Saturday, October 27, 2007

 

Acts 21:1-14 What Will You Die for?

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Acts 21:1-14
After we tore ourselves away from them and set sail, we came by a direct route to Cos, the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara.
2 Finding a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, we boarded and set sail.
3 After we sighted Cyprus, leaving it on the left, we sailed on to Syria and arrived at Tyre, because the ship was to unload its cargo there.
4 So we found some disciples and stayed there seven days. They said to Paul through the Spirit not to go to Jerusalem.
5 When our days there were over, we left to continue our journey, while all of them, with their wives and children, escorted us out of the city. After kneeling down on the beach to pray,
6 we said good-bye to one another. Then we boarded the ship, and they returned home.
7 When we completed our voyage from Tyre, we reached Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and stayed with them one day.
8 The next day we left and came to Caesarea, where we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the Seven, and stayed with him.
9 This man had four virgin daughters who prophesied.
10 While we were staying there many days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea.
11 He came to us, took Paul’s belt, tied his own feet and hands, and said, “This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In this way the Jews in Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into Gentile hands.’ ”
12 When we heard this, both we and the local people begged him not to go up to Jerusalem.
13 Then Paul replied, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
14 Since he would not be persuaded, we stopped talking and simply said, “The Lord’s will be done!”
Acts 21:1-14 What Will You Die for?
A question asked of pastoral candidates proceeding to ordination. Some ..Nothing, some the gospel of Christ. One challenged the question, Principal Ross Clifford responded “All of Church History is the story of people who found something to die for in the gospel of Christ.”
Man of Lamancha, Don Quixote:
"The Impossible Dream" from MAN OF LA MANCHA (1972) lyrics by Joe Darion
To dream the impossible dream To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow To run where the brave dare not go
To right the unrightable wrong To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary To reach the unreachable star
This is my quest To follow that star
No matter how hopeless No matter how far
To fight for the right Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell For a heavenly cause
And I know if I'll only be true To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm When I'm laid to my rest
And the world will be better for this That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage To reach the unreachable star
“Will you March into hell for a heavenly cause”
Paul was willing. Are you willing?
1. Are You Willing To Die For The Word of God?Acts 20:24 But I count my life of no value to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of God’s grace.
This is what motivated Paul.
He was turned from an enemy of the gospel to a friend. From the chief opponent to the Gospel to the chief Proponent of the Gospel.
A. Because he discovered it was TRULY Good News.
True.
Luther October 31st , 95 theses. My conscience is bound to the word of God. I can do no other.
Have you discovered it is true? The most true truth that there ever was and ever will be? God became a man and came into our world to die for our sins, was buried and on the third days was raised from the dead as proof to all men that He is Saviour and Lord!
1 Cor 15: Now brothers, I want to clarify for you the gospel I proclaimed to you; you received it and have taken your stand on it. 2 You are also saved by it, if you hold to the message I proclaimed to you—unless you believed to no purpose. 3 For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve.
B. Because he discovered it was truly GOOD newsThe gospel of the grace of God!!
October 16th, 1555 was the day the wizened Hugh Latimer and his colleague Nicholas Ridley received the grace to seal their testimony of God with the blood of martyrdom, but we remember it and even celebrate that grace today with the rest of the Protestant churches. We celebrate, because that blood of martyrdom was what seeded Protestantism in England and her many colonies and gave us the great gift of a Bible in the English language, to be read and studied by all.
As a bundle of wood was laid at the feet of Ridley and set ablaze, Latimer uttered what I believe is the greatest, and possibly shortest, sermon of all time:
“Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.”
Have you discovered that this is such good news that every one need to know?
Are You Willing To March Into Hell In A Heavenly Cause?

2. Are You Willing To Die For the Work Of God? Acts 21
Paul’s cause?
Romans 1:13 Now I want you to know, brothers, that I often planned to come to you (but was prevented until now) in order that I might have a fruitful ministry among you, just as among the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I am obligated both to Greeks and barbarians, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 So I am eager to preach the good news to you also who are in Rome.
Paul was warned that to go to Jerusalem would result in imprisonment.
But he still goes up to Jerusalem. He will be beaten and almost torn apart, he will be imprisoned. He will be prepared for torture. He is warned several times of the consequences of going up to Jerusalem..
4 So we found some disciples and stayed there seven days. They said to Paul through the Spirit not to go to Jerusalem.
10 While we were staying there many days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 He came to us, took Paul’s belt, tied his own feet and hands, and said, “This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In this way the Jews in Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into Gentile hands.’ ” 12 When we heard this, both we and the local people begged him not to go up to Jerusalem.
aul and party stopped in Caesarea, connected with the church and stayed in the home of Philip the Evangelist.
There are several men named Philip in the New Testament. One was an apostle and one of Jesus’ original twelve disciples. This a different Philip who was chosen 20-some years earlier to be one of the seven key leaders of the Jerusalem church to handle money for widows (Acts 6:5).When forced to flee Jerusalem under persecution Philip went to Samaria as an evangelist who saw thousands become Christians and performed many miracles (Acts 8:5-13). Philip was the evangelist who led the Ethiopian Eunuch to Christ (Acts 8:26-38). Philip eventually settled in Caesarea and continued winning people to Jesus until he was nicknamed “Philip the Evangelist.” Paul was a greatly blessed Christian leader but Philip was clearly his peer and spiritual equal. Philip had four daughters who grew up in Caesarea and became prophets. Then, I guess in accord with the roles of preachers and teachers in the churches, it isn’t Phillip’s daughters who speak to Paul, but a prophet named Agabus comes up and speaks to Paul.
Sometimes it helps to act out a message and that is what Agabus did. He took Paul’s “belt” (actually more like a long sash worn around the waist to hold clothes in place) and used it to tie up his own feet and hands. He then gave a direct prediction from the Holy Spirit that if Paul goes to Jerusalem he will be bound hands and feet and turned over to the Roman authorities.
Paul was directly warned about going to Jerusalem. He heard from male prophets, individuals and groups. They advised him and pleaded with him. God the Holy Spirit warned him about going. The message was clear.
Notice again: “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jews of Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’”
When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem.
Why does Paul go up? Is he disobeying the will of God? I don’t believe Paul is disobeying God’s will.
14 Since he would not be persuaded, we stopped talking and simply said, “The Lord’s will be done!”
I think that the Lord is forewarning him of the consequences of going up to Jerusalem.
Its Paul’s responsibility to do what he believes the will of God is in this matter.
And Paul demonstrates he is willing to die for the Lord.
Why would God have Paul go to Rome in chains?
Phil 1:12 12 Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has actually resulted in the advancement of the gospel, 13 so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard, and to everyone else, that my imprisonment is for Christ. 14 Most of the brothers in the Lord have gained confidence from my imprisonment and dare even more to speak the message fearlessly. 15 Some, to be sure, preach Christ out of envy and strife, but others out of good will. 16 These do so out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; 17 the others proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely, seeking to cause [me]trouble in my imprisonment. 18 What does it matter? Just that in every way, whether out of false motives or true, Christ is proclaimed. And in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice
A. Paul’s Courage Encouraged OthersPhil 1:14 Most of the brothers in the Lord have gained confidence from my imprisonment and dare even more to speak the message fearlessly.
The Lord reinforces the fact that we must be actively engaged, personally, in order to bring the best out of those whom we influence. When those around you are making such evaluations as "if he can do it, I can" and "he never asks us to do what he won't do himself," those around you must be inspired by you and your efforts. Sometimes what you actually do may not seem so significant, but the fact that you are there and out front does have an impact.
General George Patton had one of those experiences in the United States landing at North Africa.
“On the morning of November 9, 1942, I went to the beach at Fedhala accompanied by Lieutenant Stiller, my aide. The situation we found was very bad. Boats were coming in and not being pushed off after unloading. There was shell fire, and French aviators were strafing the beach. Although they missed it by a considerable distance, whenever they strafed, our men would take cover and delay unloading operations and particularly the unloading of ammunition, which was vitally necessary, as we were fighting a major engagement not more than 1,500 yards to the south.
By remaining on the beach and personally helping to push off boats and by not taking shelter when the enemy planes flew over, I believe I had considerable influence in quieting the nerves of the troops and making the initial landing a suc¬cess. I stayed on the beach for nearly eighteen hours and was wet all over, all of that time. People say that army command¬ers should not indulge in such practices. My theory is that an army commander does what is necessary to accomplish his mission, and that nearly 80% of his mission is to arouse morale in his men.”
B. Paul’s Courage Enlisted OthersPhil 1: 14 Most of the brothers in the Lord have gained confidence from my imprisonment and dare even more to speak the message fearlessly.
How will Christians respond to a deadly pandemic? Will we clamour for the vaccine without regard for our neighbours? Will we be terrorized like those who have no hope? Those of us who know the Gospel should minister out of the grace that we receive in Christ, and should prefer others above ourselves and teach our people to do the same.
Our brothers and sisters have faced this kind of situation before. We can learn from their example.
In the 3rd century Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, preached to his people to minister to those affected by a great plague that lasted from 252 to 254. Unbelievers were so terrified of the disease that they left infected loved ones on the streets to die. Christians, who had been severely persecuted a few years before under Decian, ministered to such persons and took care even of their enemies, having been admonished by their pastor to remember the way of Christ to do good to those who hate us.
Cyprian, who a few years later was beheaded for his faith, wrote a small treatise entitled, On the Mortality, to encourage the church to stand firm in the face of the devastating plague. In it are found these triumphant lines:
What a grandeur of spirit it is to struggle with all the powers of an unshaken mind against so many onsets of devastation and death! what sublimity, to stand erect amid the desolation of the human race, and not to lie prostrate with those who have no hope in God; but rather to rejoice, and to embrace the benefit of the occasion; that in thus bravely showing forth our faith, and by suffering endured, going forward to Christ by the narrow way that Christ trod, we may receive the reward of His life and faith according to His own judgment!
The people of Carthage were amazed at the response of the followers of Christ to the plague. While others were fleeing the infected, Christians were humbly putting their own lives at risk by nursing the sick. As a result the Gospel was put on display and its proclamation was given a loud voice. Many former enemies became believers.
Are You Willing To March Into Hell In A Heavenly Cause?

3. Are You Willing To Die For The Will Of God?Soul winning is God’s will for your life. We all have different personality types, and different giftings. We are different in many, many ways, and have different abilities. But we are all called to tell others in some way about the Lord Jesus Christ.
That is God’s will.
Jesus made this clear in John 15:16: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit-fruit that will last.”
Amy Carmichael
The tom-toms thumped straight on all night and the darkness shuddered round me like a living, feeling thing. I could not go to sleep, so I lay awake and looked; and I saw, as it seemed, this:
That I stood on a grassy sward, and at my feet a precipice broke sheer down into infinite space. I looked, but saw no bottom; only cloud shapes, black and furiously coiled, and great shadow-shrouded hollows, and unfathomable depths. Back I drew, dizzy at the depth.
Then I saw forms of people moving single file along the grass. They were making for the edge. There was a woman with a baby in her arms and another little child holding on to her dress. She was on the very verge. Then I saw that she was blind. She lifted her foot for the next step . . . it trod air. She was over, and the children over with her. Oh, the cry as they went over!
Then I saw more streams of people flowing from all quarters. All were blind, stone blind; all made straight for the precipice edge. There were shrieks, as they suddenly knew themselves falling, and a tossing up of helpless arms, catching, clutching at empty air. But some went over quietly, and fell without a sound.
Then I wondered, with a wonder that was simply agony, why no one stopped them at the edge. I could not. I was glued to the ground, and I could only call; though I strained and tried, only whisper would come.
Then I saw that along the edge there were sentries set at intervals. But the intervals were too great; there were wide, unguarded gaps between. And over these gaps the people fell in their blindness, quite unwarned; and the green grass seemed blood-red to me, and the gulf yawned like the mouth of hell.
Then I saw, like a little picture of peace, a group of people under some trees with their backs turned toward the gulf. They were making daisy chains. Sometimes when a piercing shriek cut the quiet air and reached them, it disturbed them and they thought it a rather vulgar noise. And if one of their number started up and wanted to go and do something to help, then all the others would pull that one down. "Why should you get so excited about it? You must wait for a definite call to go! You haven't finished your daisy chain yet. It would be really selfish," they said, "to leave us to finish the work alone."
There was another group. It was made up of people whose great desire was to get more sentries out; but they found that very few wanted to go, and sometimes there were no sentries set for miles and miles of the edge.
Once a girl stood alone in her place, waving the people back; but her mother and other relations called and reminded her that her furlough was due; she must not break the rules. And being tired and needing a change, she had to go and rest for awhile; but no one was sent to guard her gap, and over and over the people fell, like a waterfall of souls.
Once a child caught at a tuft of grass that grew at the very brink of the gulf; it clung convulsively, and it called-but nobody seemed to hear. Then the roots of the grass gave way, and with a cry the child went over, its two little hands still holding tight to the torn-off bunch of grass. And the girl who longed to be back in her gap thought she heard the little one cry, and she sprang up and wanted to go; at which they reproved her, reminding her that no one is necessary anywhere; the gap would be well taken care of, they knew. And then they sang a hymn.
Then through the hymn came another sound like the pain of a million broken hearts wrung out in one full drop, one sob. And a horror of great darkness was upon me, for I knew what it was-the Cry of the Blood.
Then thundered a voice, the voice of the Lord. "And He said, 'What hast thou done, The voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.'"
The tom-toms still beat heavily, the darkness still shuddered and shivered about me; I heard the yells of the devil-dancers and weird, wild shriek of the devil-possessed just outside the gate.
What does it matter, after all? It has gone on for years; it will go on for years. Why make such a fuss about it?
God forgive us! God arouse us! Shame us out of our callousness! Shame us out of our sin!
Satan Can Dissuade UsC.S. Lewis speaks of a meeting of demons intent on strategies stopping the church fulfilling its great commission. One demon after another come up with ideas:
“I have an idea, tell them that hell isn’t real.” They won’t believe that..too much tells them there is a god who is just and will punish sin.
“Tell them heaven isn’t real“
“No, Just tell them it isn’t urgent”
Satan Can Distract UsWith our sins. Our sins can trip us up. They can consume our time. Is it worry? Is it covetousness? Is it impatience? These sins can undermine our witness for Christ. We can consume all our time here without acheiveing the goals God has for us. To fddeliver those captive to Satan and see them set free by the gospel of Christ.
Satan Can Dissipate Us
With our stumbling blocks.. things that take up our interest and time. So many of your interests are just time using. What do we need to do to get the job of sooul winning done? Then let's do it!
“Will you March into hell for a heavenly cause”
Will you be strong willed in this? Put aside sin, put aside satanic distractions.
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and run with endurance the race that lies before us, 2 keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.
Lets focus our eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ
3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, so that you won’t grow weary and lose heart.
Let's march into hell in a heavenly cause!
Centuries before Christ, Alexander the Great conquered most of the known world. On one occasion, he and a small company of soldiers approached a strongly fortified city. When Alexander demanded that the king surrender the city to his little band of fighting men, the king laughed and said, “Why should I surrender to you? You can’t do us any harm!” Alexander then offered the king a demonstration. He had his men to line up single file and ordered them to march. The people gasped as the first soldier walked over the cliff to his death. They were dismayed to see the second. After the tenth soldier had fallen to his death, Alexander ordered them to stop. The townspeople had seen enough and the king immediately surrendered to Alexander the Great. They realized that if a few men were actually willing to walk to their death at the command of their leader, then nothing could stop his eventual victory.
The testimony of the English Reformers was that which Latimer himself expressed: “Embrace Christ’s cross, and Christ shall embrace you.”

Monday, October 22, 2007

 

Acts 20 Fulfil Your Minstry

17 Now from Miletus, he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church.
18 And when they came to him, he said to them: “You know, from the first day I set foot in • Asia, how I was with you the whole time—
19 serving the Lord with all humility, with tears, and with the trials that came to me through the plots of the Jews—
20 and that I did not shrink back from proclaiming to you anything that was profitable, or from teaching it to you in public and from house to house.
21 I testified to both Jews and Greeks about repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus.
22 “And now I am on my way to Jerusalem, bound in my spirit, not knowing what I will encounter there,
23 except that in town after town the Holy Spirit testifies to me that chains and afflictions are waiting for me.
24 But I count my life of no value to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of God’s grace.
25 “And now I know that none of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will ever see my face again.
26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of everyone’s blood,
27 for I did not shrink back from declaring to you the whole plan of God.

At a Sunday School picnic a few years ago they held a parent’s race. I had every intention of winning that race. I thought maybe I could relive some of my glory days from Teachers’ College. During High school I wasn’t really worth very much at sports, but at Teacher’s College, I took off. The fact is I was a pretty good sprinter. I had this burst of energy that kicked in and carried me to the finish line. I usu¬ally beat people in a race. I thought I would do it again, even though it had been many years since I had run like that. Sure enough, the announcement came. All the dads made their way over. Surveying the competition, I thought, This is going to be good. I noticed a lot of potbellies. Not only was I going to win, I was going to win big.
They fired the starter pistol. I took off. I was shocked to see almost everybody dash ahead of me. Immediately I was be¬hind. This concerned me. I thought it was time to call on that burst of energy that had always led me to victory. I reached down for that formidable strength. The burst had gone bust. 1 was already on empty.
I noticed the pack was even farther ahead of me. I quickly realized: not only was I going to lose the race, I was going to lose big. Not only would I be last, but I would probably be five minutes behind everybody else, if I even finished at all. I would get that courtesy applause that people give when you finish but you are pathetic.
I hadn't even finished the first lap, and I was in pain. Let me rephrase that: I was in total agony. I thought, I have two choices. I can either try to finish this race and come in at the end, or I can quit.
When 1 passed a certain tree, 1 just walked off. Someone said, "Grosey, I thought you were running the race."
"No," I assured him. "1 was just messing around." "Sure, I started the race, but I got off-track. I wasn't really in it for the prize; I was just messing around."
re you messing around with the raqce God has set you? There are some things that are integral to this race.
Here in Acts 20 as nowhere else in the New testament, we get an insight into the heart of the Apostle Paul. he ahs called the Elders of Ephesus over to a summit meeting at a town called Miletus. And he lays out his heart to them. He tells them what they must do to finish the race.
He tells you what you must do to finish your race!

“the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus,”
Each has a ministry.
Each must evangelise.
Evangelise or fossilise.
Unless evangelism is the first priority it will become the last priority.
Do the work of an evangelist.
1. Fulfil Your Responsibilities 20, 21, 24, 25,26,27
BLOOD ON OUR HANDS Acts 20:21
The Blood Represents life
(1) Gen. 4:10 “The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.”
(2) Lev. 17:11 “The life of the flesh . . . blood. . . an atonement . . . ”
(3) Isa. 26:21 “. . .The earth shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.”
The earth a vast aceldama (Acts 1:19) a field of blood to bury strangers in.
(4) Matt. 27:24 “. . . I am innocent of the blood . . . .” “. . . His blood be on us and on our children.”
Isa. 1:15, 16, 18 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. He exhorts them to repentance, with promises and threatenings 16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; 17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. 18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
Matt. 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
Rev. 7:14
We Are Inescapably Accountable to God For Others
Acts 18:6 - to Jews of Corinth; 20:26 – to the Greeks of Ephesian Asia
Gen. 4:9 – Cain, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
His house on fire. The man asleep. Am I accountable to awaken him?
Drowning – I am on shore with a rope. Am I accountable to throw it to him?
Bridge out – the man driving. Am I accountable to warn him?
Walking down path. Snake coiled, lifting head to strike. . . . .
Can of food from shelf. Botulism, caused by bacteria . . . . .
Matt. 25:41-45
If he is starving, and I have bread
If he is thirsty, and I have water. . . naked, . . . . . clothing
. . . lost, . . . . . the way
If he dies without God, and I possess the word of life (Ezek. 33:1-8)
Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman: 3 If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; 4 Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. 5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. 6 But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand. 7 So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. 8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
A. Our church has responsibility for the lost of the world
Rom. 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent?
B. Our Parents have responsibility for their children Eph. 6:4 “. . . bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
C. You have responsibility for your Fellow-workers, neighbors, friends
II Kings 7:3-9 – How hold back the best good news in all the world?
And there were four leprous men at the entering in of the gate: and they said one to another, Why sit we here until we die? 4 If we say, We will enter into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there: and if we sit still here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us fall unto the host of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die. 5 And they rose up in the twilight, to go unto the camp of the Syrians: and when they were come to the uttermost part of the camp of Syria, behold, there was no man there. 6 For the Lord had made the host of the Syrians to hear a noise of chariots, and a noise of horses, even the noise of a great host: and they said one to another, Lo, the king of Israel hath hired against us the kings of the Hittites, and the kings of the Egyptians, to come upon us. 7 Wherefore they arose and fled in the twilight, and left their tents, and their horses, and their asses, even the camp as it was, and fled for their life. 8 And when these lepers came to the uttermost part of the camp, they went into one tent, and did eat and drink, and carried thence silver, and gold, and raiment, and went and hid it; and came again, and entered into another tent, and carried thence also, and went and hid it. 9 Then they said one to another, We do not well: this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace: if we tarry till the morning light, some mischief will come upon us: now therefore come, that we may go and tell the king's household.
Ps. 51:14 - . . .”deliver me from bloodguiltiness.” Only place word used in Bible
When our warning, appeal, is heeded, how happy!
But if our message is rejected, we have delivered our souls (Ezek. 33:8)
Freight conductor The years past and that freight conductor is now an old, old man. In a church service at a testimony meeting, he said, "Often times, even to this day, I awaken in the middle of the night hearing the cries and the screams of those who were dying. And seeing again the mangled torn bodies of those hurt, killed in that awful accident." And he says, "I get up and I walk downstairs. And in the hallway, I standing there point to a yellow piece of paper framed and hanging on the wall." And I say, "It was not my fault. Those are my instructions. And I carried out my mandate. It was not my fault."
In the great judgment day, “God, I did my best.”

2. Face The Wretchedness 19, 22, 23
Sorrows
Chrysostom: “With many tears,” he says, “and temptations which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews.” Do you see that he grieves at their doings? But here too he seems to show how sympathizing he was: for he suffered for those who were going to perdition, for the doers themselves: what was done to himself, he even rejoiced at it; for he belonged to that band which “rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for that Name” (Acts v. 41): and again he says, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you” (Col. i. 24): and again, “For our light affliction, which is but for the moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” (2 Cor. iv. 17).

SufferingsI saw a World War II movie some years ago in which two exhausted GI’s find themselves in the barnyard of a French farm not long after D-Day. They’re exhausted and disheveled, and one man says to the other, “I’m gonna die, I just know I’m gonna die.” And his buddy says back to him, “Well, why not? You somebody special?” When Josef Tson was being persecuted by the communists in Romania, he nearly gave in. But his wife had the courage to say to him, “Josef, you’ve always said you wanted to die for Jesus. So go do it!” A man worthy of Christ accepts severe testings. He has died to a cushy life. He’s chosen a significant life. He stands with his brothers in the army of God amid severe testings.
StressThere will be opposition. It eventually cost Paul his life. But he never said, “I’d better throttle back. After all, I’m getting close to retirement. And I wouldn’t want to jeopardize anything. I wouldn’t want to make anyone mad.” Paul obeyed God all the way to the end, in the face of severe testings. If you want to be a man of consequence for God, you must accept severe testings.

24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Do you remember Amy Carmichael’s poem, “Hast thou no scars?”
Hast thou no scar? No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land; I hear them hail thy bright, ascendant star.
Hast thou no scar?
Hast thou no wound? Yet I was wounded by the archers; spent,
Leaned Me against a tree to die; and rent By ravening beasts that compassed Me, I swooned. Hast thou no wound? No wound? No scar?
Yet, as the Master shall the servant be, And piercèd are the feet that follow Me.
But thine are whole; can he have followed far Who hast no wound or scar?

3. Finish The RaceFor I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:6-8
I’ve been around long enough to know some men and women whose lives were totally sold out to God a few years ago who have since walked off the track in the middle of the race. They’ve given up. They’ve lost their longing for God and all that He is. They’re awol from the Christian life . .
The fear of following in their footsteps haunts me. It should you, too. The possibility is real for all of us unless we allow our hearts to be completely gripped by God . . . today- now. The faithfulness of my walk with God in the next year and the next decades depends on my willingness to stay current with God. In a word-to stay in relationship with Him.
I never want to lose the hold God’s greatness has on my life and the supreme privilege it is to be in relationship with Him and to serve Him faithfully till the day I am welcomed into His presence. That passion compels me. It keeps me very honest and very humble before God.

The last thing I want to do is crawl across the finish line a defeated, derailed Christian or worse-give up the race before my life is over. I want to break that tape with arms high and my face to the sun and say with the apostle Paul, “I have finished the course; I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 3:7).

So what can we do now to ensure that finish line victory? We can get back to basics: Honestly answer these seven questions:
Do I hunger after God?
Does God’s Word govern my life?
Do I grieve over sin?
How quickly do I repent when I see my wrong?
Am I sensitive to the Spirit’s prompt in me?
Do I obey?
Is my faith growing?
The spiritual race of life is nothing to mess around with. This is the race you must win. Let's face it: the prize is at the end of the race. There's only one way to get it. Stay the course-it's the single chance you have of winning!

 

1 Timothy 4 A Disciple’s Disciplines

1 Timothy 4 A Disciple’s Disciplines
6 If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished by the words of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. 7 But have nothing to do with irreverent and silly myths. Rather, train yourself in godliness, 8 for, the training of the body has a limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 9 This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance. 10 In fact, we labor and strive for this, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of everyone, especially of those who believe.
The gymnasium is an important place if you want to develop and grow muscle. Many athletes sweat through “pumping iron,” or weightlifting, in order to grow physically.
Is your number one goal to know God and grow spiritually? How do you do that? How do you pump iron in the spiritual gymnasium? How do we learn to love, know, and follow God?
This is an important issue for every believer. Spiritual maturity is not an optional extra for believers. It is not a frill that we can choose to the “spiritual muscle men” if we are to be authentic followers of Jesus.
Neil T. Anderson, in Breaking Through to Spiritual Maturity (13), says,
Mature believers, fit for ministry to each other and the world, are the end result of God’s design for the church. Maturity is the reason God grouped us in local churches and provided spiritual leaders to teach us, guide us and discipline us. If we do not pursue maturity, we are not cooperating with God’s design for us.
A Christian view of spiritual maturity
In this cultural milieu how do Christians view spiritual maturity? What is “spiritual maturity” from a Christian viewpoint?
• People are created spiritual. We are created in the image of God, who is Spirit. Therefore, humanity includes a spirit (Genesis 1:26). We have been made in the image of God and therefore to be human is to be a spiritual being. People are designed to know God through our design with spiritual capacity (John 17:3, Jeremiah 9:23, Hosea 6:6).
• People are naturally spiritually dead. Sin has separated people from relationship to God. The mind of the unbeliever is blinded (2 Corinthians 4:4) and you are spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1). This death is spiritual separation from God, not the lack of being a “spiritual” being. Thus, to be “spiritual” is not necessarily good. The most secular of people are deeply “spiritual” though they may not even believe in or agree that there is such a thing.
• The Person and Work of Jesus make spiritual life a reality for those who trust him. (Ephesians 2:8,9) God took the initiative in relationship to reconcile us to himself. When we are born again we become spiritually alive.
• Spiritual birth should result in spiritual growth. (2 Peter 3:18; Hebrews 5:11-14; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; 1 Peter 2:2; Ephesians 4: 12-16; Colossians 1:28). Just as in physical life birth results in growth so it is true in spiritual life.
This brings us to pumping iron or growing spiritually, the responsibility for every believer in Jesus. Spiritual maturity is the process by which the human spirit is given form or character. Both the unbeliever and believer are formed spiritually. That is, both have a spirit that has been developed in the experiences of life. This spirit then drives the outward life. Thus all of us have the problem and potential of spiritual maturity. Spiritual maturity has, is, and will take place in our lives whether we want it to or not.
For the believer, spiritual maturity has to do with the human spirit being reformed or renovated into the image of Christ. This is primarily an inner process but that inner process will impact and affect all of life.
• “Spiritual maturity is a process of being conformed to the image of Christ for the sake of others.” (Robert Mulholland)
• “(S)piritual maturity for the Christian basically refers to the Spirit-driven process of forming the inner world of the human self in such a way that it becomes like the inner being of Christ himself’. (Dallas Willard)
Spiritual development is rooted in and a result of God’s grace.
1 Timothy 4:1-5 deal with those who would add works to God’s grace. The emphasis is always on the grace of God for salvation. Ephesians 2:8, 9.
God initiates the process of spiritual maturity; our response to his grace is obedience. A reversal of this priority inevitably leads to a religion of self-effort. The obedience of spiritual disciplines is the result of grace-based relationship: these disciplines serve in turn to enhance our fellowship with the Father and to position us for further spiritual growth.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. (Titus 2:11-14)
An understanding of grace is the starting point for all spiritual progress.
Spiritual development is a process 6 If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished by the words of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. See that word nourished. It carries the idea of development and growth.
Discipleship is primarily a process and not an event. Although significant and identifiable spiritual events do occur in our lives, at the heart of maturity is a relationship with God, which is a life-long journey.
Conversion is the beginning and not the end of spiritual growth. Christians have not arrived at a destination but are on a journey. We need to be challenged, encouraged, loved and cared for through that journey and equipped for life-long habits of development in this process of discipleship. Maturity cannot be microwaved.
A brand-new believer is spiritual and is a new person in Christ. Spirituality is living in dependence on the Spirit of God, and even a new believer – one who has yet to learn there are two testaments in the Bible – can do that. Spirituality is a matter of humility before God and faith in Christ. But there is more to our walk with God than this.
The new believer is spiritual but cannot be spiritually mature. As time goes on, if we do not fuel our faith with an increasing understanding of Christ, it will weaken – and we will not mature…Spirituality and maturity are distinct from each other, yet they are interdependent. To be spiritual is to be dependent on the Holy Spirit This dependence should characterize our normal, everyday relationship with him. The fruit of this relationship is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, and self-control. Maturity comes in time, out of spiritual life that is nourished by an increasing knowledge of Christ through experiences with him. Its fruit is intimacy with Christ, Christ like character, perseverance, and power.
Spiritual development has a Precise God ordained method
6 If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished by the words of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.
See the words nourished by the words of the faith, and of the good teaching? You need the word of God to grow. No two ways about it, this is a must!
God has provided a pathway for the journey toward the renovation of the heart. Spiritual maturity in Christ is therefore not a mysterious, irrational process. The God ordained order of the soul must be discovered, respected, and cooperated with, if God-intended results for spiritual growth are to be attained. This is not to imply that spiritual maturity is a simplistic formula for the reason that our relationship to God is not a formula. “I will never be able to reduce life with God to a formula for the same reason I cannot reduce my marriage to a formula. It is a living growing relationship with another free being, very different from me and yet sharing much in common.” (Yancey, Philip, Reaching for the Invisible God. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000, 183-184) However, God directs a method provides the means of grace in our lives.
Spiritual development must be Purposeful
7 But have nothing to do with irreverent and silly myths. Rather, train yourself in godliness,
See those words train yourself in godliness? You have to do something about it. You would be aware that for some 6 months I have had numbness in my left leg after each service. My doctor told me a month ago that I had pinched a nerve in my back. I needed to strengthen my stomach muscles by doing 20 sit ups. Each morning, and each evening. I have to determine to do this. And it works! On Tuesdays Wednesdays and sometimes even Thursdays! At least the evening ones work. Sometimes! (at this stage someone piped up in the congregation “and for as long as you live!” ) It’s a matter of determining to do it, and then doing it. Isn’t it? Maybe?
The Christian does not grow automatically or easily. There is no “floating” into maturity. Growth takes place within spiritual battle, trial, suffering and conflict. The enemies of the world, the flesh, and the devil assault the believer (1 John 2:15-17). To suffer unjustly is to follow the steps in the steps of Jesus. Willing perseverance and joyful contentment through spiritual warfare, interpersonal conflict, and personal suffering are an integral part of being formed in the image of Christ. Suffering is a common experience that God uses in spiritual pilgrimage to perfect his work in us (Hebrews 5:8,9; James 1:2-4; Ephesians 6:8-10; 1 Peter 2:19ff).
Gordon MacDonald discovered “there are no shortcuts, no gimmicks, no easy ways to cultivate an intimacy with God and attain the resulting passion that should carry one through life’s journey.” (Restoring Your Spiritual Passion. Nashville, TN: Oliver-Nelson, 1986, 11)
You are thinking, I don’t need any structure or rigorous habits to make my heart grow. I’m a play-it-by-ear type. I go with the spiritual flow. I’m going to let go and let God do whatever he wants to do, and I’ll just see what happens.” This typical American attitude, at best, is naïve; at worst, it is self-deceived. We just cannot grow without structure, no sense of intentionally about our spiritual life, any more than we can lower our body fat or develop good muscle tone or increase our net worth by just sitting back and waiting for whatever happens. (Hybels, Bill. Too Busy Not to Pray: Slowing down to be with God, Downers Grove. IL: InterVarsity Press, 1998, 44)
Intentional decisions and commitments must be made to the methods of grace and then we must live in faithfulness to these. We can and should plan to grow in an organized, practical, measurable, and accountable way. The authentic Christian is called to passionate and deliberate involvement in this process. In this process our entire dependence is on the work of the Holy Spirit. While spiritual maturity is simultaneously a profound manifestation of God’s gracious action through his Word and Spirit, it is also something we are responsible for before God and set about achieving in a sensible, systematic manner.
Spiritual Development Is Personal7 But have nothing to do with irreverent and silly myths. Rather, train yourself in godliness, .. See that word Yourself?
The individual is responsible for spiritual development
Discipleship is not a passive result of what someone else does to you or for you. We develop most when we are actively involved. Opportunities for such involvement will be created and encouraged for you as you proceed through this course. However, each individual has the opportunity to choose or reject participation in experiences conducive to growth and development. Passivity is one of the greatest dangers and difficulties to spiritual growth.
Most of us would like to be in physical shape. For me, that is mostly a dream that bears no resemblance to reality. The reason that there is such a great gap between my dream and reality is quite simple – I am not willing to invest the many hours of dedication, commitment and sacrifice that is required in order to achieve that measure of physical prowess.
We may have a dream of spirituality maturity, as well we should. That may be a dream that lacks reality if we are unwilling to invest the many hours of dedication, commitment and sacrifice that is required in order to achieve such spiritual growth.
This is not to say that spiritual growth is a simple matter of the will and pulling up one’s spiritual bootstraps. Again this is a human solution that leads to frustration and pride.
This cooperation with God’s grace and human responsibility is seen in Philippians 2:12-13 which states, “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence – continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”
We would much rather pray, ‘Lord, make me godly,’ and expect him to ‘Pour’ some godliness into our souls in some mysterious way. God does in fact work in a mysterious way to make us godly, but he does not do this apart from the fulfillment of our own personal responsibility….We are dependent on God for his divine enablement, but we are responsible; we are not passive in this process. (Jerry Bridges, Pursuit of Godliness, 42, 55)
Spiritual Development Is ProgressiveIndividual Christians are at different stages in the development process
The Bible identifies three stages of growth on the road to maturity. Paul refers to the new-born/little child stage (1 Thessalonians 2:7), the childhood stage (1 Thessalonians 2:11), and the brother/peer stage (1 Thessalonians 2:14). The Apostle John identifies the same three stages a bit differently. He talks about children, young men, and fathers (1 John 2:12-14).
Each person is an individual created in God’s image and for whom he has a special plan. Each Christian is at a unique stage of commitment, faith development, and has a unique life message and ministry design. At the same time, there are common qualities, commitments, and skills that distinguish the disciple of the Lord Jesus that should be true of all Christians.
Spiritual Development Is Passionate10 In fact, we labor and strive for this, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of everyone, especially of those who believe.
See those words labour and strive? You gotta be passionate about this! Or its not going to happen!
The goal of spiritual development is the image of Christ
“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son” (Romans 8:29). The image of Christ is the ultimate reality of human wholeness. The Christian is to develop his character and live his priorities. Christ-likeness is the goal and the measure of spiritual development.
Ephesians 4: 12-16: “grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.”
Colossians 1:28: “present everyone perfect in Christ.”
Galatians 4:19 “…until Christ is formed in you”
Christian spiritual maturity is focused entirely on Jesus. Its goal is an obedience or conformity to Christ that arises out of an inner transformation. This inner transformation will change the whole life to be in the image of Jesus.
The objective of Christian spiritual maturity to help a person move from wherever he or she might be to where he or she grows into the full stature of Christ. One of the greatest gifts God has given us is the infinite opportunity for spiritual growth. But however much we have matured, there is always more beyond. It is in this that we find the adventure of living. There will always be new, unexplored dimensions of his person beckoning to us. The possibilities go off the chart.
All of life is to be subject to the Lordship of Christ. Therefore, we have a responsibility for development as complete people – the physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual aspects of our lives. This also calls for integration of all of life in the process of our discipleship.
Spiritual Development Is People oriented10 In fact, we labor and strive for this, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of everyone, especially of those who believe.
Spiritual development is enhanced by relationship with others
The body of Christ is designed so that we need one another to help us in the pilgrimage of obedience as developing disciples. The Holy Spirit is at work in the Body of Christ and thus the Body is the expression of his life. Christians are not only to be part of this Body but also to learn the responsibilities of living within such a community. Discipleship is a relational process.
The individual Christian cannot mature in isolation from the Body. This is shown in Ephesians 4:11-16 which states, It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
A dear friend used to in any marriage it takes 3 to make 2 one. He would speak of a triangle of relationship where the Lord is at the top, and the husband and wife are at the base corners of the triangle. As the two move towards the top, the distance between them grows smaller. As the distance towards the Lord grows smaller, so the distance between one another grows smaller. There is also very much a significant factor that the closer we grow towards one another, forebearing one another in love, forgiving one another, so the more we grow in our Christian maturity.
Spiritual Development Is not Preoccupied10 In fact, we labor and strive for this, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of everyone, especially of those who believe.
Spiritual development will result in service to God and others
There can be no wholeness in the image of Christ that does not reflect in relationship to others (Romans 12:5). Every Christian is called to and gifted for ministry. As all member do their individual work the body of Christ grows to maturity. Tangible demonstration of love for others through acts of service is a vital link in the spiritual maturity process. Gratitude for the finished and continuing work of Christ in our behalf compels us to cooperate with his commitment to reproduce another spiritual generation. To be a servant is not merely a method of ministry or style of leadership, but who we are in Christ (Matthew 20:25-28, Philippians 2:3-9,13).

And there are benefits!8 for, the training of the body has a limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
How many times have you felt “if only so and so had concentrated on growing as a Christian, he wouldn’t have mucked up his.. marriage.. job, … family… kids… relationships… testimony, … health…!
Let’s do something about it today!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

 

Luke 9:57-62 Discipleship

And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. 59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. 61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. 62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

The Kingdom of God. The reign of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Lord Jesus Christ indicated that true discipleship would be costly and exacting. No Easy assent to a creed.
Browning correctly interpreted the teaching of our Lord:
How very hard it is to be a Christian! Hard for you and me
Not the mere task of making real That duty up to its ideal,
Effecting thus, complete and whole, A purpose of the human soul,
For that is always hard to do.
Garibaldi in 1833 as a young man Garibaldi took an oath of dedicating his life to struggle for liberation of his homeland Italy from Austrian dominance. He raised several armies that finally brought about the unification of Italy and the liberation from Austrian and French rule. He continued this fight until 1870.
Some young men he hoped to enlist once said to him: “What do you offer us?”
“Offer you? I offer you neither pay nor quarters nor provisions. I offer hunger thirst forced marches battle and death. Let him who loves his country in his heart, not with his lips only, follow me.”
A “disciple” is rightly related to Jesus as a learner and follower
What is a “disciple”? Words like disciple, discipling, and discipleship are trendy evangelical terms. The terms have been used in contemporary Christian culture to mean a variety of things. The problem is that a term that means everything really is reduced to mean nothing. In order for us to understand the meaning of disciple we will look briefly at the way the word is used in the Bible.
Greek Culture
In Greek culture, before the time of Christ, “discipling” was considered the way of true teaching. Renowned teachers had their small bands that followed and sat at their feet to learn. For example, Socrates had his Plato, Plato had his Aristotle, and Aristotle had his Alexander the Great who spread Hellenistic ideas throughout the lands conquered (including Palestine)
The Greek word mathetes was used of this model of teaching and learning. It involved the disciple adopting the philosophy, practices, and way of life of the teacher. Usually physical proximity to the teacher was implied.
Gospels and Acts
The concept of disciple is expressed in the New Testament through two Greek words – mathetes (meaning “learner”) and akolouthein (meaning “to walk behind, to follow,” which frequently is used in the New Testament as a specialized term for following Jesus).
There are 261 references to mathetes in the Bible with all of these references in the Gospels and Acts. With only 10% of these in the book of Acts there is clearly an emphasis in the Gospels. This emphasis is also true of akolouthein. Of the 90 occurrences, 79 are found in the Gospels, the rest in Acts (4), Revelation (6), and 1 Corinthians (1)]. This clearly indicates discipleship is a close association with Jesus. (Anchor, 207)
However, it is also interesting to note that the word “disciple” can be used in a variety of ways such as:
• John the Baptist had disciples (Matthew 9:14), some of whom became disciples of Jesus (John 1)
• Pharisees had disciples (Matthew 22:15,16)
• Paul had disciples (Acts 9:25)
• Jesus had disciples. The word is used most often in the New Testament of the special and intensive relationship of people to Jesus. Mathetes is used of many different types of individuals as related to Jesus:
• Curious disciples – there were many – from scribes to sinners (Matthew 8:18-22 Mark 1:16-20 Mark 2:13-15 Luke 6:14-16 John 19:38), who went to hear Jesus because of curiosity of his words, his doctrine, his miracles (Matthew 5:1) and his teaching. Many were willing to listen to him, sometimes 5000 at one time. But many of these would defect (John 6:60-66).
• Convinced disciples – As they listened to his words they were convinced it was truth and believed on him (John 2: 11 Matthew 6: 13).
• Committed disciples – Refers to some or all of Jesus intimate circle and often a synonym for the Twelve (Matthew 10: 1 11:1 Luke 9: 54 John 6:8). Much of what he taught about his death and resurrection (Matthew 16:21), about the end of the age (Mark 13), about love, about the Father and the Spirit (John 14-16) was given only to the inner circle. Their following of Jesus was initiated by a call from Jesus. Whereas in rabbinical circles and in the Greek Philosophical schools a person made a voluntary decision to join the school of a master and so became a mathetes, with Jesus it was the call that was decisive (Luke 5:1-11 Matthew 5: 18f). They followed Jesus literally for the last months of his earthly ministry. This meant they left their occupations (Mark 1:18,19), father and mother (10:29), everything (10:28), and took up their crosses to follow Jesus. They had a commitment to his Person even more than to teaching. It was the unconditional sacrifice of the whole life (Matthew 10: 37 Luke 14: 26f Mark 3: 31-35 Luke 9: 59-62) for all of life
(Matthew 10:24 John 11:16).
Disciple means Lover The Lord Jesus asks for an unrivalled Love
And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
Many youth who grow up in conservative Christian homes and receive Christian education at church or parochial schools arrive at the threshold of adulthood with a concept of religion that is largely behavioral. Religion consists of living all the standards and regulations of the church and avoiding that which has been branded as “sins.” In a recent interview with Parade magazine, Brad Pitt explains why he no longer embraces Christianity. It turns out that he was raised as a Southern Baptist, but when he got to college he came upon some stumbling blocks that led him to cast aside his faith altogether. He describes his current feelings on “religion” in this way:
“Guilt is the thing I find most evil about it. It’s the thing I rail against the most. . . Religion works. I know there’s comfort there, a crash pad. It’s something to explain the world and tell you there is something bigger than you, and it is going to be alright in the end. ..”
The chart below depicts words of contrasts between “Religion” versus “Relationship”. You can probably other contrasts that should be included. Which column of words best describes the way you presently relate to God?
Religion Relationship
Humanity seeking God God seeking humanity
Rules, laws and codes centered Person centered
Top Down Mutual
Works Grace
Have to Want to
Authority Influence
Static Dynamic
One way Communication Two way Communication
Police Father
Guilt Freedom
Enforcement Enjoyment
The central Core of Christian faith is a love relationship with God
Mark 12:28-31 states, “One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no commandment greater than these.”
This is one commandment expressed in two directions – love for God and love for people. The Greatest Commandment is the true fulfillment of all the Law. Expressed conversely, without a Great Commandment heart, without a genuine love relationship with God, we cannot fulfill any religious duty. At the core of the Christian faith is a love relationship with God.
Do you love the Lord Jesus Christ? This would sound weird and homosexual were you not to understand a few things. 1. The Lord Jesus Christ is God. 2. He died for you.
He has set His love on you to rescue you from sin and Satan and death and hell.
The Love He has for you is not a sexual love (eros). It is greater than a friendship love (phileo). It is a sacrificial love (agape) that counts the object valuable above itself.
The son of God loved me and gave Himself for me.
Here is love, vast as the ocean, Lovingkindness as the flood,
When the Prince of Life, our Ransom, Shed for us His precious blood.
Who His love will not remember? Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten, Throughout Heav’n’s eternal days.
On the mount of crucifixion, Fountains opened deep and wide;
Through the floodgates of God’s mercy Flowed a vast and gracious tide.
Grace and love, like mighty rivers, Poured incessant from above,
And Heav’n’s peace and perfect justice Kissed a guilty world in love.
Let me all Thy love accepting, Love Thee, ever all my days;
Let me seek Thy kingdom only And my life be to Thy praise;
Thou alone shalt be my glory, Nothing in the world I see.
Thou hast cleansed and sanctified me, Thou Thyself hast set me free.
In Thy truth Thou dost direct me By Thy Spirit through Thy Word;
And Thy grace my need is meeting, As I trust in Thee, my Lord.
Of Thy fullness Thou art pouring Thy great love and power on me,
Without measure, full and boundless, Drawing out my heart to Thee.

Disciple means Learner.
The Lord Jesus asks for an Unceasing sacrifice.
59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.
Knowing God and making Him known is to be a supreme pursuit The Navigators discipleship organisation take as their motto To Know Him and to make Him Known. That is the call of God on our lives. To Know Him and to make Him Known.
In Philippians 3 the apostle Paul has been telling about his religious stature before he met Christ. But then he makes an electrifying assertion in verses 8 through 11.
What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
“God is a Person and can be known in increasing degrees of intimate acquaintance as we prepare our hearts for the wonder.” “To know God is at once the easiest and the most difficult thing in the world.”
For the apostle Paul, it was not that Christ was merely preferable to the other religion. The other religion was rubbish, a garbage dump, a manure pile. There was no comparison! And the pursuit of Paul’s heart was to know the Lovely Person of Christ that he had met on the Damascus road. So this pursuit of God should be our heart pursuit as well. It is described in the song,
“In the Secret.”
In the secret, in the quiet place, In the stillness You are there,
In the secret, in the quiet hour I wait only for You, Cause I want to know You more,
I want to know You I want to hear Your voice I want to know You more I want to touch You I want to see Your face I want to know You more.
I am reaching for the highest goal, That I might receive the prize Pressing onward,
Pressing every hindrance aside, Out of my way,
Cause I want to know you more.
Knowing God is eternal life
A Bible college instructor once told a story about a famous missionary woman came to campus when he had been a student. The students were hanging on her every word to find out her great secrets to effective service for God. The students were surprised when she said, “God did not take me to Africa to serve him nearly as much as he did for me to get to know him.”
John 17:3 informs us that, “this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” 1 John 5:11-13 states, “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
In our modern evangelical approach to the Gospel message, we have held out eternal life as the prize and the decision for the Lord Jesus as the necessary means to that prize. The basic idea is that “if you want heaven then you will have to have Jesus.” Although this is in partly true, the emphasis is distorted. In fact, knowing God in the Lord Jesus is the prize and life and eternal life are results of the real prize of knowing him!
Knowing God is more than knowing about God Our aim in studying the Godhead must be to know God himself better. Our concern must be to enlarge our acquaintance, not simply with the doctrine of God’s attributes but with the living God whose attributes they are. As he is the subject of our study, and our helper in it, so he must himself be the end of it. We must seek, in studying God, to be led to God.
You can know much about God without having much knowledge of him.
When I began a relationship with my wife, it began with a fact-finding mission. Who was this woman? Where did she come from? What were her goals in life? I learned more and more about her – that she came from Engadine, there were 3 children in her family, her Father died of a heart attack when she was eight, she liked flowers, and much more. However, if the relationship were simply about knowing more about Lorelle – just storing up files of knowledge about her – it would be very frustrating and maybe could not be called a relationship at all. The fulfillment has come through 20 years of experiencing life together. Do we know more about each other? Absolutely! But knowing more about her is only the means to a deep experiential knowledge of living in oneness of marriage relationship.
God is a Person, not simply a series of principles or a Theology textbook, or a set of concepts. A Living Person, he calls us to know him in the depth of experiential relationship.
In evangelicalism, where we have emphasized eternal life as the prize, we have missed the mark. We have missed that conversion is not the end (because it is then that the prize of heaven is secured) but the beginning of the real prize of knowing God. The Christian faith is a life long journey of entering into the depth of relationship with an Infinite, Loving, Unfathomable, Mysterious, and Personal God.
What were we made for? To know God.
What aim should we set ourselves in life? To know God.
What is the eternal life that Jesus gives? Knowledge of God
What is the best thing in life? Knowledge of God.
What in a man gives God most pleasure? Knowledge of Himself. ~ J. I. Packer, Knowing God
To Know Him and to make Him Known
59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.

Disciple Means Lordship. Let the Lord Jesus Christ be Lord in your life.The Lord Jesus asks for an unqualified renunciation
61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. 62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
A “disciple” is a believer who increasingly reflects the character and priorities of Jesus
The most important factor in defining a disciple is the teaching of Jesus. In relation to the believer’s discipleship it seems apparent that the “Committed” disciple as noted above is the goal of the believer.
We can summarize Jesus’ teachings on committed disciples as follows. A disciple:
• Is willing to deny self, take up a cross daily, and follow him (Luke 9:23 25) Then He said to [them]all, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24 For whoever wants to save his • life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. 25 What is a man benefited if he gains the whole world, yet loses or forfeits himself?
• Puts Christ before self, family, and possessions (Luke 14:25-35)
• Is committed to Christ’s teachings (John 8:31) So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word,you really are My disciples.
• Is committed to world evangelism (Matthew 9:36-38) When He saw the crowds, He felt compassion for them, because they were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. 38 Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”
• Loves others as Christ loves (John 13:34, 35) I give you a new commandment: love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Bill Hull describes the Disciple’s Profile. He says the disciple:
• remains in Christ (15:7) If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you.
• is Obedient (John 15:9 As the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you. Remain in My love.
Matthew 28:20; John 14:21He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
• bears fruit (John 15:8, 16) My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to beMy disciples.
• glorifies God (John 15:8)
• has Joy (John 15:11) I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.
• loves as Christ loves (John 15:12-14,17)
Disciples of Jesus are like the Master. They look like Jesus in character and act on the same priorities as he does.
“Discipleship” is not an optional Christian lifestyle
“Discipleship is not an option...There is a widespread view in the Church... discipleship is “an extra voluntary commitment.” This is not the Bible’s perspective...if you are not a disciple following Jesus, you have not been born again. Furthermore, Scripture is clear that to be a disciple is costly. Bill Hull draws these conclusions about what it means to make a “disciple”:
Truly regenerate believers are technically disciples from the moment of spiritual birth. True believers are followers of Jesus; this does not mean that they will become mature followers of Jesus or they will make their lives count for Christ. They may live in spiritual slumber, their lives may waste God’s gifts and talents. Therefore, the command to go and make disciples does include evangelism. Introducing people to Christ is the first step to the Great Commission.
• Jesus meant more than “make converts.” While every true believer is a disciple, Jesus meant more than just “go and do evangelism” Believers are to be baptized, openly identified with Christ, and taught to obey all that is commanded, that is, to be trained and built into mature, reproducing disciples. When Jesus said, “Make disciples,” by necessity, the disciples understood it to mean much more than simply getting people to believe in Jesus. They had seen hundreds come and go; had witnessed the multitudes of the needy, the takers, and the superficial scramble after the spectacular, and knew that getting people to say, “Yes, I believe.” It was not enough. They had to interpret it to mean to make out of others what Jesus had made out of them. The very fact that they had to count the cost, make sacrifices, and follow him, meant that Jesus required a long and intentional process for people to become disciples. Their task began with evangelism, but that was just the start. They needed to produce people committed to reaching the world, those through whom the gospel could be multiplied. Making disciples includes winning them, but winning them is just the first step.
Discipleship is a life long journey more than a destination. Are you a disciple of the Lord Jesus?
Do you Love Him? With an Unrivalled Love?
Do you Learn from him? With a sacrificial determined desire?
Do you Let Him be Lord? Renouncing all others do you yield yourself to Him?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

 

Acts 19:8-20 How To beat The Fear factor

Encouragement is an interesting word. It means to have courage instilled into you. Courage. It means facing our fears. Batman had to face his fear of bats, and so became batman rather than spiderman. Boby Welch as a Special Forces officer says that one ingreegient of good leadership is courage. Facing your fears. Has anyone here never faced the fear of witnessing? As a young man i faced the fear if wtnessing down at Gerroa. One fo the first activities of beach mission was to go around the tents and caravans and russle up people to attend the outreach activities. I went with an 0older guy around the caravans of our allotted section. As I knocked on the door of one caravan there was a gruff voice from within "WHADDYA want?" I exdplained we were from the beach mission and were encouraging people to come to the activities. "Come in and tell us why you are christians!"
I opened the door and started to go in, when my partner waved to the row of bikes standing in front of the caravan. Bikes. With Engines! Big bikes! Another ten bikes turned up and the bikies pushed me in to tell them why I was a christian. real deep end stuff. Face your fears! you can face your fear of witnessing bhy remembering a few things.
The major problem in Ephesus was that it was a center for witchcraft. Superstition, demonism, and witchcraft held this city in its thrall. A weird mixture of black arts, worship of demons, astrology, occult practices of various kinds, and superstitious fears, had filled this city with priests, magicians, witches, warlocks, and quacks of every description. The inevitable consequence, as always among people who are held in bondage by witchcraft, was that people lived in fear and darkness, indulging their lusts in painful, degrading practices, and were sunken in slavery, in squalor, and in drunken debauchery.
To that city the apostle came and there he assaulted the strongholds of evil with the weapons of spiritual warfare. Remember that it was from this city that Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, and in one of those letters he said, "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal [not worldly, not the ordinary human plans and programs], but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ..." (2 Corinthians 10:4-5 KJV). And it was to Ephesus that Paul wrote from Rome, "We wrestle not against flesh and blood [people are not our problem], but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places..." (Ephesians 6:12 KJV). Those words underscore the viewpoint the apostle had of this great city of Ephesus -- that here was a stronghold of darkness which could only be overcome by the weapons of truth and love and righteousness and faith -- the weapons of our warfare.
There are many strongholds like this today. Right here in Newcastle.
Face your fears! you can face your fear of witnessing bhy remembering a few things.


1. Remember The Purpose of the Lord Prevails:
Lord Is On Your Side Even When You Encounter Resistance.

8 Then he entered the synagogue and spoke boldly over a period of three months, engaging in discussion and trying to persuade them about the things related to the kingdom of God. 9 But when some became hardened and would not believe, slandering the Way in front of the crowd, he withdrew from them and met separately with the disciples, conducting discussions every day in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10 And this went on for two years, so that all the inhabitants of the province of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the word of the Lord.
Paul had trouble with religious people in the synagogue who did not like the gospel. One of the strongholds of the evil one was right among the religious people that were there in that city. That is similar to here.
Some of our religious leaders of other denominations would prefer that this church did not exist. They feel we are too excessive in talking of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. They want us to be ritualists or believe something other than Christ’s atoning death.
This kingdom of God, Paul said, had come with the coming of Jesus Christ, and it was opposed to the rule of Satan. Wherever the gospel went it found men locked into the authority of the kingdom of Satan. The powers of darkness reigned in human affairs. That is why human history is the chequered account of man's struggles to be free from that from which he cannot free himself. It is this rule of darkness, this authority of the kingdom of Satan, which the kingdom of God in Christ challenges. This is what Paul was preaching in the synagogue.
So these Jews made trouble for Paul, as they always did, and at last he decided to withdraw, taking the disciples with him. They moved out of the synagogue into rented quarters, the hall of Tyrannus. This unquestionably was one of the lecture rooms which the Greek teachers employed to teach philosophy and various other subjects of the arts and culture of the day. Paul rented it, according to some ancient authorities, from eleven o'clock in the morning till four in the afternoon. The Revised Standard Version has a marginal note which says, "Other ancient authorities add, 'from the fifth hour to the tenth,'" which, according to the Greek method of reckoning, was from eleven till four.
That was the time in Ephesus when all were taking a siesta. They closed up their shops, went home and had a leisurely meal, took a nap, worked around the garden, etc. The working day began at about seven in the morning. The shops closed at eleven and everyone went home until four when the shops reopened and business went on until about nine-thirty at night. This was their normal day. Evidently the Apostle Paul made tents during the morning hours to support himself. But at eleven o'clock he came to the hall of Tyrannus and lectured for five hours every day for two years.
Paul was not the one who was teaching throughout this area. It was the Christians who heard him in the lecture hall of Tyrannus, and who, captivated and galvanized by these truths, began to spread the word throughout the whole area. They formed churches in other cities which evangelized in turn, so that in two years this whole province was reached by the gospel of Christ. Is not that amazing?
It was during this time that the church at Colossi was begun by Epaphras and Philippians, who carried the gospel up the Lycus valley into the cities there. Others, perhaps Trophimus and Tychicus, young men from this province, were involved in preaching to other cities of the region. They may have been the founders of the churches to which John later wrote his letters in the book of Revelation -- Smyrna and Sardis and Thyatira and Pergamum and Philadelphia and Laodicea, all of which are in this area and were begun by these Christians, largely unnamed and unknown, who heard the Apostle Paul proclaiming this fantastically revolutionary truth in the hall of Tyrannus in Ephesus. What power there is in the Word of God!

2. Remember The Power of the Lord Prevails The Lord Is On Your Side Even When You Need BackupAnd God did extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were carried away from his body to the sick, and diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. (Acts 19:11-12 RSV) Underline the word "extraordinary." These miracles were unusual. They were of a different kind than before. The quality which made them unusual was that they were performed by carrying away these cloths from the body of Paul, so that the miracles were accomplished at a distance from him.
Its described as Unique “special miracles”
Not to be duplicated in the present then or in the future. Something is Unique or its not! One of a kind only. Unrepeated and unrepeatable. “No Happen” = special
These miracles were Not performed by a man.
God wrought special miracles.
Here are miracles that are performed by God to ratify the messengers message.
Apostle = messenger.
There were Special signs of apostles2 Corinthians 12: 12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.
These signs ratified the message. Hebrews 2:3how will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was first spoken by the Lord and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him. 4 At the same time, God also testified by signs and wonders, various miracles, and distributions [of gifts]from the Holy Spirit according to His will.
Undoubtedly these were the signs!
These were miraculous works done by God Himself They were not something Paul chose to do, God chose to do it. And He chose to do it through Paul.
No man can choose to do this or claim it as a power.
It was similar to some other events: (not the same, similar.. to those healed by Jesus.
Matthew 9:20 And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: 21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. 22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.
Not His garment made her whole nor her faith in His garment, it was about Christ not about the cloth.
These people were expressing a sincere level of humility and confidence on Christ.
She expressed her unworthiness to come to Him.. that’s why she touched His garment.
Matthew 14:34 And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased; 36 And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.
All the sick people were made whole.. a huge crowd were healed. The presence of Christ healed all.
Similarly to Acts 19, the emphasis in Matthew is contact with Christ.
The emphasis here in Acts 19 was contact with Christ. It’s the Christ whom Paul preached that was the key. And this is the contrast with the exorcists in the next passage.
They thought it was a formula and not Christ.
Acts 5:15 And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) 15 Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. 16 There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one. 17 Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, 18 And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.
It was neither the garment nor the shadow that these people looked to, it was the Saviour!
Their trust was not in Peter, nor was their trust in his shadow but in Jesus Christ.
Handkerchief - sweat rag.. a cloth that a labouring man would tie around his forehead to keep sweat out of his eyes.
Selfish attempts to manipulate are Wrong.
People who try to manipulate the power of God for their own advantage participate in the work of the devil. They are imposing themselves between the Lord and people. Isaiah 14: 12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
That was the sin of Satan and that is the sin of fallen human flesh,.
I will do it my way. I will have it for myself. I will have the power for myself.
It was the sin of Simon the magician in Acts 8.
They know in their heart somewhere they made a choice for the pretence that they now offer. Its not something to be tolerated its to be rebuked and exposed so people can know its not of the Lord.
God doesn’t need the intermediate action of even Paul.
This extraordinary scene might have led the spectators to form too exalted an idea of Paul. Dispensing to all who not only approached him, but even at a distance implored, or stood in need of his assistance, the inestimable blessing of health, he seemed to be rather a God than a man; and we should not have been surprised, if the astonished heathens, supposing him to be one of their Deities, who had descended to the earth, had attempted to pay divine honours to him. But this misconception was prevented by his explicit and uniform declaration, that he was only a minister of God; and by the performance of his miracles in the name of Jesus. On every occasion of this nature, the language of all the Apostles was the same with that of Peter and John. “Look not on us as though by our own power and holiness we had done these things. It is the power of Jesus of Nazareth which has effected them.” Acts 3:14 But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; 15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. 16 And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. 26 Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.
These signs point to the Deliverer and the Greatest Deliverance, from death, spiritual, physical and eternal death.Everyone of us has a terminal disease. We were born dieing people. When we were young we liked to think we will live forever. As encroaching age and ailments come our way we have to accept every one of us has to die if we live long enough. At a marriage: Everyone wants for richer health better, not the alternatives. Everyone of these guys in Acts 19 has been dead for a long, long time. Resurrection and glorification are yet to come. Every person will die unless the rapture happens before you die.
Human life is temporary. Even though God may deliver us from disease, the apostolic miracles make us aware that He came to heal something bigger than just disease, salvation, healing of the soul, for that is eternal.
What happened here was described by a Dr. Luke! No uniformed observation, this was a Dr describing what happened. An immediate healing.. not gradual.
God’s deliverance is instantaneous. You don’t have to work and deserve it. You don’t have to go to a church for so many years so that you’ll be delivered. Salvation is instantaneous.
People today don’t want regeneration they just want reformation. When God delivers a man from his sin, he does it now.
God’s deliverance is Impressive. There is no need now for you to live in slavery to your sin. If you sin its because you choose to sin.

3. Remember The Purity of the Lord Prevails. The Lord Is On Your Side Even When You Encounter Ritualistic Imposters.
Acts 19:13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists attempted to pronounce the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I command you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches!” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.
15 The evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize—but who are you?” 16 Then the man who had the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them all, and prevailed against them, so that they ran out of that house naked and wounded.
God demonstrates His power over demons. Distance, Disease, Demons.
The success of Paul, in curing all diseases, whether of the body or of the mind, by the name of Jesus, suggested to some Jews, who were pretenders to preternatural powers, the idea of making an experiment of its efficacy.
Any teaching leaving you afraid of demons is not scriptural because you are freed from the dominion of demons if you are in Jesus Christ.
Neil Anderson wrote a book some time back that has become overly popular entitled the Bondage Breaker. The bondage that Anderson promises deliverance from is not simply from the power of sin but from demons—some of them originating with long-dead ancestors—who indwell believers. Anderson says 85 percent of all Christians are struggling with various levels and depths of this demonic bondage.1
Anderson would have us pray the following prayer:
“I cancel out all demonic working that may have been passed on to me from my ancestors. ... I renounce all satanic assignments that are directed toward me and my ministry, and I cancel every curse that Satan and his workers have put on me. ... I reject all other blood sacrifices whereby Satan may claim ownership of me.”
These prayers are not intended to be said by someone seeking salvation, but by Christians who already have been “delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son.”
Michael Horton’s words on Ephesians 6, the greatest single passage on warfare in the Bible, go right to the heart of Anderson’s errors: “We are not left with our own weapons or armour, but with the same armour that won Christ’s victory in the first place. He clothes us with his victory, with his righteousness, with his truth, with his gospel, and his salvation. His Word protects us from Satan’s designs. That approach may not be as exciting as the theology of glory, which reads a passage like this one as if it were a Star Wars script. It is, however, sufficient to keep us from dying on the battlefield. If spiritual warfare were really concerned with ‘taking back’ territory and goods stolen by the devil, in terms of ‘naming and claiming’ the salvation of loved ones or automobiles, we would be the saviours. Instead we are wearing borrowed armour. And it is alien armour—protective gear that is not our own. Furthermore, there is nothing here about territorial spirits whose activity can be ‘mapped’ by specially gifted prophets—that has more to do with superstition and magic than with Christianity. Folk religion always finds a way of deifying and demonizing ‘spirits of the forest’ or ‘spirits of the cities.’ Nor does this passage tell us how to get rid of so-called ‘generational curses’—that is, the attribution of demonic activity to genetic or hereditary problems.” “There is not the slightest hint of such superstitious tendencies in this key passage on spiritual warfare. In fact, Satan most likely uses such diversions to distract us from the real battle, which Paul is anxious to set in our view.”
Someone can’t protect you from demons. Someone has already come who can protect you from the evil one. 2thess 3:3 But the Lord is faithful; He will strengthen and guard you from the evil one
Demonic activity is related to people who tamper with Satanic religious practises.
Anything that stops you thinking about Christ is not a whole lot too helpful to you.
The power of evil cannot withstand the power of the gospel.
When the message of Jesus Christ shows up evil spirits move out.
All you need to have spiritual power is for you to have Christ.
When He is all you need and all you want you don’t have to worry about the devil. You don’t need to be exorcised you need to exercise stay abiding in Him through the word and prayer.
Truly evil men can be overcome by truly spiritual men. You can have an influence over those who are blinded by Satan.
Verse 17 This became known to everyone who lived in Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. Then fear fell on all of them, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.
Romans 12:21 Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.
John 16:33 I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”
You want to overcome evil, focus on Christ and sharing the gospel!
1John 2:14 I have written to you, children, because you have come to know the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you have come to know the One who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, God’s word remains in you, and you have had victory over the evil one
1John 4:4 You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
The power resides not in a man, it resides in Christ and if you are a believer Christ resides in you. You don’t have to overcome… you already have overcome!
Paul never sought success he sought Christ. Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.

Remember The Purpose, power and purity of the Lord Prevails.
Real Repentance is the proof of the Presence of the Lord

17 This became known to everyone who lived in Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. Then fear fell on all of them, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. 18 And many who had become believers came confessing and disclosing their practices, 19 while many of those who had practiced magic collected their books and burned them in front of everyone. So they calculated their value, and found it to be 50,000 pieces of silver. 20 In this way the Lord’s message flourished and prevailed.
David Pawlson’s great, great, great, grandfather once held a public bonfire to burn the works of William Shakespeare, and every High school student since has desired such a revival.
Mark 4: 30 And He said: “How can we illustrate the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use to describe it? 31 It’s like a mustard seed that, when sown in the soil, is smaller than all the seeds on the ground. 32 And when sown, it comes up and grows taller than all the vegetables, and produces large branches, so that the birds of the sky can nest in its shade.”
A few Galileans, now 500 million people.
Ethiopia, a few Bible believing Christians, and now half a million Christians in the Omo River valley where Dick Mclellan worked.
IMPACT..
We do not belong to a dieing cause but to the fastest growing movement in world history.
Burma had few Christians when Adoniram Judson first went there, now half a million Baptists.
Every minute there are 15 new Christians.
1000 more per hour, 25,000 new Christians per day.
The family of God is the fastest growing family in the world.
And its growth is demonstrated by real repentance.
Are there somethings you need to let go of, fully, finally and completely?
Real repentance for those things that lead us back towards satan and are a hindrance to our growth onwards towards God are necessary.
There may be things in your life right now that you are only too familiar with. Things you need to say to God, I renounce these things now and forevermore.
Be aprt of the work of God in this place. Let those things go that stop you from relationship with the SAviour. Let them go now. Let them go forever.
have done with them.
Will you be part of the work of God here?

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