Sunday, April 29, 2007

Good Friday 2007

INTRODUCTION

Last Sunday was Palm Sunday, the Triumphal Entry.

During this last week, the week of the Passover, Jesus has cursed the fig tree, cleansed the temple, been questioned by the priests, Jesus has the Passover meal with the disciples on Thursday, which brings us to this day in time.

Friday, Good Friday. The day our Lord and Savior was tried, convicted and sentenced to death.

Each year millions of people celebrate today, because without the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we would all be bound and destined for eternity in separation in Gehenna, the final eternal hell.

But because of this event, our relationship with the Father in heaven can be restored, and we can once again call out to the name of the Lord and be saved!

Jesus was arrested Thursday night, and instead of speaking on the trial of Jesus, I want to look at the trials we face, and our adversaries in life, sometimes they are people, sometimes circumstances, sometimes health issues, and I want to look at what took place earlier this Thursday because Jesus was betrayed.

Specifically, Jesus’ last time in prayer with the Father before his sacrifice.

PRAYER FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT AND UNDERSTANDING

SCRIPTURE READING

Matthew 26:36 – 46

36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me."

39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."

40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?" he asked Peter. 41 "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

42 He went away a second time and prayed, "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done."

43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!"

The Unanswered Prayer of Jesus

TIMELINE OF EVENTS

  1. Passover meal – “The Last Supper” Thursday Night

Jesus taught the separation of man & God because of sin.

1. Our sin causes separation.

2. This unrighteousness keeps us from the Kingdom of God

3. This unrighteousness blocks our prayers from God’s ears

4. Outside of God’s Kingdom, we have no protection, no benefits, no blessings, no gifts, no fruits, because without salvation you can not have the Holy Spirit.

5. We need forgiveness, to be redeemed to the Father

Jesus taught fellowship restored through His blood.

1. He is the Lamb, the perfect sacrifice

2. Entered Jerusalem same day as Passover lambs

3. Examined by high priest in town square for blemish, found to be spotless in the spiritual sense, for He was a spiritual sacrifice, redeeming our souls

Jesus shared first communion, body broken, blood spilled.

1. bread-body broken because of our sin

2. blood-spilled for our redemption

3. “Do this” remembering what He has done for us

Jesus tells the disciples He must go and prepare a place where we can be with Him.

Jesus reveals to us, His betrayer.

  1. Gethsemane

Jesus was full of sorrow, and troubled (because He suffered for our sin)

1. Jesus never felt the pain of sin before

2. He never felt the anguish of separation from the Father

Not wanting to be alone because of His anguish, He asked Peter, John & James (2 sons of Zebedee) to stay with Him.

1. He felt so alone, He needed to surround Himself with friends

2. friends will fail you, can not replace God

For the first time, Jesus felt the pain and anguish of sin, and the sorrow of separation from the Father because of that sin.

1. “My soul is overwhelmed!”

Stay with me and keep watch (stay awake with me)

Jesus walked a little further, fell on His face and prayed to the Father in heaven.

“TAKE THIS AWAY…IF THERE IS ANY OTHER WAY, but not my will Father, but as you will.”

The disciples were sleeping.

1. “Could you not even stay awake for me for one hour?”

2. “Watch and pray you do not fall into temptation, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

“TAKE THIS AWAY…IF THERE IS ANY OTHER WAY, but not my will Father, but as you will.”

They were asleep again.

“TAKE THIS AWAY…IF THERE IS ANY OTHER WAY, but not my will Father, but as you will.”

Three times Jesus prayed from this to be removed.

Pain, suffering, the separation from the Father, everything that is associated with sin that we feel inside.

He was asking also for there to be another way to accomplish this task.

A way other than the cross, and torture.

But there was no other way but God’s will.

And Jesus, although He prayed to the Father three times, was denied.

His prayer unanswered.

Because the Father’s will was the only way mankind could be redeemed.

The cross, although terribly painful, unimaginable, was the only way we could be reunited with the Father in heaven.

So that is the path Jesus followed.

Satan during Jesus’ temptation offered the easy road.

Jesus knew that was not the Father’s will, and did not accept the easy path.

We face trials in our lives.

Pain, suffering, guilt from unconfessed sin, perhaps illness or what ever is going on in our lives, we feel sometimes the tremendous sorrow and trouble as Jesus did.

Perhaps we are suffering from separation from our heavenly Father because we have never accepted Jesus’ sacrifice as payment for our debt of sin.

And we pray and pray for our Father to take it all away.

We pray and pray that our will be done.

Perhaps forgetting that the Lord’s ways are above our ways.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Ministry of Jesus

WELCOME

INTRODUCTION TO SERIES

We started this series before Good Friday, Passover and Resurrection Day.

I began talking about what God has called us to do, and how we need to have an understanding of what salvation is before we can even begin to serve the Lord.

This week I want to look at the ministry of Jesus.

I want to look at how He was prepared, and how He began His ministry.

PRAYER FOR HOLY SPIRIT AND UNDERSTANDING

SCRIPTURE READING

Matthew 3:1 – 12 John the Baptist Prepares the Way

1 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea 2 and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." 3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:

"A voice of one calling in the desert,
'Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.'

4 John's clothes were made of camel's hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. 5 People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. 6 Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

11 "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire."”

I. JOHN THE BAPTIST

It is believed John the Baptist began his ministry approximately 6 months before Jesus.

We see John fulfilling the “great commission” given us by Jesus in Matthew 28.

GO, Teach, Baptize and teach them to obey all Jesus commanded.

a. KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS NEAR

John was preaching that all should confess & repent of their sin because the Kingdom of Heaven was near.

The Kingdom of Heaven was ushered in when Jesus was sacrificed. It was at that moment we were capable of having a relationship with the Father in Heaven once more, and the Kingdom of Heaven is here on earth.

Remember when the disciples asked Jesus how they should pray, and He answered, “Until your Kingdom comes, your will on earth as it is in heaven.”

When Christ was sacrificed, the debt of sin was paid, and Jesus reclaimed all that was lost because of the fall.

And now, we, the Body of Christ, those who have accepted Jesus as their savior, are in the Kingdom of heaven!

b. PROPHECY OF MESSIAH

While preaching, John quotes scripture of prophecy from Isaiah 40:3.

c. REPENTANCE & BAPTISM

John was preaching repentance. This means to recognize your wrong doings, and to go in the opposite direction.

For the Kingdom of heaven is at hand, and Christ is the Head of it!

Who was John preaching to? The Jews.

The Kingdom of heaven, Jesus, the Messiah, salvation, was being offered to Israel!

And John tried to show them that this was the Messiah prophesied about.

Some accepted, some refused, just as it is today.

But the Kingdom was offered first to God’s chosen people, then later to the Gentiles.

II. JOHN’S APPEARANCE

Many have described him as a wild looking man with unkempt hair and clothing, preaching in the wild.

a. CLOTHS

We can read that his clothes were camel hair, and he had a leather belt, sounds like he was dressed like Fred Flintstone.

b. FOOD

Now I know that we have all wondered and amazed at the fact that John the Baptist ate bugs. But the truth is the word that was translated “locust” here, is the Greek word akris, which literally means “the tops of vegetation”.

So he ate the tops of vegetation and wild honey.

III. JERUSALEM, JUDEA & JORDAN REPENTS

Israelites from Jerusalem, Judea and the Jordan area came to hear John preach of the Messiah, the Kingdom of heaven and baptism.

a. CONFESSED THEIR SIN

We read that they confessed their sin.

I believe that what this statement means, when taken into context with the fact that John uses the term repent, which simply mean to recognize ones wrong direction, and to change that direction, I believe that confessing their sin simply means they recognized their sinful state, and that they needed this messiah.

I do not believe they each took turns telling John all of the individual sins they had committed.

We can recognize our need for Christ without having to rehash and speak individual sin. We recognize we are sinful and need Salvation which only comes through Jesus Christ.

b. THEY WERE BAPTIZED IN THE JORDAN RIVER

Many still go to the Jordan to be baptized from all over the world.

Although this is not necessary, it would make a memorable journey and event in your life to be baptized in the same river Jesus was baptized in.

IV. SADDUCEES & PHARISEES CAME TO WATCH

The religious leaders of the day more than likely heard of the goings on here, and decided to check it out for themselves. They were two sects of self-righteous and zealous jews.

a. RELIGIOUS LEADERS

These leaders who knew the scriptures, and knew what was expected of them by God, were at odds with God.

They had taken the law and expounded upon it, making their own laws and decrees which they did not themselves keep.

These were mans laws, not Gods.

They were full of pride and arrogance, believing that they were above everyone else, especially the sick, diseased, sinful and poor.

The very ones God had commanded them to help.

b. BROOD OF VIPERS

They were used to, and loved the titles and attention that they received when they walked about in their robes.

They were accustomed to being addressed as “Rabbi”, which means teacher.

This was a title of honor, as a teacher of Gods law.

But John greeted their appearance with another title, “You brood of vipers!”

Brood (Generation in literal) means children or offspring of.

John was saying that they were not the children of God, but of snakes, or the devil.

Jesus said the same thing to them in Matthew 12:34

“O generation of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak good things? for out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”

And in Matthew 23:33

“You serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of Gehenna?”

c. WARNED TO COME?

John asked this question as if they realized their sin, and were there to confess and be baptized.

d. SHOW GOOD FRUIT!

John preached to the people, “repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand…”

But to the religious leaders, these children of the devil, he preached, “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance…”

He told them they need to produce good fruit, warning them that just because they are of the line of Abraham, they are not exempt from the coming wrath of God, judgment day.

They were not producing any good fruit, thinking that they were sealed and exempt from God’s wrath.

The Sadducees didn’t even believe in the spirit or the afterlife, so they really didn’t pay any mind to heaven or hell.

And the Pharisees were so focused on the ceremonies; they felt they were right with God because they kept the religious ceremonies.

V. YOU WILL NOT AVOID GOD’S WRATH

But John sets them straight, and tells them that no one is exempt from the coming judgment.

a. EVERY TREE WITHOUT GOOD FRUIT IS CUT DOWN

Every tree that is not bearing good fruit will be cut down.

b. EVERY TREE CUT DOWN IS CAST INTO THE FIRE

Every tree that is cut down is cast into the fire.

What trees were cut down and cast into the fire?

Romans 11:19 - 21

“You may say, Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in." 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.”

The branches that were broken off were the unbelieving Jews.

But Paul warns us not to be arrogant, because if God did not spare the Jews from the coming judgment because of their unbelief, He will not spare you.

We cannot think we are better than the Jews, or anyone else for that matter.

And no one who is not attached to the vine (Jesus) will not be spared from the judgment.

CONCLUSION

We should look at this story, and see how the people were preparing themselves for the coming of Jesus.

Have we done the same?

Have we confessed we are sinful and in need of a Messiah?

Have we been baptized to outwardly show what has taken place in our hearts?

Or are we like the Sadducees and Pharisees in this passage?

A vain, and self-righteous group, thinking that we are right with God and therefore exempt from the coming judgment?

Are we producing Good Fruit?

If not, we are in danger of being cut down and cast into the fire.

That fire is Gehenna, the final eternal hell.

The only way to avoid the wrath of God and the eternal damnation of Gehenna, is to have paid for your sins.

Jesus paid your debt, but you have to claim it, otherwise on that last day, you will have to pay it.

ALTAR CALL



Sunday, April 15, 2007

What is Salvation?

INTRODUCTION TO SERIES

God has led me to this series focusing on the Commission of Christ to us. We will examine over the next few weeks true conversion, some parables of Christ, and what exactly we as His followers are supposed to be doing.

Today we are looking at Salvation and what it is.

PRAYER FOR HOLY SPIRIT AND UNDERSTANDING

SCRIPTURE READING

Acts 13:47-49

“For this is what the Lord has commanded us:
”‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'" 48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed. 49 The word of the Lord spread through the whole region.”

INTRODUCTION TO SERMON



WHAT IS SALVATION?

Salvation – Greek #4991 : s├Áteria = Rescue, Save

In seminary, this term was entitled “Soteriology”, or the study of our salvation.

Salvation – Hebrew #3444 : Yeshooaw = Save, saving. Where we get Joshua.

1. The plan of Salvation is of the Lord.

Demonstrated with Adam & Eve (Genesis 3:21)

Demonstrated through sacrifice for sins in the Old Testament

Illustrated through Jonah (Jonah 2)

Illustrated through Abraham & Isaac (Genesis 22)

ILLUSTRATED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT AS WELL

Lazarus raised from the dead (John 11)

2. There are elements to Salvation NOT steps!

Steps imply a guarantee of salvation

Steps imply salvation is a process of your works

Salvation is a free gift from God offered to all

ELEMENTS TO SALVATION

1. Recognize your need for forgiveness

This was the point for the Law and 10 Commandments

God gave the Law to Adam, Adam broke the Law, was penalized as God said he would be, and then given the means to Salvation by God.

Adam was told by God why he needed this redemption.

We must recognize that we are already condemned, Jesus said so. He came so that we could be rescued from this condemnation. Once rescued, we help others recognize their need for God’s forgiveness.

2. Ask for forgiveness through confession to the Lord

We MUST ask the Lord to forgive us.

Just because you recognize your sin, doesn’t mean you have been forgiven of it.

You must confess that you are sinful and ask the Lord to forgive you of your sins.

Without confession, there is no forgiveness.

3. Repent of those sins you’ve recognized

To be forgiven, we must stop doing that which we have asked forgiveness for.

We will still sin, but we must not LIVE in that sin.

SLIDE 2

Recognize the sin + Confess the sin + Repent of the sin = Forgiveness

If you leave any part of the equation out, it will not equal forgiveness!

Recognize the sin + Confess the sin + Repent of the sin = Living in sin

Recognize the sin + Confess the sin + Repent of the sin = Living in sin

Recognize the sin + CAN’T Confess the sin + CAN’T Repent of the sin = Living in sin

When you live in sin, you are in a state of unrighteousness, and God cannot hear your prayers, nor can He bless you, protect you and you miss out on all of the benefits of living in the Kingdom of God.

The Kingdom of God is here and now, and if you are living in sin, you cannot take part of the kingdom!

To prevent living in sin, we must read God’s word, have a relationship with the Lord through prayer and meditation on His word, and listen to the Holy Spirits leading on matters in our life.

When we recognize a sin, we should immediately confess it, ask for forgiveness, repent and be freed from that which is causing us to live in sin & a state of unrighteousness.

We repent, or turn away from that which is sin because we know that whatever is sin causes us to break our relationship with the Lord, and lose our place in the Kingdom of God and all the benefits that come along with it, including our prayers being heard.

You can recognize your sin through other believers, reading of God’s word, as well as revelation from the Holy Spirit.

If you recognize sin, confess it to the Lord asking to be forgiven, repent, or stop doing the sin, then you are forgiven, the Word of God promises that!

This is what Jesus told the disciples in Matthew 28, after He told them to “GO”, He instructed them to “TEACH ALL NATIONS”, what are they teaching? How to be saved! They are teaching Salvation!

He then instructed them that after they taught those HOW to be saved, Jesus said Baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

So Jesus instructed we should be baptized.

Is this necessary to be saved?

The thief on the cross wasn’t baptized. (But you are not on a cross!)

Jesus did not receive the Holy Spirit until He was baptized.

Why do you need the Holy Spirit? Gifts, Fruits, to understand and teach the word of God. The thief had no need for the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit is for our service here in the Body of Christ. The thief was saved, but was not going to serve in the Body of Christ, therefore there was no need for him to have the Holy Spirit.

But we NEED to be baptized if we are going to serve in the Body of Christ.

Jesus then told the disciples, After you have taught them how to be saved, and you have baptized them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, they will be ready (because they have received Salvation and the Holy Spirit) to be taught all the Jesus has commanded.

Until that point and time, they would not understand the teachings of Jesus because they did not have the Holy Spirit.

WHY DO WE NEED SALVATION?

Without it, we are already condemned.

Condemned to what? Eternal fire; Gehenna, where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth, and the worm that dieth not who will devour you for eternity.

We are instructed by Jesus to be a light to the Gentiles!

HOW ARE WE TO BE A LIGHT TO THE GENTILES?

Bring Salvation to others!

Teach them WHY they need to be saved.

Teach them HOW to receive the FREE gift of Salvation.

Encourage them to be baptized so they too can receive the Holy Spirit and serve in the Body of Christ to save others!

Either teach them yourself, or make sure they attend a Bible believing, Christ centered church so that they too can understand the teachings of Christ and be part of the Body of Christ.

CLOSING

Have you recognized the need for forgiveness in your life?

Do you recognize your sin? If so, have you confessed to the Lord?

Have you asked for His forgiveness?

Have you been Baptized so that you too can have the Holy Spirit?

Without the Holy Spirit, you cannot serve in the Body of Christ, you cannot receive the Spiritual Gifts God has for all believers, you cannot understand the Word of God, you NEED the Holy Spirit.