The Blessed Life Pt.3

Tithing
The Blessed Life Part 3
(Proverbs 10:22 NIV) “The blessing of the Lord brings wealth, without painful toil
for it.”

Proverbs 11:24-25 NLT – Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose
everything. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be
refreshed.

Introduction:
•The Bible doesn’t ignore this subject. In fact, it speaks to the subject head on, with
eyes open and no holds barred. The Bible claims to be the single best guidebook on
Finances ever written. Some 2000 passages in the Bible refer to the use of money.
Two Thirds of Jesus’ parables make some reference to it. Because it reveals a
major area of our lives. What we do with $ reveals our hearts.

We are not talking about this subject today because we want to get something from
you, we want to get something to you! I’m hesitant of talking about it because of
how some preachers perverted the subject. But you can’t talk about “The Blessed
Life” with out talking about wealth, money, riches, & generosity.
This principal I am going to talk to you about has radically changed our lives!

The Key to the Blessed Life is DEDICATE IT ALL TO GOD.
Proverbs 3:6 says “In everything you do, put God first and He will direct you and
crown your efforts with success.”

How many of you would like to be Blessed? There it is! In everything you do put
God first and He will direct you and crown your efforts with success.
Here’s the principle: whatever you want God to bless in your life dedicate it to
Him. If you want God to bless your marriage, dedicate your marriage to God. If
you want God to bless your kids, dedicate your kids to God. If you want God to
bless your career, dedicate your career to God. If you want God to bless your
finances, your money, dedicate your money to God. Whatever is dedicated to
God, He blesses. It’s simple.

Rom. 12:1 (Mes)“Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, goingto-
work, and walking-around life- and place it before God as an offering.”

(Matthew 6:21 NIV) “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Notice what most people do with their money.
1. they spend it. Actually they overspend it.
2. they worry about it.
3. they start repaying it.
4. if they’ve got any left over they save a little.
5. Finally they give it.

God says no, this is the order that I will bless.
1. dedicate it all to Me.
2. tithe it.
3. save it.
4. repay it.
5. enjoy it.

I. The Blessed Test – If God is going to BLESS us, He’s first going to TEST us.
Why?
Luke 16:10-11 NIV – Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted
with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with
much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will
trust you with true riches?

1. God must be first.
(Genesis 4:2-5 NIV) “Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the
course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord.
And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his
flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his
offering he did not look with favor.”

(Exodus 20:2-3 NIV) “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out
of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.”

2. We put God first by giving Him the first of everything.
(Leviticus 27:30 NIV) “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the
soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.”

A. Tithe – means returning a tenth (10%) to the Lord- It’s God’s idea.

•Tithe puts us all on the same level of sacrifice. It is worship to God.
It must be returned to God. Returning not Giving.

Tithing is not a mosaic innovation, but it is a legalization of what
Abraham had done VOLUNTARILY 400 years before the Law came. He tithed to
the Lord as a lifestyle principle, not a ritual or rule.

-A commandment is something you obey as long as it is in effect.
-A principal is something that you live by on a constant basis.
-The duration of a commandment is subject to change, but a principal
is unchangeable.

Years ago John D. Rockefeller was the Bill Gates of America. He was the
wealthiest man in the world, president of Standard Oil. He was asked, “What is
the secret of your prosperity?” He said this. “Tithe ten-percent, save ten-percent
and live on the rest.” That’s the 10-10-80 principle.

John G McCoy, Banker of Banc One told Les Wexner when he was a young man
and just starting out, that he should start Tithing financially and with his time and
he did. Les said he was so nervous he thought they were calling in his loan and he
was on the verge of passing out. 🙂

(Exodus 23:19 NIV) “Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the
Lord your God.”

(Deuteronomy 14:23 LB) “The purpose of tithing is to teach you to always put God
in first place in your life.”

3. The first blesses the rest.

Tithing is giving God my first and best so He can bless the rest
How much can God bless you with?

It requires Faith to give first. If you give last, it doesn’t require faith.

(Proverbs 3:9-10 NIV) “Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of
all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will
brim over with new wine.”

(Malachi 3:98-12 NIV) “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How
do we rob you?’ In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse because you are
robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in
my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw
open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be
room enough to store it. Then all the nations will call you blessed.”

•Tithing Provides & funds for God’s Work through the Church (Our Budget)

Benefits:
Builds my Faith in God , The Lord will prove himself to you.
The windows of heaven will open for you, The Lord will pour you out a blessing
The blessing will be larger than you can contain, God will rebuke the devourer for
you, You will be fruitful and have increase, All people will call you blessed
You will be a delightful household, You will be in the Book of Remembrance
before the Lord, The Lord will give you power to get wealth
The Lord will delight in your prosperity, Your house will be filled with plenty
You will be given the opportunity to declare your independence from the world’s
economic system

(Matthew 6:24-33 NIV) “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the
one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You
cannot serve both God and money. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your
life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life
more than food, and the body more than clothes?…If that is how God clothes the
grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he
not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall
we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run
after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But
seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to
you as well

As Christians we don’t serve money, We serve God.
Remember: What you do with what you have reveals what you believe about God!
What steps will you take this week to pass the blessed test?

The Blessed Life Pt. 2

bible-readerT
In America, Bibles are everywhere. You can find them in grocery stores,
bookstores, motel rooms, everywhere. They’re available in all sizes, shapes,
translations, versions, leather bound, paperback. Every year the Bible out sells
every other major bestseller. Last year there were 500 million Bibles published in
the world in 18,000 different languages. In America we are glutted with the word
of God on the airways, radio, TV, books, magazines. It’s everywhere. Yet millions
of people still miss the blessing of the Bible.

Why? Because it’s not automatic. The Bible is a book of blessing. It promises
comfort, strength, hope, wisdom, joy, power, and purpose. But just because you
have a Bible doesn’t mean you’re going to get the benefit from it. James, being his
practical self, gives us three steps on how the Bible Blesses us:

James 1:19-25 NIV – My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone
should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because
human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore,
get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the
word planted in you, which can save you. 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and
so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does
not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after
looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But
whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—
not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they
do

The Bible is called the perfect law because it’s exactly what I need. It promises
freedom and it promises blessing. James gives us three steps:

1.I MUST RECEIVE GOD’S WORD IF I’M GOING TO BE BLESSED BY IT

vs. 21, “Accept the word planted in you.” Circle the word “accept”. This word in
Greek is a hospitality term which literally means “to welcome” — come on in. If
we’re going to be blessed by the word of God, first we must welcome the word into
our lives. We must be receptive.

James gives an illustration. He says it’s planted in you. He gives the illustration of a
garden and seed. The Bible, all through Scripture, compares itself to seed. Jesus
told the parable of the sower and said, “The word of God is a seed and it’s planted
in our hearts.” How is it you can take two seeds that are exactly the same and plant
them in two different locations and get two different crops in fruitfulness?
One soil is prepared and the other is not. How is it that you can take two people
and put them in the same service, with the same message, and one person gets
blessed by it and the other person says he didn’t get anything out of it. One heart
was prepared and one wasn’t. James says we must receive the word of God with
the right attitude. He gives us four attitudes you need to be blessed by God’s word.

Attitudes for a Good Reception

1.Be careful. I must have a careful attitude. v. 19 “Be quick to listen…” Give it
your full attention. Be alert. Don’t miss it. “… slow to speak …” When I’m
talking, I’m not listening. God gave us two ears and one mouth so we ought to
listen twice as much as we talk. Many of our problems are caused because we’re
quick to speak rather than being quick to listen. Be careful in your attitude. Be
ready. Be intent. Be ready to receive God’s word. Be careful.

2. Be calm. Be calm if you’re going to receive God’s word and be blessed by it. v.
19b “… and slow to become angry …” A relaxed attitude increases receptivity. If
you’re relaxed, people can communicate with you more. We work on relaxing
people in our services for that reason. We don’t hear much when we’re angry, upset,
bitter, resentful. Bitterness is a barrier, an emotional block that keeps us from
hearing God’s word. Some may ask, “How come God never speaks to me.” Maybe
you’ve got some resentment in your life you need to get rid of. An article I read
from Reader’s Digest said when you listen it actually lowers your blood pressure.
When you speak it raises your blood pressure. James says be calm, be slow to
anger.

What is your emotional state, normally, when you come to church on Sunday
morning? Do you come with a calm attitude? In many homes on Sunday morning
it’s kind of hectic. Then we come at the last minute and expect God to speak to us.
What preparation? You need to be calm. Maybe you need to get up a little bit
earlier.

3. Be clean. v. 21 “Get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent…”
Before you can plant the seed you need to do a little weeding. The word “filth” that
he says you’ve got to get rid of is actually the Greek word that means “earwax”.
When you have a sin in your life it blocks your hearing. It prevents God’s word
from getting into your heart. He says get rid of the evil, anything that we know that
isn’t right in our lives. God says, “Lay aside all of the emotional garbage, the old
habits, the junk in your life so that God’s word can get through to you.”

How can we be clean? By confession. “If we confess our sins, He’s faithful and just
to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The Living Bible says “Get
rid of all that’s wrong in your life, both inside and out.”

“Dusty Bibles always lead to dirty lives. In fact, you are either in the Word and the
Word is conforming you to the image of Jesus Christ, or you are in the world and
the world is squeezing you into its mold.” Howard Hendricks

4. Be compliant. Teachable, yielded, humble, willing to be changed. He says
“humbly accept the word of God planted in you…” Don’t act like you know it all. If
you know it all, God’s word can’t get through to you. Pray, “God, do what You need
to do in my life.” God says if you want to be blessed, first you have to receive it,
be receptive with these four hearing aids. Reception is not enough. James says we
not only need to receive the word of God, but…

2.REFLECT ON THE WORD OF GOD
v. 23 “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man
who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself immediately goes
away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” James uses an illustration here.
God’s word is like a mirror. The purpose of a mirror is to evaluate us. We use them
to evaluate ourselves. We look in a mirror to assess the damage from the night
before. Then we do something about it. What good is a mirror if we don’t do
anything about what we see? God says a mirror reflects what we’re like on the
outside. God’s word reflects what we’re like on the inside.
Have you ever seen yourself in the Bible? Hebrews says, “God’s word detects the
thoughts, intents, motives and desires of the heart.” Many years ago, Queen
Elizabeth, who was beautiful in her youth, ordered that all of the mirrors be
removed from Buckingham Palace because she couldn’t stand to face that she was
growing old.

A lot of people don’t read the Bible because they’re afraid. They’re unwilling to
face themselves and see themselves as they really are. They don’t want to look in
the mirror of God’s word.

James gives us three practical ways to reflect on the word of God,

1. Read it. v. 25 “the man who looks intently into the perfect law”. He’s actually
talking more about research that he is reading. Investigating. The word “look”
in Greek means “to stoop down and gaze in”. It’s the word used when Peter
went to the tomb on resurrection Sunday when he stooped down and peeked in.
He investigated. Focus your attention on the word of God.

There are two ways you can look at a mirror. You can gaze at it or you can glance
at it. All of us have done both. It’s human nature that you can’t walk by a mirror
and not look at it. When you glance at it, you immediately walk away and forget
what you’ve seen. It didn’t do you any good. Many people try to have a quiet time
that way. They don’t want to gaze at it, but glance at it. Give God five minutes.
God says that He wants us to gaze at the word. Look at it intently in detail.

Nine things to look for — S.P.A.C.E.P.E.T.S
S – Is there a Sin to confess?
P – Is there a Promise to claim? Look for promises, there are over 7000 promises in
the word of God.
A – Is there an Attitude to change?
C – Is there a Command to obey?
E – Is there an Example to follow?
P – Is there a Prayer to pray? There are lots of prayers in the Bible. You can take
those prayers and pray them for yourself and for others. You can know they’ll be answered
because they’re in the Word of God.
E – Is there an Error to avoid?
T – Is there a Truth to believe? Is there something I just need to believe God for?
S – Is there Something to thank God for?

That’s how you look intently at the word of God. Look at the details. James says
we need to receive the word of God and then reflect on it, first by reading it and
second by reviewing it.

2. Review it. v. 25 “…and continues to do so…” That means over and over and
over. The Bible calls this meditation. When you think about something over and
over, it’s meditation. Meditation is not, put your mind in neutral and contemplate
lint in your navel. Meditation means to think seriously about something over and
over. If you know how to worry, you can meditate. Take a negative idea and think
about it over and over, and it’s called worry. Take God’s word and think about it
over and over, and it’s called meditation. The Bible says, “Meditate on God’s
word”. Jesus said, “…if you continue in My word, then you’re truly My disciples.”
Read it and review it. The outlines I give you each week on robyanok.com are not
so that you can keep up with me, it’s so that you can review it during the week.
God says, “You want to be blessed by the word? Review it.”

Psalm 119:97 “I meditate on your word all day long.” Every person ought to
memorize Joshua 1:8 NIV – Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips;
meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in
it. Then you will be prosperous and successful

If you’ll do one thing God promises to bless you with success. And that promise
is IF you meditate on His Word. Read it and review it continually. Stay in it and
be faithful to the book. I know some people that are more faithful to Ann Landers
or the sports page than they are to God’s word. How many of you believe
everything you read in the newspaper or watch on TV? Then why do we spend
more time reading or watching something we don’t believe than something we
do?

We need to fill our minds with the word of God. James says, “You want to be
blessed? Reflect on the word. Think about it by reading it and reviewing it.”

3. Remembering it. v. 25 “… not forgetting what he has heard.” Nothing will do
more for your spiritual life than developing the habit of memorizing Scripture.
Nothing will benefit your personal spiritual life more than developing the habit of
memorizing Scripture. “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin
against Thee.” Memorize God’s word if you want to be blessed by it. We
remember what’s important to us.

Take notes, write things down. If you value God’s word you’re going to take notes
on it. Hebrews 2:1 “Write things down so we don’t let slip what we’ve heard.”
The United States Air Force did a study and found that we forget 95% of what we
hear within 72 hours. This statistic depresses a pastor. I spend all week preparing a
message to give on Sunday. By Wednesday you’ve forgotten 95% of what I’ve said
unless you’ve written it down. James says, “Receive God’s word with the right
attitude, reflect on God’s word by reading it, reviewing it, remembering it.” But
even that’s not enough

3.I MUST RESPOND TO THE WORD OF GOD
I must do something about it, act on it, live it, practice it. vs. 22 “Do not merely
listen to what the word says and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” Practice.
What good is a mirror if you look at it and don’t do anything about it? The word
“listen” in Greek is the word for “auditor”. If you audited a class in college you
didn’t take it for credit, no tests, no responsibility, no research. You were totally
relaxed. You just listened, you didn’t have any intention of applying it. We have a
lot of auditors in the church. They come to church, walk in, hear the word of God,
walk out with no intention of ever being changed. I was one for years. I took notes,
wrote things down, but it never changed me. We must respond to God’s word, let
it change us if we’re going to be blessed by it.

That is what James is attacking. He’s saying, “If you want to be blessed, you’ve
got to live the word of God, not just hear it. Not just know it.”
I really work at making the Bible simple. There is a lot in the Bible that is difficult
to understand, complex, deep. Yet I try to present it in such a way that’s very clear
and very easy to understand and easy to put into practice. When you go out of here
I want you to be able to do the word not just hear the word of God. I work at
making it practical. I try to make it simple so we can put it into practice.
I heard about the guy who came to church late. He walked in just as the service
was completing. He said to an usher, “Is the sermon done, yet?” The usher was
wise and said, “The sermon has been preached, but it is yet to be done.” Be ye
doers of the word, don’t merely listen. Put it into practice.

My honest prayer on Sunday afternoon is that you will remember what I said and
put it into practice. I pray that GraceTown Church will develop the reputation that
people say, “They’re doers of the word. They practice what everybody else talks
about. They live it.” People have a Living Bible. You ought to be a Living Bible.
The best translation of Scripture is when you translate it into your life and let
it change you.

What pleases me even more than a comment or compliment is when somebody
says they will put it into practice and use it. They say they will do the sermon this
week. “Let’s not deceive ourselves,” James says.v. 25 (Phillips) “The man who puts the law into practice wins true happiness.”

Jesus, in Matthew 7, tells the story of the wise and the foolish builder. He says the
foolish builder builds on sand. He is like the guy who hears the word of God but
doesn’t do what it says. The wise man is the one who hears it and then goes out and
makes an honest attempt to put it into his life. Practice it.
Jesus said John 13:17, “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you
do them.” I think the simplest definition of maturity is to be a doer of the word.

“If we are not interested in the Word of God, can we really be interested in God?”
~Robert Godfrey

Psalm 1:1-3 NIV Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or
stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose
delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.That
person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither- whatever they do prospers.

Prayer:
Father, You have not beat around the bush this morning. We can’t ignore what Your word says.
You’ve told us to be doers of the word, to practice what we already know. Lord, I know You
have put some ideas in the minds of people and they know they’ve got to do something maybe
even before today ends. I pray that You would give them the courage to act on what they know.
Help them to do the right thing. Help them to act on what they already know is right. Lord,
maybe it’s to pay off some debt, or to ask forgiveness, or to return an object, or to be baptized, or
to join the church, or to make a phone call, or to witness to some neighbor and invite them to
church, get involved, or to receive Christ for the very first time. Lord, Help us to do what we
need to do, to not deceive ourselves, to not glance at the mirror of the word and walk away
unchanged. Help us not to miss the point, that we need to receive Your word with the right
attitude and we need to reflect on it through reading and studying and memorizing. But Lord, that
we most of all need to respond to it and allow it to live in our lives.
If you’ve never opened up your life to Jesus Christ, do it this morning. Ask Him to come into
your heart. That’s the first step. Say, “Jesus Christ, I don’t understand it all but I want You to
come into my life. I want to be a believer.” He died for you on the cross. He will forgive your
sins if you ask Him to. He will give you a new start. Just say, “Christ, come into my life. I want
to be a Christian, a real Christian.” Others of you know the Lord. The issue for you is not to
make that first step but to practice what you already know. Say, “God help me to do what I know
is right.” That takes faith and courage. He will give you that faith and courage. Say, “Help me to
live Your word this week and apply even what I’ve heard today in the next few days.” Lord, Your
word is true. It is accurate and it pierces even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and the
joints and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Lord, we’ve seen
areas of our lives we need to work on today. Give us the strength and courage to do what we
know we need to do. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

The Blessed Life Part 1

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The Blessed Life – Part 1

I have the responsibility to preach and teach God’s Word. To talk to you about things that are difficult, but beneficial. Many times The Bible opposes our opinions

You can often tell what you need to hear by what you don’t want to hear 🙂

Here’s what I do know: We all want to live a Blessed Life

Psalm 112:1-5 NIV – Praise the Lord. Blessed are those who fear the Lord, who find great delight in his commands.Their children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in their houses, and their righteousness endures forever. Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous. Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice.

Blessed – Happy, Fortunate, to be envied. To endue with power for success, prosperity, abundant, (profuse, excessive, super, overflowing, extraordinary) supply, longevity, as to live in health, To invoke divine favor and good upon. peace

John 10:10 ESV – The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Life – Zoe (The God Kind of Life) Not only duration of life but Quality of Life. Eternal life is the nature of God.

Our reception of God’s Blessing depends upon our choices that we make

Deuteronomy 30:19 NIV – This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live

When you choose life with God, you choose a Blessed Life

(Philippians 3:7-8) “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ…”

Augustine said: “God is more anxious to bestow his blessings on us than we are to receive them.”
(1 John 2:17) “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”

“I have found God to be cordial and generous and in every way easy to live with.”
- A.W. Tozer

1. Blessing begins with Praise….”Praise the Lord”

Psalm 100:4 NIV – Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.

“The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings.” Henry Ward Beecher

Praise is the foundation of a blessed life. “God says He inhabits the praises of His people. So if you want God present & active in your home, praise Him!

Praise – the expression of approval or admiration for someone or something. In the Hebrew, “praise” is yadah, which means to praise, give thanks, or confess.

There are two different Hebrew words for “praise” in Psalm 149:3: “Let them praise [halal] His name with the dance; Let them sing praises [zamar] to Him with the timbrel and harp.” Halal means to praise, glorify, boast, commend, etc., and zamar means to make music or sing praises.

We can also praise God in song, singing, dance, prayer, proclamations, studying God’s Word, and the list goes on.

The big idea: when we praise God, we should exalt Him above all else. In order to properly give God praise, ask God to help you put Him first in your life.

Psalm 96:4 For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.
•No matter how we praise God, we must be sure to lift up His name above all else.

Everybody Praises something. It is the response of what you value most.
In every heart there is an altar and a throne. Follow the trail of your time, your affection, your energy, your money, your loyalty, your thoughts, dreams & ambitions, & your priorities. You will find who or what is sitting on the throne of your heart!

(Mark 12:30 NIV) “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
Ephesians 1:3 NIV –  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

Fear the Lord

To say we “fear” God does not mean we’re afraid of Him…

II Timothy 1:7 clarifies this, explaining that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-discipline”.

Definition – The fear of God is an awesome respect or reverence growing out of the greatness and power of God. To revere God as we ought, it is critical that we understand His nature.

Deuteronomy 10:12, 20-21 records, “And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Fear the LORD your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. He is your praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes.”

The fear of God is the basis for our walking in His ways, serving Him, loving Him, and being blessed by Him.

•Fearing God means having such a reverence for Him that it has a great impact on the way we live our lives. The fear of God is respecting Him, obeying Him, submitting to His discipline, and worshipping Him in awe.

Deuteronomy 5:29 NIV – Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!

Job 37:22-24 NIV Out of the north he comes in golden splendor; God comes in awesome majesty.The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power; in his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress.Therefore, people revere him, for does he not have regard for all the wise in heart?

Perhaps no one has captured the character of God better than C.S. Lewis in his Chronicles of Narnia, a series of 7 fantasy novels in which he portrays the Lord Jesus Christ as a lion, as John does in Revelation chapter 5. The lion is a figure fierce and powerful, yet tender. His splendor is dazzling. His wrath is terrible, yet His love and tenderness are infinite. To be in His presence was awesome. Quoting Lewis:

“As the Lion passed by they were terribly afraid He would turn and look at them, yet in some queer way they wished He would.” Naturally one would be nervous meeting a lion! The question was asked to one who knew this Lion well, “Is He safe?” I find the answer both wise and startling: “Safe? Who said anything about safe? Of course He isn’t safe. But He’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

Our motivation for fear grows out of an understanding of Who God is, because an understanding of the character and attributes of God motivates respect and reverence.

Deut 10:12 ESV, “What does the Lord require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the Lord with all your heart and all your soul.”

Eccl 12:13 NIV, “Now all has been heard; Here is the conclusion of the matter:Fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the duty of all mankind.”

Psalm 33:8 NKJV, “Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.”

God’s Nature is to Bless YOU

God is good
The Bible connects the name of the Lord or God or Jesus or the Spirit with “good” or “goodness” 370 Times.
Psalm 31:19 – How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you,that you bestow in the sight of all,
 on those who take refuge in you
Psalm 34:8 – Taste and See that the Lord is GOOD…(food exp)
God is like 100% Florida Orange Juice – He is 100% Good

God does good things for His people
God’s very nature is goodness.
Psalm 72:18 – Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel,
who alone does marvelous deeds.
Psalm 103:4-5 – 4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

“However many blessings we expect from God, His infinite liberality will always exceed all our wishes and our thoughts.”
- John Calvin

The Presence of God

presenceofgod
I Am the Church Pt 4 – The Presence of God

Exodus 33:12-16 NIV –  Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ 13 If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.”14 The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”15 Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”

David Valued the Presence of God

•Psalm 51:11-12 ESV – Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

The Importance of the Presence of God

•When God shows up, man made stuff is not needed. Presence of God is not weird. People are weird and their expressions.

When people step into worship services, they should sense that heaven has stepped down. -Steven Lawson

-Some People are IGNORANT to God’s Presence
•Acts 19:1-2 (NIV) – While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you Believed? They answered, No we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit”.

-Some People are RESISTANT to God’s Presence
•Acts 7:51 (NIV) – “You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit.”

•II Timothy 3:5 – “….having a form of godliness, but denying it’s power.”

2 Corinthians 3:16-17 Message – “Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are – face to face! They suddenly recognize that God is a living personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone. And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We’re free of it!”

We need the POWER not just words

•I Corinthians 2:3-5 – 3And(A) I was with you(B) in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of(C) the Spirit and of power, 5that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but(D) in the power of God.

2. We need an EXPERIENCE not just an explanation

•John 9:17-25 – So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said,(A) “He is a prophet.” The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” His parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. But how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus[a] to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.” So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.” He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”

•The Proof of God is not an explanation but is a Changed Life

3. We need PRESENCE not just practice

•Acts 2:28 – 28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
   you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

a. Every Church has a liturgy. A form that you can predict. We need the presence of God to interrupt our liturgy. Our program. We can’t have the Practice w/out His presence.

Presence of God is a Breath of Fresh Air

1. It produces REST. It’s not a goofy expression, but it’s peace!

•Isa. 63:14 (NIV) – They were given rest by the Spirit of the LORD. This is how you guided your people to make for yourself a glorious name.

2. It Produces FREEDOM. Not goofiness or a distraction.

•2 Corinthians 3:17 (NIV) – Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, There is Freedom.

3. It Produces JOY.

•Psalm 16:11 ESV – You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

•Raisin – A grape that lost its Joy. Raisins think Grapes are weird. they got juice! Prunes – used to be plums. (they are a moving experience)
•Count it all joy…..
•Jesus Rejoiced for 1 hour
•Sow in tears reap with songs of Joy!
•Phil. 4:4 – Rejoice in the Lord Always, again I say rejoice

4. It Produces VICTORY in your Life

• Psalm 68:1-2 – To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. A Song.
1 Let God arise, Let His enemies be scattered. Let those also who hate Him flee before Him.  2 As smoke is driven away, So drive them away; As wax melts before the fire, So let the wicked perish at the presence of God.

•When God gets up (HIS Presence shows up), The enemy has to go!
•In the OT, When they picked up the ARK of the Covenant, Moses would say, “let God Arise!”
-arise; to rise, rouse up, stir up
•Verse 2 = Satan has a nervous breakdown.

Scattered: dashed into pieces or break

It Gives Direction

•Romans 8:26-27 NIV –  In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

Preparing for an Encounter with the Presence of God

Matthew 13:14-15 ESV – Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says “‘You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive. 15For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes
and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’

Hosea 10:12 ESV- Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.

DESPERATION: Wanting God’s Way

•Matthew 5:6 –  6″Blessed are those who hunger and(A) thirst(B) for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

•Jeremiah 29:13 NIV – You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

2. HUMILITY: Wanting God’s Will

•Luke 22:42 ESV- saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”

•II Chron 7:14 ESV –  if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

3. REPENTANCE: Wanting God’s Work

•Psalm 51:10-13 ESV – Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not( your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.

•God doesn’t want perfection, but brokeness.

I Am the Church Part 2

iamthechurch3
“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Matthew 16:18

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2: 42-47

GraceTown Church purpose statement

“Connecting Seekers to God and to a Community of Christ Followers”

PEOPLE MATTER TO GOD!

People who matter the most:

1. The un-churched (spiritually disconnected)

“”For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
John 3:16-17

2. The hurting and wounded

Luke 10: 25-37 (Story of the Good Samaritan)

3. The Children

“Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:13-14

4. Those who cannot help themselves

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25: 35-40

The poor, the stranger, the sick and elderly, and the condemned

FOUR KEYS TO WINNING WITH PEOPLE

1. Caring for people should always precede confronting people.

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? Matthew 5:13

Salt adds something rather than take away something!

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:14-16

Light doesn’t attack darkness; it replaces it!

2. Do for others what they can’t do for themselves.

“But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.”
Matthew 9:36

“If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” 1 John 3:17

3. Be the first to help.

Give with no strings attached!

Giving tests the sincerity of my love for God.

Since you excel in so many ways–you have so much faith, such gifted speakers, such knowledge, such enthusiasm, and such love for us–now I want you to excel also in this gracious ministry of giving…This is one way to prove your love is real. 2 Cor. 8:7-8 NLT

4. Common Ground is the best “platform” to preach from.

(Paul) “I have been all things to all sorts of people that by every possible means I might win some to God.
I do all of this for the sake of the Good News.” 1 Corinthians 9:22-23 (Ph)

“…Yes, whatever a person is like, I try to find common ground with him so he will let me tell him about Christ and let Christ save him.” (Living Bible)

FOR PERSONAL REFLECTION THIS WEEK:

WHO WE ARE DETERMINES HOW WE SEE OTHERS

FOUR QUESTIONS WE MUST ASK OURSELVES IF WE WANT TO REACH PEOPLE:

1. Readiness: Am I prepared for relationships?

2. Connection: Am I willing to focus on others?

3. Trust: Can I build mutual trust with others?

4. Investment: Am I willing to invest in others?

I Am the Church Part 1

iamthechurch3
Ephesians 2:17-22 NIV He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. 19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Matthew 16:18

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2: 42-47

What does a fully devoted follower of Christ look like?

“So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.” Acts 11:26

Disciple: a student (pupil)
Christian: a follower of Christ or an imitation of Christ

Our goal is to move from being a student or pupil of Christ to a fully devoted follower of Christ. From Going to Church to Being the Church!

We seek to achieve our goal by focusing on six key priorities in our lives:

A priority is something that is given our attention before competing alternatives.
1. Worshipping God weekly

Definition of Worship: Expressing love to God

“Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.” Mat. 4:10

“…the Father seeks worshippers…and His worshippers must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”John 4:23-24

Worship Checkup

(Mark 12:30) “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your
soul, all your mind, and all your strength.”

1. Expressing my affection to God. •What do I love most?
2. Focus my attention on God •What do I think about most?
3. Use my abilities for God. •What do I do most?

2. Connecting with the church regularly

not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25 NIV

God has given us the privilege of being born again so that we are now members of God’s own family…1 Pet 1:3 TLB

“By this shall all men know that you are my disciples – that you have love for one another. John 13:35

“As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures” Acts 17:2

3. Growing in maturity daily

“Let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity…” Heb 6:1

“Grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Pet 3:18

3 things needed for spiritual growth:
a. The Word of God (Bible study, devotion, etc.)
b. The Holy Spirit (intimate relationship in prayer)
c. Time (Spiritual growth is a process)

4. Serving other people unselfishly

“Now God gives us many kinds of special abilities…and there are different kinds of service to God (ministry)…All of you together form the one Body of Christ and each of you is a separate and necessary part of it.” 1 Cor 12:4-5, 27 (LB)

At GraceTown Church…
…every member is a minister
…every ministry is important
…every member is a “10” in some area

Definition of ministry: Using your gifts and talents without thought of reward

God has given each of you some special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others God’s many kinds of blessings. 1 Pet 4:10 TLB

5. Sharing our faith effectively

Definition of Evangelism: Sharing the Good News

“His intent was that through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known…” Eph 3:10

“Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. But who can ask them to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells him?” Rom 10:13-14 (LB)

Evangelism Can Be as Natural as Conversation

The Living Bible translates 1 Corinthians 9:22, “… whatever a person is like, I try to find common ground with him so that he will let me tell him about Christ and let Christ save him.”

• Be natural. Normal conversation is fluid and respectful, allows for humor and invites response.
• Be open and willing to admit your struggles and failures.
• Be respectful, look at people for what they are as well as what they can become.
• Be simple. Communication increases as simplicity does. Don’t let Christian jargon get in the way.
• Don’t forget what it was like to be a non-Christian.
• Look forward to hindsight. Unbelievers will understand some things only after looking back on them.

6. Giving our resources consistently

Giving tests the sincerity of my love for God.

Since you excel in so many ways–you have so much faith, such gifted speakers, such knowledge, such enthusiasm, and such love for us–now I want you to excel also in this gracious ministry of giving…This is one way to prove your love is real. 2 Cor. 8:7-8 NLT

Acts 20:35 – There is more happiness in giving than receiving

Committed believers tithe of their income to God

“A tithe of everything you produce belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.” Lev 26:30

It’s Ok not to be Ok

It's Okay
IT’S OK TO NOT BE OKAY

Romans 8:1-2 ESV – There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.[a] 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you[b] free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

Are you one of those people that are GOOD at being BAD, and BAD at being GOOD?

There’s a common idea that being a CHRIST FOLLOWER means you must
be a “next to perfect” person…or at least pretend to be. Along with that
idea is the idea that people who attend church regularly are next to perfect or at least pretending to be.
• This idea causes some people to feel like they don’t qualify to be a
Christian….It hinders some people from attending church…getting involved in a church

“God does not love sinners because they are attractive; sinners are attractive to God because he loves them.” Luther

• This idea also makes it hard for believers to be honest about their struggles…their issues…and often times causes them to cover up what God wants to help them overcome.

EX: Bible Characters (see below)
Noah was a drunk
Abraham was too old
Isaac was a daydreamer
Jacob was a liar
Leah was ugly
Joseph was abused
Moses had a stuttering problem
Samson had long hair and was a womanizer
Rahab was a prostitute
Jeremiah and Timothy were too young
David has an affair and was a murderer & liar
Isaiah preached naked
Jonah ran from God
Peter denied Christ, The Disciples fell asleep while praying, Zaccheus was too small, Paul was too religious, Lazarus was dead!

God sees the best in the worst of us, knows the worst about the best of us, & loves us all without condition or exception.

The truth is that Good people, Gods people, are not exempt from hurts,
habits and hang ups. That church is not just for people who are OK….in
fact, if you’re not ok and you know you’re not ok there’s no better place
for you than God’s church! In fact, we all have struggles of some kind…products of Sin—our own and other people’s…

• If you were abandoned…abused…a child of divorce…
• If you grew up without a father or a mother…
• If you were molested or raped…
• If you were shown pornography at a young age…developed an appetite for pornography
• If you learned hate… or deception…
• If your parents divorced…
• If you were demeaned or verbally abused…

THEN CHANCES ARE…YOU’RE NOT OK…

–YOU’RE UNDISCIPLINED OR ANGRY, HURT, SHORT FUSED, SELF
DESTRUCTIVE, CAUGHT IN A VICE, ADDICTED TO HABITS THAT ENSLAVE YOU…

–IT DOESN’T MEAN GOD LOVES YOU LESS OR YOU LOVE GOD LESS…BUT IT DOES MEAN THAT GOD HAS SOMETHING A LOT BETTER FOR YOU… AND THAT YOUR ENEMY HAS FOUND A WAY TO KEEP YOU FROM EXPERIENCING GOD’S PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE!

John 10:10 NIV – The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

EX: Physical visible injuries/ invisible injuries/ BROKENNESS= people crippled internally…broken internally…wounded but looking fine on the outside. All of this BROKENNESS is the product of Sin…our own or someone else’s…but the brokenness originates in Sin.

IT’S OK TO NOT BE OKAY…IF YOU’RE ON YOUR WAY TO BEING OKAY!
IT’S NOT OK….

1) TO JUSTIFY IT.
This is when we say things like…

• At least I’m not as bad as some people…
• If you had been through what I’ve been through…you would be too!
• There are a lot worse things than what I do…

This may be true…BUT THE LAW CAME TO CONFRONT US WITH THE SERIOUSNESS OF SIN AND THE DEPTH OF GOD’S GRACE.

Romans 5:18-21 The Message (MSG) 18-19 Here it is in a nutshell: Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life! One man said no to God and put many people in the wrong; one man said yes to God and put many in the right. 20-21 All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that’s the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end.

• We can not know the depth of God’s Grace unless you understand the
seriousness of our sin!! It’s not ok to justify anything about our lives that misses the mark of God’s plan and purpose.

2) TO NOT DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT.

Proverbs 28:13 NIV – Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

This is when we say things like…

• I can’t help it…It’s to hard…
• I’ve tried to change and can’t…
• I just like to Party…
•I just like to eat…
•I have a high, insatiable sex appetite

TO LIE ABOUT IT.
Proverbs 12:19 NIV – Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.

Proverbs 12:22 NIV – The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.

Until you’re ready to be honest about it and make the decisions necessary to change you can have 10 accountability partners, 20 counselors, you can have 1000 angels watching over you, you can all have that, Jesus can visit you in the flesh, but until YOU’RE READY, nothing is going to change… Ladies and Gentleman, I can’t fix you today.

TO BLAME.

Matthew 7:3-5 ESV – Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

Genesis 3:8-13 (NIV) 8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” 11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” 12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

God called Adam on the carpet…”What are you doing?”…Why are you going after stuff that will mess you and your kids up?…

Adam= “It’s the woman’s fault…Eve lured me into it”… ever since then people have been blaming someone else for their problems.

TO BEAT YOURSELF UP OVER IT.

Psalms 38:4-8 NIV – My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly. I am bowed down and brought very low; all day long I go about mourning. My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body. I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart. Self condemnation and guilt works nothing good in your life. In fact, it only leads to an internalizing the defeat. Before anything good can happen you have to stop beating yourself up and start getting yourself up!!

***Emotional softness and self pity may be the most common reason people remain broken. ANY TIME YOU SEE PEOPLE EMBRACING A NEW LIFE….YOU WILL SEE TEARS/STRUGGLE….IF THEY PUSH
THROUGH THEY EXPERIENCE A NEW LEVEL OF MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL STRENGTH…

IF NOT…THEY STAY SOFT/GIVE UP TOO EASY…AND NEVER GO TO ANOTHER LEVEL OF SELF WILL AND DETERMINATION.

ACTION ITEMS:

WHEN YOU’RE READY FOR GOD TO HEAL THE BROKENNESS AND BEGIN THE PROCESS OF MAKING YOU A NEW PERSON…

TURN YOUR LIFE OVER TO HIM.

His will over your will and his ways over your ways.

• Ask God to do for you what only he can do…He won’t do what you
can do but he will do what you can’t do!!

Philippians 3:12-14 NIV –  Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
The Message –  I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.
• Work like it’s all up to you and Pray like it’s all up to God!

2 Cor. 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

2) EMBRACE ACCOUNTABILITY.

You can’t do it on your own.

Proverbs 27:17 NIV – As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

You will need a new schedule and a new lifestyle. One way to tip the
favor/strength to your advantage is to PUT YOURSELF IN A POSITION OF
ACCOUNTABILITY. THIS IS WHAT CHAMPIONS DO!!!

Say to a coach…I want to be a champion… I need you…..Please hold
me accountable for the changes I need to make.

Romans 14:12 NIV – So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE LIVING THE LIFE YOU WANT TO LIVE.

(1 Corinthians 15:33) “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.”

(Proverbs 13:20) “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.”

RECEIVE AN ABUNDANCE OF GRACE

Rom 5:17 NIV -For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

5) RENEW YOUR MIND DAILY.
Romans 12:1-3 NIV – Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. 3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.

• The mind of a broken person cannot produce the life of a healthy person.
• The mind of defeat won’t produce victory.
• The mind of fear will produce a different life than a mind of FAITH
• The mind of low self-worth will sabotage the great things God has for
you.

WHEN YOU THINK DIFFERENT YOUR LIFE WILL BE DIFFERENT!

We need to re-train and re-program your mind SO YOU CAN EXPERIENCE THE LIFE GOD HAS FOR YOU!

6) NEVER QUIT.

YOU WILL REACH GOALS!….you WILL experience God birthing NEW LIFE in you…NEW STRENGTHS in you… But there will never be a time to go back to your old life….your old ways.

You are now experiencing THE EVIDENCE of what the Bible calls a
“NEW CREATION” You’re overcoming…You’re a different person…But you’re still engaged in a battle for God’s

Psalm 27:13-14. I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

Psalm 22:26 (MSG). Here in this great gathering for worship I have discovered this praiselife. And I’ll do what I promised right here in front of the God-worshipers. Down-and-outers sit at God’s table and eat their fill. Everyone on the hunt for God is here, praising him.

“Live it up, from head to toe. Don’t ever quit!”

What is the Gospel?

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What Is the Gospel?

Gospel means, simply, “good news.” There are numerous so-called gospels in the world proclaiming good news to those who would listen, and these gospels come in any number of forms—from the gospel of wealth and power to the gospel of health and beauty. These gospels, however, do not address the most basic problem that all men and women have—the problem of sin and guilt; that is, spiritual deadness.

Put simply, the Gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ. It is good news because, without it, we stand condemned as sinners before a holy and just God, deserving His wrath. In Isaiah’s vision of the throne room of God, seraphim (angelic beings) cry out continually, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” Isaiah, overwhelmed in the presence of God, cries out in despair: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Isa. 6:3, 5)

Yet, in God’s perfect holiness—and this is the good news—God has, in His good pleasure, made a way for sinners to be reconciled to Himself through His Son Jesus Christ. John 3:16-17 says,
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.

Jesus Christ lived a righteous life and then died a terrible death on a Roman cross for His people. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6). Thus, Jesus Christ satisfied the holy and just requirements of God. God then raised Him from the dead, vindicating Christ’s work.

Sinners are called to repent and believe the Gospel and to trust in Christ for salvation. Sinners receive this free gift of salvation from God through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone and are thereby counted righteous before God. Romans 10:9-13 states, If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing His riches on all who call on Him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Having been justified, Christians are called to walk as “living sacrifices” unto Him through the Holy Spirit because they are not their own, but were “bought with a price” (Rom. 12:1; 1 Cor. 6:20). Just as God raised Jesus Christ, so Christians await a resurrection of their own bodies, Christ being the “first fruits” of the new creation (1 Cor. 15:20). Ultimately, this is their hope—that God has begun His work of “making all things new” in the work of Jesus Christ and in the continued sanctification of His saints (Rev. 21:5). They await the new heavens and new earth in which there will be no more sin, pain, or sorrow (Rev. 21:4).

It’s the End of the World and we know it

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“It’s the End of the World and we know it”

(Matthew 24:3) “As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the
disciples came to him privately. ʻTell us,ʼ they said, ʻwhen will this
happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the
age?ʼ ”

(2 Peter 3:3-10) First of all, you must understand that in the last days
scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They
will say, “Where is this ʻcomingʼ he promised? Ever since our fathers
died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But
they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed
and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters
also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same
word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for
the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not forget
this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years,
and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his
promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not
wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the
day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a
roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and
everything in it will be laid bare.”

Writing this letter near the end of his life, Peter wanted to remind Christians that
the final day is real. He calls it “the day of the Lord” and reminds his Christian
readers that it is unquestionably coming.

To scoff means to speak in a scornful or mocking way. What do scoffers think
about the end? In verse 4, Peter says that the false teachers mock the promise of
Christ’s return and a final judgment. “Where is it?” they ask. “Ever since the days
of the ancient patriarchs the world has gone on without interruption.” The scoffers
claim that God has not and will not intervene in world history.

How do we know?
√ People will do their own thing.

(Matthew 24:37-39) “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at
the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood,
people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage,
up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about
what would happen until the flood came and took them all away.”

√ People will forget God.

(Matthew 24:12) “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love
of most will grow cold.”

Many will turn away from the Faith, against the Faith, Twist the Faith, & Tune out
the Faith. Then there will be those that Trust the Faith & Tell the Faith!

√ People will think Heʼs not coming.

(1 Thessalonians 5:2) “For you know very well that the day of the
Lord will come like a thief in the night.”

√ People will not be ready.

(Matthew 24:40-42) “Two men will be in the field; one will be taken
and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one
will be taken and the other left. Therefore keep watch, because you
do not know on what day your Lord will come.”

If the end is near…

(1 Peter 4:7) “The end of all things is near…”

1. I should pray.

(1 Peter 4:7) “…therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so
that you can pray.”

Real prayer is driven by relationship not need or crisis.

a. Make it personal not formal.

(Matthew 6:7-8) And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like
pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many
words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need
before you ask him.

b. Pray with confidence.

(Hebrews 4:15-16) For we do not have a high priest who is unable
to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been
tempted in every way, just as we are —yet he did not sin. Let us
then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we
may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

(James 5:16 NLT) “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has
great power and produces wonderful results.”

2. I should focus on my relationships.

(1 Peter 4:8-9) “Above all, love each other deeply, because love
covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another
without grumbling.”

a. What relationship needs to be initiated?

(Luke 6:13) “When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose
twelve of them…”

b. What relationship needs to be nurtured?

(Galatians 5:13-15) “Serve one another in love. The entire law is summed
up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ If you keep on
biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each
other.”

c. What relationship needs to be restored?

(Ephesians 4:3) “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through
the bond of peace.”

d.What relationship needs to be severed?

(1 Corinthians 15:33) “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good
character.”

(Proverbs 13:20) “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion
of fools suffers harm.”

3. I should get my life right with God.

(2 Peter 3:11) “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what
kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly
lives.”

(Matthew 24:42) Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your
Lord will come.

(Romans 10:9-10) “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is
Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,
you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are
justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are
saved.”

4. Share Christ with urgency.

(Luke 12:16-21 NCV) “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop.
He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ Then
he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and
there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have
plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be
merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded
from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it
will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”

Conclusion
Just as there was a beginning, there will be an end. We will not be reincarnated. We
will not be given another chance. We live once, we will die once and then we will
stand before God. For unbelievers, today is the day to believe in him and turn from
sin. For believers, today is the day to live lives of godliness and holiness so that we
are ready for that final day.
Do you anticipate the coming of the Lord? Do you think much about eternity and
the day you will meet Jesus?

Use Somebody

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Use Somebody

Ephesians 2:10 NIV For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

I. God has a call for every person. It’s indispensable for the Christian life

1. The Call to Salvation
a. I Timothy 6:12 NIV – Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
b. I Peter 2:9 NIV – But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

2. The Call to Self Denial, & sometimes Suffering
a. I Peter 2:21 – To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
b. This is not popular amongst people today. We live in a self preservation society.
1. SELFISHNESS – devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others
2. Am I willing to put others first? (Mark 9:35) “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
a. Matthew 16:24 – Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
b. Romans 8:16-18 – The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

3. The Call to Serve
a. Isaiah 6:8 – Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
b. The Big Idea: In the world, greatness is determined by how many people SERVE YOU; but, in God’s kingdom, greatness is determined by how many people YOU SERVE.
c. We accompany God on His mission. We are not called alone.
1. John D Rockefeller said, “I believe that the rendering of useful service is the common duty of mankind, and that only in purifying fire of sacrifice is the dross of selfishness consumed and the greatness of the human soul set free.”

a. Salvation call us to “Come unto Him”, But service calls us to “Go”
b. Matthew 28:19-20 – Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

II. When We Serve we live beyond ourselves

•“In my view, people are never closer to living out the teachings of Christ than when they are adding value to someone else’s life. And people who are far from God are rarely more impacted than when they see 21st-Century Christ-followers behaving as Christ behaved.” ~Bill Hybels

•Our nation is fueled by service. The basis of capitalism. Providing of a service

1. Serving others is your ultimate calling.
(John 13:14) “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.”
(Mark 8:35 NLT) “If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will find true life.”

•God will not look you over for your medals, or your degrees, or for your diplomas, God will look you over for your scars of service.

2. Serving others brings absolute fulfillment.
(Hebrews 6:10 NLT) “He will not forget how hard you have worked for Him and how you have shown your love to Him by caring for other Christians.”
(John 13:1) “It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.”

•The Value of serving on a Sunday / It’s a BIG DEAL / changing a life

(Matthew 25:21) “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things so; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

•Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s, once appeared on the cover of their annual report dressed in a knee-length work apron, holding a mop and a plastic bucket. Here’s how he described that picture: “I got my M.B.A. long before my G.E.D. At Wendy’s M.B.A. does not mean Master of Business Administration. It means Mop Bucket Attitude.”


“This is a story about 4 people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did. Somebody got angry with that because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody would not do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.”
Are you content to let Somebody Else serve?


(Luke 18:29-30 GW) “I guarantee this. Anyone who gives up
anything for the kingdom of God will certainly receive many times
more in this life and will receive eternal life in the next world to
come.”

(Luke 6:38 Message) “Give your life away and youʼll find your life
given back. But not merely given back. Given back with bonus and
blessing.”

What Now?

(Titus 3:8) “I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

”Do all the good you can, In all the ways you can, To all the souls you can, In every place you can, At all the times you can, with all the zeal you can, As long as you can.” John Wesley

(Proverbs 3:27-28 Message) “Never walk away from someone who
deserves help; your hand is Godʼs hand for that person. Never tell your
neighbors to wait until tomorrow if you can help them now.”

3. I must seize the opportunity & Participate

(Galatians 6:10) “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good
to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of
believers.”

(Colossians 4:5-6) “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders;
make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be
always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how
to answer everyone.”

(Matthew 9:35-38) “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

What can you do in your everyday life to help someone? What can you do here on a Sunday to serve ? •”become the glove into which Christ inserts his divine hand.”

•You don’t have to be a seminary graduate, or a college graduate, all you have to be is you and willing.
•I am asking you this morning, step out and make a commitment to be a part of what God wants to do in our Church.