Mysterious (Ephesians 3:10)

Jesus is the sum total of everything, from creation to redemption to the fulfillment of prophecy. He is the common denominator to all that we are. He is the source of our unity in the church.

How can we practically live out the word of God? The Bible is practical and more up-to-date than we can ever imagine.

There is a God and we are not Him. So trust not your heart but in the heart of God so that His intention becomes clear to us.

Angelic beings were created to understand and fellowship with God. Even the angels worship twice as much as they work.

Despite this, we know more about God than they do. We know about redemption because we are being redeemed. The angels do not need redemption so they know nothing of it.

The angels understand God by the way the church here on earth operates. This is how they figure out the wisdom of God. And the gospel is the wisdom of God. The angels watch what a healthy church is supposed to do.

The church must therefore be the most important thing on earth right now. If we are the pillar and ground of truth, then we had better figure out the context of the church.

You will not find a churchless Christian in the entire New Testament.

Jesus died for the church, so it’s a big deal to Him. If it’s that important to Him, it ought to be important to us.

Second only to gospel, the local church is the major emphasis of the New Testament. Every single book in the Bible after the gospels was written to a church.

We are commanded by God to be in church. We ought to live as though Jesus will return at any moment, because He could.

Church is the very place God ordained to utilize your spiritual gifts. We each have individual gifts and ought not compare to others’ gifts.

Church is a place designed for a corporate understanding of the Bible. One of us is set apart to feed the sheep.

You were created with a deep need for community. God separated man from the animal kingdom. He gave man a helper. We are not made to be alone.

Your kids see your haphazard approach to church and will certainly follow your lead. They can see what’s important to us and what isn’t.

The very idea and implantation of the Church is God’s doing.

The church is the pillar and ground of the truth. Without the church society would experience total collapse.

You need to be part of something that is way bigger and than you.

There’s somebody at church who needs what you have to offer. This is a family and not a one-man show.

Church requires spiritual discipline. The devil will try to derail you and your family from going. God will honor your discipline.

Church is what saved people do.

It’s exciting to get involved in a place that’s making a difference and changing the world.

When operating Biblically, it will provide more power and stability than any organization on earth. In the New Testament, the church was the hospital and the nursing home and the rescue mission.

Let’s don’t just go to church but be the church.

Advertisements

Back to the basics (Acts 2:41-47)

This is on the heels of Peter’s prolific sermon on the day of Pentecost. Some 3,000 souls were saved & baptized that one day.

Sometimes we lose sight of what revival is. All we have to do is get in the word of God to understand revival. We won’t ever have another day of Pentecost, but we can still live in its power.

On that day, 17 different nationalities heard the word of God in their native tongues.

The Bible gives us the best pattern on how a church is supposed to operate.

If a church is not accurately preaching the word of God, revival will never occur.

The reason most people get nothing from God at church is because they expect nothing. If you come in anticipation, then you will be filled.

When you are born again, you are expected to get baptized as a proclamation of your faith. This is a picture of what Christ has done for us. We don’t get baptized to get saved, we get baptized because we are saved.

On the day of Pentecost, the church grew from 120 members to 3,120. And these new believers continued steadfastly in doctrine & fellowship.

If your church no longer preaches the truth of the Bible, then get out.

Fellowship is an important part of church membership. We should want to be around each other. There is great power in fellowship.

When you miss church, you ought to “miss” church because your heart craves the fellowship.

It’s difficult to break bread and be bitter at the same time. It’s hard to pray with people you do not like. It is important to break down barriers daily.

We talk about prayer but we don’t pray. Prayer is a command. Pray without ceasing.

We must learn to bathe this in prayer because even the best preaching can only sustain a church for so long.

People do not fear God, and that’s why we live in sin. We fear man more than we fear God.

In the church of Acts, the apostles were performing many signs and wonders.

The church members, despite their various ethnicities, nonetheless came together as one. They sold their belongings and gave to those who were in need.

During this time, God struck down a man & his wife who lied about their tithes & offerings. This was the first time disunity was introduced into the church. This is what God thinks about disunity.

People in church have needs, and a genuine church will recognize and meet those needs.

They were of one accord and did not talk about one another behind their backs. They were focused on why they were there. They were single-minded and let nothing distract them.

There were as many as 30,000 people in Jerusalem alone who were meeting in small groups as the gospel was spread.

We ought to praise God no matter our circumstances. Let’s just be happy to be saved.

Those in the church of Acts not only had favor with one another, they had favor with the rest of the community. They stood for something and this got people’s attention.

The Lord added to their number daily. After this point, God multiplied. God’s way is always the healthy way.

When God finds a congregation He can trust, He will bless that congregation and add to it. So let’s give God a reason to trust us and He will abundantly bless us. He is wise to where He invests His resources.

Mysterious (Ephesians 3:9)

God doesn’t always work the way we think He should. You can’t figure out someone as sovereign and divine and mysterious as God.

There’s a difference between people who are talented and those who are anointed.

He will illuminate the hearts and minds of men so they can see the mystery.

Jews are saved the same way Gentiles are. It’s not about who you are but whose you are.

1. It’s important to recognize God’s emphasis on diversity and unity in the body. One of the reasons our churches are filled with factions is that there isn’t enough unity. We don’t look the same and dress the same and have the same tastes and we have to learn to accept diversity in the church.

When Paul first preached after being saved and anointed, there were 17 nationalities who heard the gospel in their own languages.

A church that becomes selective in who they will accept is NOT a genuine New Testament church. There is no one of any lifestyle choice that this church would ever turn away. The gospel will be preached no matter who walks through our doors. Acceptance is not the same as approval. Don’t love people for who you want them to be but for who they are right now.

Differences and diversity do not make us enemies but humans.

When certain people are not allowed in a church it means that God probably isn’t there either.

2. Jesus is the sum total of all things from creation to redemption until the final revelation. If you don’t have Jesus, then you are bankrupt. Jesus is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. We have no creation without Jesus, no redemption, no fulfillment of prophecy.

Jesus didn’t only come into existence when He was born of Mary. Jesus has always existed. All things exist by Jesus Christ. There was nothing made that was made without Him.

The presence of God is never absent from us, but sometimes He is hidden. Sometimes we get so used to the presence of Jesus that we go home without Him and God will see how far we will go.

3. God reveals Himself in seasons. It never stays the same season forever. Sometimes we go through bad seasons but it doesn’t stay that way. New life is born. Things start to grow again. But eventually we go through all the seasons. Some seasons are longer than others depending on the sovereignty of God.

(Ecclesiastes 3:1-11)

The biggest reality of life is death. It is certain. Prepare for it.

We often try to speak death into things that God is trying to bring to life or we try to speak life into things that God is trying to let die. When people die we mourn. Even Jesus wept. There is a time to mourn. But God will build us back up.

The reason we need miracles is because there is a problem beforehand that needs a miracle.

There is also a time for happiness and laughter and joy. Joy is based on the Spirit of Christ who lives in us.

When someone throws stones don’t throw them back. If you sling mud with someone else you both end up dirty. Put the stones away and build an empire with them.

There is a time to tear things down and a time to build them up.

There is a time for silence and a time to speak up.

It is so easy to live in retaliation. It comes naturally to us. Yet sometimes the best thing you can say is nothing.

When you are silent it allows you to build up wisdom, and then is time to talk.

There is a time to love and hate. There is a time to walk away from chaos. Don’t subject yourself to foolishness.

There is a time to embrace and a time to avoid embracing. Some things you cannot embrace but have to let go because they will destroy you if you try to hang on.

The book of Job consoles us during hard times. You see, Job went through his seasons, too.

We work ourselves for things that don’t really matter. God makes things beautiful in His time.

When God opens a door walk though it. When God closes a door don’t try to kick it down.

Mysterious (Ephesians 3:8)

When God shows up and shows out, no one has to tell us. God is His own billboard.

Sometimes we don’t want to envelop brokenness or shame. But when we understand who we belong to, our brokenness and pain become part of our platform.

It is humility that leads to receiving the abundant grace of God.

Preaching still works. And Paul was determined to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ.

1. Gods ways are beyond comprehension. We cannot figure out God. He is far too sovereign for us to comprehend. If you are saved, then you are rich. He has riches that we cannot fathom.

  • The riches of His word. The Bible is more up to date than today’s newspaper. It is given to us by divine inspiration. It is appropriate for all manner of living. It is sharper than any two-edged sword. His word is the truth. We can never mine all the jewels out of the word of God. When you get in it, it gets in you. When you read the Bible, the Bible will read you.
  • The riches of His wisdom. You are a fool if you only trust your heart because your heart will deceive you. Instead, trust in the wisdom of God. If you want to know His wisdom, then read the word of God. He will affirm your decisions through His wisdom.
  • The riches of His grace. By grace are we saved. You can never out-sin or out-run or out-rebel the grace of God. (2 Samuel 9, Mephibosheth) Like Mephibosheth, we have been affected and crippled by the fall of someone else (Adam & Eve). David took him in. This is a perfect picture of the gospel of Christ.
  • The riches of His love. It’s one of the smallest words in the entire Bible, but God So loved the world. You can give without loving. But you cannot love without giving. You cannot do anything to make God love you more or less because we didn’t do anything to make God love us in the first place. There is no angel or demon that can change God’s love toward us. Don’t worry about next week because God has already been there.
  • The riches of His plan. Sometimes the plan of God does not make sense. Sometimes His direction does not make sense. He has plans for us that we know not of. The will of God is what we would choose for ourselves if we had God’s wisdom. You can’t mess up God’s plan nearly as badly as you think you can.
  • The riches of His name. The very name of Jesus means “saved.” If God’s name can save you then God’s name can protect you. Remind the devil who you belong to. There is glory and victory in the name of Jesus. There are inexhaustible riches in the name of Jesus. This should bring us to our knees as Jesus brings us out of bondage.

Mysterious (Ephesians 3:8)

Paul wrote that the gospel had made him a minister. We must never be ashamed of the gospel of Christ. At the end of the day, your talent will never be enough without the power of the Holy Spirit. You must be equipped and empowered by the Spirit.

God said His grace is sufficient. He is attracted to our weaknesses. Paul received his greatest power when under the greatest pressure from people. Yet even Paul said he was lower than the lowest saint.

1. God uses us in spite of us, not because of us. God uses us because of who we belong to. Without Jesus we are bankrupt. He uses us because He is great. If you want the power of God you will have to walk through brokenness. We are unworthy of God.

The Bible is literally a testimony of how God uses crazy people: Adam, Moses, David, Solomon, the disciples.

God. Uses. Broken. People.

We don’t use the power to promote ourselves. We use the power to promote the gospel. Jesus doesn’t just want to be present; He wants to be predominant.

It’s amazing what you can endure when you are focused.

Paul killed people like you and me before he became like you and me. He persecuted and murdered Christians before he was radically changed into one. And his entire ministry he wore an ankle bracelet.

2. Real grace leads to raw humility. Paul was so overwhelmed by the grace if God that He would call on Paul and use him. The forgotten key in Christianity is humility. It is so easy to walk in pride.

Thank God we don’t get what we deserve, which is Hell.

Humility disarms a situation and confuses the devil. He resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. Pride is what brought Lucifer down.

Pride is the only thing that could take an angel and turn him into a devil. God would rather embarrass us now so that we can get right than let us destroy ourselves later on.

Only by pride comes contention.

Churches split because of pride. Divorces happen because of pride. Relationships are fractured because of pride.

You won’t seek God’s face if you are prideful. You have to humble yourself to get right with God. We walk around in bitterness because we we won’t ourselves. We don’t deal with our pride.

If you continue to walk around with a lack of humility, God knows what buttons to push in your life.

Humility can turn around some really hopeless, heartbreaking situations.

God will let you walk in arrogance if you want to but you will burn everything and everyone around you.

God never used anyone who was lavish in their arrogance. Every problem in our lives is a result of a lack of humility.

The King is coming (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12)

If you are saved by the grace of God then live like you are saved by the grace of God.

We are one day going to be gathered unto Him. Heaven is Heaven because of Jesus Christ.

Don’t be anxious about the coming of the Lord. At that time, someone had written the church at Thessaloniki and told them they had missed the coming of Christ. They believed the lie.

If it contradicts the truth of Scripture it can’t be right. Test the spirits to see if they are of God.

The purpose of the tribulation is not to judge the church but to gather the nation of Israel.

In the present, we are seeing all sorts of false doctrine being introduced into the church. The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.

The word “perdition” in verse 3 means “son of destruction.” If you are saved, then you will never be under the reign of the antichrist.

The devil cannot create; he only imitates. He can only mimic what God creates.

At the midpoint of the tribulation, the antichrist will declare himself not only the ruler of the world, but declare himself god. This is the abomination of desolation. He will so deceive people that they will worship him.

Pay attention to these teachings.

Sin is everywhere. The mystery of sin is greater now than ever before. Judgment may be delayed but judgment will come. Things are not going improve.

The church is actually preserving the culture. The Holy Spirit is restraining the flow of iniquity. When the Lord calls the church home, a tidal wave of iniquity will unleash.

The antichrist takes over as he is inhabited by the devil. Whereas believers are filled with the Holy Spirit, antichrist will be filled by Satan.

The devil does have power. Remember, the magicians were able to duplicate some of the miracles worked by Moses and Aaron.

If you do not receive the love of truth then you will perish. And what is the love of truth? The death, burial & resurrection of Christ.

Those who don’t believe the truth, God will delude them. The antichrist will have to be able to deceive people. Someone will have to answer the question of where all the believers went to. The lie will be outlandish and fantastic, and God will make them believe the lie. This is part of the judgment of God.

People who reject the gospel will believe a lie.

As the judgments intensify, the hearts of unbelievers will harden accordingly (just like Pharaoh).

The tribulation does not begin right when the rapture happens. The tribulation begins when antichrist signs an agreement with Israel.

God is going to laugh at the calamity of lost people. But we have laughed at Him for quite a long time. When God sits upon his holy throne, He will smile and laugh within Himself and vindicate Himself.

Mysterious (Ephesians 3:5)

When we come to church it is for the express purpose of hearing something from God.

Sometimes God does some backdoor things in our lives that do not make sense. We can drive ourselves crazy trying to figure out who God is and where He’s going.

God does not change His mind even when we do.

If you’re not reading the Bible, you won’t ever understand what God is doing.

Nothing has ever “occurred” to God. He has never been caught by surprise.

In every age, the Sprit of God has always had a man willing to stand up and proclaim the truth of the word of God. He has always had apostles and prophets.

1. God always has a man. A man of God has to be willing to break with the culture. Even going back to Noah, God found a preacher of righteousness. The majority at Noah’s time was wrong. Their thoughts and deeds were ungodly always.

Moses was another such man of God. He ministered to people and proclaimed the word of God. Then Joshua took his place as pastor to the people.

Then there was Samuel who surrendered to God. He begged his people to get right with God when they were deep in idolatry.

Nathan was another such individual who feared God and not man.

Ezra was a fiery preacher who once pulled out his own hair while preaching.

Nehemiah was a man who revered the word of God. The Jewish people had fallen on hard times and he led them back to redemption.

Solomon prayed for and received wisdom and called himself a preacher who wrote part of the Old Testament.

Both the major and minor prophets called an entire nation to repentance.

Isaiah was among the greatest of these prophets.

Jeremiah was another. He wrote two books of the Bible, both of which dealt with God’s judgment. He was called a weeping prophet. He literally wept his way into the hearts of his people. We judge men of God not by how many are saved but by how faithful they are to God.

Ezekiel preached with great fervor to call the Israelites to repentance.

Daniel was faithful to God even from an early age. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego stood up for God when no one else would.

There are 12 minor prophets who all preached on God’s judgment.

Jonah is proof that God knows what He has to do to get our attention. The entire city of Nineveh turned to God because of this rebel’s preaching.

And then, after Malachi, God went silent for 400 years. It was like the dark ages of the Bible. The Israelites went through all those centuries of lukewarm preaching.

And then came John the Baptist. Indeed, God’s first act after 400 years was to send a preacher. His duty was to pave the way for Christ, who then made 12 apostles.

Following Christ came Paul, who was a religious zealot who was born again and traveled extensively, wrote extensively, was beaten extensively, and then martyred. The church today would not be what it is without Paul.

In the end times yet to come, God starts by sending 144,000 preachers and evangelists to reach the lost. He will also raise up two literal fire-breathing preachers. God will even use angels to proclaim His word.

Mysterious (Ephesians 3:2-4)

Everything we do in the context of the local church is for souls. Paul was willing to live and die for the Gentiles.

How many times have you seen God do something mysterious in your life? He can take away something we never thought we’d lose and replace it with something we never thought we’d have.

Paul used his time wisely because he knew he didn’t have much time.

1. We have a very limited amount of time to accomplish what God has called us to do. What we’re going to do we must do now. Let us submit now to the will of God because we have no idea what tomorrow might bring. We are going to stand before the Almighty some day and give an account for the way we used our time.

What is your life? Even it is a vapor that is only here for a short time and then it is vapor. It is arrogant and evil to waste your time. We have a limited chance to reach those we are supposed to reach.

Every day God deposits 86,400 seconds into your account. You can bring nothing forward from yesterday and can’t save any for tomorrow. You must use them all wisely today.

2. God’s revelation is given in repetition because we lack application. In other words, God has to repeat Himself because we’re too distracted to listen. We must get ourselves to the place where we simply obey God, and this is a difficult thing to do.

An example of God’s repetition happened the night God called to Samuel. It took Samuel three times to realize he was hearing the voice of God. (Never discount what God can do in the life of an adolescent.)

If you can’t hear God speaking it’s because you aren’t listening. You have to deliberately listen for Him in the stillness.

3. What God is doing in your life will always be affirmed by Scripture. Be wary of those who tell you something contradictory to God’s word. God’s word and God’s will are twins. He speaks through creation and trials and family, and any available means, but He will never speak to us in a way that is contradictory to His word.

Get your nose out of the newspaper and stick it in the Bible. Get into a love affair with the Scripture. It is like a bath that cleanses you.

The word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword. This is the only way to fully discern the will of God.

The King is coming (1 Thessalonians 5)

Th King is coming. We do not know the date or the time, but we do know He is coming. That we know this ought to change the way we live our lives.

We don’t have to understand everything about the tribulation or the antichrist, but it is imperative that we be prepared for His return.

God works in seasons, and the seasons prove that He is coming again. Everywhere we turn, the times and seasons point to His imminent return. Just open your eyes and you can see that the time is drawing near.

Satan wants to deceive and bring down as many people as he can while he has the opportunity.

There will not be peace and safety, but sudden destruction will come. Those who scoff now will one day with they had paid attention. Judgement is not easy, nor is it pleasant. They will not escape the wrath of God.

If this doesn’t motivate us as believers then nothing will.

Those of who are saved are not children of darkness but children of light. We can know that what is gearing up points to Christ’s return.

But men love darkness more than light because their deeds are evil and they do not want the light to reveal their doings.

The church has a job to do. Make a way for the Lord. Be sober and vigilant.

God has not appointed us to wrath. We have been delivered from the wrath to come. This means we believers will not be present for the tribulation. Only after the church is snatched from the earth will the antichrist be revealed.

We, the church, have been appointed to salvation and not to wrath.

The real purpose of heaven is not to meet other people but that we shall live together with Christ.

Let us go to church and encourage and reassure one another that Jesus is coming.

The world is groaning for redemption. The world longs to go back to the purpose for which God originally designed it.

The closer we get to Christ, be thankful for those who will admonish you and tell you the truth. And let us be at peace among ourselves.

Warn those who are unruly. Edify those who are weak in the faith. Be patient toward everyone.

Be glad that God goes not have the same amount of patience with us that we have with other people.

Don’t meet evil with evil. We don’t have time to sling mud with other people.

Rejoice evermore over the things God puts in your life. The joy of the Lord is your strength. Find some things that bring you joy and do them.

Pray without ceasing. Even your thoughts ought to be prayers to God. Prayer is hard work. It is about asking.

In everything give thanks. Thanksgiving isn’t just in November. This is one of the 4 times in the Bible we are told is the will of God: to give thanks.

Do not quench the Holy Spirit. Do not extinguish the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. Do not grieve the Spirit of God.

When the Bible says “grieve not” and “quench not,” in the original language, are the strongest of terms.

Do not despise the prophesying of God’s word. Learn to love Bible preaching. Be grateful when the word of God is preached into your heart.

Discern what is righteous. Don’t commit evil and even go out of your way to give the appearance that you are avoiding evil.

We are trinitarian beings made in the image of God. We have a body, a soul, and a spirit.

Pray for one another. Share the truth of the gospel. Greet one another affectionately.

Mysterious (Ephesians 3:1)

God does things we can’t fathom. We do not think like God, nor do we act like God. He often does His work in solitude when no one’s watching. We can’t always trace God but we can always trust God.

1. Find a cause bigger than yourself. We all have goals and aspirations but our vision means nothing if it differs from God’s. Unfortunately, we often live small lives because we live for things that do not matter.

The world always has its champions, those they esteem. Goliath was one such individual. But Goliath proved not too big to kill; he was too big to miss. Killing him was a big cause.

Don’t let others put something on you God never intended you to wear.

There is something worth living for and if we live for small things we’ll wake up every day empty and exhausted and frustrated.

We serve a God who works abundantly.

2. When you know who you are, you will be bold in your calling. Paul knew who he was and who he was not. He knew whom he belonged to and whom he did not belong to. The church in America has lost its identity in Christ.

If you are saved then you are accepted in the Beloved. If you let other people define you, you are letting them limit what you do for Christ.

Paul knew who he was so he was able to preach with boldness and conviction. He didn’t care what others thought of him.

Too often we let someone project something on us that God never intended.

We all have the authority of the word of God yet live with no joy and no pizzazz.

Most of the books Paul wrote were written from prison. (Ephesians wasn’t one of them.) He referred to himself as a prisoner because he was in complete bondage to Christ Jesus.

3. We are all prisoners to someone. This includes bondage to sin. You may consider yourself free from God but that only means you are a slave to sin.

Choose who you will serve. You are born a servant. You only get to choose who you serve.

Victory and freedom only come when we submit to Christ and stop rebelling.

Paul did what he did for the Gentiles. These were the ones he was called to reach.

4. We do what we do for souls. Souls make sleepless nights worth it. In the end, nothing else matters but souls. God has chosen to use us to win souls and grow the body of Christ.

Paul suffered the things he suffered for the sake of the Gentiles.

There are people to be reached. We are just too lazy to reach them.

When was the last time you got on your face and wept over lost people going to Hell? We have no burden for souls. The fact that we used to be lost ought to bother us.