May 7, 2017     Luke 17:20–37

“When the CLOCK and CALENDAR Don’t Matter!”

The Kingdom of God is Not Coming – It is already here

  • God is King of kings and Lord of lords TODAY
  • He never stopped or took a vacation
  • This earth never stopped being God’s
  • What were they really asking?  When will the Messiah come?
  • They were literally asking the Messiah when He would be coming.
  • Today, we look forward to His return

Jesus Christ is coming back…..

  • This is settled and absolute
  • There will be a rapture, a tribulation, a millennial reign and a finality to this earth.
  • Theologians have battled for centuries about HOW this will happen and WHEN this reality will occur
    • But NONE doubt or argue that it WILL HAPPEN
  • I can tell you today EXACTLY how the “END TIMES” will play out in our reality
    • Exactly
    • Even with a timetable….
      • Ready?….
    • The Kingdom of God will come for you and me and for all creation….
      • Exactly WHEN, WHERE and HOW God says it will! Not sooner or later

The WORLD wants to get so concerned about the timing of armegeddon, the rapture, and more

  • Look here…Look there…
    • Post a billboard
    • Set a date
      • DO NOT PAY ATTENTION TO THEM
      • They have been proven WRONG each and every time!
    • Movies, books, cults, even religions and churches can make the timing of Christ’s return their major focus….and fundraiser
      • Don’t be consumed by this question
        • It will play out God’s way
          • Pre-trib, mid – trib, post -trib or amillennial
          • We argue, debate and fuss about something we DO NOT KNOW
        • Trust GOD with that time
          • Your time may come WAY BEFORE this event anyway

The TIMING is not for us to know right now

  • The CLOCK and CALENDAR DO NOT MATTER!
  • Maybe soon for some and longer for others
  • Maybe those of us gathered here will survive until the rapture of the church…
    • Maybe not..
  • Not YOUR business
    • Above your pay grade so to speak

The REALITY of the return of Jesus Christ is VERY MUCH our business!

  • Reguardless of God’s TIMING
    • We are called to BE READY!
      • Be SAVED
      • Be SERVING
    • You may be called to martyrdom
      • He who loses his life will keep it
      • Give Your life to God
        • It is His anyway
        • He gave it to you

But a fearful and weak faithed people want a sign

  • We have no need to fear
    • The examples in our text prove that God will protect His people
      • Noah and family safe on the Ark
      • Lot and MOST of his family safely removed from destruction
        • People of Israel’s Children saved by the Blood back at the very first Passover.
      • We do not need a SIGN!
    • Here’s Your Sign
      • Your daily life
        • Nothing else needs to happen prophetically for Christ to Return
        • No prophecy remains unfilled before the rapture occurs
        • The Kingdom of God could return for you…for us
          • Today!
          • NOW!
          • Or in 100 years or more

BE ready

  • We DO NOT need a sign…WE NEED JESUS!
    • John 3:16
    • John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” ESV
  • This scripture tells us it will be like in the days of Noah before the flood and the days of Lot before the fire and brimstone
    • Normal days
    • Eating, drinking, sleeping
    • Working and playing
    • Building families and communities
    • A day just like every other day
      • UNTIL something UNUSUAL happens and changes everything.
    • Suddenly, quicker than the Flash or Superman
      • BOOM
      • People will be at home and BOOM some are gone and some are left
      • People will be working and BOOM some are gone and some are left
      • People will be doing what they do every day, living in their self imposed rut and routine and BOOM some will be gone and some will be left

When The Clock and the Calendar Don’t Matter

    • What DOES MATTER is a relationship
    • YOUR relationship with God through Jesus Christ
    • God is more important than time
    • DO NOT be left behind
      • Death is left behind everywhere
    • Choose life!
    • Be ready!

Ephesians 2:4-10 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—  and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them”    ESV

The Marriage Ship

Marriage is not like a vacation cruise where you are to be pampered and served.  You can sleep as late as you want, someone prepares and serves you food, everyone wants to make sure you are happy and entertained and there is a captain that you might get lucky and meet before you disembark.

Marriage is like working on one of those Bearing Sea Alaskan King Crab ships.  There are times when you can rest and enjoy the journey and beautiful scenery BUT most of the time it is hard work for everyone on board.  Work that must be done together, done properly and done in the right order so everyone remains together safely.

Marriage can be dirty, sweaty, bruising and exhausting work!

Oh, like the crabbers on TV, there are times of fair skies and smooth seas, and those times should be cherished!  But there are times of freezing cold, high seas, busted equipment, busted bones and empty nets; these are all part of the same reality and must be dealt with TOGETHER.

The work is tough and the opportunities for crisis are numerous. Things break, sometimes the nets are bare or full of trash and your partner sometimes messes up – big time.

If one is overworked, overlooked or overburdened someone is getting hurt or the ship is going down into the cold grasp of the sea forever.  When someone gets hurt the entire venture is in danger.

If one thinks they are a king or lord to be served they will quickly learn failure.  If someone is a primadonna there is a wakeup call coming.

If one thinks they can slack off the whole team suffers. Crabbers do not tolerate the lazy, the privileged, the arrogant or the lone rangers; neither should marriages.

If someone gets mad and leaves the deck the other must work harder until they return.  Sometimes one must leave the deck and go after the one who left, deal with the issue and return to work together.  No problems can be dealt with in separation.  Deal with them the only way they can be dealt with – together.

On the crab boats we watch on TV there is much passion, stress and sometimes anger.  They argue and sometimes they fight.  They can be passive-aggressive; or just plain aggressive.  A good argument is tolerated but physical violence is strictly forbidden by the boar owners; there is too great a chance of danger, injury and death.

There are times when the biggest and sturdiest ships sink.  Maybe the storm was too big, the necessary maintenance was not done or the crew just gives up.  Many times the sinking ships could have been saved with a little work or some wisdom to not head out in dangerous times.

Abuse, Addiction and Adultery have sank many relationships.  They didn’t have to though.  A little maintenance, some humility, hard work and a little wisdom may have prevented the tragedy. Especially the wisdom to stay away from dangerous activities to begin with while remaining faithful and devoted to your spouse and family.

Sometimes there will be times of passionate disagreement in marriage; issues that must be dealt with properly and safely; and without physical and/or emotional violence.  There is too great a danger of injury and/or death from allowing or accepting any type of violence in a marriage.  This cannot be tolerated and must be dealt  with quickly.  On a crab boat the offender is punished legally (demotion, share cut, etc) or terminated.

On a crab ship the safety of the crew is first and formost, then the safety of the vessel and then the financial gain of the harvest.  Marriages need to be properly prioritized as well.  God first, Spouse second, then the family, finances and everything else.

Marriages begin to sink when one or both “crew members” begin to prioritize their own desires and addictions above everything else.  I think that is one reason the Bible teaches us that “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”   ESV     1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is not about you.  Love never demands it’s own way.

Everyone is a greenhorn at the beginning, but if we stick with it and work hard in unity while we learn we will soon become grizzled veterans who can survive anything.

“Deckhands” learn to trust each other with their work, enjoy their time at work and at rest, build humor and accountability into their relationship and share the fruits of their labor.

There is always a boat captain, but his focus is keeping everyone and everything working together so all finish the journey safely and obtain their reward.  His is the greater responsibility. He must answer to the boat’s owner about everything that happened on the boat under his watch.

The reward of a hard-working team is immense, if everyone pulls their own weight and worked hard.  The feeling of working hard and accomplishing a goal, personal fulfillment, the respect of your co-laborer and the reward from the ships creator and owner.

No, marriage is never a cruise ship!  It is a working vessel, provided by God for the Family.

Marriage is definitely a “All Hands on Deck” adventure that requires every ounce of strength, courage and patience they have!  Marriage is not “50-50” – divorce is “50-50”; marriage is 100%+100%X100% of the time!

Ephesians 5:22-33 “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.  Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.  In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”  This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”   ESV

October 30th    Hope for the little guy!  When the little things become great things!  God makes MOUNTAINS out of MOLE HILLS

Luke 13:18-21 “He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it?  It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”  And again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God?  It is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.”  ESV

One of my frustrations in our politics and in our world is when people attempt to make people look small and weak.

A second one is when a person ALLOWS someone to make them feel small and weak!

Never let anyone push you down or marginalize you!

Most often that is just the efforts of a insecure person trying to build themselves up by making you feel small.

Now, I am not blind.  I am a big guy.  And there are folks who are built smaller than I am.  There are also folks built bigger than I am.  That is Gods business.

We need to understand that it is NOT OUR PHYSICAL SIZE that limits us, NOT is it how big or small others MAKE US FEEL that limits us!

It is OUR FAITH that limits us!

  1. Mustard Seed
    1. Tiny
    2. But not its only scripture reference
  2. Luke 17:5-6 “The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”
  3. A tiny seeds that can produce a HUGE plant when turned over to God
    1. A tiny seed brings a great change
    2. The tiny mustard seed grows to provide shelter for other, larger critters
  4. Leaven
    1. a substance, typically yeast, that is added to dough to make it ferment and rise.
    2. a pervasive influence that modifies something or transforms it for the better…..”
    3. Leaven is spread by contact
    4. Leaven is widely diffusive
      1. One little bit of leaven can leaven a whole lump
    5. Leaven changes the particles it comes in contact with into its own nature
    6. A little leaven is a small part but it can bring great change
  5. People will try to tell you or make you feel like a little insignificant person
    1. DON’T LET THEM! Reject the LIE!
    2. Because in God’s Hands a LITTLE THING is capable of GREAT THINGS!
  6. We may feel so tiny when compared to the world or the universe
    1. God has planted us here to make a BIG impact
    2. God has planted us here to do His work
    3. God can use our Little faith and move Big Mountains
      1. I am not sure what MOUNTAIN is obstructing your LIFEPATH right now
        1. But with a little faith take that MOUNTAIN to God and let Him either:
          1. Shrink it
          2. Move IT
          3. Remove it
        2. You may THINK you have little RESOURCES but with a little faith take it to God
          1. Watch God make your resources go farther than you ever thought
          2. Trust God with what you have!
        3. KNOW that when your little GRAIN OF FAITH is multiplied through Jesus Christ YOU BECOME A GIANT!

Philippians 4:13-14 “For I can do everything through Christ,* who gives me strength.”  NLT

There is hope for the little guy!  HIS NAME IS JESUS!

August 21, 2016     Super Summer Sunday      Teachers and students

This has been a good summer!

I have dipped my little toes in the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, The Frio River and the Cement Pond!

But, alas, Summer time is drawing to an end.

ICS began school last week, RGCCISD this week and STC next week.

It is a time to reFOCUS

Luke 9:10-12 “On their return the apostles told him all that they had done. And he took them and withdrew apart to a town called Bethsaida. When the crowds learned it, they followed him, and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had need of healing.”  ESV

Bethsaisda – Desert place and fishing village.  HE took them to the beach fishing.

But there soon came a time to end their fishing trip at the beach and REFOCUS on their work.  The work of ministry.

Today, we find ourselves at that time.

As we refocus I have some good words for Teachers, students and maybe even parents.

TEACHERS

Teachers bear a great responsibility

James 3:1-2 “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways, and if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.”   ESV

Teachers face a great many enemies

Parents who believe little Johnny is always right and truthful

Curriculum

TIME

Kids who would rather play and disrupt than learn

An overall general lack of respect from parents, students, ALL

Deuteronomy 20:1-5 “When you go out to war against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. And when you draw near to the battle, the priest shall come forward and speak to the people and shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, today you are drawing near for battle against your enemies: let not your heart faint. Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them, for the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.”    ESV

Philippians 4:10-13 “I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity.  Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”   ESV

Teachers NEED the LORD!

STUDENTS

1 Thessalonians 5:12-24 “We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you,  and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work.            

 Be at peace among yourselves.  – No bullying, division, gossip, DRAMA!

 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.

 Get to work and encourage others to work hard with you.

Help everyone succeed and excel

Encourage

Help

Be patient

STUDENTS NEED THE LORD!

PARENTS

Hebrews 13:7-9 “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them.”   ESV

They held YOU accountable as students.

They were tough and you learned.

Let your kids teachers do the same for them

THEY ARE NOT BEING TOO TOUGH ON LITTLE JOHNNY!

He needs homework

He needs you to work with him.

He needs a good spanking from time to time

EVERYONE

Mark 12:28-32 “And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”  Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.   And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” ESV

IF our politicians loved their opponents

IF our students loved their teachers

IF the teachers loved their students

If all the parents loved their school

IF the community loved their neighbors

IF all of us truly oved GOD and EACH OTHER

WE could end this summer with a REFOCUS on the truly important work of the kingdom of God and watch our community flourish.

Will you be a part of God’s Work of MINISTRY as we REFOCUS after our SUPER SUMMER SUNDAY?

Simmer Down           Luke 11:37 – 54

This political season we are easily pulled into to debates/squabbles/fights of the election process.

This is a time of hyperbole – political passion – hard head absolutes

But isn’t that the way we are? 

We know what’s best…even if we don’t

 

OUR candidate is the best and your is ROTTEN

Any words/posts are open game to immediate and harsh attacks.

Often without really listening to what was being said.

 

We get LOCKED INTO something way to easily

We do not even want to think about being wrong

We don’t even like to ask questions or listen to opposing info

 

We need to simmer down

 

  1. We get so caught up in the stuff we think is so critical
    1. We forget the more important issues
    2. We get all wrapped up in the eternally insignificant
    3. The Pharisees worried more about their RELIGIOUS MOTIONS than they did a true living faith
    4. The Pharisees focused on what people saw – APPEARANCE
      1. They looked the part
        1. But they didn’t really LIVE the part
      2. The needed to SIMMER DOWN and LOVE
    5. The lawyers focused on the nit-picky points of the law
      1. Particularly the areas they could use to control
      2. Particularly the areas that did not affect their lives
  • They put a heavy burden on people
    1. They were “EXPERTS” in the Mosaic Law
    2. The needed to SIMMER DOWN and LOVE
  1. We forget God is sovereign God
    1. He is both KING and LORD
      1. WHOEVER is elected, God is in control
      2. Whoever wins the election, they will face reelection
        1. God is God FOREVER
      3. God will have the final say
    2. We are so quick to point out problems or issues with others
      1. But slow to look inside our own lives.
    3. We like to MAJOR in the stuff we feel we can control
      1. We usually MINOR in the stuff of real importance.
      2. Having the best seat in the house can still leave us dead
        1. Inside and eternal
      3. Jesus wants us to know:
        1. We are called to be servants
          1. Humble
          2. Faithful
        2. We are called to be holy
          1. Clean inside and outside
          2. Set apart from the filth of this world
        3. Love God and Love Others
          1. We need to grow up
        4. Ephesians 4:15 “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,…”ESV
        5. Faithful Obedience is better than sacrifice
          1. 1 Samuel 15:22 “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.” ESV
          2. Matt 9:13 13 “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not  For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” 
          3. God is Lord of ALL
            1. Inside and outside
          4. Love is greater
          5. Knowledge of God and His Word is greater
        6. Your relationship with God is PRIMARY
          1. Do everything you can to build that relationship BEFORE you worry about the rest

We need to refocus our hearts on the things we should truly be passionate about.

Family                        Church Family          God     God’s Word

SIMMER down on the MINOR stuff and FIRE UP our FAITH

 

 

 

July 10th                      Luke 11:27 – 28          “Entitled!?”

As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!”  But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”   ESV

We live in a world where people feel entitled.

We feel we DESERVE something because of who we are or what our needs are in life.  We think that because of our economic status, skin tone, heritage or how much we have suffered we are entitled to stuff, all paid for by others.

The government has many programs defined as “Entitlements” – over 400 BILLION dollars’ worth budgeted in 2016.

We have come to expect the government or others to take care of us and provide our needs plus our wants.

If we do not get everything our way we throw a fit like a 4 year old; except a little child’s tantrum doesn’t destroy neighborhoods or cost innocent lives.

I think that if anyone had the right to being entitled to God’s best based on who she was it would be Mary, the biological Mother of Jesus.

Let’s take a look.

  1. A woman in the crowd raised her voice to bring attention and perhaps “glory” to the fleshly mother of Jesus – Mary.
    1. How rude was this lady to disrupt Jesus while He was sharing the Word of God?
    2. Most would never interrupt the Pastor preaching, yet she raises her voice to interrupt the Savior of the world.
    3. Was she wanting to recognize Mary as equal with Jesus?
    4. Was she seeking to bring attention to human beings involved in God’s plan?
    5. Was she Mary’s friend just wanting to remind Him of His mommy?
      1. They were in a village between Samaria and Jerusalem ….30 miles or less
    6. Maybe she was the beginning of the movement “Mom Lives Matter”
    7. We may never know.
  2. A few points about Mary:
    1. Mary was a regular person
    2. Mary was chosen by God for a particular purpose
    3. Mary was faithful and obedient
      1. Regardless of the cost to her or her fiancé/family
    4. Because of Mary’s faithfulness and obedience to God she is “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!” Luke 1:42
    5. Mary was no better or worse that any of us here today are before Holy God.
      1. We are all sinners – including Mary
    6. Romans 3:22 – 25 “…the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”  ESV
      1. Jesus also said:
        1. Mark 3:35 “For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
      2. Some think Mary gets a “Special Pass” or “Special treatment” when standing before God because of our human accomplishments
        1. Mary does not get a special treatment for being the human mother of Jesus
        2. She was faithful and obedient
          1. THAT is what matters
        3. Peter sais this in Acts 10:34-35
          1. ”So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality,but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.”
            1. Southern Baptist get no special favor
            2. Being a Catholic, a Methodist nor any other RELIGION gains you any special favor with God.
              1. Although being an active member of a local Christian church and properly using the gifts God has given you is necessary for obedience – doing what is right.
            3. Being part of a certain family, heritage or culture gains you no special favor.
            4. Sitting in a church pew gains no special favor – no matter how many years you have sat there.
            5. Works gain us no special favor
              1. Except in doing those works in faith and obedience to the call of God
            6. Being baptized outside the saving GRACE of God received through FAITH in JESUS CHRIST alone gains you NO special favor.
          2. There is no privilege! There is no entitlement!
        4. I fear many, many people are depending on this kind of “ENTITLEMENT SALVATION” to gain heaven.
          1. Matthew 7:21 -23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’  And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”  ESV
            1. No entitlement!
            2. Faith and Obedience gains God’s special favor
            3. Jesus said: “If you love me, you willkeep my commandments.”  John 14:15
            4. Grace lived through Faith and obedience in Christ
          2. Outside of faithful obedience to God’s Word there is no path to God’s Blessing
        5. YOU and I are NOT ENTITLED to Salvation or Special Favor.
          1. Grace means we GET what we DO NOT DESERVE!
          2. Mercy means that we DO NOT GET WHAT WE DO DESERVE
          3. We do not deserve or are entitled to either salvation of God’s Blessing
            1. God GIVES us these as a gift of GRACE through FAITH in CHRIST His Son.
            2. Ephesians 2:8 – 10 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
              1. You are saved by Grace alone through Faith alone in Christ alone.
              2. Saved for God’s purpose, not selfish ones
              3. For GOOD WORKS
            3. Here is the Standard set by God:
              1. “Blessed rather are those who hear the Word of God AND keep it!”
                1. Just like Mary
                2. Just like so many others of the Word and since those Biblical days.
              2. We all have the same opportunity for receiving a blessing by God.
                1. Hear the Word of God
                  1. Preaching
                  2. Teaching
                  3. Reading
  1. Keep the Word of God
    1. Keep it close
    2. Keep it on obedience
  • Keep it in love
  1. Keep it pure and holy
    1. Do not spin, twist or corrupt the Word
  2. Hear! Do! Go!

You cannot ALMOST be saved but you can be DECEIVED

Luke 11:24 – 26   “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’  And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order.  Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.”

We are a people who are good at starting things and making promises to start things but we really don’t follow through well.

We don’t finish well…or at all.

We have unfinished projects around the house…next month…2017

We plan and prepare but PROCRASTINATE

How many New Year’s Resolutions have you kept?

We do the same thing spiritually as well.

We come to an emotional moment with God and make promises.

“God if you deliver me from this I will……..”

We work hard changing our life, removing the bad chunks as we can.

We clean our life up.

But.

There is that word again.  We often want to live a Christian life….BUT:

But, we really don’t want to change

But, our friends will think we are weird

But, we do not follow through.

  • We plan and prepare to go pray every day…BUT
  • We plan to read our Bible for 1 hour every day….BUT
  • We prepare to be more faithful and obedient…BUT
  • But.
  • We think we have done enough.  So we stop.
  • We stop short of actual faith
  • We stop short of actual commitment
  • We stop short of a moment of conversion
  • We stop short of NEW LIFE.

WE, WE, WE, WE

Then WE learn a hard lesson.

What WE can FIX satan can easily BREAK

First, we revert back into some old patterns

Then, we gather new bad habits

    Habits made worse since we THINK we are OK with God now

But, in the end, we are in worse condition than when we started

  • Maybe we keep coming to church but feel empty.
  • Maybe we keep coming so we can FEEL faithful to…something
  • Maybe we grow dry and drift off as on a slight wind
  •             No LIVING WATER
  • Maybe we just give up and look elsewhere.

 

  • Not because God somehow failed…
  • Not because GOD is not able to save…
  • Not because God does not want to save…

But because we stopped short of allowing Him to save us.

We never receive NEW LIFE – we never accept HIM

Many, many people only THINK they are saved.

But they only straightened up for a while but soon found their lives more frustrating and messed up than before.

  • Some think they can save themselves.
  • Some think they can buy their salvation through much giving
  • Some think they can earn their salvation through much serving
  • Some think they deserve their salvation because of who they are
  • Some think they will receive salvation because God is love.
  • Some think they will get their salvation because of their family ties
  • Some just sit and HOPE they will be saved

Empty hulls waiting for something to fill them.

     God desires to fill your life

     Satan will use every opportunity to gain your empty soul

            ONE WILL FILL YOUR HEART AND LIFE

Christ or Satan?        YOUR CHOICE

Neither the church, your family’s heritage in the church nor how much you give or serve the church can save you.

You can ONLY be saved by GRACE alone through FAITH alone in JESUS CHRIST alone.

Everything else leaves you EMPTY.

Everything else leaves you VULNERABLE.

Everything else leaves you LOST.

Everything else leaves you HELL BOUND

There is a reason the musicians sing of a “Highway to Hell”  but only  “Stairway to Heaven”            They are speaking of the traffic each one is carrying to their final eternity.

God had Matthew write the concept for both these songs:

Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.  For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”   ESV

Matthew 7:21 – 23  “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Let God change you then fill all of the chasms of your heart and mind with Him!

Saying IS NOT ENOUGH – There must be the Will and ACTION of BEING a Christian actually OBEYING the Will of God!

  • FOLLOW THROUGH to TRUE FAITH!
  • Follow through with Baptism and Discipleship
  • Follow through with service and obedience

Spiritual Formation and Growth is NECESSARY for the Christian. 

Bible Study and Devotion is NECESSARY for the Christian.

OBEDIENCE is NECESSARY for a Christian

            (“IF you love Me, obey my Commands”- Jesus, John 14:15)

2 Corinthians 5:16 – 21  “From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.  Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.  For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 

Is your NEW CREATION visible and active? Has GOD changed you?