The key passage for this message is Luke 15:11-32, the Parable of the Lost Son.
11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. 13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. 17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. 21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. 25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ 28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ 31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
For the younger son, share of the estate was more important than relationship.
He spent it all and his life was in ruins because of choices he made.
Romans 6:21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!
- His wallet was empty
- His stomach was empty
- His heart was empty
Nothing satisfies like Jesus
Psalm 34:8 Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
He came to his senses and returned home
The older brother stayed; he kept all the rules …for him, keeping the rules was more important than relationship. His heart was never in..I hear no delight in his voice, the tone is one of duty and obligation.
Take a look at 1 Chronicles 16:23-31
Psalm 34:1 NIV I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.
New Living Translation I will praise the LORD at all times. I will constantly speak his praises.
Psalm 150:6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.
Instead of putting people down…we praise them up!
James 3:9-10 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.
Why do I Praise?
I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds. They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. All your works praise you, Lord; your faithful people extol you. They tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, so that all people may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.
Luke 19:40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
1 Peter 1:3-7 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise,
Where do I Praise?
The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.
How do I Praise? Romans 15:7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
- Praise Him by lifting your hands. Life up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord. – …
- Praise Him with singing. …
- Praise Him with your words. …
- Praise Him with dancing and instruments.
- As mentioned a few minutes ago, Praise Him in by accepting others.
When do I Praise?
Job 1:20-21 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”
Hebrews 13:15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us (continually) offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.
Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
- Sing Praise
- Say Praise
- Show Praise
How many of you this morning, would like and or expect more out of life?
Is Christ Enough?
Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
Philippians 3:7-8 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ
Philippians 4:11-13 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Luke 12:13-34 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed;
- Life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
- What did Jesus mean in John 10:10 when he said the below?
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full?
- We have equated abundance to having a lot of stuff.
- There is more to life than possessions.
Mark 8:36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?
Luke 12 cont’d: And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years.
2. There is more to life than pleasures.
Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
Life would be easier if….
Luke 12 cont’d: “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
- There is more to life than physical needs and wants.
When your life is demanded
Hebrews 9:27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,
Psalm 90:12 – Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
James 4:13-15 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
Luke 12 cont’d: “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
Do not worry about your life – Life is more
Luke 12 cont’d: Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?
Mark 4:19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.
Luke 12 cont’d: Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
God’s Plan / Purpose
Jeremiah 29:11-13 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Matthew 28:20b And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Hebrews 13:5 – Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
Philippians 3:10 I want to know Christ–yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
Luke 13: 6-9
Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’
Text – John 15:1-17 – “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He (cuts off) every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
We Bear Fruit When we Stay Connected.
1. Stay Connected to Christ and His Church.
Is there a connection problem?
Colossians 2:19 – They have lost connection with the head,from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.
See Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 6:9 – Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Hebrews 10:25 – 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 12:11 – No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Proverbs 3:11-12 – My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke,because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.
John 15 cont’d – You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear (much fruit;) apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
We Bear fruit when we are committed to His Word.
2. Stay Committed to His Word
John 15: If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, (showing yourselves to be my disciples.)
- SAY Love SHOW Love
- Shows we are connected
- Shows we are committed to his commands
- Shows we are chosen because He loves us…go and bear fruit.
John 15: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
We Bear Fruit by Staying close to his heart
3. Stay Close to His Heart
John 15: I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.
Romans 5:8- But God (demonstrates) his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Radiant Life (R-Life)
Psalm 34:5 – They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces will never be ashamed
Our NEW name speaks to three important aspects.
An inclusive name speaks of a person instead of a place. We don’t want to leave anyone out!
- Imitation…A name that gives us a challenge to live in to. The kind of people that we desire with God’s help to be.
Radiating his light, his life, and his love to our world.
Radiant Life Church is The place to BE.
Belong. Believe. Become.
Moses- Exodus 34:29-32
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called to them; so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and he spoke to them. Afterward all the Israelites came near him, and he gave them all the commands the Lord had given him on Mount Sinai.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?”
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.
Jesus is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
How do people know that we have been with Jesus?
John 15:8 – This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples
Our connection with Jesus is what enables us to bear fruit and show our world that we are his disciples and we BELONG to Him.
1 Timothy 4:16 – Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
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, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Philippians 2:8 (NASB)
Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
Tim Keller in his book (The meaning of marriage) talks about the purpose of marriage being a re-enactment of the gospel.
A radiant church is a visible church, making an invisible God, visible.
Matthew 5:14 – 14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.
A radiant church is a holy church.
1 Peter 1:16 – for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
2 Corinthians 6:17 – Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate”,says the Lord. “Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”
A radiant church is a bible based church.
Deuteronomy 6:9 – Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 11:18 – Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
Psalm 119:105 – Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
Psalm 119:9-11 – How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Today, we have observed a few people, who after being in the presence of God, radiated his light, life, and love.
Jesus lived a radiant life!
Hebrews 1:3 – The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the (exact representation) of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
Matthew 17:2 – There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.
A radiant church is a prayerful church.
A radiant church practices the spiritual disciplines as seen in Acts 2.
Is there anything that is preventing the image of Christ from being visible in our lives?
The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable. (Brennan Manning)
Genesis 1:27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning–the sixth day.
1. The reason we were created.
Colossians 1:15-16 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.
Psalm 139:13-16 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
- Humankind has been created by God and for God…Created in God’s image.
- Humankind was created to be a visible reflection or representation of Jesus.
2. The refusal of creation
Romans 1:18-20 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. An invisible God has made Himself visible!
Romans 1:21-23 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
Hebrews 4:13 – Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
3. The restoration of creation
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Romans 8:22-23 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.
4. The resemblance of creation
Mahatma Gandhi was quoted saying I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.
1 John 4:20 – Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
Ephesians 5:1-2 – Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Here is the bulletin for the week.
- Let us begin with Acts 5:38b -39.
For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”
- The main passage for this week is Acts 9:1-20.
Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.
In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”
“Yes, Lord,” he answered.
The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
“Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”
But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.
- Moving on to Romans 15:3:
For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”
- Our response to others is our response to Christ himself.
- See Matthew 25:34-40
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
- Saul was not just persecuting the church, but he was persecuting Christ.
There are three important truths we learn from Ananias.
- He was given a vision of ‘what could be’
Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.
Habakkuk 2:3 For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.
- Ananias could have allowed fear to stand in his way.
2 Timothy 1:7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
- Ananias WENT
1 Timothy 1:15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst.
Opening thought: Obedience accompanies confession
Let us consider this often visited passage: Ephesians 2:8-10
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
2 Corinthians 9:1-16
9 There is no need for me to write to you about this service to the Lord’s people. 2 For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give;
- They were (Eager) to help and give to the work.
and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action.
Enthusiasm leads to Action
- They were (enthusiastic) about the work…and they gave themselves to it.
Enthusiasm defined: intense and eager enjoyment, interest, or approval.
Synonyms include eagerness, keenness, ardor, fervor, warmth, passion, zeal, zealousness, zest, gusto, brio, pep, go, sap, liveliness, vivacity, vivaciousness, energy, verve, vigor, dynamism, vehemence, fire, excitement, exuberance, ebullience, spirit, avidity, avidness.
Isaiah 43:19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
2 Cor 9 cont’d: 3 But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you in this matter should not prove hollow, but that you may be ready, as I said you would be. 4 For if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we—not to say anything about you—would be ashamed of having been so confident. 5 So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given.
- They were (Encouraged) to be (ready) and generous in the work.
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And (God is able to bless you abundantly)…
We repeated this a few times in service to drive it home. In all things, at all times, all that you need so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
9 As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.” 10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.
Matthew 9:35-38 35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
- They were (enriched) in every way …for the work.
James 1:16-17 16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
11 You will be enriched in every way (so that you can be generous) on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many (expressions of thanks to God.)
- Their work was an (expression) of thanksgiving to God.
Colossians 3:23-24 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for (the obedience that accompanies your confession) of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
1 Corinthians 15:58
NIV: Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
NLT: So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.
Here is this week’s bulletin.
Let us start with John 21:1-6
When Jesus was arrested, the disciples were scattered.
In this passage, we see that the are reunited fishing. Remember, they were fishing when Jesus first called them to follow. They were professional fishermen.
There is a difference between professional and pleasure fishermen. Their livelihoods depended on the catch.
When Jesus was alive, at the beginning of His public ministry, He called them away; He called them to follow him, which meant there are sins, things that you need to leave behind to follow.
Whenever Jesus calls you away from something, as great as it might be or seem, it is because he is calling you to something else, something greater.
Matthew 4:19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”
- There is no greater joy than seeing people come to faith.
John 21:3 “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.”
- We will go with you…we are better together! We were not created to do life alone.
One of the greatest gifts you can give your pastor is the willingness to join him or her on the journey. I’ll go with you! Fishing is much more enjoyable when you are with people catching fish.
So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
I want you to say these words with me…They caught nothing! They were skunked.
- The catch or the results are up to Jesus.
There will be uneventful days, weeks, and seasons in our lives. But God is always at work!
God created everything out of nothing! God had nothing to work with and out of nothing he made everything. Now this story shows us that something happened when Jesus showed up.
John 15:5 – “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
- Apart from Christ we can do nothing!
Phil 4:13 – I can (do all this) through Him who gives me strength.
John 21:4-6 4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. 5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered. 6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. (When they did), they were unable to haul the net in because of (the large number) of fish.
- See the relationship between OBEDIENCE and ABUNDANCE
- Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
- When you think about this place and this space, do you ever dream about what could be?
- Where God asking you to throw your net?
- Let’s go fishing.
- Jesus will tell us how and where to fish.
- The results are up to him.
Some introductory questions for this week:
- Who are you listening to and following?
- Who are you leading or influencing?
- How are you using your influence?
- Are you committed to protecting the unity of your faith family from division and factions?
Here are the verses for the series from Galatians.
Proverbs 6:18-19 lists a few of things God hates.
- a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil,
- a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.
Dissensions and Factions Must Die… So Christ May Live
Exodus 23:2 Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong.
Galatians 1:10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people?
Philippians 1:6 He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus
Matthew 26:33 Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”
Luke 22:32-33 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”- But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”
These passages have more to say on this.
Consider the below with the above passages.
- Decide to have an Agreeable Spirit vs. Divisive Spirit.
- Decide to follow the right person…I follow Christ.
- Decide to protect unity.