Preparing for Worship
Preparing for Worship 2 Sam 24:18-25
• This story starts earlier in the chapter with David sinning against the Lord by taking a census of his army.
o Then the Lord speaks through the prophet Gad and sends three options for judgement.
• Then we see this scene of worship. What do we see in this passage?
• Repentance, costliness, sacrifice, preparation, honor, prayer Repentance: David goes through this whole process to repent of his sin.
o Of course, our sin can be a barrier between us and a good worship experience. See Matt 5:23
• So, as we prepare for worship, whether Sat night, Sunday morning, examine your heart. Costliness: Worship cannot be cheap and easy, or it’s not worship. Jesus is worth more than cheap and easy.
• There must be a deliberate costliness to our worship?
o If you come to a worship and go home and it cost you nothing, was it worship?
• Other practical: Prepare your tithe check, pray over it, time-get here early, service to the church family Sacrifice: While Jesus is the sacrifice now, there still needs to be sacrifice on our part.
• Sacrifice of the heart, sacrifice of our desires, our will.
o We give a sacrifice to the Lord with our praise and thanksgiving. Preparation: Remember David had to build an altar, make a fire, cut up the animal.
• Coming to worship will be the most important thing you do all week. Why not prepare accordingly?
o If possible going to bed early Sat night, getting up early Sunday, arriving here early Sunday.
• Preparing for battle Eph 6:12 Preparing for worship is also putting on that spiritual armor.
o Because the enemy will fight against us getting the most out of worship. Honor: Do we honor the Lord and each other with all of our actions and words? Prayer: Start praying for the worship service on Thurs
• Pray for yourself, pray for your church family, pray for me, pray for the worship team.
• Come early at 9:45 and pray Once last thing, as you enter for worship, become aware of God’s presence.
• As you come in the sanctuary become aware of His presence
• What are you most aware of? Your frustration getting here, temperature, distractions, sleepiness, others?
• Slow down, breath deep, invite his presence, and then wait until you become aware of His presence.
o Before and as the service begins!
• Don’t let the people upfront carry the whole load of worship, participate.
Kneel down, lie down, dance, raise your hands.
Shout, praise, Amen
Winning the War for Our Mind Part IV
From Jesus’ Victory (Luke 4:4-14 Isa 61:1-3)
• Luke 4:14 Jesus is saying that all these prophecies from Isaiah are now fulfilled in Him.
o So, everything promised in this statement from Isa is now true in the person of Jesus.
This is Jesus’ victory, and it is from this victory that we now fight. Verse 1 At His death and resurrection He became the Good News.
o That’s what Gospel means is good news. Jesus is that Good News!
• Poor here is referring to spiritually poor, not financially poor.
o And when we are losing the battle in our mind we are spiritually poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
• Jesus has known all sorrow, He has experienced every heart break we could possibly experience.
o Jesus is the creator of our hearts and knows what it takes to comfort us. to proclaim freedom for the captives,
• He is not referring to literal prisoners or captives but to spiritual captives and those living in the darkness of the enemy. Losing the war in our mind, can make us a captive.
o If the enemy has you in his grips, your freedom has already been won.
• Jesus victory is already complete and 100% effective. and release from darkness (blindness)for the prisoners
• This language refers to giving sight to those who are spiritually blind.
o If we are not seeing in the spirit, free from darkness, then we are prisoners to the perceptions of the enemy. We are only seeing the world the way the enemy wants us to see it.
o When we only see the world the way the enemy wants us to, then we think that way as well.
When we see properly, we will think properly.
o We can also claim this as a promise for others as well.
• Verse 2 Because of Jesus death and resurrection, we now live in the year of the Lord’s favor.
• In the death and resurrection of Jesus and the sending of the Holy Spirit, we now live under an open heaven.
o Therefore, we live in the era of the Lord’s favor.
o The Cross behind us, heaven before us, the Holy Spirit in us we live in favor.
o Declare that for yourself. and the day of vengeance of our God
• Just like we live now in the Lord’s favor, so to we live in the era of God’s vengeance.
o Not for us, but for those who reject Jesus’ sacrifice.
o As long as they reject Jesus, they live not under favor but under His vengeance.
o But here is how we win the war in our mind.
It’s easy to become consumed with trying to judge others.
• It’s easy to be consumed with fear of those who do evil.
o But I put my mind at ease with this verse. to comfort all who mourn,
• The mourning here refers not to mourning over death or loss but rather the morning over our own sins.
o We live in the era of the Lord’s favor and the evil will get their due.
All that is left is too mourn our own sin.
o Jesus will take away our sin and comfort the grief over our sin. He takes away the shame. Verse 3 This verse really beings to give us a better visual of what victory in Christ looks like.
• We also start to see an important contrast, the word instead
o Instead of what the enemy has for us, Jesus has something far better.
• Jesus says that instead of our ashes, he will share His victory with us.
o This is what Jesus has already done and has offered to us.
• Crown: This isn’t hidden beauty, this a crown. A crown is visible for all to see.
o A king wears a crown so everyone can see it and recognize his position and authority.
o We get to wear our crown of beauty so the world can see it.
• Part of what it means to be in community with others is to help them see this beauty in themselves. the oil of gladness (joy) instead of mourning. This mourning doesn’t refer to mourning of death or loss.
• This again is mourning over sin, shame.
• Oil was a sign of luxury and prosperity and interestingly enough was not worn by mourners.
• Jesus is saying no more do you have to mourn over your sin but you can rejoice in your salvation. and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair We get to put on a garment of praise.
• The word “garment” here really means a mantle.
• In the bible a mantle refers to more than just a piece of clothing, it refers to authority, especially spiritual.
• Jesus has provided for us a garment, or authority, of praise as our weapon against despair.
o This garment also become our protection against despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness,
• We have to go back to Isa 1:29-39 to understand this.
o Because of the sinful choices of the people God says they will be fading Oaks.
• This passage in Isa 61 is the redemption of what we see in Isa 1 because of Jesus.
o This speaks of the powerful redemptive work of Jesus. a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.
• This is your identity, your identity is not ashes, your identity is gladness, your identity is a crown of beauty, your identity is oil of gladness, your identity is a garment of praise your identity is the Lord’s splendor and glory.
Winning the War for Your Mind Pt III Temptations (1 Cor 10:13, Proverbs) 1Cor 10:13 Three things to see here.
• First, Whatever temptation has come against us, it’s common to being human.
• Second, God will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear.
Doesn’t mean we won’t fail and give into temptation.
• Third, “The way out” has several components to it.
And each of these components requires us to learn and grow in them. The book of proverbs: This is still all related to taking thoughts and temptations captive.
• The first 9 chapters of the book of proverbs present this interesting interchange between wisdom and folly.
• Both wisdom and folly are personified as a woman. Both calling and vying for our attention.
• The fact that both are personified as a woman is not a statement against women.
o It is merely a Hebrew poetry literary device. Proverbs 1:5 obtaining wisdom is not just for the simple Verses 20-21 Wisdom is calling out to see who will pay attention.
• But there is competition because the streets are noisy with the clatter of day to day life. Verse 23 When we respond with acceptance to the wisdom of God, He then pours his heart into is.
• Wisdom must come first so that we can steward well the all the goodness that comes with his heart.
• He would have also made His thoughts known to us. Verses 24-33 These are the consequences of not responding to the call of wisdom. Chapter 2:1 Here we see that we are to accept wisdom. Verse 2 Now we move from accepting to applying. Wisdom also requires a heart level of application. Verse 3 Here we are also to seek out wisdom, just as wisdom was seeking us out. Verse 6 This tells us where wisdom comes from. From the Lord, from His mouth.
• This is not the wisdom of and from the world. Verse 18 In the Hebrew it reads that her “house is bowed down toward death.”
o It’s the word to, “physically bow down in honor.”
• Here we see this adulteress thinking, this collection of wrong thinking, is bowed down to death.
• The concept repeats in the second half of the verse. It actually says “the path of dead spirits.” Chapter 7:1-5 Encouragement to follow the ways of wisdom Verse 6 Temptation is always looking for its prey. Verse 10 Temptation will always come either well-dressed or disguised. Verse 11-12 These two verses are the negative flip-side of wisdom seen in chapter 1:20-21 Verse 13 Temptation can leave the mind and become a physical reality, and hold nothing back. Verse 15 But temptation itself uses that pursuit as a seductive ploy. To try and make the prey feel good. Verse 16-17 Temptation will come against all of our senses Verse 18 Temptation now issues a formal invitation masked in emotions. The sin is masked as love Verse 19-20 Quickly following the invitation is an attempt at reason and coverup-excuses. Verse 21 Notice here temptation continues with the use of persuasive words and smooth talk.
o Its ultimate weapon is not the physical but with words, planted as thoughts in our minds. Verse 22 The Hebrew emphasizes the suddenness with which the prey falls and follows the temptation.
• But the outcome of that fall is quickly apparent, like an ox to slaughter.
o Reminiscent of the image of bowing down to death.
• The last part of the verse refers to being in fetters or stocks, as a form of discipline.
• NASB Suddenly he follows he As an ox goes to the slaughter, Or as one in fetters to the discipline of a fool, So how does wisdom help us win war in our mind?
o As we have seen wisdom becomes our protection and our guard. Three steps 1. We must constantly be seeking wisdom, crying out for it.
o Pursuing it more than silver and gold.
o If you pursue wisdom, silver and gold follow. 2. Then we must accept wisdom
o We can’t act like we know better than God
o Or know better than Godly people who try to speak into our life.
o This place of acceptance come from that place of knowing Jesus, like a married couple know each other. 3. Then we apply wisdom, it cannot remain as head knowledge
a. This leads to discernment
b. And this leads to obedience.
• But again, this starts with the constant pursuit and crying out for wisdom.
o The more Godly wisdom we put into our mind the more it protects our mind and heart.
• Wisdom becomes that natural defense in our thought life. How do we get wisdom?
1. Read lots of scripture
2. Ask for it.
a. James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
3. Get Godly counsel from the wise
a. This concept is repeated over and over again in Proverbs.
Winning the War for Your Mind Pt II Scripture As Our Weapon (Psalm 23)
• 2 Cor 10:6 In the natural realm Paul is reestablishing his authority as an Apostle and leader.
• Paul talks about the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of this world.
o So, it would seem odd that he suddenly jumped solely to a worldly view of punishment.
• I think we can also see this as punishing those thoughts that have been lifted up against us. Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd,
• What is the job of shepherd? To provide and care for, to protect, to look out for.
o When those thoughts are coming against you. I feel alone, I feel unprotected, I feel uncared for.
• Respond with what is true, “The Lord is My shepherd” I shall not be in want Because the Lord is our shepherd we shall not be in want.
• When the thoughts come, that you are in need, you are not going to have enough, you are going to end up starving and homeless. Speak to that lie, “I shall not be in want.”
o This is not health and wealth thinking, this is believing and declaring the promises of God.
• When we speak the promises of God like this, we not only break the strong hold of the lie, but we also speak that promise into the spiritual atmosphere around us.
o And it is at this point that God can then begin to move on that promise.
o But if what we are speaking is the lie, the unbelief, God can’t move on that. Verse 2 A good shepherd leads their sheep to fields of good abundant green grass.
o The Good Shepherd will not only lead us to green pastures, he will make us lie down and rest.
• This is an invitation to trust God’s brand of provision in the face of the lies in our head. he leads me beside quiet waters, here water also represents refreshment. They are not troubled waters.
• If the lies are lack of provision, or stress, feeling drained, speak it and believe it.
o Then let Him lead you!!! Verse 3 Here we see more clearly that we are not talking about a literal shepherd.
• The Good Shepherd is in the business of restoring souls.
o No matter what we have done in the past or have been slimed by others.
o Jesus restores souls.
• When the enemy plants the lie in your head that you are tainted good, speak this. He restores my soul
• When you are feeling tempted, when the voices in your head are pulling you away.
o Remind the enemy that Jesus will lead me in paths of righteousness
o Then let Jesus lead you into that righteousness Verse 4 This doesn’t refer to actual death, but just it’s shadow. The word literally means death-shadow
o YLT Also – when I walk in a valley of death-shade
• This darkness or shadow also does not mean the absence of the presence of God. For you are with me In that dark place, in those dark thoughts, speak it out “Jesus is with me”
• And it is because he is with us, that we never need to fear evil. your rod and your staff, they comfort me The rod and staff are the tools of the shepherd.
• The enemy will speak to us. You had to get rescued again? The Lord had to discipline you again?
• But when we find comfort in the rescue and discipline of the Lord.
o We can speak these very words back to the enemy as a promise Verse 5 We have to learn to be okay with receiving our provision and blessing with the enemy staring us down.
• Here is the best part, the enemy can’t touch what is on our table, unless we let him.
o That table has been prepared by the Lord, for us!
• Often, we turn our attention to the enemy and even try to make peace with him.
o And while we are trying to make peace with him, he steals our provision. You anoint my head with oil To anoint with oil here isn’t the normal word for anointing.
o This word here is sensual rather than sacramental. It means to make luxuriant.
• The Lord’s provision can even be luxuriant but from a place of love and care.
my cup overflows This cup refers to a wine cup.
o A cup overflowing with wine speaks of an abundant harvest Verse 6 All the days of my life refers here, to this life. Not heaven or the future coming Kingdom.
o It’s the word hessed which can’t be translated into English without using several words.
o Loving kindness is how it is often translated.
• This covenant loving kindness will pursue or chase us all our life. What a great promise. and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. This speaks of being in His presence
• When the enemy tells us we are separated from God, that God is far off or not going to take care of us.
o I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. If I am in His presence, He will care for me. Now that’s just one passage of Scripture: You can also do this with very specific issues
• “God is not going to come through verses Romans 8:28
• “Life is too much where is God?” verses Romans 8:37-39
• “You do not deserve to be saved” Eph 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
• “Are you Enough God?” Eph 1:18-23
• “I don’t have the strength” verses Eph 3:14-19
• Fear verses Romans 8:15-16
• Psalm 91
• The voice that says you are too busy to pray but the word in Isa says give yourself no rest in prayer
Also think in terms of stories and themes: David & Joseph
Winning the War for Your Mind (2 Cor 10:1-5) Verses 1-2 Paul is addressing some in the Corinthian church who were questioning his authority. Verse 3 Paul realizes that this is a type of spiritual warfare.
• They don’t have just cause for their complaints. Paul has been firmly established by God as an Apostle. Verse 4 Paul begins to explain his method of overcoming their attack on him.
o Not fighting back with physical weapons, the weapons of the world, but with spiritual weapons.
• Paul sees their criticism of him being rooted in a demonic stronghold.
o The word stronghold in Greek means just that, stronghold or fortress.
• A stronghold is where an enemy force can hide and launch an attack from.
o The enemy hides safely in the broken thoughts of people.
o This stronghold is a collection of lies, thoughts, pretensions that the enemy now uses as a place from which to launch attacks on us.
• Many English version put the “We tear down thoughts,” or “we destroy arguments” into the next verse.
• EHV 4 Certainly, the weapons of our warfare are not those of the flesh, but weapons made powerful by God for tearing down strongholds. We tear down thoughts 5…
• First, the stronghold or fortress, which again is demonic, are thoughts or arguments.
• Second, there is both a noun and a verb used in the sentence to convey the idea of tearing something down that has been lifted up. The idea here is that the false thoughts have been lifted up, made high.
o The implication is these thoughts are being lifted up in place of Jesus.
o In fact, one of the definitions for this verb is, “to take down as from a cross.”
• The Corinthians had allowed their own human thoughts and reason to become lifted up, in their own minds.
o Once it became “lifted up” in place of Jesus, it became empowered by the demonic. Verse 5 Many English translations use this word pretension, but it’s actually two words in Greek.
o A good literal translation would be: “every high thing lifted up against”
o What is being lifted up are, arguments, human reason and thinking, lies.
The verb is in the Greek passive form.
Which means these thoughts are being lifted up against us without our volition.
• Paul makes an important distinction, all of these thoughts or arguments, these high things that have been lift up, are being set in contrast to the knowledge of God.
o We now have two competing forces. These two choices are going to be constantly before us.
• Of course, the knowledge of God is perfect and true all the time.
o This knowledge of God is referring to the total nature and character of God.
• Remember the two lies of satan? God is not good, and who do you think you are?
o The negative thoughts that come against us will always follow in line with these two lies.
• One specific example: “I can’t do this,” versus the truth of God, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil 4:13
• Now, here is the real danger. If we let that thought stay in our mind for more than a few seconds, we are prone to start to believing it.
o And if we start to believe it then we are putting it above what is true in the knowledge of God.
• Our consent to agree with a lie or false thought is what makes the lie powerful.
o We have made that thought or lie, higher than the truth of Jesus in our life.
And once it becomes a high thing, we have the potential for a stronghold.
So what do we do? We fight back but not with the weapons of the world, rather with knowledge of God.
• The word used here means “captive” or “to make a prisoner.”
o Taking that thought in your head, and making it your prisoner rather than the other way around.
• But the verb to take captive here in the Greek has an ongoing sense to it.
o So this is something we are to keep doing.
• It also says take every thought captive, every thought not just the bad thoughts.
o Every thought must come into alignment with the knowledge of God.
• How do we take that thought captive?
• We start by grabbing a hold of that thought and not letting it roll around in our head.
o We do this with the help of the Holy Spirit.
o Over time training ourselves to recognize those thoughts that are not from God.
• Next week we will look at how to use scripture to fight back as well.
Making Disciples Step by Step Part II (Matt 9:9-13) (Review) Step one: Change our thinking Step two: Ask the Lord to open our eyes Step three: Seize the everyday opportunities Step four: Change our conversations Step Five: Think replication (reproducing) (Part II) Step six: Remember discipleship starts from the beginning
• We don’t start at conversion, we start with conversation
o Jesus started to disciple people the moment he came in contact with them. Step 7: Leave your comfort zone
• Making disciple will probably require us to go places we don’t normally go.
• In Matt 9 Jesus has left what would have been considered the “comfort zone” of his day.
• The religious leaders of the day were appalled that Jesus was hanging out in such a place.
o Jesus’ behavior confuses them. He was not hanging out with other religious leaders.
• So, we have to follow Jesus and go hang out with the people who don’t know Jesus yet. Step 8: Obedience matters
• This isn’t about transference of knowledge. It’s not just about teaching.
o It’s about obedience. Discipleship is about obedience.
• Here in Matt 9 Jesus was obedient to what His Father had called him to do.
• The people who don’t know Jesus must see the obedience in us. We must live a life that is attractive.
• If people are going to jump in or commit to following Jesus, they want to be all in. Step 9: Invite them to something and accept invitations
• Jesus was good at inviting and accepting invitations.
• Matt 9:9-10 One minute Jesus is just meeting Matt and the next minute He is at his house.
• Luke 19:1-6 I love how Jesus invites Himself over.
• In both of these stories I can almost guarantee you that they were all having a good time.
o There was good food and laughter; but Jesus was talking about the things of the Kingdom.
o He wasn’t using the language of the religious leaders, or the people would not have stayed. Step 10: Always be looking for the person of peace
• Jesus recognizes that Matt was a person of peace.
• What makes a person of peace?
o They are people of influence (But not necessarily leaders)
o And they are willing to use their influence to reach others. (Even pay for the party)
• If you reach the person of peace, then you will also most likely reach all the people in their influence.
What Are You Attending to? Part III (Haggai 2:20-23)
• 2:20 This is now the fourth and final oracle of the book. This word comes on the same day as the last one.
• This word is addressed to the governor Zerubbabel.
o And deals with national, governmental issues.
• The Lord’s message is again that He will shake the heavens and the earth.
o Last time it was for provision.
• This time the Lord will shake the heavens and the earth for judgement and destruction.
o He will shake those who stand opposed to His Kingdom. Verse 22 The Lord says he will over throw royal thrones.
• The Lord is referring to earthly empires, earthly kings.
o Remember the Hebrew people here are just coming out of exile.
• He and He alone has the power to establish and overthrow kings and kingdoms and their thrones.
o Paul reminds us of this in Romans 13.
• The Lord says He will not only overturn their thrones, but He will also shatter their power.
o The Hebrew word translated here as “shatter” means annihilate or exterminate.
• This section is also reminiscent of the exodus.
• Chariots were seen as the greatest representation of a kingdom’s strength.
o The more chariots you had the stronger you were as a kingdom.
So, the Lord speaks directly to what was seen as a sign of a nations strength.
• Then the Lord goes on to mention horses and their riders.
o Horses were seen as the second most important military weapon after chariots.
• He will do this by turning them against each other, “each by the sword of his brother.” Verse 23 The Lord now gives what may seem like an odd promise to Zerubbabel.
• To understand what this is about we have to backtrack to when the exile started, to Jeremiah 22:24.
o In Jer 22:24 the Lord is stating that He will remove the kingship from Jehoiachin.
• Why? 2 kings 24:9 says because, “Jehoiachin he did evil in the eye of the Lord” just like his father had.
o The Lord had grown weary of the kings of Judah doing evil.
• So, with Jehoiachin the Lord removes the signet ring. The sign and symbol of a King’s authority.
o This also meant that the line of David as leader and king of Judah had ended. (See also Jer 22:30)
o The Lord completely removes the kingship from David’s line.
• But now back in Haggai we see God restore that.
o Zerubbabel was a decedent of David and Solomon in direct line for the throne. 1 Chronicles 1:19
o The Lord restores the kingdom and lineage of David through Zerubbabel.
• This is a sign of God’s grace
• This is a sign that God will always be faithful to His promises.
What Are You Attending to? Part II Chapter 2:1 This begins the second oracle Verse 3 The Lord is asking if there is any one old enough to remember what the Temple used to look like.
• But of course, it is nothing now because the people don’t have the resources they did with the first Temple. Verse 4 The Lord again encourages them. He just needed them to see and admit there was a problem.
• In the midst of the struggle they will face, to finish the Temple, and still live life, the Lord will strengthen and encourage them with His spirit. Verse 5 The Lord also reminds them of the Covenant He made with them when they came out of Egypt.
• The Lord is saying, just because things have been difficult does not mean that I have left you.
• The Lord ends this by saying do not fear! The people needed to be courageous. Verse 6 In answer to the problem that the new Temple is too small and doesn’t measure up God begins to answer. He will begin a shaking in the heavens and on earth. Verse 7 The Lord is also reminding them that He is Lord over all nations and that all nations will be a part of the future kingdom.
• So, if the people remain strong and work, the Lord will pay for it.
o He will shake the nations, and they will bring the wealth and resources to pay for the Temple.
o Ezra 6:8 tells us that the Lord uses the wealth of the Persians to rebuild the Temple in that era.
• This is also a dual fulfillment passage. In their day, in Christ, in the future Kingdom, and first fruits now. Verse 8 He then reminds the people all the wealth, all they the things that value, are already His. Verse 9 Then the Lord promises that the glory of this house will be greater than the former Temple.
• This is also a prophetic statement about the future kingdom and even the coming of Jesus. Verse 11 The Lord is now dealing with an issue that was a spiritual one involving the priests’ leadership. Verse 12 This is a question about whether or not sanctity, consecration, is transferable.
• But there is no biblical evidence of such regulations regarding meat.
o The Lord appears to be calling into question a Jewish tradition. Verse 13 This is a biblical issue as seen in the books of Leviticus and Numbers. Verse 14 The Lord now makes an accusation to the people. What they do and what the offer, is defiled.
• They were paying more attention to their own traditions, than they were to God’s law. Verse 15 The Lord is restoring their ability to worship and be made right before the Lord. Verses 16-17 The Lord is reminding them that the difficulties they were facing were Him. Verses 18-19 These two verses are a promise. He is reminding them that they have little right now.
• Now that that have repented and turned back to His ways, the blessings are going to start coming.
• The Lord wants them to pay attention to this so they preserve a witness.
What are You Attending to? (Haggai Chap 1)
• The book of Haggai was written in what we call the postexilic era.
o There had been a small and slow trickle of people coming back into the land of Israel.
• By the time the events of this book take place the Jews had been back for about 16 years.
o Initially they had started a restoration program. But soon faced Samarian opposition.
o The Jews had grown weary and apathetic, frustrated by the delays and opposition Verse 2 The Lord is quoting what the people have been saying, or the excuse they have been using.
• They were not attending to the task of rebuilding the Temple and they justified that with this expression. Verse 3 This is the first oracle or word from the Lord. (the book has four oracles)
• The Lord starts by describing the situation they were living in. Verse 4 He says you guys are living in nice houses, but the Lord’s house, the Temple, lies in ruins.
o The reference to paneled houses refers to nice houses.
• And by implication, we can probably assume that if they weren’t working on the Temple, they were probably not giving to the work of the Temple either.
• Three levels of irony here. Verse 6 Things weren’t going the way they expected, but the Lord was working against them. Verse 7 The Lord again challenges them to give careful thought to their ways. Verse 8 He starts by giving them very specific instructions on how to begin rebuilding the Temple.
• The Lord wants to take pleasure in and be honored by the Temple itself.
• In our day we also need to take care of our bodies, since His Spirit now dwells in us. Verse 9 Even what they did bring home. The Lord blew away.
• They thought it was just the way life is, but it was the Lord. Verse 10 The economic hardship they have been suffering is all the Lord. Verse 12 The leaders and all the people heed he word of the Lord and obey.
• The lessons of the exile were not completely lost.
• It also says they feared the Lord. The word fear could also be reverence.
o But the word “face” is also in there.
Youngs Literal Translation “and the people are afraid of the face of Jehovah.” Verse 13 The Lord comes to the people to encourage them. I am with you Verse 14 Then the Lord stirs them up. The word means to rouse or to stir one up as from sleep.
• Do you see the beautiful partnership between God and the people? Conclusion: What does this mean for us today?
• First, I think we need to heed the same statement the Lord was giving the people.
o “Give careful thought to your ways.
• Second, What, is the business of the Lord we are to be attending to?
Rejoice Always: A Prelude to Christmas (Philippians 4:4-7)
• Context: Phil 3:18-21 Here Paul is comparing the ungodly, those whose god is their stomach.
o To those who know that their citizenship is in heaven with Jesus.
• It’s into this context Paul gives us this command to rejoice.
• Verse 4 It’s an active imperative in the Greek. Which means it’s an action we take.
o Since it’s an imperative, it’s also a command!
• The word itself means rejoice, or even rejoice exceedingly.
• First, rejoice in the Lord. Not in our selves or what we have done. But in the Lord, in Jesus. (3:20)
• Second, Paul says we are to rejoice always, not just sometimes. A way of life, a posture of heart.
• Third, he repeats the command to rejoice a second time. He is really driving home the point
• This command to rejoice comes approximately 27 years after Paul’s conversion.
o Paul has endured 27 years of hardship and abuse, and yet he can say rejoice always!
• What does Paul mean when he says rejoice? “be rejoicing exceedingly all the time, rejoice exceedingly.”
• So again, this isn’t a onetime event nor is it something that we do when we feel like our circumstances will allow it. This is to be a way of life, a posture of heart. Verse 5 This is the spiritual outflow of always rejoicing. It’s hard to be mean when you are rejoicing.
• And during the craziness of Christmas, an evident gentleness, as the result of a posture of rejoicing, would be a witness in itself. Verse 6 In contrast to the command to rejoice always Paul gives us a command to not be anxious about anything.
• Being anxious in not a requirement it’s a choice.
o Paul goes on to explain this choice, rather than being anxious, we are to take everything to prayer.
• The first word translated simply as prayer in the NIV means or refers to a “place of prayer.”
o This word can refer to a physical location, a geographic place of prayer. A prayer closet if you will.
• The second word translated as petition means just that, a petition or request.
• So, there are two concepts here. First, get ourselves to a place of prayer. Second, then make the petitions.
o This kind of prayer that Paul is talking about here, is more than just the quick breath prayers.
• Then Paul adds with thanksgiving.
• The word here translated as thanksgiving is the word eucharistia from where we get our word Eucharist.
o But the Eucharist is the celebration of the sacrifice of Jesus.
o So, this is more of a sacrificial thanksgiving. Verse 7 This now is the result, the benefit of the rejoicing, prayer and thanksgiving. Peace that we cannot understand. It transcends our earthly understanding.
• It also has an ongoing sense to it. Will be “transcending”
• This peace then becomes a guard around our heart and our mind.
o This peace become a barrier to future attacks of anxiousness.
Making Disciples Step by Step
• Five Simple Steps: Practical steps for making disciples who make disciples. (A starting point) Step one: Change our thinking
• Matt 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
• We are all called this. So, it really starts with a change in our thinking.
o Because actions follow thoughts. If we don’t think this way, we will never act this way.
• But when we think this way, then opportunities will come and we will act. Step two: Ask the Lord to open our eyes.
• Luke 10:2 starts with “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.
• If the harvest is plentiful, then that means that God is already at work in those people’s lives.
o Now we just pray, “Lord open my eyes to what you are doing around me, who are the people where You are already working in their lives.” Step three: Seize the everyday opportunities
• Making disciples does not necessarily require extra time or setting aside specific time.
o We can do this throughout the minutes of every day.
• When we have changed our thinking, and prayed that the Lord would open our eyes to where He is working, suddenly we start to notice these opportunities. Step four: Change our conversations
• This is where there is a little more risk involved. It can be easy to talk about stuff that doesn’t matter.
o But what if we began to steer our conversations toward Jesus?
• What should I change the conversation to?
o People don’t want churchy or religious rhetoric or judgement. So, don’t do that.
• You also don’t have to be an expert in apologetics or an evangelist.
o Tell your story
o Talk about what God is doing in your life right now.
o Talk about something you learned at church or through a bible study
o Talk about the person of Jesus, just in simple terms Step Five: think replication
• Remember we are to make disciples who make disciples.
• Once you have reached the point where you have changed the conversation and find yourself talking to someone who is receptive don’t leave it there.
Ask them, “do you know anyone else who might be interested in this conversation?”
Have them invite that person into the conversation.
The Color of the Kingdom Part II (Acts 1:8; 10:1-35)
• Acts 1:8 These are Jesus’ last words and instructions to His disciples.
• Jesus is of course promising the coming of the Holy Spirit.
o Jesus is telling us that we will not go in our own strength but empowered by the Holy Spirit.
o Not empowered for our own benefit, but for the Gospel going to the nations.
• It’s the Spirit’s desire and mission to go to the nations and to gather the nations to fulfill what Rev 5 looks like.
• Then Jesus says we will be His witnesses not just in Jewish Jerusalem and Judea, but also Samaria.
o This command to go was different than Jewish tradition.
o Jewish tradition was that they were a centripetal people and nation.
• What is even more shocking here is that the message was to go to Samaria.
o Remember the parable of the good Samaritan? The Jews and Samaritans didn’t exactly get along.
• Then Jesus also adds that the Gospel must also go to the ends of the earth.
o Many of those “ends of the earth nations” are or were former enemies of Israel. Acts 10:1 Verses 11-16 Peter has a vision in which God shows him that now all things are made clean.
• The Lord is preparing Peter to take the Gospel outside of his comfort zone. Verse 17 What the Lord showed him was so outside his cultural norm, he is having a hard time with it.
• This ran counter to everything he understood about his faith and nationalism. Verse 24-27 There is a real act of obedience here for Peter to go.
• He could have thought about it for the night and given in to his fears, preferences, traditions and stayed home. Verse 28 Peter now makes his cultural un-comfort very clear.
• Entering Cornelius’s house, a gentile house with unclean food, had to be extremely uncomfortable for Peter.
• Peter ends this verse by saying he is willing to overcome all of his cultural traditions and preferences because God has commanded him to do so. This is his next big step in obedience. Verse 29 I think for Peter and all of us, we have to also move past obedience and into God’s heart. Verse 30-33 Cornelius explains the story behind why they have called Peter.
• If you ask me, stories like this should be more every day. Are we willing and available? Verse 34-35 Peter now sees that the mission of God is to every nation.
• There is no favoritism for one nation or one people.
o This is where we have to be careful not to confuse our theology with our patriotism.
• Verse 35 and following Peter begins to explain the Gospel to the crowd. The Kingdom advances. Conclusion: We all probably understand by now that Jesus came for all nations and people.
• This passage and others make it clear that we His disciples are called to be His witness to all nations and people. (Which implies action on our part.)
o But those people, are now our neighbors. The Kingdom of God is right next door.
Disciples making Disciples Part III (Luke 10:1-11) Verse 1 After those following Jesus counted the cost Jesus appoints 72 more disciples.
• First, these are disciples who have been with Jesus for the last few days and they have heard Him talk about the cost. They have agreed to pay that price.
• Second, they have not been with Jesus all that long. They decide to follow Jesu after just a few days.
• Third, they are brand new disciples tasked with making disciples, this happens quickly. Verse 2 The word harvest implies something that is ready. You don’t harvest a crop before it is ready.
• This is a statement about God’s sovereignty, God is always at work drawing people to Himself.
• Then Jesus adds that the harvest is plentiful. God is never a God of scarcity, He is always a God of plenty.
o This even applies to those who are ready for the kingdom
• Jesus then tells this crowd to pray. This a great prayer for all of us to pray.
o The harvest won’t necessarily come to us, we have to go to it. Verse 3 Jesus immediately answers the prayer and sends them. They are the answer to their own prayer.
• But Jesus also says that we will be going out like lambs among wolves.
o Not everyone is ready for the kingdom. This is of course where fear can gain an entry point with us. Verse 4 His command to not take a purse or bag is a statement about faith.
• It’s also a warning against greed, somehow doing this for the money.
• His command to not greet anyone on the road is not a command to be grumpy.
o It’s a warning to not get distracted. Verse 5 Jesus sends them out with a simple litmus test to see if they are receptive to the Kingdom
• Simply give an offering of a blessing of peace. Verse 6 If the person is receptive they will receive and accept that offering of blessing and peace Verse 7-8 There two key factors here.
• First, Jesus says stay there so they can provide for you.
o This goes back to not taking a purse or bag with you.
o But this is also how God is working through this person of peace.
o It’s also a key sign that we have found where God is at work and we are on the right track.
• Second, we stay with them because they are the key to reaching the whole community, neighborhood, family.
• Luke 5:27-30 and the story of Levi provides a good example of a person of peace. Verse 9 This where gifts of the spirit, super natural ministry and obedience all begin to converge.
• But notice Jesus doesn’t say pray for the sick, He says heal the sick. Verse 10-11 What to do when people are not receptive. Move on! Not every crop is ready for harvest now.
• First, it is a statement of judgement for those that reject Him and the Kingdom of God.
• Second, it’s a statement to keep us from getting bogged down.
• But we are not giving up on those who reject the message. We just readjust our strategy.
Disciples Making Disciple Part II (Luke 5:1-11) Verse 1 He has already begun the discipleship process with the people He is meeting.
• It says He is teaching them the word of God, which would have been the OT.
o He is of course using the Old Testament to point to Himself. Verse 2 Jesus starts with ordinary low-income people, peasants.
• Quote “Fishing was second to Agriculture as the economic staple of the region, so they were relatively well off in the Palestinian peasant culture. Which would put them near the top of the lower classes.” ~Grant Osborne
• None of us can dismiss ourselves from this saying we don’t have enough talent, money, or social status. Verse 3 Jesus sits down and teaches the people. (The boat on the water also provided good acoustics)
o Again, He is starting with discipleship.
• Notice that Jesus went to where the people were, to where they were working and taught them there. Verse 4 Jesus now goes right to an obedience test.
o Jesus is testing to see if Simon will follow, is he receptive to Jesus and what He is asking.
• I believe that if Simon had given a stern no, Jesus would have moved on.
o Later in Luke 10 Jesus teaches us to shake the dust off of our feet if people are not receptive. Verse 5 Peter argues a little but then he does as Jesus as asked. Verse 6-7 Their obedience lands them a miraculous and windfall catch.
• This miracle not only reveals what Jesus’s nature and character is, it also shows what is possible for the disciples if they follow Jesus. They will do the same. Verse 8-9 And now, worship! In response to all that have seen, they now worship Jesus.
• The verb “to fall” down can also be seen as worship. Verse 10 Now Jesus puts a call on Simon’s life.
• Notice it starts with don’t be afraid.
o Some of Simon’s worship was driven by fear. He could tell he was in the presence of true Holiness.
• But Jesus calls Simon to follow Him and to do what Jesus is doing, making disciples.
o He uses language that is familiar to Simon, “catch men.”
o The imagery in the term though is not fishing but rescue from danger.
Because the word Jesus uses here means “to capture” or “take alive.”
It’s also an active participle, “to be taking alive.”
And in the context Jesus is using it, it means to snatch alive from the grips of death.
• But here is the thing we really have to notice, Jesus just made a disciple.
o But right away He tells that disciple that you will make disciples. Disciples making disciples. Verse 11 The text says they left everything.
• To be a disciple who makes disciples, you have to be all in. They won’t follow you, if you only have one foot in the game.
Disciples Making Disciples (Matt 28:16-20) Verse 16 This is of course after Jesus’ death and resurrection. Verse 17 The word ‘worship’ here means to bow down, to fall down or kneel, in response to another.
• Despite seeing the risen Lord, some still doubt, even in this incredible moment, doubt is still present.
• Two things to keep in mind from this.
o First, Jesus seems to be okay with this.
o Second, we must come to grips with how doubt will play a part in our efforts.
• This is one of the tensions of the kingdom we must learn to walk in. Verse 18 Despite some doubting, Jesus comes to them and gives them all a commission.
• Jesus makes an incredible statement, one that is worthy of worship in itself, all authority has been given to Me
o This is not just earthly authority, this is the absolute authority from heaven.
o This is the same authority that spoke the world into existence.
• The clear implication here is that Jesus is giving us, the church, His disciples, the same authority! Verse 19 Because Jesus has this authority and is giving it to us, we can therefore go make disciples.
• This “therefore” refers back to the commissioning scene in Matt 10:1-7
• Then Jesus commands them to “go.” This was different than Jewish tradition.
o Jewish tradition was that they were a centripetal people and nation.
Other peoples and nation were to come to them.
• But now Jesus tells them and us to go. The mission of God is now one that is outward focused.
• Jesus now teaches to make disciples not converts.
o In doing so, Jesus is also telling us to make disciples who make disciples.
• He then tells us to go to all nations This would again have been shocking to His Jewish disciples.
• Jesus then commands to baptize them into the family and name of God. A picture of adoption. Verse 20 Jesus now says, teach them to obey. The obedience is the more important concept in the passage.
o We tend so simply impart knowledge and hope for the best.
• Knowing the commandments almost seems to be implied, it’s the teaching of obedience we are to focus on.
• Not only is our obedience central to life in Christ and having His abiding presence.
o It is also central to the command to make disciples.
• Jesus then end the verse with the promise to always be with us.
o We are not called to fulfill this command on our own. He is always with us, to walk out this command. What do we do to start walking out this command better? Small steps for moving forward:
• Start by becoming more aware of our conversations and our fears.
o Talk about Jesus like you do your favorite new restaurant.
o But then also become more aware of your fears.
o Ask Jesus to take away the fear and pray for courage.
Do Not Worry: Seek First (Matt 6:25-34) Verse 30 Jesus continues His analogy but switches from, “wild flowers” to “grass of the field.”
• Something seemingly as worthless as straw, so mattered to God that he took special care to clothe it.
o The grass wasn’t just an afterthought, God took care in creating it, and clothing it. Verse 31 We can’t gloss over that one little verb here “saying”
• This verb means “saying,” but within its range of meanings is also, “to affirm,” or “to teach”
• The verb structure has also an ongoing continual sense to it.
o So, rethink this statement, “don’t worry by repeatedly affirming it”
• Don’t let your worry give expression to itself in what we say. That simply reinforces or affirms the worry. Verse 32 Jesus now really turns up the heat on His audience by comparing them to those that have no faith.
• For us to today, do we look any different than the world around us that doesn’t know Jesus?
• In the NIV it says, “run after all these things.” The word in the Greek means, “striving after.”
• Jesus finishes this verse with an incredible statement, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
o This verse is an incredible promise; He sees our needs, every one of them. Verse 33 We miss it in the English but there is a word play in the Greek between the, “run after or striving” of the last verse and the “seek first” of this verse. The word in this verse does mean seek but can also be striving.
• Don’t strive after the things of the world, but do strive after the things of the Kingdom.
o Different word, similar sound. A rhetorical play on words with a homophone
• The command is in the Greek present tense, ongoing, so it has the sense of “keep seeking His Kingdom.”
o This is not a onetime thing but a way of life, seeking the Kingdom first.
• It is also an imperative which makes it a command from Jesus.
• The word translated in the NIV as “first” has the following definitions first; leading, foremost, prominent, most important. The most important or the prominent thing in our lives is to be continually seeking of God’s kingdom and His righteousness. Righteousness: Remember that righteousness is not something we do on our own.
• We don’t somehow muster up the strength to be righteousness; rather Jesus imparts His righteousness to us.
• When we confess our sins, he is faithful to forgive us and clean us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) 33b This is the real promise in this passage. Verse 34 Jesus repeats His command to not worry, but adds that tomorrow will have enough worry of its own. Four things to Remember when tempted worry:
1. Look at nature: Consider it carefully: See the creator, see how God’s care is designed into nature.
2. Consider how much of what you are worried about is just cultural
3. Remember identity:
4. Seek first the kingdom becomes a call to readjust our purposes, thinking, our action to those of the Father.
5. Two big promises in this passage. The Father knows what are needs are, He will meet those needs.
The Joy Set Before Hebrews 12:2
Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
1. The Joy set before Jesus
2. Where grief fits into Joy
3. The Joy set before us
1) The Joy set before Jesus.
Hebrews 12:2: “For the joy set before Him He endured the cross.”
We take communion to remember Jesus. What do we see?
Matthew 26: 36-44
Luke 22 says: “43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”
How could joy, be in that moment?
2) Where Grief fits into Joy
If there was so much joy coming, why was there grief beforehand?
Why do we think that just because we know joy is coming, we should be happy, and without sorrow?
Again, why did Jesus weep?
His faith was not weakened in his tears.
If it is true for Jesus, how is it not true for us? We, in full faith can believe God is going to fulfill his promises, yet feel the sadness and weight of the promise not yet being fulfilled. Real grief, and real faith can coexist together. There is no condemnation in tears and in sadness in the waiting.
Why weep though? If Joy is coming at the next spoken word, why feel the pain?
Psalms 84:6 says: “As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs;”
The Amplified Version Says: “Passing through the Valley of Weeping ([a]Baca), they make it a place of springs;”
Please pass though – don’t camp out!
Psalms 126:5 & Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are they that morn They will be comforted.”
When we invest the time to let our pain come forth to the forefront of our emotions, Jesus will birth and grow in us Joy. Plant your seeds of tears, and trust, like the farmer does, Jesus will bring to life sheaves of joy.
Jeremiah 31:8-9 & 13 There is a great exchange. The exchange is joy for sorrow. We come home, when we return to Jesus in our tears.
3) The Joy Set Before Us
1 Corinthians 9:24 “Run in such a way as to get the prize.”
What is this prize we are winning?
Where is your focus?
Do Not Worry: Consider Closely…. (Matt 6:25-34) Verse 25 In the previous brief section Jesus tells three very short parables.
• Don’t store up treasures on earth, guard the condition of our soul, you can’t serve two masters.
o It is into this context that Jesus begins this message. “Therefore”
• Jesus asks some rhetorical questions about our life and food, our body and clothing.
o But these are really interesting questions because is not our life dependent on food?
• The word translated as “worry” here in the NIV means, “to be anxious” or “to strive after.”
o This word is also set in contrast within this passage to the “seek first” at the end of the passage.
• Jesus gives two categories, do not worry about your life, ………or about your body
o Somehow, our very life is more important than the very things required to sustain it. Verse 26 Jesus now begins to bring in the imagery of the Father as creator using illustrations from nature.
• The NIV has “look at,” another really good way to translate this is “consider closely.”
o This is more than just a casual glance, careful observation and thought are implied here.
o This statement is also in the form of a command.
• Then there is a reference to farming, sowing, reaping, and storing. Birds verses humans.
• Jesus uses the word “valuable” here. Are you not much more valuable than they?
o Our value come from Him as creator. His value in us. Verse 27 Jesus again asks a Rhetorical question. This question is so blunt and stark. Verse 28 Jesus now turns from issues of sustaining life to the care of our bodies.
• In this time period, clothing was also a lot more important than it is today.
o Clothing could have been considered family heirlooms and handed down from generation to generation. They were expensive and you typically only had two sets.
• Jesus uses a different word, the NIV has “see”, which means “to learn thoroughly” or “to consider well.”
o This is deliberate observation with intent to learn.
• The word here is “wildflower” “see, or learn thoroughly from the wildflowers of the field Verse 29 The flowers have no part in their own beauty, they simply are the way God created them to be. So why do I worry? I think there are spiritual answers and physical answers.
• Two lies of Satan: Is God Good and Who are you? Worry is of course related to those two lies.
• If I question the goodness of God, then I will question whether or not He will care for and provide for me.
• If I question my own value and worth, then I strive to create value for myself.
• The physical or natural realm: A Lot of what we worry about, and even demand as a right, is just cultural.
• Why is worry so dangerous? When we worry our mind and our hearts are not on Christ.
• When we worry our hearts and minds are on our circumstances.
o If our hearts and minds are on our circumstances then we are in sense worshipping the circumstances, not Jesus. Worry then has the potential then to become a form of idolatry.
The Mission in a nutshell
1. House of Prayer for all Nations (Mark 11:17; Rev 5:9)
a. Prayer, presence, power
b. Every, tribe, tongue, people, and nation
2. Empowering God’s people (Ehp 4:12; 1 Cor 12:1-11)
a. Growing in Spiritual gifts
c. Heart level serving
3. Advancing the Kingdom of God (Matt 28:18-20; Matt 6:10)
b. Loving and serving our community
* Signs, and wonders following Pray, empower, advance
One sentence: A house of prayer for all nations advancing the Kingdom through empowering God’s people.
The Cost of Following Jesus Part II (Fruitful Longevity) Luke 14 Verse 25 Large crowds are following Jesus, but He begins to instruct them in the cost of following Him. Verse 26 This of course would have been a very striking and shocking comment to His audience.
• But of course, He does not mean that we literally hate our family or ourselves.
o This would be contrary to all of the other commands of Jesus.
o After all, Jesus tell us we are to be known for our love.
o He tells us to love our enemies. Jesus tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves.
• He is warning His followers to count the costs in a couple different ways. First, persecution or rejection. Jesus is saying the social pressure and family pressures will be real. Second, there is the relational side of this, it can be real easy to give our families more time, more attention, and more love than we give God.
• End of the verse -yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple.
• Jesus says we must hate even our own life. Again, Jesus isn’t saying we should hate ourselves.
o That wouldn’t be very emotionally healthy. He is saying count the cost. Verse 27 The cost of following Jesus is a constant, daily, moment by moment dying to ourselves. Verse 28-30 Jesus suddenly goes into what appears to be either a lesson on finance or construction.
• The NIV refers to money, with our western mind that makes sense to us.
• The problem is that the word money is not in the original Greek text.
• The NASU renders it better. 28 “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?
• We are to count the cost for sure. But the text is really a bit ambiguous and just asks do we have enough?
o The implication is you will not start to build until you have enough money in the bank.
• Another reason this isn’t about the money is Jesus is never all that concerned about money per se.
• Jesus is always concerned about the heart. Jesus makes everything a heat issue.
o So, I think we have to look at this from a heart perspective.
• If you are going to build a building whether all at once or as you have the money, it takes time.
o Buildings aren’t built in a day. It takes perseverance and faithfulness to see the project completed.
• You don’t enter into following Jesus for a brief period or temporarily. You enter it to finish
o And you enter it bear fruit the whole way. Slow progress if nothing else.
• But there is a cost to that kind of life. There has to be a deliberate choice made to stick with this and the process.
• Jesus is course talking about our spiritual life.
o We laid the foundation when we accepted Him into our life.
o Now, what will we allow Jesus to build on that foundation?
• What about you, what is the cost for fruitful longevity?
The Cost of Following Jesus (The Price is Right) Luke 9
• The chapter starts with Jesus sending out the 12 disciples for the first time on their own.
o In verses 1-6. Jesus has a commissioning service and gives them authority to drive out all demons.
o Jesus also tells them to take nothing with for the journey…nothing but the clothes on their back.
• In verses 10 -17 they get to see an incredible miracle take place in their own hands.
o They feed 5000 people (closer to 15,000 to 20,000 when you also count the women and children)
• Verses 18-21 Peter gets it and sees that Jesus is the Christ. Spirit realm revelation.
• Then Jesus warns them that He must suffer and die.
o He also tells them they must pick up their own cross, suffer and die to themselves.
•In verses 28-36 Peter, James, and John go up on the mountain with Jesus and witness the transfiguration.
• They come down from the mountain and we begin to see a bit of a downward spiral for the disciples.
o The disciples begin to argue about who is the greatest.
• Jesus responds to this by telling them to be the least. To be like a child. Where is the dying to yourself?
•Verses 51–56 Jesus sets out for Jerusalem, but along the way He faces persecution and rejection.
• We must not lose sight of two things with this.
o First, all of these blessings and costs are part of the normal life with Jesus.
o Second, this is also all in the context of spreading the Gospel
• I think all of this context is important to keep in mind as we look at this last section on the cost. Verse 58 Jesus wants to see where the man’s heart really is.
• Jesus has already told His disciples to take nothing with for the journey.
• Now here He says that even the animals are better off than He is, He has no permanent home.
• But the questions we must all begin to ask are, in what ways and to what level has the stuff, possessions of our life begun to interfere with our life with Jesus? Verse 60 Most commentators deal with this passage very literally.
• So, let’s look at this comment in light of the context of the previous chapter.
o What if this statement by Jesus was a reference to dying to ourselves?
• What if Jesus is saying, “Your priority must be the proclamation of the Gospel and not things that have no life.” ….Maybe he meant give no attention to things that have no life for you. Verse 62 Jesus’ answer shows us that there may have been a little more in mind than a simple good bye.
• We take our eye off of Jesus and look around or behind us for better options.
o So we all have to ask the questions, what am I turning back to look at? The cost: We face costs in our life every day.
• And to be honest, many of us put a lot of attention on those costs.
• But Jesus says there is a cost to following Him.
o How much time do we spend discerning if we are paying the right price?
The word Baptize There are two basic forms of the word baptize in the NT
• One, which is used less frequently means “to dip” or “to dye” We see both of those images in baptism.
• The Other form which is used far more frequently refers to the Jewish cleansing practices.
o If someone had committed a certain sin part of the OT prescription was to cleans oneself often times that meant washing with water. See Leviticus 15 for a good example of washing with water. Matt 28:19 This passage is referred to as the Great Commission and are Jesus’ last words to His disciples.
• The Greek form of this the verb “to baptize” gives it very much of an ongoing sense.
What’s in a name? Jesus also says that we are to baptize them into the names of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This represents our adoption as sons and daughters of Jesus. A real act of love John’s Baptism Matt 3:13 John’s baptism was different than what we do today, what Jesus commanded us to do.
o John’s baptism was one of a preparatory work and one of repentance.
Super natural element: It also says that heaven opened and the Spirit of God descended onto Jesus.
• Interesting: Both the word “descending” the and the word “resting” have an ongoing sense to them, so I don’t think this was limited to just this moment. Jesus’ Baptism Matt 3:11 John says that Jesus will baptize us with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
o Jesus’ baptism is with more than just water, it is also super natural.
• Blessings for those who receive it and judgment for those who reject it. Christian Baptism and the church Romans 6:3 When we go under the water in baptism we are dying just like Christ did.
• Now it’s not the act of Baptism itself that does this. Christ’s work on the cross does this when we accept and trust in that. Jesus and Jesus alone takes away our sin.
• When we come out we agree that we are a new creation in Christ just like Christ was resurrected.
o Gal 3:27 confirms this idea but with different imagery.
• This is also a public statement done as a witness to the church concerning your desire to follow after Jesus. We are baptized into the church 1 Cor 12:12
• We are baptized into one body meaning the church. The context of this passage is the church.
o In baptism we are adopted as sons and daughters of God.
o But are also adopted into the family of God, into the church. The Role of the Holy Spirit Acts 8:14 These folks had been baptized into the name of Jesus, this wasn’t just John’s baptism.
• Even though they had been baptized into the name of Jesus they had not received the Holy Spirit.
• The apostles considered a baptism without receiving the Holy Spirit to be insufficient. Acts 19:1
• Again, the apostles considered a baptism without the Holy Spirit to be insufficient.
• So, I think we should too, when we baptize there should be an expectation that the Spirit will also come.
What About Him? (John 21:15-23)
• Today let’s focus in on two questions in this passage. Jesus’s questions to Peter, and Peter’s question to Jesus.
• Jesus asks the first question, “Do you truly love me?” (NIV)
o Many translations render it “Do you love me more than these?”
In the Greek the word is “these” and there is some ambiguity.
• That ambiguity may be intentional on Jesus’ part.
o Jesus is probably referring to the other disciples, or do you love me more than they do?
o Jesus may also be referring to other things, perhaps Jesus was referring to the fish.
This would have been meant to symbolize Peter’s livelihood of fishing.
• Jesus gets to ask this question because he has already proven His love by dying on the cross.
• Jesus is beginning the process of restoring Peter, and this whole scene is about grace, love, and restoration.
• First, people and relationships.
o Jesus is asking do you love me more than these other disciples, or more than they do?
• Are there human relationships that interfere and take away from our love and relationship with Jesus?
• Second, work, occupation, money
o Jesus may also have been referring to the fish and therefore Peter’s job as a fisherman.
o We all know that work certainly has a way of interfering with our relationship with Jesus.
• Let’s look at John 21:1-5. The answer to scarcity is always Jesus.
• Third, persecution/difficulty
o It was after all persecution that caused Peter to disown Jesus three times.
o And just like Peter, we often allow persecution or difficulty to interfere with our love for Jesus. Continuing: Jesus restores Peter three times because Peter disowned Jesus three times.
• The third time Peter is hurt by the question because he doesn’t see or understand the powerful thing that Jesus is doing through this restoration process. Verses 18-19 In these two verses Jesus tells Peter what kind of persecution and death he will suffer.
• But then Jesus says follow me. The only path through this is to follow Jesus closely. Verse 20 Now we see Peter’s question. It is a question of comparison.
• Jesus’s question was one of love. Rooted in grace and pushing toward restoration.
• Peter’s question is one of comparison. Rooted in fear, scarcity, and lack of trust. Verses 22 When Jesus says, “If I want him to remain alive until I return” He is saying I have the power to do that.
• When Jesus says, “what is that to you,” He is basically saying, it’s not for you to know about this other guy.
• Jesus ends with, “You must follow me,” Jesus is getting Peter to focus not on his own relationship with God.
o This is a word to all of us. We each must follow Jesus, for ourselves.
o We should also not and cannot compare ourselves with others.
The Color of the Kingdom (Rev 5:8)
• At the beginning of chap 4 John is taken up into heaven in the spirit.
o He then begins to describe what he sees, what heaven looks like.
• At first John weeps because no one was found worthy to open the scroll.
o The scroll contains the destiny of the world.
• Then in chap 5 Jesus is found to be the only one worthy to take the scroll from the Father and open it.
o One of the Elders says that the Lion of Judah can open it.
o But when John sees Jesus, He appears as a Lamb that has been slain. Verse 8 The four living creatures and the 24 Elders fell down in worship.
• Whatever you fall down in worship with, becomes sacrifice. Verse 9 It says that they sang a “new” song. This means it was a song that had never been song before.
• Why is this a new song? Jesus taking the scroll to open it represents a new era in God’s redemptive history. What’s new about this era? The Lamb’s death on the cross has never happened before, nor will it happen again.
o Jesus’s death on the cross is what is new, and what is worthy of this worship.
• But there is more that is new here. Jesus purchased men for God.
o The word here should be “people” or “us”
• The imagery behind “ransomed” or “purchased” is that of slaves being freed.
• But what is equally important to see here is that it is all mankind that is set free.
o In the past only the Jewish nation Israel was included in God’s redemptive work.
• First it says every tribe. This would have been reminiscent of the 12 tribes of Israel.
o But now includes people of every tribe throughout the world.
• Then it says language. There are approximately 6909 living languages in the world.
o And all of them will be in heaven.
• Then it says people. This is redundant to drive home the point.
• Then it ends with nation. This world could also mean race or people Verse 10 All of those people just mentioned are to be a kingdom.
o A kingdom united under one king, …King Jesus.
• But think about all those categories… they usually separate. No longer!
o And, that kingdom is the church on earth – now!!
• Because it says that they will be priests. We won’t need persist in heaven.
• This begins in Acts 2 and finds its fulfillment in Rev 7 Takeaway: 1. We must evangelize every people group.
2. We must learn and appreciate worshipping together.
3. We must learn to appreciate the richness diversity brings to the church.
4. We must fight for it
Given to What? 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 Paul starts this chapter by talking about salvation.
• He talks about the resurrection of Christ from the dead, how Jesus fulfilled the OT scriptures.
• Paul also says that you must hold to these truths otherwise you have believed in vein. Verses 12-19 Paul makes the case that the dead are on fact raised.
• His evidence, his method of proof, is the fact that Jesus has been raised from the dead.
• This of course is a refutation of the Sadducees who believed and taught that there was no resurrection. Verses 20-32 Death came through the man Adam. So, resurrection comes through the man Christ.
• But in this section Paul also talks about the authority and dominion Christ has over the enemy. Verses 24-27 The “He” that Paul keeps mentioning here is of course Jesus.
o Paul is making all of these comments in the context of building his case for the resurrection of the dead. Verses 30-32 If this whole thing isn’t real, the why am I putting my life on the line every day? Verse 33-34 Paul is using the whole section to refute false teachings in the Corinthian church. Verses 35-53 Paul also begins talking about the perishable and the imperishable.
• The temporal nature of this world and this body verses the eternal nature of the world to come and our resurrection bodies. Flesh and blood, perishable, cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, which is eternal. Verses 54-57 Paul continues stating that Jesus has overcome death and sin using the word victory repeatedly.
• First it was the victory death had over us; but it ends with the victory that Christ gave us. The Command 1 Cor 15:58 The NIV begins with “therefore.” This is tied back to the promises we just looked at.
• The Living Bible translates it this way. “So, my dear brothers, since future victory is sure,”
o Since future victory is sure we can be strong and steady giving ourselves fully to the work of the Lord.
• Then he says, “be firm.” Could also be translated as, “be steadfast.” It’s also an imperative, a command.
• Then to add emphasis he rewords it. “Let nothing move you.” The word in Greek is, “immovable.”
• So why is he saying this about being firm and steadfast?
o Verses 33-34 There were people who were being swayed by the other teachings.
• Paul continues with, “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord.”
o The word means: be more than enough, ample, increase, abound, exceed.
o The word speaks both of abundance and increase.
• The word is in the active form in the Greek. When means we are the ones to do the action.
• The word is also a participle, which means it is ongoing. We are to continually be doing this.
o To add further emphasis he also adds the word “always.” A very strong statement.
• Continuing in the verse Paul ends with because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
• Listen to it in TLB for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever wasted as it would be if there were no resurrection.
Serving As Evangelism (1 Thes 2:1-13) Verse 2 Paul reminds His readers that they had suffered and been insulted in the city of Philippi.
• Yet despite the insults and strong opposition they still preached the Gospel.
• Today we seem to have lost sight of the idea that preaching the Gospel is going to come with strong opposition. Verse 3-5 In these three verses Paul is establishing their pure motives. Verse 7 This is the mighty Apostle Paul, and yet he says that he has been as gentle as a mother.
• He was not harsh or overbearing with them.
• And what do mother’s do? They care for and meet needs. Remember the context here is sharing the Gospel. Verse 8 Because of their love for the people, they were delighted to share the Gospel.
• And not just the Gospel, but their lives, because they had become so dear to them.
• He is also talking about loving people before they were followers of Jesus.
• Paul also says they shared not just the gospel but their lives.
o This wasn’t awkward in the moment evangelism. This is deep relational evangelism. Verse 9 The most affective missionaries are the ones who labor among the people they are trying to reach.
• Not only are you not a burden to the people, but it helps you bond with them. Verse 10 A lack of character and integrity will shipwreck our best attempts at evangelism. Verse 11-12 Now after Paul tell us he has been a mother to them, he also says that he was a father to them.
• There are qualities in both mothering and fathering that are critical to evangelism and serving.
• Paul says he encouraged them, as a father would. This is what good fathering is.
o Being discouraging or judging will not endear someone to Jesus.
• In the context of fathering Paul says he was comforting to them.
o Now put that in the context of serving and evangelism. A father’s comfort will draw people to Jesus.
• This wasn’t just fathering for fathering sake, he says that he urged them to live Godly lives, from the place of a father. This is discipleship, the is evangelism.
• Then Paul mentions that God is calling us into His kingdom
o Again, it’s that fathering role, to call sons and daughters into their kingdom calling and destiny. Verse 13 Finally, Paul gives thanks for them accepting the word of God, not as from men but from God. 7 key principles or concepts here for serving as a form of evangelism.
1. Pure motives
2. Overcome insults and opposition (secure identity)
3. Labored among them. (Also serving)
4. Gentle as a mother (meeting needs and serving)
5. Shared the Gospel and their lives from a place of love. They delighted to do this.
6. Encouraged and comforted like a father. Urged to live Godly lives.
7. Gave thanks for those that received the Lord.
The Heart of Serving
• John 13:1-17 We normally only look at this passage on Good Friday. Verse 3 This verse is so important because it shows Jesus knew His identity.
• What He was about to do was a very menial task, something the lowest of the slaves or servants would do.
o But Jesus had no trouble doing this because He knew His identity.
• So the first step into really serving in getting our identity with Jesus right. Verses 4-5 In taking off His outer garment He is truly taking on the position of a servant.
• This task was usually reserved for the lowest person in the household. Verse 12 Jesus says no one is above this.
• If He can do this as Lord of Lord, then anyone who would follow in His name can do this.
• Then He says that we will be blessed if we do this.
• In Mozambique, they still do something similar.
o What they practice is hand washing.
They have no running water and there are no bathrooms.
• Diseases related to hygiene are real issues there.
So washing hands is their need.
• But here is the thing It’s not just the lowest servant or slave who do this, they all serve each other. Now I am left to ask the question why? Why do they get servanthood so well?
• Luke 16:13“No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
• Here in the US we serve a standard of living.
• They can’t serve a standard of living because there is no standard of living.
o This frees them in a lot of ways to serve the kingdom with undivided hearts.
• But there is still a disconnect here.
o Our standard of living should not prevent us from being servants.
• So, we do have to figure out how to not let the blessings of our standard of living, prevent us from receiving the blessings of the Lord that come through heart level serving.
1. I think it’s our desire to be comfortable and have an easy life.
2. I think we love our rights, I have a right to this or that.
3. We love talking about it more than doing it.
4. We would rather be entertained than serve
• Now I also want to talk about Noticing Part of being a servant is noticing what needs to be done.
o Jesus was good at noticing
• But in order to notice, our eyes, and hearts have to be off of our standard of living.
Clothed with Power (Pentecost Sunday) Luke 24:37 & Acts 2:1 The Promise Throughout Jesus’ ministry He promised the Holy Spirit. Luke 24:37 This is the scene after Jesus’ death and resurrection when He appears to His disciples.
• He appears to them when they are all in disbelief, trying to figure out what just happened and what to do next. Verses 37-44 He is trying to convince them it really is Him. Verse 45 He is of course refereeing just to the OT scriptures here.
• This verse implies that up to this point they didn’t fully understand the scriptures.
o Yet the disciple had Hebrew backgrounds and would have studied the scriptures a great deal. Verse 47 Jesus alludes to what we call the Great Commission here.
• The basics of the Gospel message, repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached.
o This message will also go to all the nations of the world. Verse 49 To emphasize the importance of the HS he tells His disciple stay in the city until they get the HS.
• He starts out by saying “stay here.” In Greek, it’s actually the verb “to sit.”
o The verb is also in the active form. Which means the subject of the verb does the action.
• Then Jesus says clothed. The word has as a definition, “the sense of sinking into a garment.”
o This verb is in the passive form.
o Which means the actions happens to the subject with no volition on the part of the subject.
• Then we are clothed with power. This is the word dunamis
o The word is a bit of supernatural word, meaning more than just simple power, but miraculous power. The Promised fulfilled: Acts 2:1-4
• Jesus promised the HS but they didn’t know what that would look like. They probably didn’t expect this.
o Notice it says the sound of a violent wind, but not actual wind.
o Then they saw what appeared to be fire, but not actual fire.
• The verb “to rest” here is the same verb “to sit” we saw back in Luke 24:49 Verse 4 The verb here “filled” is in the passive form.
• So the disciples have no part in the filling, it is just happening to them.
• Then there is the tangible proof and lasting sign of the Holy Spirit’s presence in tongues. We see two responses to this Verse 12 Responding with amazement and yet some perplexity is completely appropriate. Verse 13 Some reject and mock what is happening This is still the response of much of the world today.
• Paul confirms this in 1 Cor 2:14 Acts 2:37 In the first passage we looked at in Luke 24 Jesus said it would be a simple message of repentance and forgiveness, here we see that.
• Then, after you repent and receive forgiveness you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Verse 39 Then Peter say this promise is for all ages, and for all people.
Following More Than Words
• 1Thessalonians 1:2-10 Verse 2 In these first few verses we see Paul remembering and praying for the people of Thessalonica. Verse 4 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,
• NLT We know, dear brothers and sisters, that God loves you and has chosen you to be his own people.
• Paul is simply confirming their call to be a part of the Christian faith. Verse 5 One of the ways that Paul can know so confidently they are called is because of the powerful way God confirmed Himself to the people.
• Paul says that the Gospel didn’t come to them with just words, but also with power.
o This is a recurring theme for Paul. 1 Cor 2:4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.
• Here he gives us a little more detail as to why this is so important.
o So that the faith of the people will not rest on the wisdom of men.
• There is nothing wrong with theology and apologetics, but even though Paul was great at both, he puts his emphasis on the Holy Spirit. Continuing in the verse When the Holy Spirit comes there is also deep conviction.
• Our best and wisest words may or may not bring conviction. Continuing in the verse… You know how we lived among you for your sake.
• This statement is in the same context of Paul saying that he came to them with power and the Holy Spirit. Verse 6 Paul now commends them for becoming imitators of him, and Christ.
• Paul goes on to say that they imitated him despite great sufferings.
o Another great example for us to endure the sufferings of our day, as mild as they are.
• Paul then says they despite the sufferings they received joy from the Holy Spirit.
o Joy is a missing component in so much of the Christian faith.
• Is that because we have neglected the Holy Spirit to focus on the wise words and programs of men? Verse 7 Because they imitated Paul and they became a model to the whole region, affecting thousands of people.
• Proof that following in the ways of Paul will pay great dividends. Verse 8 The Lord’s message rang out because of their witness and imitation of Paul.
• They followed or imitated Paul and as a result their witness, and the Lord’s message, was known not just in their area, but everywhere.
• This all comes back to power and the Holy Spirit.
o So that it’s the Lord message that is known everywhere. Not the message or wisdom of man.
A Life Worth Following 1 Cor 11:1 NIV Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ MEV Follow me as I follow Christ. Three key issues here: First, the quality of Paul’s life, the worthiness to be followed. Second, there is an invitation. “Follow me” Third, it is Christ we are following and inviting others to follow. Jesus first The first one, Follow Me: Your life must be worth following, Paul’s life certainly was.
• 1 Thes 2:6-12 He was not looking for praise of glory, there was a humility.
o It says He treated them as gentle as a mother and encouraging life a Father
• 2 Cor 11:23 Here we see all the hardships Paul had faced.
o Any one of these hardships and most people are done.
• He did not become focused on his own struggles and hardship.
• Eph 6:19-20 He is in prison, bound by chains, and yet his prayer requests is that he will still fearlessly preach the Gospel. What got him in prison? Preaching the Gospel!!
• It would have been easy enough to become more concerned with his own situation and need for freedom.
• 2 Cor 12:7-10 He delights in in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties
o Paul delights in them because in them he sees the power of Christ. Second, there is an invitation
• Now the “imitate me” or “follow me” in the English sounds like a verb.
o But in the Greek, it’s a noun. “an imitation.” “Become an imitation of me”
o The verb “to become” is a command.
• Today we have such an eversion to this kind of thinking. Seems selfish or self-centered. Third, it is Christ we are following and inviting others to follow.
• In order to have a life worth following, we must first be following Christ.
o In fact, don’t follow any one if they are not following Christ.
• This is also the antidote to the notion that this is self-serving. So what do we need to do? Reverse the order First, follow Christ with everything we have. It must start here. This is contagious.
• Jesus first, and not religious stuff. But real first love stuff. Second, life a life with following
• No one is going to hand you followers. You must earn the privilege to be followed. Third, invite someone to follow you.
• Be deliberate about this.
• Be selective with you follow. Keep expectations real and open.
Fasting (Matt 6:16-18) Old Testament: In the Old Testament, it was a regular part of their religious life.
o The Day of Atonement was the only required fast.
• The Prophet Joel called the people to a fast of repentance. Joel 2:12-13
• In 2 Chronicles King Jehoshaphat calls the whole nation to a fast in the face of an invading army.
• Fasting is often associated with acts of repentance in the OT. Neh 8:18-9:2
• Fasting was associated with desperately seeking the Lord’s face and presence. Psalm 109:21-26; Daniel 9: 3
• Fasting is also associated with mourning in the OT. Esther 4:3
New Testament Era: Matt 6:16-18 Verse 16 Do you notice how matter of fact Jesus is with this? Not if you fast, but when you fast.
• Jesus clearly sees this as a practice that will continue
o We definitely don’t talk about this nearly as much as the other issues in the sermon on the Mount.
So, I just wonder why fasting doesn’t get as much attention as the other issues?
Does the enemy know the power in fasting and wants to keep us from it?
• As the sermon on the mount continues Jesus talks about storing treasures in heaven and not worrying.
o I think the order of these passages is not by accident.
o Fasting can be a key to these two areas. Remember: Jesus begins His public ministry with a fast Different kinds of fasts: We see a few different types of fasts in the bible.
• All of which involved going without food.
• First, the normal fast. This is fasting from all food, not eating at all. But still drinking water, or juice.
• Second, the partial fast. This is abstaining from certain kinds of food.
o We see Daniel do this. Daniel 1:12; Daniel 10:3
• Third, the absolute fast This is giving up both food and water for a period of three days.
o We see a few biblical examples of this. Ezera 10:6; Esther 4:16; Acts 9: 7-9
• Fourth, The Miraculous fast, A number of different biblical examples. Time periods: There of course can be different time periods for a fast.
• You can skip one meal a day; a one day fast; a three day fast; All the way up to a forty day fast. Now let’s ask the big question: Why fast, what do I get out of it?
• Often there is a misconception that we fast to get something from God. Of course, it doesn’t work that way. There are many benefits of fasting:
• Facilitating and enabling prayer; Overcoming the forces of evil; Turning down the volume of our flesh.
• Humbling ourselves before the Lord, putting the Lord first
• High level, perhaps even desperate seeking of the Lord.
Being People of His Presence Exodus 33:11 Moses already has an incredible relationship with God.
• But for Moses even this wasn’t enough, he knew that he wanted and needed more. Verse 12 Moses recognizes that he can’t lead the people by himself, on his own.
• So, he’s asking God who’s going to help me with this.
• But he isn’t just seeking God’s advice, He is seeking the very presence of God. Verse 13 Now there may be that little voice that comes to you, Is God really pleased with me? Do I have favor?
• That voice is the enemy, and the answer of course is yes, God is pleased with you. Stewarding that favor:
• Moses asked to know His ways, so that he might continue to find favor with God.
o He had favor with God, which allowed him to ask God to know His ways, so that He might find more favor with God. He used the favor he had to ask for more favor.
• Psalm 103:7 7 He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the people of Israel.
• Do you see the difference?
• The people of Israel were looking for provision, they were looking for the hand or acts of God, whereas Moses was looking to know God, his ways, to be in His presence. Verse 14 God responds to Moses request by saying that His presence will go with Moses and Israel.
• This is also an answer to the question who will you send to help me lead these people.
• In this verse, God also promised rest.
o If we are walking with the presence of God we will have rest. We’re not striving
• Which may not mean inactivity, it’s possible to have rest while still doing stuff, with His presence. Verse 15 If your presence does not go with us do not send us up from here. Wow what a great response!
• The people of Israel have already seen incredible miracles of God.
o And yet here Moses says do not send us up from here if your presence does not go with us.
• Moses is asking to know God, to really know Him, so that he might continue to find favor with God.
• The people just expected God to provide for them, but they never bothered to figure out what that provision meant about God. Verse 16 Moses understands that the distinguishing mark must be the presence of the Lord.
• Not just the miracles, the Egyptian magicians did “miracles,”
• This verse is the cry of the heart of this church. Verse 17 Moses asked boldly and got what he asked for.
• But what he asked for was more of God’s presence. He stewarded his favor well. Verse 18 Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”
• Now Moses goes for broke, he immediately stewards that favor and asks for more.
Prayer: Don’t Pray Safe, Pray Big
John 14:12-14; John 15:7-8 John 15:16 16; John 16:23-24 John14:12 12 The context here is Jesus has been telling Phillip that He and the Father are one.
o Then Jesus goes on to basically say that we will be one in Him and the Father through faith.
• Jesus makes an incredible statement, that if we have faith in Him, then we will do what He has been doing.
o What are the things that Jesus has been doing?
o He says we will be able to do the same things, through faith in Him and prayer.
• Then as verse 12 continues Jesus goes on to say that we will do even greater things.
• Jesus says that this is because He is going to the Father.
o Of course, going to the Father is a reference to His coming death and resurrection.
o In the context that follows starting in verse 15 Jesus says that when He goes to the Father He will send the Holy Spirit. Being able to do the same and greater things is empowered by the Holy Spirit. Verse 13 The asking here is of course prayer and praying in Jesus name, asking through Jesus.
• Then we see the reason for us being able to do greater things?
o So that the Son, Jesus, might bring glory to the Father. Verse 14 The, “ask me anything” here has to be within the context of all of Jesus’s teachings.
• This isn’t ask me anything the world wants; asking according to your selfish desires.
• This is asking according to the Kingdom principles Jesus has been teaching.
1. Pray Big and bold. Praying big bold prayers assumes a few things.
• That God is good, that bold prayers honor God, that God is for you, that God will answer big prayers.
2. Pray the Kingdom “Lord let your kingdom come, let your will be done.”
• Jesus is looking to give the Father glory, but that comes through His Kingdom.
o Make a list of the things that Jesus did.
Pray and ask that you and we the church get to do those things.
o Make a list of things that might be greater but in line with what Jesus did.
Pray and ask that you and we the church would get to do those things.
• Pray Kingdom, not safety. There is a difference between praying for protection and praying safe.
3. Pray specifically Pray specifically enough that we can know for sure God answered the prayer.
• Luke 18:35 Notice how bold he was? Then the man asks very specifically and boldly. “I want to see.”
4. Pray with faith I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.
5. Pray through to praise Praying through is praying until the end. Praising is the amen of prayer.
6. Pray in relationship Within the context of these passages on asking boldly Jesus teaches the passage of the vine. John 15:7-8
• This is quite honestly how we ensure we get our prayers answered.
Prayer: What Gets in the Way Daniel 10:10 Presumably the angel that touches Daniel here is Gabriel as mentioned earlier in Dan 9:21 Verse 12 But then he says that from the moment you began to pray your prayers were heard.
• This should be very comforting for us, even when it doesn’t feel like it, God hears our prayers right from the beginning. Knowing this should fuel the faith in our prayers Verse 13 Then angel tells Daniel that his coming has been delayed for 21 days.
• We see that not only can answer to prayers be delayed, they can be delayed by other spirits.
o Most bible scholars believe this is the “governing evil spirit for the Persian nation”
• This also reminds us of the spiritual battle that rages around us that we may not always be aware of.
o We also see different levels of power and authority in the spirit realm, that work against prayer.
• This relates to us more in terms praying for our city and our community. Now Just some practical things:
1. Feelings of inadequacies: Feeling inadequate to pray in general, at a prayer meeting for example.
a. I don’t know how to pray or what to pray for. I don’t have the words to pray.
2. Feeling inadequate to pray out loud
a. Remember praying is talking to our friend Jesus. Just talk like you would to a friend.
3. Feeling inadequate to pray like others.
a. Remember this is not a competition. No one, not even God is judging your prayers.
4. Asking for things is selfish
a. Jesus says we can ask for whatever we want in His names. 6 times in the book of John
5. Prayer is not tangible Prayer might feel this way if we don’t know what to pray.
i. If we don’t know the One we pray to, or if we are always praying for our own desires
6. Praying passively
a. Jesus teaches more than once about praying with great boldness and persistence. Luke 10:8
7. Distractions We have already talked about this a lot lately.
8. Attitude or thinking that prayer doesn’t work
a. I prayed once and nothing happened so what’s the point of praying?
9. Lack of consistency Don’t pray from your circumstances that leads to inconsistency, pray from relationship
10. Praying for problems and troubles We must pray “Let your Kingdom Come”
11. Too Busy Quite honestly this one is probably related to number 8 (praying doesn’t work)
a. If we think there isn’t much point in praying then we aren’t going to make time for prayer.
b. Of course, the enemy likes to distract us with busyness.
12. Feeling like God will judge me if I pray wrong or if I fail to pray
a. This is a lie from the enemy related to legalism.
b. But what God judges is show offs. Matt 6:5
Prayer: Why is it So Hard? (Matt 26:36-45)
• What was Jesus asking them to do?
o Verse 40 says He was asking them to pray for one hour. Is this realistic?
• What was he asking them to pray?
o Verse 41 He was asking them to pray against temptation. “What temptation”?
• What gets in the way?
o Flesh, He says the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
• What are some of the problems here?
• First, I think the disciples missed what an epic moment this was.
o Maybe they didn’t understand fully what was about to happen, but they missed it.
o So how do we overcome this?
We have to ask. Slow down enough to ask Jesus.
Repent, Jesus sorry we are slow and dense but show us what is going on right now.
Jesus, “Open our eyes to spiritual realities so that we can catch an urgency for prayer.”
• Second, is the flesh, in this case sleepiness.
o I think there is also a greater issue of spiritual sleepiness
Not processing what they do know.
• Jesus was fulfilling all of the OT prophecies of what the Messiah would do.
o So how do we overcome this?
First, give up our right to comfort
Second, process what we do know.
• Third, they succumbed to the very thing Jesus told them to pray against.
o I think they underestimated the level of spiritual attack.
o How do we over come?
Do like Jesus said and pray against temptation and attack. Don’t pray passively here.
Fight with the right weapons 2 Cor 10:3-6
Do whatever is in your power to set aside distractions and get away from distractions.
• Fourth, they didn’t know what to say, in prayer and to Jesus
o Mark 14:40 …They did not know what to say to him. Probably in prayer as well.
o So how do we respond?
Repent for not knowing. Ask Him, “teach me to prayer”
Spend time listening for what to pray for.
Remember prayer isn’t always about asking. It’s also listening, it’s also loving.
• Fifth, they were caught off guard Jesus comes back for the third time and this time He doesn’t do anything.
• But then when he comes back the fourth time, Judas and a crowd armed with swords are right on top of them.
• So how do we respond? Stay in prayer and listen well. Let Him prepare us!
House of Prayer (Mark 11:11-17) Mark 11:11 This scene comes during the Palm Sunday entry into Jerusalem.
• After Jesus comes riding into the city with everyone cheering and singing praises there is this little verse where Jesus goes into the Temple and looks around. Verses:12-14 He curses the fig tree and a few verses later we see that the tree has died.
• First, I believe that there is a metaphor between the fig tree not having any fruit and what Jesus saw in the Temple the day before.
• Second, Jesus is teaching the disciples a lesson about faith filled prayer. Verses 15-16 Jesus now enters the Temple again. But this time He has a plan,
• He begins driving out the merchants.
• What is the problem with the merchants?
o Briefly: They were preventing people from worshipping.
o They were charging exorbitant prices.
o The Temple had become more about the business than worship and prayer. Verse 17 Then He says that, “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”
• The house of prayer for all nations is a quote from Isa 56:7
o This passage in Isa has a heading and a topic of “Salvation for Others.”
First, that the Lord’s house will be a house of Prayer.
Second, The Lord is making a way for other nations to come to Him.
o Back in Mark And the den of robbers is a quote from Jer 7:11
The prophet Jeremiah was warning against what he called false religion.
• When God says house of prayer, he means the essence of the Lord’s house is to be prayer.
o And the subsequent fruit. Prayer always bears fruit.
Then the next part of the quote is “For all nations”
• Because God is a God of all nations, His house is to be a house for all nations.
o The church is to be a church for all nations. Verse 17 continues “But you have made it a den of robbers”
• Jesus’ teaching or admonition then turns to that quote from Jer.7:11
• The topic or heading in that passage in Jer is “False Religion is Worthless”
• The people in the Temple of Jesus’ day had made it about religious practice.
o But it certainly wasn’t about prayer and true worship.
• It could be really easy today for any church or leader to fall into that same trap. Mark 11:20-24 I will continue in the passage later
The alternative to a house of prayer???
Be Deliberate: Worship
• John 4:23 Jesus gives the command to worship in spirit and truth.
• First, we have to start with getting somewhat of a working definition of what worship is.
• Matt 2:10 This is in the birth narrative of Jesus.
• It says they were overjoyed. Then offered gifts, and expensive gifts. They also traveled a great distance
o There is costliness to their worship. There is preparation, preparing for the travel, preparing the gifts
o They also bowed down, a physical posture of honor.
• Matt 14:30 Jesus calms a storm after Peter tried to walk on water.
• Then it says that those who were in the boat worshipped Hm.
o Awe and wonder at what they just saw, thanksgiving for being safe, possibly a physical posturing of bowing down, praise.
• John 9: 35 Jesus heals a man born blind.
• When the man realizes who Jesus is, it says that he worshiped him.
o What do think this worship looked like?
Thanksgiving and praise, probably awe and wonder, he probably bowed down.
• In each of these passages we have looked at it is the Greek word proskuneo.
o This word means, fall down, kneel, bow down, fall at another’s feet, to kiss the hand. Gen 22:1 Abram finally gets his long-awaited son; but then the Lord asks him to sacrifice that son.
• Look at verse 5: We will worship, then we will come back. He sees both going, and both coming back.
o But most astonishing is that he says we will worship.
• So what do we see in this passages as it relates to worship?
o Obedience, Trust, Sacrifice, Faith, Preparation, and costliness. 2 Sam 24:18 This scene starts with David sinning against the Lord by taking a census of his army.
• The Lord speaks through the prophet Gad and sends three options for judgement.
• What do we see in this passage? Repentance, Costliness, Sacrifice, Preparation, Honor, Prayer Let’s recap what we have seen so far: Worship is about…
o Awe and wonder
o Physical posture
Go Back to John 4:23 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
• But now we take that list we just looked at and add the reequipment of worshipping in Spirit and truth.
• Worshipping in Spirit means being filled with the spirit and worshiping as enabled by the spirit.
• Worship in truth means we must worship God based on the truth of who He is, not our own invention.
Be Deliberate: Community (Hebrews 10:19-25)
• Community: a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
• In the NIV the word Community is used 83 times. All but one of them are in the OT
• The whole Jewish nation was known as and functioned as a community. Now Let’s ask the questions why is community needed and where does community originate?
• Community is a reflection of God: God is always in community within Himself
• God is a Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
o So community originates with God Himself because He is always in Community within Himself. Community is the fullness of God in expression
• When we are in Community we are closer to reflecting the nature of God. Community is for encouragement in the context of worship: we have Christ in Common
• Hebrews 10:19 He starts with what is worship, praise, and thanksgiving. Verse 21 The Great Priest is no longer the high Priest but Jesus. Verse 22 The writer is encouraging us to draw near to God because we have assurance of our salvation in Christ.
• Community starts with the work of Jesus on the cross and then owning that and walking in that.
o If we don’t get this right, then community is hard because our sins and our guilt get in the way. Verse 23 Community is hard when we have no hope.
• But that’s the point of community, when one is low on hope, they can take from another. Verse 24 Now the writer moves into the tangible and practical ways of community.
• This is the essence of community, to spur one another on. Verse 25 You can see that already in this early stage of the church people were already struggling with meeting together. He is calling his audience to be in community to encourage one another and spur each other on.
o All in the context of worship, discipleship and having Jesus in common. Community is for strengthening and learning, discipleship (Jesus modeled this)
• Proverbs 27:17 In order for iron to sharpen iron they have to rub against each other.
• Discipleship happens in community, not in isolation. Community for meeting needs and serving Acts 2:44; Acts 4:34
• Being in community is also to meet the emotional needs of each other.
• Community also provides us the opportunity to serve. In order for needs to be met, someone has to serve. Community is for Fellowship
• Fellowship, definition: friendly association, especially with people who share one’s interests.
• Community can be the larger collection of people of the church.
• Then, fellowship is what happens in the smaller deliberate gatherings of the church.
• Acts 2:42 Devoted, that speaks of being really deliberate.
• Acts2:46 Then here we see them deliberately gathering at both the Temple and in homes. Community Across the ages In the Jewish culture of Israel community was always across the ages.
• The Book of Titus also talks about the older teaching the younger. Our Mantra for Community: Phil 2:3-6
Be Deliberate: Holy Spirit Luke 11 The chapter starts with the Disciples asking Jesus, “teach us to pray.”
• After teaching the Lord’s Prayer, He tells them a parable.
o Jesus ends the parable in verse 8 with a powerful and even shocking statement.
o The word translated here in the NIV as “boldness” means “shameless persistence”
• Two points here.
o First, the stress is not on persistent or repetition of the request, as much as it is on the boldness or nerve of the request. We get to come boldly before the throne of God with our requests.
o Second, God is not stingy or lazy, God is the not the neighbor.
• Now the question, what is the basis for these bold requests?
o Luke 11:11-13 Jesus is inviting us to make bold requests for the Holy Spirit.
o Notice it says, to those who ask Him. We have to be deliberate to ask for the Holy Spirit.
• Why don’t we all get blasted and filled all at once?
o We have to learn to steward this well. But wait? Common Argument
• Didn’t I get the Holy Spirit when I accepted Jesus?
• Acts 8:14 So here is a group of believers that have accepted Jesus and have been baptized.
o But they had not received the Holy Spirit.
• Acts 19:1 Here Apollos and Paul find some believers. Notice the first question they ask them?
o Did you receive the Holy Spirit?
• This group had only been baptized with John’s baptisms. So they water baptize them into Jesus name.
o Then subsequent to that, they pray and ask for the Holy Spirit.
• In both passages being filled with the Holy Spirit came after receiving Jesus.
o The Apostles put an extraordinarily high value on receiving the Holy Spirit. So should we!
• Acts 10:45 Here they get filled with the Holy Spirit first.
o Then they get water baptized into the name of Jesus. Being refilled We leak, we are leaky vessels, so we constantly need to be refilled.
• We see glimpses of this in different bible stories.
• Also, as we mature we can be filled to great measure. God can trust us with more. Grieving Holy Spirit It is possible for us to grieve the Holy Spirit.
• Eph 4:29 Do you see how both our actions and our words can grieve the Holy Spirit?
The book of James adds that the spirit living in us envies intensely. Don’t Resist Holy Spirit Acts 7:51 Stephen accuses the people of resisting the Holy Spirit.
• The Holy Spirit will not force Himself on us. Spiritual Gifts: And of course, we must be deliberate with using our spiritual gifts.
Be Deliberate: Prayer (Mark 1:21-39) We are Friends of God: John 15:13-17 Prayer is essentially talking to our friend Jesus.
• Notice Jesus says He calls us friends because He has told us told us His father’s business.
o Prayer is listening to our friend give us the wisdom we need for life. Mark 1:21-39 Three Observations:
• First, Jesus is doing a lot of traveling and working long hours.
• Second, He is doing a lot of ministry. Dealing with a lot of people and demons.
o He is also dealing with a bit of a celebrity status so to speak.
• Third, His prayer life.
o Jesus was the Son of God, Deity Himself. Yet while on earth He had to pray.
• So right in the middle of all this chaos, travel and ministry we see Jesus’ very deliberate prayer life. Verse 35 It starts with very early in the morning.
• This is contrasted by verse 33 that says “after sunset”
• Then it says while it was still dark. This emphasizes just how early this was.
o Going out in the dark gives Him privacy and hiddenness.
• The passage continues with Jesus got up and left the house.
o As anyone else tried to just stay in bed and pray? Getting up honors the prayer.
o Then He left the house
If He stays in the house, then someone else might get up early and distract Him.
• Now the passage ends with went off to a solitary place where he prayed.
o He had to find a solitary place where there were no other people.
• In this story in Mark Jesus is very deliberate in His prayer time.
o The model of deliberateness he sets here is certainly an example for us.
• Yet despite all of His efforts, His disciples still find Him.
o This speaks to the opposition and difficulty we will face even when we try to be deliberate.
o So press in and be deliberate, but expect push back.
o Pray against the push back. Verse 38 I have to think that in His prayer time that morning the Father gave Him His marching orders.
• Was it in this prayer time the Father directed Him to go to Galilee? Corporate prayer: So far I have talked about personal prayer.
• But corporate prayer is also essential to our spiritual life. There is something powerful about praying in unity with other people.
• Thurs at noon: Every other Wed (None Kingdom Life weeks): Sunday before the service: 1st Friday of the month: Prayer covenants, Be deliberate about praying for specific ministries in the church.
Be Deliberate: One God and His Word (Deuteronomy 6) Verse 2 Moses reminds the people that if they follow God’s ways and fear Him, things will go well for them. Verse 3 Here Moses introduces another concept, a land flowing with milk and honey.
o This is both a blessing and a temptation. Verse 4 This makes for bad English but he is reminding them that there is only one God. Verse 5 This is the most basic and boiled down commandment. Verse 6 The word “heart” is a good way to translate this, but the Hebrew concept is inner man.
• But this is where we start to see this idea of being deliberate.
• Notice it says upon your heart and not in your head. Verse 7 NASB “You shall teach them diligently to your sons” That really speak of being deliberate.
• Talk about what? The commands of God, the word of God. When? pretty much all the time.
• Now during this time period there were no written copies of the law.
o It was an oral tradition, repeated over and over again. Verse 8 Now it moves to a more tangible act of being deliberate.
• It was common during this time period among the other religions of that area for them to wear amulets.
o Even arm bands and wrist bands were also common in Syro-Palestine.
• Moses is telling the people redeem those kinds of thing as you seek to be deliberate with God’s word. Verse 9 This is certainly reminiscent of the Passover when they put blood on their door posts.
• This is to remind us, the ones who live in the house of God’s word.
o And serves to welcome the presence of God in the house. Verses 10-11 They have just come through the exodus and have been wandering in the wilderness for years.
• As they prepare for the promised land, flowing with milk and honey, Moses warns them to be deliberate. Verse 12 These deliberate acts that Moses has suggested are all for this purpose. Do not forget the Lord. Verse 13 This fear is a reverent holy fear for the Lord.
• The result of that holy fear is that we serve Him only. Verse 14 Those small g gods look different today; but they are still just as prevalent. Verse 15 God is always among us, that’s really good news. But he is also a jealous God.
o His jealousy will protect me when I am following Him.
o But his jealously can work against me when I go my own way. For Us today: The same temptations still hold true for us today. So we also need a plan to be deliberate.
• 1. The Word: Be deliberate with the Word of God.
o Make a plan to read the Word. And also make a plan to understand the Word.
• 2. Don’t forget the Lord Your God, He is One
o Don’t focus on the blessings.
o Let’s be deliberate about rooting out our small g gods.
The Nature of God: Creator and Super Natural
• Gen 1:1-25 The Bible starts in verse one by telling us God is creator
• It’s the first thing scripture tells us about God. It tells us He is creator and He is super natural.
o Notice also it keeps saying that “God said” God does not create like a sculptor. God creates from nothing God as our creator Gen 1:26 Unlike all the other creatures that God created we bear the image of God.
• Because we share the image of God we also get to share two other aspects of God’s nature.
• Gen 2:7 God can create from simply speaking something into existence and he can create something from what He already created. He created us from the earth, something He already created.
• Psalm 139:13-16 This passage tells us that he can see us before we are even created and born.
• As supernatural creator, God can see what He is going to create before He creates it.
• As Creator, God also does not make mistakes. Exodus 4:11
• God creates exactly as He sees fit and according to His sovereignty. He never makes a mistake. Then because He is creator He can act super naturally over any part of creation
• Think of the Flood of Noah’s day in Gen 6
• Joshua 10:11-14 God brings about a hail storm that kills more people than the Israelites killed with the sword.
o Then Joshua a man of God stands up and asks the Lord to stop the sun, and God does. God is super natural over the animal world. Numbers 22:26-31
• The Lord super naturally opened the mouth of a donkey to talk to its master. Let’s move into the NT and look at everyday examples.
Healing Mark 5:24-29 Jesus doesn’t even pray for her.
• He is so super natural and so desires to heal, it happened just by her touching his cloak. Weather: Luke 8:24-25 The whole earth and its weather are still subject to its creator. Circumstantial need food: Matt 14:15-21 Jesus supernaturally created or multiplied more food
• So much of the time we are looking for natural answer for super natural problems. Money: Matt 17:27 Jesus can act super naturally over money and governments.
• God’s ability to act, create, and provide are not license for us to act irresponsibly or just being stupid.
o God always acts this way in response to our faithfulness and obedience. Salvation: The very idea of salvation is super natural.
• Jesus left His throne in heaven and came to earth to be born to a virgin and then die on a cross, be raised from the dead and return to His throne in heaven. All of that is super natural. Evangelism: In Acts 2:41 Peter Preaches a message and the Lord super naturally breathes on it and 3000 people get saved. The Word of God: Hebrews 4:12 The Word of God is super natural because it is written by a supernatural God. We will do greater things: John14:12-14
• It is through the Holy Spirit that we get to partner with God and His super natural nature.