. 1 Cor. 9:24-27 (Living)

Many of us have participated in sports at one time or the other, can you remember those days?  Years ago I remember playing high school football, basketball as well as running track.  Here recently, some of our own young men in the Lord were a part of a local little league football team, (ages 5-7) where they won the recognition of City Champions!  Congratulations to all these young athletes. In writing this lesson, I’m reminded of the years past, when running the 440 relay at Courter Technical High, I would scan the crowds to see if any of my friends were watching me, I’m certain these young men did some scanning as well.  Have you ever scanned the crowds to see who was encouraging you as you ran your race? Think back for a moment and reminisce- now take a look through the crowd.  Whose face do you see?  Maybe you see the face of grandma or grandpa, or the face of your mom or dad.  Maybe you see the face of a spouse or mentor. Maybe you see the face of a boss or a schoolteacher or a scout leader or a Sunday school teacher or Pastor cheering you on.  When I look back, I see the face of my mother.  She was the voice of encouragement for me.  She was like a female Moses laying down the law on us rowdy kids.  She told me once something that I will never forget, and that is, “You can accomplish anything in life that you want, with God’s help.” She is there in the crowd.  Who was it that encouraged you to continue in the faith?  Who encourages you today!

DAVID IS IN THE CROWD

“What more should I say? I don’t have enough time to tell you about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets. [33] Through faith they conquered kingdoms, did what God approved, and received what God had promised. They shut the mouths of lions, Hebrews 11:32-33 (GW)

Down towards the front and over to the right is a man standing there who looks like he owns the place, the kind of a man who looks like he never lost a battle, yet he appears somehow humble at the same time. It’s David.  What a race he ran! He learned how to depend on God at an early age while tending sheep.  While he was as shepherd, David and God defeated bears and lions that tried to get David’s sheep.  While still a shepherd David and God defeated the giant Goliath in front of all the armies of Israel and the Philistines.  David was strong in faith and so sure of God was David that David responded to the giant’s taunts with these words: MY God will give you into my hands.

David’s dependence on the trustworthiness of God grew into love for God.  David loved God with all of his heart. David wrote love songs to God. Even in times of despair, of which there were many for David, his love did not wane. For twenty years David was God’s outlaw as King Saul chased him all over the countryside.  Then David became God’s chosen King.  While David was King he lost his footing and involved himself in a plot so steamy that not even soap operas would dare to use it.  It involved an affair with a neighbor’s wife, a murder, a cover –up and the loss of a child.  Yet through it all, David remained God’s man and when he saw he couldn’t hide, David threw himself on God’s mercy.  David ran the whole of his race with God and did it in such a way that he was called a man after God’s own heart.  I want to run my race as David did.  I want to loveGod as David did.  I want to dance before God as David did, not caring who is watching.  I want to cling to God and God’s great mercy even when I fall.  I want to do my life with God, run my race with God, and do great things for God and with God just as David did, How about you?

ONCE OUT BUT NOW IN THE GRANDSTANDS

“ Faith led the prostitute Rahab to welcome the spies as friends. She was not killed with those who refused to obey God.” Hebrews 11:31 (GW)

Rahab grew up apart from God. She didn’t know God. Her people worshipped other gods- small-g kind of gods,rain gods fertility gods and sun gods.  One day two men came to her house seeking a place to stay.  She knew right away who they were.  The strangers were Israelites.  She told them that she knew that God was with them. Although Rahab had grown up without God and lived her life away from God, she recognized God when she saw his work. I will help you, she told the men, if you help me.  She protected the spies, and when the Israelites conquered her city of Jericho, they spared Rahab, her parents, her brothers, her sisters, and all their families because Rahab had helped the two Israelite spies. Rahab had been excluded from the race, but when she saw her chance to get in the race, to be a part of what God was doing, she jumped at the chance and in doing so she became one of the ancestors of Jesus.  I want to run my race as Rahab did.  I want to be a part of what God is doing.  I want to be able to recognize God and choose God.  I want to be used by God to save my family.  I want to run my race as Rahab did how about you?

ABRAHAM’S IN THE STANDS

“Abraham trusted God, and when God told him to leave home and go far away to another land that he promised to give him, Abraham obeyed. Away he went, not even knowing where he was going.”Hebrews 11:8 (Living)

As you look towards the back of the grandstand you will see an old man standing, leaning on his walking stick.  It looks like…..yes, I think it is…it is Abraham.  Seeing him standing there I think back to the race he ran.  It is a strange race for we don’t see Abraham doing anything at all for God until he is in his retirement years.  It was not until after his struggles that Abraham is quiet enough to hear God’s voice.  It was not until after achieving what he thought he could achieve, or at least trying hard to achieve it, that Abraham had time to hear God’s voice.  In this time of quiet for Abraham, God called him and said Abraham I want you to move.  God promised Abraham land and descendants (this was puzzling, because Abraham had no children), and that through him God would bless all the families of the earth. Abraham struggled with God through his retirement years as to how God was going to do all this; but even in the mist of the struggle, Abraham never let go.  Abraham ran his race with God in such a way that his retirement years brought more blessings to more people than all his working years put together. I want to run my race as Abraham did. I want to know that it is never too late to turn to God. I want to know that I’m never to old to be used by God. I want to run my race as Abraham did and have my later years outshine my earlier years.

PETER AND MARY MAGDALENE ARE IN THE GRANDSTANDS

Jesus said, “Come!” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. Matthew 14:29 (GW)

I see Peter, the big fisherman.  I want to run my race as Peter did.  I want to walk on the water with Jesus in the storm, as Peter did, rather than stay in the warm, dry, safe comfortable boatIT TAKES FAITH TO WALK ON WATER. I want to get back up, as Peter did, after I make mistakes.  I want to run my race passionately, from love, as Peter did.  I want to run, as Peter did.  I see Mary Magdalene.  I want to run my race from love as Mary did.  I don’t want to run my race because I have to, or think I should, or fulfill some kind of duty or obligation or responsibility.  I want to run my race passionately, from love, as Mary did, responding to a love from God shown in Jesus unlike any I have ever known before. Like all the rest of the people in those grandstands, I want to run my race in away that makes a difference for now and for all time and encourage those who come after me to run harder and faster and not abandon the race when they hit a wall and think they can’t go on anymore.  For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as we did when we first became Christians, we will share in all that belongs to Christ. Hebrews 3:14 (Living) I want to run my race in such a way that others will want to join me and run the race to.

DON’T GIVE UP! /KEEP RUNNING

“The person who has God’s approval will live by faith.  But if he turns back, I will not be pleased with him.” [39] We don’t belong with those who turn back and are destroyed. Instead, we belong with those who have faith and are saved.”  Hebrews 10:38-39 (GW)

Others have endured before us, they are our examples of accomplishments. “ All these great people died in faith. They did not get the things that God promised his people, but they saw them coming far in the future and were glad. They said they were like visitors and strangers on earth. Hebrews 11:13 (NCV) theseall died in faith having not received the promise but seeing them afar off.  We have received better promises. The promise of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, Salvation by faith, deliverance from the powers of darkness, redemption through his blood, forgiveness of sins, reconciliation, Heir of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ, eternal life and many many more promise.

“ But Christ, as a Minister in heaven, has been rewarded with a far more important work than those who serve under the old laws because the new agreement that he passes on to us from God contains far more wonderful promises” Hebrews 8:6 (Living)

JESUS THE AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF OUR FAITH

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 (KJV) Jesusis our Hero!  He laid aside the weight of worldliness, the weight of negative attitudes and the weight of selfishness.  His mission was one leading to joy.  He brought God’s gift to mankind. and no suffering was going to deter Him from accomplishing the task before him.  Jesus won the race and now he’s enjoying the joy seated on the throne.

ARE YOUR EYES FIXED ON JESUS?

Are you seeking to grow in your faith?  Do you know Jesus better now than a year ago?  May Paul’s testimony be ours at the end of our lives. “I have fought the good fight. I have completed the race. I have kept the faith. [8] The prize that shows I have God’s approval is now waiting for me. The Lord, who is a fair judge, will give me that prize on that day. He will give it not only to me but also to everyone who is eagerly waiting for him to come again.” 2 Tim. 4:7-8 (GW)- Until then may we say with Paul: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith…….I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14)
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