January 2018

January 28, 2018         Luke 22:1 – 6          Betrayed

Luke 22:1-6  “The Festival of Unleavened Bread, which begins with the Passover celebration, was drawing near.  The leading priests and teachers of religious law were actively plotting Jesus’ murder. But they wanted to kill him without starting a riot, a possibility they greatly feared.  Then Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve disciples, and he went over to the leading priests and captains of the Temple guard to discuss the best way to betray Jesus to them.  They were delighted that he was ready to help them, and they promised him a reward.   So he began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus so they could arrest him quietly when the crowds weren’t around.”

  1. The Passover celebration was approaching.  Celebrating the night the people who were protected by the blood were spared.
  2. There are people who we would THINK would be on God’s side, serving Him, doing things His way
    1. But are they?
      1. Leading Priests (elite, top, Boss Priests, senior)
      2. Teachers of the religious Law
        1. “Actively plotting Jesus’ murder”
      3. Sure sounds like they are ENEMIES of God
    2. Add to that group a DISCIPLE (follower) of Jesus Christ
      1. Filled with Satan
      2. Actively seeking ways to betray Jesus
    3. We quickly see that NOT everyone who looks, acts and talks the part of a Christian are indeed Christians.
      1. Not everyone you come across in life will have your best interest at heart
        1. No matter how “nice” they look
        2. No matter how much you seem to have in common
  • No matter if their goals seem to line up with your goals
  1. There are a lot of FAKE FOLKS out there and many are FIENDS!
  1. Have you ever had to deal with betrayal?
    1. Someone who told your deepest personal discussions
    2. Someone who turned you over to an enemy
    3. Gossip, lies, backstabbers, disloyal FAKE FRIENDS
      1. You wonder if you were set up from the beginning
    4. The saddest thing about betrayal is that in never comes from your enemies! It comes from friends and loved ones!
  2. Matthew 7:21-23 “Not all people who sound religious are really godly. They may refer to me as ‘Lord,’ but they still won’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The decisive issue is whether they obey my Father in heaven. On judgment day many will tell me, ‘Lord, Lord, we prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’  But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Go away; the things you did were unauthorized.’”  NLT
  3. When Satan enters into Lost folks he can twist and pervert their lives towards his ultimate cause to STEAL, KILL and DESTROY!
    1. NEVER doubt that satan is out roaming the world looking for people to tear down, trap in his trap and bring to death.
    2. Never doubt that satan is also out in the world looking for people to help in his evil.
    3. Christians cannot be “possessed” by satan or his evil
      1. Christians are a new creation – 2 Cor 5:17
      2. Our Spirit, Soul and Body are preserved for God blameless – 1 Thess 5:23
      3. Light cannot exist in the same space as dark
    4. This does not mean we do not sin, because we do
      1. It simply means that every Christian is a child of God, not satan and not the world.
      2. Satan will push you, confuse you, twist you, lie to you, challenge you, tempt you, and do whatever else he is allowed to do to USE YOU!
      3. But He CANNOT steal your soul, keep you or steal your salvation from you.
    1. They may look ok, especially at first
    2. They may be being used by satan to EASE you away from God and His Love
      1. Its just a piece of fruit
      2. God didn’t surely say…..
      3. You can skip church one day….maybe two…
  1. Seek to spend time with GOD 1st then with HIS CHILDREN who have a lifestyle of faith and obedience…a TRACK RECORD of serving God. Good Fruit!
    2. You BE You
  4. Reject the hate and lies
    1. Reject false friends
    2. Here is where it gets hard
      1. PRAY FOR THEM
    3. Jesus was betrayed by Judas Iscariot
      1. He was betrayed by the Temple Elite
      2. He was betrayed by the Teachers of Religious Law
      3. He would be betrayed by the people who were WORSHIPPING HIM just a few days before
      4. He would be betrayed by billions through histories pages
      5. He is betrayed by US still today
        1. Yet He still loves us
        2. He still continued on the path HE KNEW would lead to His death and burial
          1. I would not have stayed that course
          2. Jesus’ love is greater than ours


All of us have experienced many setbacks and failures throughout our lives. Sometimes we allow these mistakes, these setbacks and failures to enslave us to the point that we never enjoy the full Christian life that God has given us to enjoy.

Last year some of you said, “I am going to grow in my relationship with God. I am going to pray more, read my bible more and get more involved in my church. I’m going to spend more quality time with my family.”

The fact is that all of us made some mistakes or we made some bad decision that hindered us from doing those things that we wanted to do.

In John 10:10 Jesus said,    “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”  ESV  Then he goes on to tell us that there is an adversary, called the Devil, that seeks to kill and destroy that life. The Devil will remind us of our past in order to keep us from enjoying the life that God gave us to live. The Devil does not want you to have a fresh start in life.

The good news is according to  Isaiah 43:18-19 “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.  Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”  ESV

We need to understand that failure does not have to destroy us but it can develop character, it can make us stronger and help us to avoid those mistakes in the future.

Maybe you feel that you have made so many mistakes, you have failed God so many times and you have sinned it all away. Now God doesn’t want anything to do with you. You feel and believe that you have no future with God.

The good news is, God is saying, “It’s not over, I have plans for your life. I am about to do something new for you.”    We need to understand that God is far more interested in our future than He is in our past.

Here is a little acrostic that I found for starting over, that should make it easy for you.   S.T.A.R.T.

S- Stop Making Excuses.   If I want a fresh start in life, I have to stop making excuses for my failures. I’ve got to stop blaming other people. I’ve got to stop seeing myself as the victim of my circumstances.  In John 15 and Romans 2 Scripture is very clear – you have NO EXCUSE!

T- Take An Inventory Of My Life  I need to take an inventory of my life. That means I need to evaluate all my experiences. I need to look at what I have left after the failure. I need to take an inventory of my life’s experiences and learn from them.  2 Corinthians 13:5-7 “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test.”  ESV

A – Act in Faith – If you want to change your circumstance, it takes faith. If you want to change your personality, it takes faith. If you want to change anything in your life, you have to have some faith.      Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”  ESV

R – Refocus -I need to refocus my thoughts if I want to change my life. If I want to get going again, if I want a fresh start, I need to rethink the way that I think. I need to change my mind about a number of issues.  Proverbs 4:23   “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”  ESV (heart = feelings, will and intellect)

T – Trust –Trust God to help us succeed. Depend on Him. We don’t need to depend on ourselves. We’ve already proven that we can’t do it on our own. That’s why we’ve failed.  Zechariah 4:6 “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.”  ESV

It’s your choice. How can I have a fresh start? I can have a fresh start by: S.T.A.R.T.

January 7th, 2018         Romans 8:1 – 14          Nature of the New Year

Romans 8:1-14 “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.  For the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you through Christ Jesus from the power of sin that leads to death.  The law of Moses could not save us, because of our sinful nature. But God put into effect a different plan to save us. He sent his own Son in a human body like ours, except that ours are sinful. God destroyed sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.  He did this so that the requirement of the law would be fully accomplished for us who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.  Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. [what are YOU thinking about?  What is feeding your thoughts?]  If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace.  For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will.  That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them are not Christians at all.) Since Christ lives within you, even though your body will die because of sin, your spirit is alive because you have been made right with God.  The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as he raised Christ from the dead, he will give life to your mortal body by this same Spirit living within you.  So, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation whatsoever to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.  For if you keep on following it, you will perish. But if through the power of the Holy Spirit you turn from it and its evil deeds, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.”    

We all enter 2018 with a struggle, well, at least one struggle.

The Battle between the flesh and the Holy Spirit.  The fight for controlling authority in our lives.  The battle between good and evil.

You are not alone in this.

Romans 7:21-25 “It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart.  But there is another law at work within me that is at war with my mind. This law wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.  Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin?   Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.”

Paul understood…LIVED…the same struggle we have.  Sometimes He won – obviously; yet sometimes he failed, as we do.

We can fail less.

An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life…
“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.

One wolf is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego.

The other wolf is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.

This same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old chief simply replied, “The one you feed.”

  1. The struggles of the past year
    1. Sin
    2. Self
    3. Gossip, backbiting, bullying
    4. Financial
    5. Condemnation
  2. A promise for the new year
    1. There is NO CONDEMNATION
      1. FOR those who belong to Christ
    2. You Christian are living under a DIFFERENT PLAN than the children of the world
      1. Jesus Christ – our Savior
      2. God sent His only Son TO SAVE US
        1. He came as a human – A baby in a manger
      3. He lives a sinless life
        1. Yet died on a CROSS for our failures, sins and crimes
  • Christian, Jesus DESTROYED sins control over you
  1. You Christian live with a DIFFERENT NATURE than the children of the world
    1. They are dominated by the sinFULL nature of the World
    2. YOU, Christian, are dominated by the HOLY SPIRIT, the very NATURE of Godliness
      1. EMBRACE the Spirit of God
      2. REJECT the sinful nature of the world
    3. Here is the reality of the nature of Christians:
      1. The Holy Spirit lives within you
      2. Jesus Christ lives within you
      3. God lives within you
        1. Even in physical death you will live eternally
        2. Even in a sin-filled, painful world you can live in PEACE and LIFE and the FREEDOM of NO CONDEMNATION
      4. The nature of your new year depends on which nature you choose to follow
        1. The sinful nature will lead to more hurt, disappointment, pain and loss
        2. The Holy Spirit of God will lead you to a better, more abundant life.
          1. Do you want to just EXIST for another year?
          2. Do you want to LIVE LIFE in 2018?
  • Watch what you take into your mind and heart!
    1. FEED THE GOOD WOLF – Godliness
    2. STARVE THE BAD WOLF – Flesh

An entire sea of water can’t sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship.  Similarly, the negativity of the world can’t bring you down unless you allow it to get inside of you!.