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Listed below are ten sermons

 

 

"A REFLECTION OF GOD’S GRACE"

GENESIS 50:15-21

 

INTRO:  When you study the life of Joseph you will see that anywhere you touch his life you can see a reflection of Jesus Christ.  In fact, Joseph is a wonderful Old Testament type of the LORD Jesus Christ.  In all his dealings, Christ shines beautifully thro­ugh!

 

With all that happened to Joseph at the hands of his brothers it makes you wonder how he could forgive as he did.  Betrayed, sold into slavery, and forced to live in a foreign land, and yet in all of this, Joseph still was not vindictive, but only had mercy, love, and forgiveness toward his brethren.  He truly lived the Biblical mandate which says, "See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever fol­low that which is good..." (1 Thessalonians 5:15).

 

Joseph could have, as we do so many times, retaliated and sought vengeance on his brothers, but knew that "Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord" (Hebrews 10:30).  But Joseph serves as a beautiful “reflection of God's grace," and grace does not show vindictiveness or retaliation.  It merely shows love, mercy, and forgiveness to those undeserving of its favor.

 

That's what God's grace is all about!  “Man is broken; he lives by mending.  The grace of God is the glue." (Eugene O’Neill) (Albert M Wells, Jr. Inspiring Quotations-Contemporary & Classical. p. 83).  The relationship between Joseph and his brethren had been broken.  Joseph had par­doned them years earlier so the relationship was on the mend.  Joseph's love and forgiveness was the glue that was needed to bind their relationship back together!

 

In our text, we see that Jacob's passing bad brought great panic to Joseph's ten older brothers.  With Jacob dead, they feared Joseph would "requite us all the evil which we did unto him." (v15).  This they thought even though Joseph had forgiven them years earlier and had de­monstrated his affection and care for them on many occasions over the years.  Yet they still feared the worst.  I want us to notice three things in the message with me this morning:

 

(1)  THE MISERY OF SINNERS

       GENESIS 50:15—“And when Joseph's brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him.”

 

A.  THE PAINFUL MEMORY.  It had been nearly 40 years since his brothers

      had so badly treated him.  Yet, they were still in misery over their evil deed.

      (John G. Butler. Joseph-The Patriarch of Character. p. 180).  The memory is

      a wonderful thing.  But the memory can also serve as our torturer if we

      have done evil.  The memory of what they did to Joseph contin­ually

      haunted them and caused them to fear Joseph needlessly.  Sin is a terrible

      task-master.  Although sin may be pleasurable for a season, a man will

      soon discover that the pleasure of it is not lasting and the profit not large.

      (John G. Butler. Joseph-The Patriarch of Character. p. 180). “When you

      have finished committing sin, sin is not finished with you.  The first cost is

      high, but it is only the down payment.  You keep paying in your

      conscience, in your body, and in the suffering you inflict on your fam­ily,

      your friends, and your community…” (Ruth Copeland) (Albert M Wells, Jr.

      Inspiring Quotations-Contemporary & Classical. p. 187).

 

B.  THE PERCEIVED MOTIVE.  Joseph’s brothers feared that when Jacob died

      there would be no reason for Joseph to not retaliate and exact revenge on

      them!  Joseph’s brothers felt that the only thing re­straining him from

      getting revenge on them was the fact Jacob was alive.  Now that their fa­ther

      was gone, their fear of Joseph returned. (Gordon Talbot. A Study of

      Genesis. p. 285).  But grace does not operate that way.  It is always

      forgiving!  It is always merciful!  When God saved us He forgave and forgot

      our sins (Hebrews 10:17; Psalms 103:12).  They shall not be remembered

      against us any more.  Thus, we should not allow the memory of our past

      wickedness to overwhelm us.  God has forgiven and forgotten.  Let us forget

      also! 

 

(2)  THE MISTRUST OF SINNERS

            GENESIS 50:16-17— And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying,

                       Thy father did command before he died, saying, So shall ye say

                       unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren,

                       and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee,

                       forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And

                       Joseph wept when they spoke unto him.”

 

A.  THE NATURE OF SIN.  It had been seventeen years since Joseph had

     forgiven them, and though Joseph during that time had lovingly and

     faithfully cared for them, his brethren still feared retaliation from Joseph for

     their crime. They simply did not trust Joseph.  It was not a reflection of

     Joseph personally, but rather it was a result of the nature of sin and the

     nature of the brothers. (John G. Butler. Joseph-The Patriarch of Character.

     p. 180).  Sin displays certain characteristics:

 

Þ Sin Does Not Trust Others.  The brothers did not trust Joseph because of their sin.  Many criminals say their crimes so haunt them that they are continually looking over their shoulder.  Fearing they are being pursued by the law!  They do not trust any situation or person.

Þ Sin Is Bent On Retaliation.  They could not get past the reasoning that Joseph would seek revenge on them.  That is the nature of sin: You hurt me, I hurt you!  You get me, and I will get you back! 

Þ Sin Produces A Fear of Retali­ation, A Fear of Judgment.  What We Call Guilt.  Matthew Poole said, "Guilt doth so awaken fear, that it makes a man never to think himself se­cure."  Matthew Henry said, "A guilty conscience exposes men to continual frights, oven where no fear is, and makes them sus­picious of everybody." (John G. Butler. Joseph-The Patriarch of Character. p. 181).

      

             ILLUS:  Arthur Conan Doyle found great humor in a practical joke he

                           played on twelve famous friends.  Each of these men was

                           virtuous and respected.  Doyle sent every one of them the

                           same telegram:  "Fly at once, all is discovered."

 

              Within twenty-four hours the dozen men of reputa­tion had

              taken a trip out of the country.  NO matter how noble our

              reputation is, we all have things for which we are ashamed

              and hope no one discovers.  The only lasting solution to a

              guilty conscience is the forgiveness of God Himself (Romans

              8:1) (Raymond McHenry. The Best of In other Words. p. 123).

             

              Fear is a result of sin and only through the perfect love of God can

              fear be cast out!  1 John 4:18 tells us, There is no fear in love; but

              perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth

              is not made perfect in love.”  Cain, the first murderer felt the fear

             of revenge and expressed it to God when he said, "It shall come to

              pass, that everyone that findeth me shall slay me.” (Genesis 4:14).

             Joseph, a reflection of God's grace, showed only love and forgiveness

             to his brethren, not revenge or retali­ation.

 

B.  THE NATURE OF THE BROTHERS.  The reason the brothers feared

      retaliation so much is that they were the same way themselves!  They

      measured Joseph by their own hearts.  Isn’t that how the lost of this world

      operate?  Isn’t that the meaning behind the words, “every one is doing it”? 

      But Joseph's nature was, like our LORD Jesus, to forgive and not hold a

      grudge.  Even on the cross, Jesus prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they

      know not what they do!" (Luke 23:34).  We, as believers, are not to have

      the nature of Joseph's brothers, but that of Joseph.  Forgiveness is a

      reflection of God's grace!  Listen to the exhortation of Paul in Ephesians

      4:32—And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another,

      even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.”

 

      ILLUS:  A man was awakened in the middle of the night by a phone call. 

                   On the other end was a frantic and sobbing girl who managed to

                   get out these words, "Daddy, I'm pregnant."  He was groggy and

                   stunned but communicated his forgiveness and prayed with her.

                   The next day he and his wife wrote their daughter two letters of

                   love and counsel.  Three days later the man recei­ved another

                   phone call.  His daughter was shocked by the let­ters because she

                   was not the one who had called.  Some other dis­traught girl had

                   dialed the wrong number.  Nonetheless the letters were not

                   wasted.  Their expressions of unconditional love and forgiveness

                   are now a treasured possession.

 

                   Here are a few excerpts:  "Though I weep inside, I can’t condemn

                   you, because I sin too.  Your transgression is no worse than mine

                   it's just different.  It all comes from the same sin pack­age you

                   inherited through us.  We love you more than I can say.  And

                   respect you, too, as always. Remember God's love is in even this. 

                   This is a day of testing, but hold our ground we must, God will give

                   us the victory.  We're looking forward to your being home. Love,

                   Dad." (Raymond McHenry. The Best of In other Words. p. 107)

 

If Joseph wrote a letter to his brothers, I'm sure it would he similar to this one.  He didn't condemn them.  He merely loved them!

 

(3)  THE MERCY FOR SINNERS

            GENESIS 50:16-21—And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying,

                   Thy father did command before he died, saying, So shall ye say unto

                   Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and

                   their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive

                   the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph

                   wept when they spoke unto him.  And his brethren also went and fell

                   down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. 

                   And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? 

                   But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto

                   good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. 

                   Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones.

                   And he comforted them, and spoke kindly unto them.”

 

A.  THE MESSAGE. The ten older brothers, in their fear, sent a messenger

      with a message to Joseph that they said came from Jacob (vv. 16-17).

      When Joseph heard this message he wept (v17).  Theodore Epp said,

      “Joseph wept because his brothers refused to believe him.  It was heart-

      breaking for him to realize his brothers had so little faith in him."  Thomas

      Whitelaw said Joseph wept because he was "pained that they should for a

      single moment have enter­tained such suspicions against his love." (John G.

      Butler. Joseph-The Patriarch of Character. p. 182).

 

B.  THE MERCY.  Someone said, “Doing an injury puts you below your enemy;

      revenging one makes you even with him; forgiving it sets you above him. –

      Anonymous. Men of Integrity, Vol. 1, no. 1).  Joseph did more than just

      weep, he gave his brothers immediate strong assurance of their forgiveness

      (vv. 19-21).  What a reflection of the grace of God!  This action of Joseph

      certainly pictured well the glorious truth of grace which the gospel

      proclaims!  Grace forgives the foulest of sin­ners and grace will keep him

      forever from judgment.  I want you to consider with me two truths about

      grace and forgiveness:

 

Þ    Whom Grace Will Forgive.  Some sinners believe they are to sin­ful to be saved, but God promises for­giveness to all who call in faith upon Him (Romans 10:9-10, 13; Hebrews 7:25).  God's forgiveness is not in proportion to the size of a person's sin but the size of the Savior’s mercy!  The brother's mistake was to judge Joseph's forgiveness by their guile, not by his grace. (John G. Butler. Joseph-The Patriarch of Character. p. 183).  Sinners many times do the same with God. But the gospel proclaims that Christ gives pardon to every sinner who repents regardless of his sin!  This pardon is not of merit, but of grace!  Romans 3:24 says, Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”  Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us, For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”  Friend, if you have been forgiven it is all because of GRACE! 

 

Þ    How Long Grace Will Forgive.  Forgiveness is based upon God's grace not our goodness (Titus 3:5)!  One is not forgiven because he is good (Romans 3:10, 23); for if he was good he would not need forgiveness.

 

       Grace saves us!  Grace will keep us! If this is not true grace is not grace!  1

       Peter 1:3-5 says, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

       which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively

       hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance

       incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven

       for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation

       ready to be revealed in the last time.”

 

       Joseph did not say, “If you continue to be good; I will care for you."  NO, he

       gave them an unconditional promise (v21) (John G. Butler. Joseph-The

       Patriarch of Character. p. 184).

 

       The security of the believer is based on the grace of God!

 

CLOSING:  How do you respond when others fail you?  Are you a reflection of

                  God's grace or else, do you seek opportunity for revenge?  Sir

                  Walter Scott had difficulty with the idea of "turning the other

                  cheek."  But Jesus' words took on special meaning one day when

                  Scott threw a rock at a stray dog to chase it away.  His aim was

                  straighter and his delivery stronger than he had intended, for he hit

                  the animal and broke its leg. Instead of running off, the dog limped

                  over to him and licked his hand.  Sir Walter never forgot that

                  touching response. He said, "That dog preached the Sermon on the

                  Mount to me as few ministers have ever presented it."  Scott said he

                  had not found human beings so ready to forgive their enemies.

                  (Bible Illustrator for Windows. Version 3.0f. Copyright 1990-1998,

                  by Parsons Technology, Inc. All Rights Reserved).  God would have

                  each believer to follow His example in love and forgiveness!

 

                  Lost, friend, your sin is never too great for God to forgive and save

                  you.  He pro­mises to forgive if only you will unto Him (John 5:24;

                 6:37)!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"A Sad Funeral Service"

Ecclesiastes 8:8-13

 

INTRO.   The Scripture tells us there are two appointments which all men must face:  Death and the Judgment.  “And as it is appoin­ted unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” (Hebs. 9:27).  None of us like to think of or contemplate our death. But it is something that will strike all of us if the LORD tarries.  "Death is an offer we can't refuse."-Robert M. Fine (1)  Death is a busy worker, and funerals are no uncom­mon sight.  Each one in this room has been touched by death or else will be touched by death in the near future!

 

Some funerals are definitely more sorrowful than others beca­use of the character of the life one has lived.  Revelation 14:13 says, "Blessed are the dead that die which die in the LORD.."  What a joy it is to die with the knowledge that one is ready to meet the LORD!  But oh what sorrow to those who die unprepared to meet God!  Someone has said, "the saddest thing from birth to sod is a dying man who has not God." (2) It is better for a person to have never been born, than to leave this life not born-again!

 

I want to speak on this subject today, "A Sad Funeral Service" One of the hardest things any preacher will ever do is to pre­side at the funeral service of a lost person.  Why?  Because when death comes to a person without Christ all opportunities to receive Christ are gone forever!  Oh, how sad!  Oh, how sorrowful!  Not only does the death of a lost person bring us tears and sorrow, but it also breaks God's heart also.  In Ezekiel 33:11 we read, "As I live, saith the LORD God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live:  turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die...?"  In Ecclesiates 8:8-13, we read of "A Sad Funeral Service."  Why is it so sad?  Because the person described is a lost person.  Notice that this person had a FORM OF WORSHIP (vlOa).  This person had, as 2 Timothy 3:5 describes, "a form of godliness, but denying the power there of.."  But there was a FALTERING IN THE DAY OF DEATH (vvs. 11-13).  All the person's good deeds could not save him!  Nor could he prolong his days.  Job 14:4-5 tells us, "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean thing?  Not one.  See his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass." And all that was left of this person at his death was a FADED MEMORY (vlOb).

 

I want us to look at THREE THINGS present at this "Sad Funeral

Service":

 

(1)   A Sorrowful Minister

 

A.    Because of desires not fulfilled

                           Romans 9:3; 10:1

*Lost friend, my heart's desire for you today is that you might be saved.  Nothing breaks the heart of a preacher of the Gospel more than to see people resist the call of God and leave this place lost!  why?:

 

1)   Because Of The Brevity of Life (Proverbs 27:1; James

4:14).

2)   Because Of The Certainty of Death (2 Samuel 14:14).

3)   Because Of The Reality of Judgment (Rev. 20:11-15).

 

B.  Because of duty not forsaken (1 Corinthians 9:16).  Lost friend, I want you to know that as long as I'm here.  I am going to warn you about your lost condition and encourage you to receive Christ as your Savior!  Why?:

 

1)  Because I Love You!

2)  Because God Has Called Me to Do so!

3)  Because I Want To Spend Eternity With You!

 

C.  Because of deceit not failing (James 1:15).  Lost friend, if you leave this life without Christ it will be because of the deceit of sin!  Jesus Christ is the Truth.  He came to give you life (John 8:32).  Satan is a liar, a deceiver.  He came to rob men of their souls (John 10:10).  If you remain lost Satan through the deceitfulness of sin will rob you of your soul and yours will be a sad funeral!

 

(2)  A Silenced Congregation

 

*Why a silenced congregation?:

 

A.  Because death is a chilling experience.  “Ninety-five per­cent of the people who died today expected to live a lot longer."-Albert M. Wells, Jr. (3)

 

1.  They See The Face Of The Sinner (vlOb).

 

Job 21:13-15--“They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave. Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.  What is the Almighty, that we should serve Him?  And what profit should we have, if we pray unto him?"

 

Job 21:17-18; 20--"How oft is the candle of the wicked put out!  And how oft cometh their destruction upon them!  God distributeth sorrows in his anger.  They are as stubble before the wind, and as chaff that the storm carrieth away.  His eyes shall see his destruction, and he shall drink of the wrath of the Almighty."

 

2.         They Have The Feelings Of the Sinner.  What a loss to the dead person's soul! (2 Thessalonians 1:9). Forever separated from the face of Almighty God! Words cannot adequately expression the sorrow of this condition!

 

B.   There Is A Horrible Realization (vvs. 12-13).  What tragedy without the LORD!  What sorrow! (Hebrews 9:27)

 

Psalm 9:17

 

C.  There Is A Lack Of Consolation.  What possible consolation can be given to those who suffer the loss of a lost father, mother, sister, brother, or child?  What words can suffice?

 

(3)   A Suffering Sinner

 

A.  A Body Here-The Soul There (In Hell).  It is said of the rich man in Luke 16:22b-23, “The rich man also died, and was buried;  And in Hell he lift up his eyes, being in tor­ments. . ..”  Lost friend, the moment you draw your last breath and your soul leaves this body, you will be in hell in torments!  We will have a funeral service for you, for your body, and oh what a sad funeral it will be.  Because as you body lies in that casket, your soul will be in tor­ment in the flames of hell!

 

B.  The Burden Here-The Belief There.  Lost friend, the Christ you rejected in this life will be real to you in hell!  You will believe in Him and would give anything to have Him as your LORD and Savior!  And oh what burden you will have for your lost friends and family members (Luke 16:27-31)!

 

C.  The Victor Here-The Battle There.  Lost friend, Christ died for you!  He was victorious over death, hell, and the grave (1 Corinthians 15:55-57), but that will mean nothing to you in hell!  All you have to look forward to is an eternity of separation from God and suffering in Hell's flames!

 

CLOSING:  The next service you may attend may be in a box.  Are you ready to

                  meet God?  The next destination you face may be death?  Are you

                  ready to die?  What a sorrow to die without Jesus!  What a Sad

                  funeral!  But this very instant you can be saved and freed from that

                  terrible fear!  Will you accept Jesus today?

 

NOTES:  1. Albert H. Wells, Jr. Inspiring Quotations-Contemporary & Classical.  Pg. 54.

2.    Wells. Pg. 55.

3.    Wells. Pg. 55.

 

 

 

“A Still Small Voice!”

I Kings 19:1-21

 

INTRO.   God speaks to mankind in various different ways. Some times He speaks through THE SCRIPTURES, at other times God speaks through sicknesses, at times He may speak by sorrow or simply by a still small voice.

 

The prophet Elijah in 1 Kings 19:13 was pri­vileged to hear God speak to him in a still small voice.  Elijah had heard God speak to him many times, but never in this sort of man­ner.  God had wrought many miracles through Elijah and gave him the words to speak, but never had God spoke to him in a still small voice.  In 1 Kings 19:1-21, the prophet had reached a point in his ministry where he felt like quitting and just dying, but God had dif­ferent plans for Elijah.

 

The prophet had just faced down 850 prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel.  He had seen the mirac­ulous hand of God Who sent down fire from heaven attesting to the fact that He was THE TRUE GOD, yet in v4, we see Elijah saying, "It is enough: O LORD, take away my life:  For I am not better than my fathers."  God had protected the prophet all down through his ministry from the evil Je­zebel, but now we see the prophet fleeing for his life for fear of Jezebel and requesting God to take his life.

 

We shouldn't condemn Elijah for his words, for haven't we spoke similar ones?  "LORD, Why don't you just come back now?"  Or "LORD, take me on to Glory."  It is these times that we need to hear God's still small voice as Elijah heard it. The still small voice of God brought encourage­ment to Elijah's heart and it will to ours, if only we will listen!

 

That still small voice speaks even today!  Can you hear it?  Is it speaking to you?  The still small voice brought 3 things to Elijah's life, as it will to ours, if we will listen to the voice.

 

THE STILL SMALL VOICE WAS:

 

(1)  Convicting

            Text: 1 Kings 19:11-13

 

                  GOD'S STILL VOICE SPEAKS:

 

      A.  THE WORD OF GOD (v9).

                   Psalm 119:9, 11, 105; Hebrews 4:12

 

          B.  THE WILL OF GOD.

                       Romans 8:26-28

 

      *The voice probes our Hearts (vl3b)—“…What doest thou here, Elijah?”

                    Psalm 139:23-24

 

(2)  Convincing

             Text: 1 Kings 19:14-17

 

A.     HE FOLLOWED THE LORD’S COMMAND. In v15 God commands Elijah—“Go…” and according to v19, Elijah "departed thence."  When we hear the still small voice, we MUST heed what it says, for it is God speaking to us! Psalm 33:4 says, For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth.”  James 1:22-25 tells us, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.  But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”  We are told not only to HEAR the WORD but also to HEED the WORD!

  

B.     HE FOUND CONFIDENCE IN THE LORD.  When God speaks we MUST LISTEN, trust, and obey!  1 Samuel 3:10 says, "Speak, for thy servant heareth."  Listening, trusting and obeying God’s Word brings confidence, assurance and peace!  Psalm 85:8 says, I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.”

 

(3)  Comforting

             Text: 1 Kings 19:18—Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all

               the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth

               which hath not kissed him.”

 

A.     HE FOUND COMFORT IN GOD’S PRESENCE. Elijah was not alone!  Neither are WE!  The Lord promised in John 14:16-17, 26—And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

 

B.     HE FOUND COMFORT IN GOD’S POWER. God's Voice always brings comfort!  The wonderful love and power of God bring comfort to us as we face the difficulties of life.  The Psalmist said in Psalm 119:76—Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant.”  He had no source of comfort in himself, and he had no claim on God for comfort. It was through mercy alone that he could have happiness of any kind. (Albert Barnes’ Notes On The Bible).  Elijah found comfort in the power and presence of God.  God was there with Him and has promised to be with us at all times, “for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5b).

 

CLOSING:  There may be one here today that can hear that still small voice

                  speaking to you.  If that person is lost, that voice may be saying,

                  "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice,

                   and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and

                   he with me." (Revelation 3:20).

 

                  Or perhaps, a Christian has heard the voice to­day.  You feel

                  discouraged, defeated, and dis­heartened, but the voice is saying to

                  you, "Come unto me, ALL ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I

                  will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28).

 

                 God is speaking; are you listening?  Let us not be as the Israelites of

                 old, but "Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts..."

                 (Hebrews 3:7b-8a).  Can you hear His voice?  Will you come in

                 response to Him?

 

 

 

 

 

"A Trip To The Potter's House"

Jer. 18:1-6; 2 Tim. 2:19-21

 

INTRO:  Before we got saved our life was a mess.  But when Jesus came in our

              hearts everything changed. 2 Cor. 5:17-“Therefore if any man be in

              Christ, He is a new creature:  old things are passed away; behold all

              things are become New."

 

              WE are not perfect now, but someday we will be. God is continually

              working on us to work out the rough spots and make us into what

              He'd have us to be.

 

              Just as the potter works with a piece of clay until He makes it into

              what He wants it to be, God does the same with us.  Aren't you glad

             Jesus didn't throw the clay away!??

 

For God To use us, our body of clay must be:

 

(1)  Purged- Cleansed of what is impure

          Text:  2 Tim. 2:21-Separate

          John 10:27-Submissive

 

(2)  Prepared-Text: Jer. 18:4a

    

      *How Do We Prepare? By:

 

       (a)  Studying God's word-2 Tim. 2:15

       (b)  Praying for God's strength-2 Chron. 7:14

       (c)  Seeking God's will-James 4:8

 

Then we will be:

 

(3)  Pleasing

           Text: 2 Tim. 2:21

           Jer. 18:4b

           Eph. 2:10—The purpose of our salvation

 

Closing:  Are you living your life unto God or are you letting the world control

               your actions?  For God to make us useful to Him we must be

               separate and set apart for him and submissive to His voice!

                    John 10:27

 

 

"A VESSEL GOD CAN USE"
2 TIMOTHY 2:19-26

TEXT VERSES: 2 TIMOTHY 2:20-21

INTRO: Paul used an illustration of a "great house". This describes the
professing Church. Just because a person is a member of one of the
LORD'S Churches doesn't necessarily mean that per¬son is a
Christian! As in Jesus' parable of the tares among the wheat, there
are many mere professors in the LORD'S Churches today! Jesus said
in Matthew 7:21, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall
enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father
which is in heaven."

Paul says this "great house" has the foundation of God. The LORD'S
Church is founded upon the Rock, Christ Jesus! Jesus said in
Matthew 16:18, "… upon this rock I will build my church; and the
gates of hell shall not prevail against it." 1 Corinthians 3:11 says, "For
other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus
Christ." Jesus is the Rock, the TRUE FOUNDATION! All other ground
is sinking sand!

Paul further says that this "great house" has this seal, "The Lord
knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of
Christ depart from iniquity." (v19b). In the BIBLE, a seal is a mark of
ownership and security. The Church is a purchased possession
belonging to the LORD Himself! Ephesians 5: 25-27 tells us,
"Christ...loved the Church, and gave himself for it; that he might
sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he
might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or
wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without
blemish."

During the Roman occupation, in Paul's time, no one would dare
break a Roman seal. The seal on this "great house" had two
inscriptions. The first refers to the God-ward side of the Christian life:
God chose us who trusted Him as His elect. 1 Peter 1:2 tells us that
believers are, "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,
through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the
blood of Jesus Christ...". The latter aspect is the man-ward aspect of
the Christian life (v19b). In other words, those who are the elect of
God prove it by living godly lives. According to Ephesians 1:4, we are
chosen in Christ "that we should be holy and without blame before
him in love" (Warren W. Wiersbe. The Bible Exposition Commentary.
Volume 2. p. 247). A true Christian should act as a Christian! Paul
lastly tells us that this "great house" has various vessels for
performing various functions. He divides them into two classes:
Those of honor and those of dishonor.

All of us who really love our LORD desire to be "A Vessel God Can
Use." The question is, “What qualifications does God give us here for
usefulness?” There are three qualifications Paul lists here:

A VESSEL GOD CAN USE:
(1) MUST BE FIT
2 TIMOTHY 2:21—“If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall
be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master's use,
and prepared unto every good work.”

A. THE POSSIBLITY—“…a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the
master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” The word "prepared"
used here is translated from a Greek word that means "made ready". The
word “fit” according to Webster's Dictionary means "prepared and ready".
It is more important in this life, as believers, how we walk the walk than
how we talk the talk! The cause of Christ has suffered great damage over
the years from those whose lives have been a contradiction of their
profession! (Philippians 2:15-16a). This world would rather see a sermon
in the lives of God's people than to hear one any day!

ILLUS: Mark 4:21 says, "is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or
under a bed?" Vance Havner noted two things which hinder our
Christian testimony, the bushel and the bed. The bushel stands
for business, commercialism, money-making. Our only business
is to do the Will of God. That is our vocation but most Christians
treat it as a vacation, something to be done only once in a while.

The Bed stands for pleasure, ease, worldly comfort. There is no
testimony among those who are at ease in Zion. Churches are
filled with "lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God" (2 Tim. 3:4).
What a host of animated corpses run around doing church work!
Said the Irishman who saw a tombstone marked "I yet Live": "If I
was dead I wouldn't be ashamed to admit it." But professing
believers are dead and don't know it. (Vance Havner. The Vance
Havner Notebook. p. 29).

B. THE PREPARATION—“…prepared unto every good work.” How do we
make ourselves fit so we are a vessel God can use?:

1) Purging Ourselves From Ungodliness (v21a). A good servant of the Lord
will separate himself from anything that might compromise his testimony in
the LORD! This purging must be in two areas:

? From Sin In our Lives (Psalm 139:23-24).
? From Complicity To Evil (2 Corinthians 6:17). Separation in the BIBLE is not total isolation, but it is from complicity to evil! Ephesians 5:11 tells us—“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”

The important thing is that the honorable vessels not be contaminated by
dishonorable ones! The useful human vessel of honor does not get involved
in the popular things of the world, even the "religious world". We must
remain holy, and this means we must be separated from everything that
would defile us! (Warren W. Wiersbe. The Bible Exposition Commentary.
Volume 2. p. 248). 1 Thessalonians 2:12 commands us—“That ye would
walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.”

2) Prepare Ourselves To Grow (v21b) (2 Peter 3:18). How do we prepare
ourselves?:
? Prayer (Philippians. 4:6-7).
? Bible Study (2 Timothy 2:15; 3:16-17).
? Submission To Christ And His Will (Galatians 2:6-7).

When we do these things then we will be a vessel "pre¬pared unto every good
work" (v21c). Only vessels of finest quality are fit for the Master's use!
None of us are fit of ourselves, but through His grace we can be pleasing to
Him! (1 Corinthians 15:10; Philippians 2:13).

(2) MUST BE FOCUSED
2 TIMOTHY 2:22—“Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness,
faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure
heart.”

A. THE FLEEING AND THE FOLLOWING—“Flee…youthful lusts: but follow
righteous, charity, peace…”. "Flee youthful lusts..." The word "flee" is
translated from a Greek word that means—"To run from, to shun, and to
escape from." The word "youthful" is translated from a Greek word that
means—"juvenile". 1 Thessalonians 5:22 tells us to—“Abstain from all
appearance of evil.” A vessel God can use will be mature in the faith! 1
Corinthians 13:11—“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood
as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away
childish things.” True Bible separation and growth in grace must be
balanced! We will flee sin, but we will follow after righteousness! (Warren
W. Wiersbe. The Bible Exposition Commentary. Volume 2. p. 248). We are
to flee sin, and follow after righteousness. 1 Peter 1:14-16 tells us—“As
obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in
your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all
manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”
Romans 14:17—“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but
righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”

"If Christians were afraid of worldliness as much as they are of holiness,
they would set the world on fire for Christ." (Albert M. Wells, Jr. Inspiring
Quotations-Contemporary & Classical. p. 88).

B. THE FAITHFULNESS AND THE FERVENCY—“follow…faith, charity, peace,
with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” Several things are
noted:

? Faith (Hebrews 11:6).

ILLUS: The Quakers got their name from the fact that they trembled
under the power of the Holy Spirit. At least their faith shook
them! Too many of us today are shaky about what we believe
but not shaken by what we believe. (Vance Havner. The Vance
Havner Notebook. p. 208).

? Charity (Love) (1 Corinthians 13:1-8a). Love is the unmistakable mark of the Child of God! (John 13:34-35; 1 John 4:7).

? Peace (Romans 12:18). A vessel God can use will seek every possible way to be at peace with all!

? Fellowship (1 John 1:7). All effective Christian service is done in fellowship with other brethren!

When a person is focused and has aims like these, there is no question of that person being fit for the Master's Use! (Philippians 1:21; 3:13-14).

(3) MUST BE A FOLLOWER
2 TIMOTHY 2:23-26—“But foolish and unlearned questions avoid,
knowing that they do engender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”

A. THE CHARACTER OF A FOLLOWER. Although Paul's primary
admonition in these verses are to th¬ose who preach the gospel; there are
several things we all can learn from them! All of these things show us the
character that AVESSEL GOD CAN USE must possess—A CHRISTLIKE
SPIRIT. We Must:

? Avoid Useless Controversy (v23). Every Christian should be ready to share his Faith at all times (Psalm 107:2; 1 Peter 3:15), but it does no good for us to foster conflict merely for the sake of conflict!

? Not Argue Over The Scriptures (v24) (James 1 : 19-20). We, as Christians, Must contend for the faith, but we cannot witness to someone we are debating! Ephesians 4:15 tells us—“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.”

? Be Forbearing (vv. 25-26). To be forbearing means “to bear long.” There are many with whom we try to witness and share Christ with that are indifferent to our words. Yet God instructs us to have patience! (Galatians 6:9).

B. THE CONCERN OF A FOLLOWER—“In meekness instructing those that
oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the
acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the
snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” (vv. 25-26).
The concern of a follower is OTHERS! Specifically, “those that oppose
themselves.” Those who are opposed to the truth and walking in obedience.
Those who have fallen in Satan’s snares and fallen to His temptations.

Unless our lives are taught, guided and controlled by the Holy Spirit of God, all are endeavors for Christ will be vain! (1 Peter 4:1-2).

CLOSING: For God to be able to use us as vessels, we must be empty, clean,
and available. He then can take us and fill us and use us for His
glory! But if we are filled with sin or defiled by disobedience; He will
first have to purge us of our sins (1 John 1:9; Psalm 51:7).

Are you FIT for His use tonight? Are you FOCUSED? Are you A
FOLLOWER—showing forth a Christ-Like Spirit? If you answered
yes to all three questions, you are a vessel God can use!

Prepared by Brother Bryan L. Browning, Pastor of Beechmont Baptist Church for Wednesday Evening, February 14, 2007.

 

“A Wholesome Faith!”

Matthew 9:1-34

 

INTRO:  Faith is the cornerstone of our Christian experience. We must have Faith!  In Hebrews 11:6, it says, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him: For he that cometh to God must believe He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him."  We must first believe and then act on what we believe in.

 

In our text, Jesus had entered into a ship and came over into Capernaum.  When He arrived he noticed many sick and in distress.  He was moved by compassion and began to heal and comfort them.  But, the religious people, the Pharisees began to question His authority to heal and eat with the publicans and sinners.

 

Jesus answers the Pharisees in v.13, by saying, "For I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."  While He was thus speaking a certain ruler came to Him and worshipped Him.  He told Jesus, "I have a daughter that is now dead, but if you come and but touch her she shall live."  Oh, what Faith! That's the kind of faith we need in God's people today!

 

A Wholesome Faith Is:

 

(1)  A FAITH THAT BELIEVES

Text:  Matthew 9:18, 20-21, 27-28

Mark 9:17-24

 

(2)  A FAITH THAT SPEAKS

Text:  Matthew 9:26, 31

Acts 4:13-20

 

(3)  A FAITH THAT ENDURES

              John 6:30-33, 40-66

              Hebrews 12:1, 2

 

CLOSING: Our Faith is of utmost importance!  How is your Faith? Are we, as

                   Believers, using the Faith we already have?

Hebrews 11:6

 

"Acceptable Service"

Hebrews 12:25-29

 

INTRO.   A believer's service to God should be a heartfelt ex­pression of love from a heart consecrated to the liv­ing God.  Jesus said in John 12:26, "If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor."  To really serve God, we MUST FOLLOW God.  We can't serve Him alone or by following our own plans.  If we follow Him in service, he has pro­mised to be there with us to strengthen and encourage.

 

I want to title the message, "Acceptable Service.” Jesus said in Luke 9:23, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me."  To serve Him acceptably, we MUST be willing to forsake all for the LORD Jesus.  We sing the old song, "Follow, follow, I will follow Jesus, anywhere, everywhere I will follow on..."  That song is so easy to sing, but how easy is it for us to obey its words and message?  Following is the motivating factor for acceptable service. If we are following Him, we will serve Him; If we serve Him, we will fol­low Him!

 

Following is our motivation.  Next comes forsaking all worldly pleasures for Him.  This doesn't mean we can't enjoy things that the world has to offer, but that Christ and His Cause must have the preeminence in our lives!  Jesus, our Savior said in Luke 14:33, "Whoso­ever he be of you that forsaketh not all he hath, can­not be my disciple."  We MUST be willing to say from our heart, "All to Jesus, I surrender all to Him I freely give.”

 

In our text Hebrews 12:25-29, the writer of Hebrews shows us the reason, method, mindset, and reward for "Acceptable Service."

 

(1) The Admonition For (The Motivation)

Text: Hebrews 12:25-27

 

      *How God Speaks:

 

A.     By His Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:11-16).

B.     By His Sacred Word (Psalm119:9, 11, 105).

C.     By Scourging (Hebrews 12:3-17)—Greek—“To whip”.

D.    By His Servants (Titus 1:1-3).

 

                 James 1:22

 

(2)  The Agency Of (The Method)

Text: Hebrews 12:28a—“Let us have grace..."

 

      *In the Greek v28a reads, "Let us hold fast with grace...”

 

A.     WHERE HELP IS FOUND (Hebrews 10:19-25). Paul in Acts 26:22—Having obtained...help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great..."-- THAT'S HOW WE MUST ALL SERVE ACCEPTABLY!

B.     WHY HELP IS NEEDED (Ephesians 6:10-13; Philippians 2:13).

            I can't be strong in myself, but I can serve Him by His grace!

 

(3)  The Attitude For (The Mindset)

               Text: Hebrews 12:28b—“Whereby we with may serve God acceptably Reverence and godly fear."

 

               1 Peter 4:1-2

 

      *TWO WAYS MENTIONED:

 

A.     Reverence (Greek-- "awe, humbleness") (Psalm 4:4; 86:11).

B.     Godly Fear (Greek--"Piety, Respect, & Trust")  (Psalm 128:1;

           Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).

 

1 Peter 1:15-17

 

(4)  The Assessment Of (Reward or Loss)

Text: Hebrews 12:29—“For our God is a consuming fire"

 

A.     THE REALITY OF JUDGMENT (2 Corinthians 5:8-11).

B.     THE RESULTS OF JUDGEMENT (1 Corinthians 3:11-15).

 

CLOSING:  Jesus said in Matthew 24:45-46, "Who then is a faith­ful and wise

                    servant, whom his lord hath made a ruler over his household, to give

                    them meat in due season?  Blessed is that servant, whom his lord

                    when he cometh shall find so doing."

 

Are you offering Him "Acceptable Service" tonight?

 

 

 

 

 

“ADVICE FOR ADVANCEMENT”

1 TIMOTHY 6:1-21

 

SCRIPTURE READING: 1 TIMOTHY 6:11-16

 

INTRO:  Friends, the Christian life is a life of advancement.  The word

              advancement means “progression;  promotion; preferment.” (Funk &

               Wagnalls Standard Desk Dictionary. Volume 1, A-M. p. 10).  We are to

              be ever growing, gaining, and going.  Paul wrote in Philippians 3:12-

             14—Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect:

              but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am

              apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have

              apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are

              behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press

              toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

              The Apostle Paul, perhaps the greatest saint that ever lived upon

              earth, had to confess that even he had not attained. There was that in

              Christ more than he had ever seen, ever known, ever felt, ever tasted,

              ever handled, ever realized. There were heights in his glory, depths in

              his love, in his sufferings, in his bitter agonies in the garden and on

              the cross, which passed all apprehension and comprehension.

              Therefore he says, "Not as though I had already attained." I am a child

              still, a learner still, as weak as ever, as helpless as ever to obtain what

              I need. Though I follow on; though I forget the things which are

              behind and reach forward to the things before; though I know what I

              am aiming at, what I am seeking; though my eye is single, my heart

              earnest, yet it is not with me as if I had already attained. (J.C. Philpot.

               Commentary on Selected Texts. e-Sword. Version 7.8.5. Copyright

              2000-2007. Rick Meyers. All Rights Reserved Worldwide).  The

              Christian is to be ever advancing, growing, and gaining victory.  Our

              goal, according to Ephesians 4:13 is that we grow “unto a perfect

               man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

 

              The passage of Scripture before us gives us Paul’s advice to Timothy. 

              In v11 we see the title “man of God” which is a designation that fits

              every Christian.  We are God’s men and women and can be used by

              Him.  But to use us as He would we must “follow after righteousness,

               godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.”  The phrase “follow after” is

              translated from one Greek word that means “to pursue, to press

               toward.”  Maturity is pressing toward the mark; immaturity is

              complacency and self-satisfaction. (Roberta Hestenes in Leadership,

              Vol. 9, no. 4).  I want to speak this morning on ADVICE FOR

              ADVANCEMENT.  The advice that Paul gave to Timothy dealt with

              three areas.  Let us note…

 

(1)  THE VICES TO AVOID  

           1 TIMOTHY 6:1-11—“Let as many servants as are under the yoke count

their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort. If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings.  Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.   But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.”

 

*The word vice means “something that mars; a blemish or imperfection.” (Funk &

 Wagnalls Standard Desk Dictionary. Volume 2, N-Z. p. 760).  In vv. 4-11 we

 are given some vices from which we must flee:

 

A.  THINKING HIGHLY OF OURSELVES INSTEAD OF HUMBLING

     OURSELVES.  Paul here speaks about conceit.  In v3 he speaks of those who “consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness.”   Paul says in v4

     of this person—“He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings.”  Friends, pride fills us with a sense of self-importance.  Friends, we will never

     “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18) if we think more highly of ourselves than we should.  Someone

     said, “A conceited person never gets anywhere because he thinks he is already there.” (Vern McLellan, The Complete Book of Practical Proverbs and Wacky Wit (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1996)).  Paul tells us—“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3).  So often people try to impress others with their accomplishments, titles, and achievements. 

 

ILLUS:  Two Texans were trying to impress each other with the size of their

             ranches. One asked the other, "What's the name of your ranch?" He

             replied, "The Rocking R, ABC, Flying W Circle C, Bar U, Staple Four,

             Box D, Rolling M, Rainbow's End, Silver Spur Ranch." The questioner

             was much impressed and exclaimed, "Whew! That's sure some name!

             How many head of cattle do you run?" The rancher answered, "Not

             many. Very few survive the branding. (James S. Hewett, Illustrations

              Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 438). 

 

     Friends, the Bible tells us—Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory;

     but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”

     (Philippians 2:3).  Friends, our abasement will determine our advancement. 

     The question is, will you and I humble ourselves or promote ourselves? 

     Jesus said in Luke 14:11—For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased;

     and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.  In other words, will we

     humble ourselves or will the Lord have to humble us?  And friend, He will

     humble you!  Why?  Because “You can't glorify self and Christ at the same

     time.” (Croft M. Pentz, The Complete Book of Zingers (Wheaton: Tyndale

     House Publishers, Inc., 1990)).  God can do tremendous things through

     people who don't care who gets the credit.   

 

B.  THINKING WICKEDLY INSTEAD OF WISELY.  In v5 Paul speaks of

     “Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth,

     supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.”   “Men of

     corrupt minds” mean men who are debased and wicked in their thinking. 

     Friends, we must guard our minds from impurity and unwholesome

     thinking.  Paul encourages us in Philippians 4:8—“Finally, brethren,

     whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things

     are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely,

     whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be

     any praise, think on these things.”  Someone has said, “"Your thinking is

     simply a reflection...of your heart." -- Doug Firebaugh (Bible Illustrator For

     Windows. Version 3.0f. Copyright 1990-1998. Parsons Technology, Inc. All

     Rights Reserved). 

 

ILLUS:  The Christian method of thinking puts the intellect second, not first;

             the modern view puts intellect on the throne. God does not sum up a

             man's worth by his thinking but by the way he expresses his thinking

             in actual life, that is, by his character. --Oswald Chambers (1874-

             1917) (Edythe Draper, Draper's Book of Quotations for the Christian

              World (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1992). Entry #11238)

 

      Friends, we must be careful what we put into our minds.  The old saying is,

      “garbage in, garbage out.”  This is surely true because what we put into our

       minds determines what comes out in our words and actions.  THE VICES

      TO AVOID are THINKING HIGHLY OF OURSELVES INSTEAD OF

      HUMBLING OURSELVE, THINKING WICKEDLY INSTEAD OF WISELY,

      and…

 

C.  THINKING DISHONORING THOUGHTS INSTEAD OF GOD-HONORING

      THOUGHTS.  It seems that some Christians are always complaining and

      that dishonors God.  Many today suffer from a discontented spirit.  We

      read in vv. 6-8—“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we

      brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

      And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”  Discontentment

      has led to the downfall of many a Christian’s growth in grace.  Some people

      seem to look for things to be unhappy about.

 

ILLUS:  There was an inveterate grumbler who couldn't find anything about

             which to give thanks or praise.  Although financially he was a very

             successful farmer, because of a very sour attitude, no one enjoyed his

             company.  Nothing seemed to please him.  His pastor tried to help

             brighten the outlook, all to no avail. At the time of the potato harvest,

             the disgruntled farmer enjoyed a bumper crop.

  

             Wanting to strike a more cheerful note, the minister suggested,

             "Brother I understand you've had a tremendous season with potatoes

             this year.  That certainly must be cause for rejoicing!"  The chronic

             complainer never even smiled, but sourly responded, "Yes, it's true.

             The harvest was good enough.  But my problem is, I don't have any

             bad potatoes to feed my pigs."

  

             That reminds me.  Have you ever heard anyone complaining because

             their freezer was too full and they had no place to put anything? Or

             their closet?  A thankful heart is not only a virtue, but the parent of all

             other virtues. (Bible Illustrator For Windows. Version 3.0f. Copyright

             1990-1998. Parsons Technology, Inc. All Rights Reserved). 

 

      Paul said in Philippians 4:11—“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I

      have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”  Paul said,

      “I am so satisfied with the wise providence and goodness of God, that I

      know whatever he determines is the best; and therefore I am perfectly

      contented that he should govern the world in that way which seems best to

      his godly wisdom.” (Adam Clarke. Adam Clarke’s Commentary On The Bible.

      e-Sword. Version 7.8.5. Copyright 2000-2007. Rick Meyers. All Rights

      Reserved Worldwide).  Friends, a discontented spirit dishonors God!  We

      can not advance and move forward for the Lord if we are constantly facing

      discontentment in our lives!  Someone said, “If Christians spent as much

      time praying as they do grumbling, they would have nothing to grumble

      about.” 

 

D.  THINKING CONTROLLED BY SELF INSTEAD OF BY THE SPIRIT.  We

      read in v9—“But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and

      into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and

      perdition.”  I want you to the words “foolish and hurtful lusts”.  The word

      foolish is translated from a Greek word that means “sensual.”  The word

      hurtful here means “injurious”.  These words refer to any uncontrolled

      passion, desire, or ambition that is not under the control of the Holy Spirit.

      It means we allow self to control our actions instead of the Holy Spirit. 

      Here in the verse before us it is referring to the lust for riches but we know

      that people lust after many things.  Friends, lust never get enough. 

      Someone has said, “Lust always points in only one direction. Always you

      want more.” (Name Withheld, "The War Within," Leadership, Vol. 13, no. 4). 

      James warns us about the dangers of lust—“But every man is tempted,

      when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.  Then when lust hath

      conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth

      death.” (James 1:14-15).  Friends, following the will and whim of self will

      get us into trouble every time! 

 

ILLUS:  A drunken man entered his row boat one night to cross the river. He

             picked up the oars and pulled away-so he thought. He rowed all night

             but did not reach the destination. When daylight came, he was

             surprised to find that he was just where he started the night before.

             He had forgotten to untie his boat.

 

             So it is with many of the Lord's followers. They are tied to their habits,

             desires, wills, or some cherished idol or idols of the heart.

             Consequently, their lives are fruitless. Shorebound Christians never

             flourish and are of little or no help to others. (Bible Illustrator For

              Windows. Version 3.0f. Copyright 1990-1998. Parsons Technology,

             Inc. All Rights Reserved). 

THE VICES TO AVOID are THINKING HIGHLY OR OURSELVES INSTEAD OF HUMBLING OURSELVES, THINKING WICKEDLY INSTEAD OF WISELY, THINKING DISHONORING THOUGHTS INSTEAD OF GOD-HONORING THOUGHTS, THINKING CONTROLLED BY SELF INSTEAD OF BY THE SPIRIT and…

 

E.  THINKING MATERIALLY INSTEAD OF SPIRITUALLY.  1 Timothy 6:10 is

      probably one of the most misquoted verses in the Bible.  This verses says—

      “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after,

      they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many

      sorrows.”  This verse does not say “money is the root of all evil,” but “the

      love of money is the root of all evil…”.  Money is not wrong in itself but the

      love of money is wrong.  People who love money are controlled by a

      ruthless, insatiable master, for the love of money can never be satisfied…

      To master money instead of becoming its slave, we must get rid of the

      desire to be rich. Admittedly, this is extremely difficult in a materialistic

      society; but instead of rationalizing our love for money, we need to seek

      God's help to overcome these desires. (Life Application Bible Commentary.

      WORDsearch 7.0. Copyright 2007. WORDsearch Corp. All Rights

      Reserved).

 

ILLUS:  Have you ever thought of your checkbook as a diary? Like pictures, the

            checkbook entries speak a thousand words. If a stranger came into

            possession of your checkbook, what would he or she conclude about

            your values? About your stewardship? About how you honor God? (Life

            Application Bible Commentary. WORDsearch 7.0. Copyright 2007.

            WORDsearch Corp. All Rights Reserved).

 

ADVICE FOR ADVANCEMENT there are THE VICES TO AVOID and…

 

(2)  THE VIRTUES TO ATTAIN

         1 TIMOTHY 6:11—“But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow

after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.”

 

*Paul lists the virtues we are to follow:

 

A.  REAL SPIRITUALITY.  We read—“But thou, o man of God, flee these things;

     and follow after righteousness…”.  Righteousness here mean being in right

     relationships with men.  The word can be interpreted integrity.  A person

     who is truly spiritual will love God and others.  Righteousness refers to

     actions that are morally upright and virtuous. Here Paul was not thinking of

     the foundational righteousness that God, through Christ, freely gives us.

     That righteousness we receive by faith. Rather, this righteousness involves

     our wholehearted efforts to grow into the kind of people God has already

     declared we will be in eternity. (Life Application Bible Commentary.

     WORDsearch 7.0. Copyright 2007. WORDsearch Corp. All Rights Reserved).

 

     It means that we are not a fraud or a fake.  It means we display holiness in

     our lives and not hypocrisy.  This righteousness reveals itself in our

     relationships with others.  Romans 12:9 says—Let love be without

     dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.”  The

     word dissimulation here is translated from a Greek word that means

     “hypocrisy.”  Christian love should be sincere and unfeigned. 

 

ILLUS:  Most people know how to pretend to love others—how to speak kindly,

             avoid hurting their feelings, and appear to take an interest in them.

             We may even be skilled in pretending to feel moved with compassion

             when we hear of others' needs, or to become indignant when we learn

             of injustice. But God calls us to real and sincere love that goes far

             beyond politeness. Sincere love requires concentration and effort. It

             means helping others become better people. It demands our time,

             money, and personal involvement. (Life Application Bible Commentary.

             WORDsearch 7.0. Copyright 2007. WORDsearch Corp. All Rights

             Reserved).

 

     Friends, we need a REAL SPIRITUALITY but also we need to be a…

 

B.  REFLECTION OF OUR SAVIOUR.  We are called upon to “follow after

     righteousness” but also “godliness”.  It means that we are to be like JESUS. 

     Our actions should be in line with God’s character.  1 John 2:6—“He that

     saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” 

     While righteousness speaks of obedience, godliness speaks of godly motives

     for our obedience.  For the watching world, we ourselves serve proof that

     God is alive. We form the visible shape of what he is like. (Philip Yancey in

     Leadership, Vol. 8, no. 3).  The reflection of our Saviour means truly walking

     an unselfish, God-centered life in all we do. 

 

C.  RELIABILITY IN SERVICE.  “O man of God…follow after righteousness,

     godliness, faith…”.  The word faith here speaks of “fidelity, reliability,

     dependability.”  Someone has said, “the greatest ability is dependability.” 

     This should always be said of our service rendered unto the Lord.  We are to

     exercise our faith by living a life of faith.  God does not so much need people

     to do extraordinary things as he needs people who do ordinary things

     extraordinarily well. --William Barclay (1907-1978)( Edythe Draper, Draper's

     Book of Quotations for the Christian World (Wheaton: Tyndale House

     Publishers, Inc., 1992) Entry #10137).

 

D.  REALITY IN LOVE.  Friends, real love is not merely an emotion but it is an

     action.  Love talked about is easily turned down, but love demonstrated is

     irresistible.  Real love means to be kind to everyone.  Real love is not only a

     love for God but also a love for our neighbor.  Real love seeks to give, not to

     gain.  Love is an action verb.  Someone said,

 

"I love Thee, I love Thee

and that Thou doest know;

But how much I love Thee,

my actions will show."

 

ILLUS:  A class of little girls was learning to spell. They spelled a number of

             small words, such as "pig," "cat," "dog," "cow," and amused themselves

             by imitating the sounds that these animals make. Then little Mary was

             asked to spell "love." She didn't stop to give the letters, but ran and

             threw her arms around the teacher's neck and kissed her on the

             cheek. "We spell 'love' that way at our house," she said. The girls

             laughed, but the teacher said, "That is a beautiful way; but do you

             know another way to spell 'love'?" "Oh, yes," cried Mary, "I spell love

             this way," and she began to put the books in order on her teacher's

             desk. "I spell love by helping everybody when they need me."

 

ADVICE FOR ADVANCEMENT there are THE VICES TO AVOID, THE VIRTUES TO ATTAIN and…

 

(3)  THE VICTORIES TO ACHIEVE

         1 TIMOTHY 6:12-14—“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal

life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.  I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

*Paul wanted Timothy to know that he was in a battle.  He was engaged in a

 stern warfare against a powerful enemy.  What are the victories for which we 

 are to fight?  What should be our passion? :

 

A.  A CHRIST TO SHARE WITH THE WORLD.  Each member of the body of

      Christ is to “fight the good fight of faith.”  We are to advance the gospel by

      sharing Christ with a lost world.  We must realize that being “fishers of

      men” is our business. 

 

ILLUS:  James Walker, pastor of Biltmore Baptist Church in Arden, N.C.,

             spoke at a recent Southern Baptist Convention and challenged

             churches to get back to doing the family business, which is fishing for

             men.

 

             Walker said Jesus' call to Peter and Andrew, "Follow me and I will

             make you fishers of men," found in Matthew 4:18-20, is a clear

             indication of two things: First, Jesus intended His followers to be

             fishermen. Second, those who are not fishing are not following. Walker

             told the story of a group of fishermen who became experts.

 

             "They knew it was their calling; it was their passion," he said. "They

             would speak about it regularly, telling fishing stories about fish they

             had caught. They would discuss better strategies, philosophies and

             programs for fishing. They learned about fishing equipment and

             fishing bait, and they had a motto that said, 'Fishing is our bottom

             line.'  "The problem was that nobody really went fishing anymore. All

             they did was talk about it," Walker continued. "One finally went and

             caught a few big fish and came back and told everyone about it. And

             everyone got so excited that they sent him out on the road to talk

             about it, so he quit fishing and traveled around to give his testimony.

 

             "That," Walker said, "is a picture of many of our churches today -- they

             are a fishing industry franchise, but they forgot what they're supposed

             to be doing." (Baptist Press)

 

       The Church today needs to:

 

·        FULFILL THE COMMISSION (MATTHEW 28:19-20).  We must fulfill our commission from the Lord but to do so we must have a…

·        FERVENT COMPASSION (PSALM 126:5-6).

 

B.  A CROWN FOR THE SAINT TO WIN.  We are told here to “lay hold on

     eternal life…”.  What is it that encourages us in the battle? We have "eternal

     life" and need to take hold of it and let it work in our experience. We have

     been called by God, and this assures us of victory. We have made our public

     profession of faith in Christ, and others in the church stand with us.

     (Warren W. Wiersbe. Bible Exposition Commentary - New Testament.

      WORDsearch 7.0. Copyright 2007. WORDsearch Corp. All Rights

      Reserved).  In the words, “lay hold on eternal life,” Paul is alluding to the

     Grecian games where the runner is on the stretch to gain the prize.  Every

     believer will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ and that prospect

     should constantly be in our thoughts so that we might gain and not lose. 

 

     Vance Havner said, “If God dealt with people today as he did in the days of

     Ananias and Sapphira, every church would need a morgue in the

     basement.” (Edythe Draper, Draper's Book of Quotations for the Christian

     World (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1992). Entry #4717).  But

     make no mistake about it friend, every believer’s life work will be tested (1

     Corinthians 3:9-16).

 

C.  A CHRIST FOR THE SAINT TO WORSHIP.  Vv. 12-14 speak of the

     honoring of our Saviour.  Our Lord Jesus, in the face of tremendous odds at

     his trail, fought victoriously and brought glory to the Father.  As we love

     HIM and service HIM, seeking to advance His kingdom, we bring honor and

     glory to HIM!  How can we honor Him through our worship? When we

     worship Him through:

 

 

CLOSING:  ADVICE FOR ADVANCEMENT gives us THE VICES TO AVOID, THE

                  VIRTUES TO ATTAIN, and THE VICTORIES TO ACHIEVE.  Friend,

                  Are you advancing or lagging behind?  Are you becoming more like

                  Jesus each new day?   

 

Prepared by Brother Bryan L. Browning, Pastor of Beechmont Baptist Church, Beechmont, KY for Sunday Morning, September 9, 2007.    

 

    

     

       

"AFTER THE MOUNTAIN COMES THE VALLEY!"

JOHN 6:16-21

 

INTRO:  All of us like to live on the mountaintop.  We want to feel the blessings

              of God.  We want to feel His power and the warmness of His smile

              upon us.  We love to ex­perience the joy of being a Christian!  But what

              happens when we come down from the mountain?  It is an

              inescapable truth that after every mountain comes a valley!  We

              cannot remain on the mountaintop forever!  Jesus said, "...In the

              world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome

              the world." (John 16:33b).

 

             The disciples had been on the mountain with Jesus.  They had just

             witnessed one of His greatest miracles—The Feed­ing Of The Five

             Thousand.  They experienced, if you will, a mountaintop experience! 

             They had witnessed the great power and provision of the Son of God! 

             But this was fol­lowed by darkness at the midnight hour, tempest

             tossed, in the midst of the Sea of Galilee.  What was the disciples

             reaction to what they were facing?  V19 says, "…and they were afraid."

 

             We, as Christians, enjoy the miracle of the new birth. We rejoice in

             becoming possessors of the Holy Spirit.  We shout in being made a

             new creature in Christ Jesus; and we rejoice in our first love, but then

             suddenly the storm clouds arise, temptations begin to fall upon us,

             trials seem to be on every hand.  What is our reaction?  Many times, it

             is just as the disciples-FEAR instead of FAITH! I want us to notice

             three things in the message today:

 

(1)  WHAT IS FEAR?

         JOHN 6:19b—“… and they were afraid."

 

A.  THE DEFINITION OF FEAR.  Someone has defined fear this way: "Fear”

      “A painful emotion excited by apprehension of impend­ing danger of dread." 

      The dictionary defines it this way: “an agitated feeling aroused by

      awareness of actual or threatening danger, trouble, terror…An uneasy

      feeling that something may happen contrary to one’s desires…The

      possibility that something dreaded or unwanted may occur.” (Funk &

      Wagnall’s Standard Desk Dictionary. Volume 1, A-M. p. 232).  Our word

      “afraid” used in v19 is translated from a Greek word that means “to

      frighten and to be alarmed.” 

B.  THE DISTRESS OF FEAR.  Fear, many times, is not caused by what

      actually lies ahead, but what we think lies ahead!  In Matthew’s account in

      Matthew 14:26 we read—And when the disciples saw him walking on the

      sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.” 

     They were literally “terrified” as they saw Jesus walking on the sea.

      (Robertson’s Word Pictures. e-Sword. Version 7.6.1. Copyright 2000-2005.

      Rick Meyers. All Rights Reserved Worldwide). 

 

      ILLUS:  Charles H. Davis tells of a man who was hiking on a mountain. 

                   Caught up in the wonder of the landscape, he lingered on the trail

                   and darkness overtook him. Feeling his way down the

                   mountainside, he slipped and fell over a cliff.  As he fell he

                   managed to grab a tree limb and he hung on for what seemed like

                    hours, hoping someone would happen along and give him a hand.

 

                    Finally, no longer able to hold his grip, he turned loose and

                    plunged down—a full six inches to the ground.  Only six inches

                    from safety, yet he suffered in terror.  Why do we hang in fear

                    when we can trust God for safe keeping?  When things look tough,

                    look up and trust. (Albert M. Wells, Jr. Inspiring Quotations-

                     Contemporary & Classical. p. 8).

 

      Faith dispels fear!  When we have an unwavering faith in the Lord Jesus,

      we will love Him with a pure love and a perfect love! (1 John 4:18).  The

      disciples had accepted Jesus as the Messiah, but as yet still didn't perceive

      what manner of man he was!  But after this incident they would!  It tells us

      in Matthew 14:33—“Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped

      him, saying, of a truth, thou art the Son of God!"

 

We have answered the question: WHAT IS FEAR? But let us also see…

 

(2)  WHAT CAUSES FEAR?

JOHN 6:16-19—And when even was now come, his disciples went down

           unto the sea, And entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward

Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them. 

And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew.  So when

they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see

Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they

were afraid.”

 

*This experience of the disciples clearly illustrates what causes fear.

 

A.  BEING IN THE DARK WILL CAUSE FEAR (vl7b).  It was now dark, so the

     disciples could not see. The threat and danger and emotional strain of the

     storm was to be more intense because of the dark!  Darkness seems to

     make pain, anguish, and suffering more severe!  Job 34:20 tells us—In a

     moment shall they die, and the people shall be troubled at midnight, and pass

     away: and the mighty shall be taken away without hand.”  A person in

     spiritual darkness cannot see.  His blind­ness is a great threat and

     emotional strain upon him. 

 

Þ    It Is A Great Threat In That He Does Not Know What Lies Ahead (Trouble, sorrow, difficulty, loss, death)!  A person without Christ is in darkness. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). 

Þ    It Is A Great Threat In That He Will Definitely Face Some Difficult Times Ahead!  Being in darkness, he will be caught unprepared. He will be in the dark about God, about how to call upon him and receive strength and help from Him.  Ephesians 4:18 speaks of the lost Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.”  The Psalmist said of the lost in Psalm 82:5—They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.”  And Proverbs 4:19 tells us—The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.”

Þ    It Is A Great Emotional Strain In That Fear Will Swarm Over His Being, Covering Him With A Sense of Helplessness And Hopelessness!  Isaiah 59:8-9 says—The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace.  Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness.”  Jeremiah 23:12 tells us—Wherefore their way shall be unto them as slippery ways in the darkness: they shall be driven on, and fall therein: for I will bring evil upon them, even the year of their visitation, saith the LORD.”

 

B.  BEING WITHOUT JESUS WILL CAUSE FEAR (vl7b).  Jesus had not yet

     come to the disciples.  Therefore they did not have His presence and help. 

     They were alone to fend for themselves.  And they knew their strength was

     limited, thus they began to fear!  We, as believers, must always remember,

     Jesus is with us! (Hebrews 13:5-6; Psalm 121:1-2).  But the lost man has

     reason to fear because he is with­out strength, without hope, and without

     peace in his life! (Isaiah 57:20-21). 

 

C.  BEING CAUGHT IN ONE OF THE GREAT, VIOLENT STORMS OF LIFE

     WILL CAUSE FEAR (v18).  The disciples were in the midst of the Sea of

     Galilee, a treacherous body of water where disastrous storms come quickly.

     The Sea of Galilee is known for its sudden and violent storms caused by

     cold air sweeping down from the sur­rounding plateaus which converge at

     the head of the Lake where cold air meets warm air. (Merrill C. Tenney. The

     Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary. p. 297).  Notice v17, when they had

     launched out it was calm and peaceful.  They thought their journey would

     be successful, confronting no trouble whatsoever.  They never expected a

     violent storm, but the winds and clouds did come.  The terrible storm did

     strike and threaten their life!  So it is with each of us, the “great" violent

     storms of life come unexpectedly!  Troubles, trials, sorrows, sickness, death,

     and many other storms strike each of us!  They seem to strike when we are

     least prepared to deal with them.  The result is great fear and turmoil in our

     lives!

 

D.  BEING TIRED AND OVERWROUGHT WITH A SENSE OF HORROR, OR

     IMPENDING DEATH, WILL CAUSE FEAR (v19).  We read in v19—“When

     they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs...".  Webster's

     Dictionary defines a furlong as approximately one-eighth of a mile.  So we

     can be safe in saying the disciples were in the middle of the sea two or three

     miles from land in either direction. (Oliver B. Greene. The Gospel According

     To John. Volume One. p. 339).  They had been struggling against the storm

     for six to nine hours, and they had progressed only two to three miles.

 

     The storm was so great that they were making little headway!  Sometimes

     we face storms of that magnitude! We keep pressing on and on, but we

     seem to go nowhere! When we do we become discouraged and fearful, but

     we must not give up!  Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9— We are troubled

     on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair.”  Why

     are we not distressed?  Why are we not in despair?  Because 1 Corinthians

     15:57-58 tells us—“… thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through

     our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast,

     unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know

     that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

 

     ILLUS:  Someone wrote:

 

                  How could history record victories if there were no battles?

                  How could we define light if there were no darkness? How could we

                  describe a mountain if there were no valleys?  How could we

                  appreciate shelter if there were no storms?  How could we enjoy a

                  cool drink if there were no thirst?  How could there be faith if

                  there were no doubts?  How could we hope for a glorious

                  resurrection if there were no grave? - J.K. Gressett (Bible Illustrator

                   For Windows. Version 3.0f. Copyright 1990-1998, by Parsons

                  Technology, Inc. All Rights Reserved).

 

     Folks, We must not buckle under the storms of life but we must simply by

     faith keep going on for God! (Galatians 6:9).

 

(3)  THE WAY TO ANSWER FEAR

JOHN 6:20-21— But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid.  Then they

willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was

at the land whither they went.”

 

*THE WAY TO ANSWER FEAR IS TWO-FOLD: realize and respond.

A.  THE REALITY OF THE STORMS.  The storms of life are going to arise and

      sorrows are going to come.  Job 14:1 says—Man that is born of a

      woman is of few days, and full of trouble.”  Moses wrote in Psalm 90:10—

        The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of

      strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it

      is soon cut off, and we fly away.”  All of us will face the storms of life!  All of

      us will see sorrows, grief and pain!  The question is, "How do we respond

      when they come?” "With fear or with faith?" 

 

B.  THE RESPONSE TO THE STORMS.  The disciples saw Jesus "walking on

      the sea” (vl9b).  They were stricken with horrifying fear.  Remember, they

      were physically and mentally exhausted from using all the seaman skills

      they had struggling for their lives!  Their lives were at stake; they were

      struggling for survival. Then all of the sudden out of nowhere they saw a

      figure, an apparition (ghost) walking on the water. 

 

      All of them saw it and they were frightened, perhaps bordering on going

      into shock-perhaps thinking the death angel was at hand!  They responded

      with fear, but how must we respond to storms, sorrows, and trials that

      come to our life?  FAITH! Why?  Because 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us—For God

      hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound

      mind.”

 

      How do we answer when fear comes?  The answer to fear is Jesus Himself!

      By:          

 

Þ    Remembering His Words.  The Word of Christ delivers from fear (v20).  He pro­claimed, "It is I; be not afraid."  The phrase "It is I," Jesus used in the Greek is one word "eim" which means "I AM."  Jesus was saying, "I AM" has come—fear not!  He was reminding His disciples who He was—THE SON OF GOD!  Because we have His Word and promise we should not fear! (Matthew 28:18; Jeremiah 33:3; 1 John 4:4).

Þ    Receiving The Presence Of Christ (v2la).  This is important, for having Christ present and hear­ing His Word are not enough.  A Person must "willingly receive" Christ into his life!  Deliverance came to the disciples only after they had received Jesus into the ship (v2lb)!  Lost friend, until you receive Him into your life, fear will perplex and vex you!  The psalmist said in Psalm 32:10Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about.”  Friend, if he is not your Savior, He stands ready and willing to save.  His desire is that you open your heart’s door unto Him and receive Him into your life (Revelation   3:20;  John

     1:12).  Until we, as believers, allow God to have His rightful place in

     our lives-LORD and MASTER—Fear will get the better of us! (John

               15:4-5). When Christ is Lord in our lives, the end result is peace and

                assurance! (John 14:27; Philippians 4:4).  The Lord promises in

                Isaiah  41:10—Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed;

                 for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will

                 uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”  Our LORD has

                the power to erase fear and calm our storms!  The results of receiving

                Christ were twofold:

 

1.      Deliverance From Fear (v2la).

2.      Calming Of The Storm (v2lb).

 

               Because of the presence and the power of God in our lives we can

               face life’s storms.  Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18—For which

                cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward

                man is renewed day by day.  For our light affliction, which is but for a

                moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of

                glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things

                which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the

                things which are not seen are eternal.”  Sometimes the Lord delivers

               us from the storm and sometimes He simply gives us peace in the

               midst of the storm.  In either case, His presence is there!  Peter wrote

               in 2 Peter 2:9—The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of

                temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be

                punished.”

 

 

CLOSING:  We all love the mountaintops, but we must acknowledge that there

                  will be valleys also!  In these valleys, we will suffer storms, sorrows,

                  trials, and tribulations!  How do we respond when we come to our

                  valley? : FEAR or FAITH?

 

                  Let us ask God to give us the faith to face our valleys which lie

                  ahead!  Friend, you may be walking through the darkest valley of

                  all—the valley of sin.  You may have forsaken God and His will for

                  your life but don’t let the fear you are facing keep you from turning

                  to God.  Simply repent and ask His forgiveness and He will lead in

                  the way He wants you to go!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Against All Odds!"

Acts 5:17-42

 

INTRO.   One of our Country's great patriarchs, Nathan Hale, is famous for saying, “I only regret, that I have but one life to lose for my country.”  He was a staunch supporter of liberty at all costs.  In fact, his position, finally cost him his life when he was captured by enemy forces during the Revolutionary War.

 

We, who are saved by God's Grace, should be as fervent in our support of the liberty we have in Christ Jesus. Paul, in his letter to the Churches of Galatia, said, "Stand fast in the Liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." (Galatians 5:1).

 

We, before our conversion to Christ, where all under bondage to this world and to the whims and will of Satan. But when we believed, Christ made us free!  We no longer serve the flesh, but we strive to serve Christ Jesus!

 

When we got saved we had a message to proclaim.  We wanted the whole world to know about Jesus and what HE had done for us, and what He could do for them, if they would only trust Him!

 

We see the same thing taking place in the lives of the Apostles.  In our text, we see, Peter and the other apostles in Jerusalem, in trouble again for their faith in Christ.  But even though the persecution they were facing they were going to proclaim Christ!  What about us?  Will we carry the Gospel till He comes?

 

Let's look at Peter and the other Apostles answer to the "religious" people of the day.

 

AGAINST ALL ODDS:

 

(1)  They determined to Obey God, No Matter the Consequences

Text: Acts 5:27-33

 

A.     The Command (vv. 27-28).

B.     The Confession (vv. 28-33).

Acts 4:19-20

Mark 9:6-9

 

(2)  They suffered For The Cause of Christ Joyfully

Text: Acts 5:40, 41

 

A.     The Persecution from the World (v40).

B.     The Praise of the Worthy (v41).

Matthew 5:10-12

 

(3)  They witnessed Daily for Christ, Despite Opposition of Men

Text: Acts 5:42

 

      A.  The Daily Witness (v42b)—“And daily…They ceased not to teach

             and preach Jesus Christ.”

      B.  The Dynamic Witness (v42a)—“And daily in the temple, and in

               every house…” 

               Romans 1:16

CLOSING: We, as God's Holy People, should ever proclaim what God has done for us!  The example of the Apostles should be an extra incentive for us to witness for Him.

 

Proverbs 11:30 says, "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he that winneth souls is wise." No matter what the odds, we should let the lost know what He has done for us!

 

                   But if we lose our vision, people will perish!  God help us to lead

                   the lost to Him!