Sermon notes from 8/12/18 – “Are We Willing to Get Outside the Box?”

“ARE WE WILLING TO GET OUTSIDE THE BOX?”

Mark 2:1-12

Jon Daniels

CWBC – 8/12/18

 INTRO – What does it mean to get outside the box, or to think outside the box?

Wikipedia has this to say about “thinking outside the box”: Thinking outside the box is to think differently, unconventionally or from a new perspective. This phrase often refers to novel, creative and smart thinking…To think outside the box is to look further and to try not thinking of the obvious things, but to try thinking of the things beyond them. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thinking_outside_the_box)

When it comes to doing the work of the Church & sharing the Gospel in our world today, it’s going to take some thinking outside the box. Wednesday night in REFRESH, we were fervently praying for “Days of Hope” (slide). Tammie Miller specifically prayed that we as a church would get out of the box. Like we said last week as we began this series, “Grow Your Church, Lord,” the MESSAGE of the Gospel never changes, but the METHODS of sharing the Gospel w/ our world will continually change. Our world grows more complex – people’s lives grow busier – worry, anxiety, & pressure grows larger – which is why we’ve got to keep thinking outside the box on ways to get the life-changing Good News of Jesus to our lost & dying world. And that thinking outside the box MUST lead to us as God’s people moving outside the box! We’re going to see today in Scripture how God used some guys who were outside the box thinkers & doers.

EXPLANATION – Open your Bibles or your Bible app to Mark 2:1-12 (page 837 in pew Bible).

Mark 2:1-12 (ESV)

Jesus Heals a Paralytic

And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

Gospel of Mark – my favorite Gospel – shortest of 4 Gospels. Most action-packed of 4 Gospels. Words “immediately” & “at once” are used repeatedly throughout the 16 chapters of this book. Here’s what theologian A.W. Pink said about that:

“In all, this [Greek] word is found no less that 40 times in Mark’s Gospel. It is a most suggestive & expressive term, bringing out the perfections of God’s Servant [Jesus] by showing us how He served. There was no tardiness about Christ’s service, but ‘straight away’ He was ever about His ‘Father’s business.’ There was no delay, but ‘immediately’ He performed the work given Him to do. This word tells of the promptitude of His service & the urgency of His mission. There was no holding back, no reluctance, no slackness, but a blessed ‘immediateness’ about all His work. We should all learn from this perfect example which He has left us.” (Christianity.com/jesus/is-jesus-god/the-gospels/mark-the-gospel-of-immediacy.html)

3 things we see here about these 4 outside-the-box guys in this amazing story:

They knew their friend had a desperate need.

Don’t know details of the man’s paralysis. Maybe from birth. Maybe an injury. Broke his next in a fall. Maybe a degenerative disease.

Whatever it was, it put him in:

  • A desperate condition
  • A dependent condition
  • A discouraging condition.

They knew that Jesus had divine power to heal.

Jesus had 3 main components of His earthly ministry: teaching, preaching, & healing. Matthew 9:35 – “And Jesus went throughout all the cities & villages, teaching in their synagogues & proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom & healing every disease & every affliction.”

Back up to Mark 1:21-28 – healed man w/ unclean spirit. Mark 1:20-31 – healed Simon’s mother-in-law of a fever. Mark 1:32-34 – healed many people of sicknesses & demon possession. Mark 1:40-42 – healed a man who had leprosy. So these friends knew that Jesus was already doing some outside-the-box stuff in His healing ministry & showing his divine power over diseases & demons before they ever brought their paralyzed friend to see him.

They knew that they were the designated means to get their friend to Jesus.

They were God’s “go-to” guys to get this paralyzed man into the presence of the Healer who could heal him of his physical sickness. And they knew that, b/c of the crowd in the house already that day, they had to think outside the box to get their buddy to Jesus. But more importantly, they were God’s “go-to” guys to get their friend into the presence of the Savior who could heal him of spiritual sickness. They may have thought that they were just the stretcher-bearers for their friend, but God had much bigger plans. Jesus didn’t just heal his body; He healed his soul – v. 5 – “…when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’”

APPLICATION:

So, here are some questions for you to consider:

  • How many of you have a friend who has a desperate need in their life right now:
  • How many of you know that Jesus has the divine power to meet that need?
  • How many of you know that YOU are God’s designated means to bring your friend to Jesus?

It’s time for us as Christ-followers & as a Church to start thinking outside the box b/c we ALL have people in our lives who are in a desperate place in their lives right now & Jesus DOES have the power to radically & eternally change their lives. We need to start thinking outside the box b/c we ARE the means that God uses to bring others to Jesus.

As we move closer & closer to the “Days of Hope” services in Sept & Oct, there are 3 areas that I want to challenge you to think & move outside the box:

Get outside the box in Praying to God – Suggestions:

Turn off your phone!

  • Average person spends 40 mins a day just on FB. Add another hour for time on other social media networks. How many of you have checked your FB or some other social media since you’ve been at church today? How many of you have checked it since this service started?
  • But when it comes to teens – average about 8 hours a day on media.

Pray all the time – Believe that God is hearing your prayers & answering them.

Ask others if you can pray for them – people you know & total strangers

Alistair Begg sermon this week: “Loved ones, do you see how important it is that we pray? Some of us think that if we could talk for a month of Sundays we would fix everything. [But] If we could get on knees & talk to God for a quarter of the time, who knows how many of our friends & loved ones & family would be radically converted & changed?”

 

Get outside the box in Witnessing to Others

Salesman – doesn’t make $ unless he closes the deal. Many of us don’t witness b/c we have that same mindset when it comes to sharing Christ. Feel like we’ve failed if the person we are talking to doesn’t pray to receive Christ.

But that’s not the way it is. Our job is simply to share & leave the results up to God. We don’t have to beat ourselves up if we don’t “close the deal.” We sow the seeds – God brings the growth. I read an article this week that said this: “Christian witnessing is merely sharing our heartfelt faith in Christ – what He’s personally done to change our individual lives! We’re not called to argue or debate anyone into heaven. We’re merely called to share! As in the courtroom, we’re called to be a witness for the Gospel, not the lawyer, judge or jury… Leave that up to God!” (https://www.allaboutgod.com/christian-witnessing.htm)

BUT – we ARE called to share! So start thinking about & looking for ways to do that. “Days of Hope” is the perfect opportunity for you to take that first step in sharing the Gospel w/ someone. You inviting them to come to one of those services may just be that crack in the door that will lead to them asking more questions & you sharing your story of how Jesus changed your life w/ them.

Get outside the box!

  • Gas pump witnessing
  • Grocery store witnessing – cashier & other people in line w/ you
  • Doctor’s office witnessing
  • Coffee shop witnessing
  • Neighborhood witnessing
  • School witnessing – classroom, cafeteria, practice, break time, study sessions

 

Get outside the box in Giving to the Church

 We all like to make a good financial investment decision. We like it when the stock we bought goes up. We like it when the value of the house we bought increases. We like it when the investment in a good education translates into a good job.

But problem w/ all those investments is that they can all go south very quickly – the stock market can crash; the house can burn; the company we are working for can go bankrupt.

But there’s one investment that will never go south – that’s the investment that we have the privilege of making in the Lord’s work through His church. Giving our money in order that the Gospel can be proclaimed in our community is an investment that pays off w/ eternal dividends.

We need to be thinking outside the box in how we are giving to the Lord’s work, especially as we get closer to the “Days of Hope” services. ALL of us should be tithing faithfully (10% of our income) – that’s not the outside the box giving I’m talking about. That’s just basic, foundational obedience to the Lord for every Christ-follower. The outside the box giving I’m talking about is giving above our tithes so that these “Days of Hope” services will reach more people & impact our community in ways we’ve never impacted it before.

  • PushPay app
  • Special offering envelopes

 

CONCLUSION – Get your funnel out from last week’s sermon. The only way we are going to truly impact our community (56,000 in 15-min driving radius) w/ the Gospel is to start thinking outside the box, & then moving outside the box of our comfort zones. It starts w/ praying outside the box, witnessing outside the box, & giving outside the box. Will you commit to thinking & getting outside the box today?

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Sermon notes from 8/5/18 – “The Message & the Methods”

“THE MESSAGE & THE METHODS”           Rom. 10:9-17

Jon Daniels

CWBC – 8/5/18

INTRO – I’ve come to a conclusion. The letters “ough” are the strangest, most confusing letters in the English language when they are put together in a word.

Look at this sentence:

Although times were tough, the bough of the tree was bought & thrown through the window.”

  • How many different ways might this sentence be read?

So confusing if you don’t know the language! It’s hard to communicate effectively if you don’t know the language. And even when you do know the language, communication can still be difficult at times.

If there is anything that we as Christians & the Church must be able to communicate clearly, it’s the Gospel! We can’t confuse this message to the world. We’ve got to get it right.

Today, we are starting a short series of messages entitled, “Grow Your Church, Lord!” We will be thinking about what it takes for us to see God do a great work in this church, growing us deeper in spiritual maturity, larger in numbers, & stronger in ministry. It’s going to take a high level of commitment from all of us, hard work from all of us, & a heart that is totally on fire for the Lord!

Last Sunday, I asked, “How many of you want to see CWBC grow?” Every hand in here went up! So, were you serious about that? Are you serious about that today?

EXPLANATION – Today, we are going to look at Romans 10:9-17 (page 946). Turn to that passage in your Bible, or find it on your phone or iPad.

 

…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?[a] And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

The title of the message today is, “The Message & the Methods.” And those are the 2 points that I want you to see in this passage.

THE MESSAGE – The message of the Gospel is the unchanging Good News that God has provided the Way for us to be His child for all eternity. John 1:12 tells us, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…”

Let’s take a look at some good definitions of the Gospel so we can have a strong foundation to build on:

W.A. Criswell – The message from our Lord Himself is that Christ suffered and was raised from the dead and that remission of sins should be preached in His name to all people. That is the good news. That is the message. That is the gospel!

George Eldon Ladd (Baptist minister & seminary prof at Fuller Theological Seminary) – “This is the good news about the kingdom of God. How men need this gospel! Everywhere one goes he finds the gaping graves swallowing up the dying. Tears of loss, of separation, of final departure stain every face. Every table sooner or later has an empty chair, every fireside its vacant place. Death is the great leveller. Wealth or poverty, fame or oblivion, power or futility, success or failure, race, creed or culture — all our human distinctions mean nothing before the ultimate irresistible sweep of the scythe of death which cuts us all down. And whether the mausoleum is a fabulous Taj Mahal, a massive pyramid, an unmarked spot of ragged grass or the unplotted depths of the sea one fact stands: death reigns.

“Apart from the gospel of the kingdom, death is the mighty conqueror before whom we are all helpless. We can only beat our fists in utter futility against this unyielding and unresponding tomb. But the good news is this: death has been defeated; our conqueror has been conquered. In the face of the power of the kingdom of God in Christ, death was helpless. It could not hold him, death has been defeated; life and immortality have been brought to life. An empty tomb in Jerusalem is proof of it. This is the gospel of the kingdom.”

Alistair Begg – Here’s the gospel in a phrase. Because Christ died for us, those who trust in him may know that their guilt has been pardoned once and for all. What will we have to say before the bar of God’s judgment? Only one thing. Christ died in my place. That’s the gospel.

Kevin Hamm“The Gospel is good news! The bad news is that we have all sinned & fallen short of Gods glory. Good news is Jesus paid the penalty for our sins w/ His perfect, precious blood. Acts 3:19 – ‘Repent & turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.’”

Fred Luter – “The Gospel is the Word of God given to the people of God so that we can be Light & Salt in a dark, low-sodium, salt-less society.”

Ken Smith“The Gospel is when your faith discovers grace – it becomes a part of your life! The Gospel in a nutshell – knowing you are forgiven. It is not what you do; it is responding to what has been done!”

Don Wilton“The Gospel of Jesus Christ is God’s precious gift to our searching world. It is the only means by which all people can have a full & meaningful life through the forgiveness of sin & the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit.”

When we look at v. 9-13, we find these awesome components of the message of the Gospel – and these components NEVER CHANGE!

  • CONFESS – to admit; to acknowledge; to say the same thing
  • BELIEVEto trust & put faith in
  • CALL – “ask for help” – You are helpless! ONLY God can help you & save you!

 

THE METHOD – The MESSAGE of the Gospel never changes. The METHOD of spreading the Gospel is constantly changing. Just think about CWBC & some of the things we’ve done over last 10 years to spread the Gospel:

  • FAITH evangelism training,
  • Plan of salvation is on our church website,
  • Team Impact,
  • Mission trips all over the world,
  • Mission Byram,
  • Country Oaks,
  • Block parties,
  • Gospel sung about & preached in every corporate worship services,
  • Evangelism bracelets,
  • God & Country Day,
  • Front foyer coffee bar,
  • VBS,
  • Kids’ camps,
  • Youth camps,
  • DNow,
  • Wild game dinners,
  • One of our LG’s goes downtown to feed the homeless,
  • Revivals,
  • Billy Graham “My Hope” videos,
  • “Tell Someone” witness training during Life Groups a few months ago,
  • “I Can Only Imagine” – parking lot of Vowell’s in Nov.
  • “Days of Hope” services in Sept. & Oct.

But no matter which of these methods we implement, v. 14-17 make this one thing clear:

You’ve got to GO, & you’ve got to TELL, so the lost can HEAR! Read these verses w/ me again.

  • v. 14b – “…And how are they to hear without someone preaching?”
  • v. 15 – “And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
  • v. 17 – “So faith comes from hearing, & hearing through the word of Christ.”

 

APPLICATION – Let’s get practical w/ our application. Look at these words:

  • Community
  • Crowd
  • Congregation
  • Committed
  • Core

Each of you has a paper funnel. Want you to write these words on it, beginning, w/ the word “community.” Keep it in your Bible. Bring it back to worship w/ you all throughout this month.

Community – Mark 16:15 – “Go into all the world & preach the Gospel to the whole creation.” The lost who are in the 56,000.

Crowd – Matt. 9:36 – “When He saw the crowds, He was moved w/ compassion b/c they were harassed & helpless, like sheep w/out a shepherd.” Attending corporate worship. Hearing the Gospel.

Congregation – The folks in this group have made a commitment to Christ & to His Church. The word “congregate” means “to come together; to assemble.” Move them from the crowd into a small group Bible study.

Committed – The MESSAGE of the Gospel has impacted this person’s life through the power & working of the Holy Spirit, & the place their faith in Christ. Begin their lifelong walk w/ Jesus Christ through spiritual disciplines.

Core – Moving deeper in spiritual maturity & commitment. Stronger grasp on the things of God. Faithful in studying the Word of God – faithful & growing prayer life – faithful to the Church FAMILY – faithful in serving the Lord – committed to doing ministry.

COMMISSIONED – This is the foundation of it all for us as Christ-followers! We must truly accept & live out the Great Commission to “Make disciples.” We all KNOW it, but how many of us are LIVING it?

DAYS OF HOPE – NOT FOR YOU IF YOU’RE ALREADY SAVED!

  • August – PRAYING that true Revival breaks out in the Church!
  • Sept & Oct – Then PRAYING that Spiritual awakening happens among the lost!

 

CONCLUSION – In Nashville Fri & Sat. Downtown at Ryman Auditorium Fri night for Dave Barnes concert. Afterwards, came out into the streets around Ryman. Packed w/ people drinking, partying, music blaring from the bars & clubs. Felt like French Quarter in New Orleans.

Then went to an area called 12th Avenue South. Similar to Fondren. Again, people everywhere – shopping, eating, drinking coffee, etc.

Both places – overwhelmed w/ a sense of heaviness at the lostness of our world.

But that’s not our community. What about here? Byram – South Jackson – Terry – Raymond – Florence – Clinton? Overwhelmed w/ the lostness of our community?

  • Go to Byram Middle School
  • Drive through South Jackson
  • Go to ballgame at Hinds
  • Walk through Wal-Mart in Byram or Clinton
  • Do door-to-door FAITH Opinion Poll surveys in apartments here in Byram

Realize the lostness of our community! Pray for revival to come to CWBC, so that we will then go into our community w/ the unchanging message of the Gospel, & see many people come to know Christ!

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Sermon notes from 7/29/18 – “The Power of Praying Parents”

“THE POWER OF PRAYING PARENTS”

1 Thess. 5:17

Jon Daniels

CWBC – 7/29/18

INTRO – How many of you struggle w/ scripture memory? Well, here is one you can memorize today: 1 Thessalonians 5:17 – “Pray without ceasing.”

If there is any verse that characterizes a parent’s prayer life in regards to their children, it ought to be this one. Many of you can probably testify that this pretty much sums up the way you pray for your kids, or at least it feels like it you’re praying w/out ceasing!

When God gives you a son or a daughter, He gives you the awesome responsibility & assignment to bring that child up in the “nurture & admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).

I love this prayer that Ann Voscamp wrote entitled, “A Prayer for Sons”:

Lord, let there still be a few good men.

Sure, in the end, there’s a small chance we’d like no rings through nostrils or studs through tongues or ivory plugs through earlobes, but the only mattering part is that he’s pierced by Your love, marked by grace, run through with mercy and one untiring sense of humor. A world tilted as wild as this one needs a little bit more of that.

May he always know True North.

And the way to the laundry basket and the stove and wide open big sky.

Please, Lord, please —  only a minimal number of broken bones and emergency rooms?

But always a heart bit tender and broken so Your love and light can leak out. May the good lines in the books and the movies always make him liquid a bit, the way poetry can water the hard and forgotten places.

When there are guys trying to score, may he remember that real men win by going last and putting others first.

May he be one of the real men who are dead to all ladders, who always go lower, to the least and the lonely and the lost. Everyday.

May he love babies toes and old ladies and loud laughing and unlikely underdogs and Jesus.

Make him one of the Real Men braving the Truth — Because if Christ is The Truth — then where there is Truth, there is Christ, and why ever be afraid of the Truth? 

Make him one of those Real Men who knows how to simply say sorry, how to serve without applause, and how to give grace — because Grace isn’t some soft, ethereal notion. Grace is a verb, it’s a noun, it’s a thing, it’s concrete, it’s like air. Just try living without it.

Make him one of the Real Men fighting injustice — because he knows the peace of Christ.

Make him one of the Real Men taking peer pressure  – because it only makes him stronger in Christ.

Make him one of the Real Man taking responsibility for his body. Responsible men — are response-able. Make this his job. A woman has her’s. Have him focus on his. Real Men don’t focus responsibility on the women staying “pure” because none of us are pure but focus on the men not pressuring — because no one tries to crush a diamond. 

Let Christ captivate him and not the glossy magazine covers of the Walmart checkout. Because Real Men don’t objectify alluring women. Real Men edify all women.

Make him one of the few men saturated by the Book, who doesn’t care whether that’s cool or not, because the absolute bottom line is: Unless a man looks to Jesus, a man doesn’t know how to treat a woman.

May he never stop looking to Jesus.

May he feel what he feels, may he wear his heart be on his sleeve, may his life plant a million seeds of happiness before he’s planted.

And may his face always be willing to face the wind, may his knees always be willing to bend, and may every one of his steep inclines, incline him more toward You.

This world needs to more than a few good men to tilt and lean a lot more wildly like that.

In the name of the Son who will never leave our sons…

Amen.

(https://www.incourage.me/2013/07/a-prayer-for-sons.html)

EXPLANATION: We may not be a talented writer like Ann Voscamp, but we must be a person of prayer, & if you have kids, a parent of prayer. So what does it mean to “pray without ceasing?” If we are commanded to do this, how do we do it?

Obviously, does not mean to be in a constant prayer posture of head bowed, eyes closed, hands clasped.

The command to “pray without ceasing” shouldn’t intimidate us – it should motivate us. It should motivate us to deepen our dependence on God in every area of our lives, specifically in our family’s life as we conclude this series on “Fighting for Your Family.”

Praying without ceasing means that all throughout our day – EVERY DAY – our hearts are to be in tune w/ the Spirit of God at work in our lives, so that when we being to entertain thoughts of anger, bitterness, lust, worry, anxiety, pride, or anything else that does not honor God, we will quickly turn to the Lord in prayer. It means that we will live our lives w/ a God-consciousness & God- awareness that He is actively involved in every area of our lives at all times. It means that we will walk w/ the Lord so closely that we will know when He prompts us to pray for someone when He brings their name to our minds. Praying without ceasing is the normal practice of prayer in the life of a Spirit-filled Christ-follower. And if you are a parent, it certainly should be your normal practice of prayer for your children.

“If you learn to pray without ceasing, you will find the sweetest, most intimate communion that a human can experience. You will be surprised at its refreshment and joy. Amazed at its consistency. Stunned that it is so personal. Awed by how perfectly God knows what you need.” (Bill Elliff)

APPLICATION: You don’t need to be a perfect parent. But you do need to be a praying parent. Look at this verse – say it out loud with me – “PRAY WITHOUT CEASING.”

The Activity – “Pray”There are a lot of things that you can pray about for your kids. You’ve got some specific things going on right now that you’re praying about. Here are 3 things that EVERY parent should pray for their kids:

  • For a Personal relationship w/ Jesus (salvation)
  • For a Passion for the Lord (His Word & His work)
  • For Protection from the enemy’s attacks

The Frequency – “without ceasing.”

  • Always pray & never give up – Luke 18:1
  • Keep on asking. Keep on seeking. Keep on knocking – Matthew 7:7-8
  • It’s obvious that Jesus Himself practiced having regular, consistent times of prayer to His Father.
    • Mark 1:35 – early in the morning
    • Luke 6:12 – prayed all night
    • Matthew 14:23 – after heavy time of ministry (feeding the 5,000)
    • Matthew 19:13 – prayed for the little children
    • Matthew 11 – when his friend, Lazarus, had died
    • Matthew 26 – in the Garden of Gethsemane

The Intensity

  • “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” – James 5:16
  • “Cry”
    • Psalm 30:2 – “O Lord my God, I cried out to You, and You healed me.”
    • Psalm 34:17 – “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.”
  • “Plea” – Psalm 86:6 – “Lord, hear my prayer; listen to my plea for mercy.”
  • “Plead” – Psalm 30:8 – “To you, O Lord, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy.”
  • “…keep on praying” – Ephesians 6:18
  • “…be faithful in prayer” – Romans 12:12
  • “…devote yourselves to prayer” – Colossians 4:2

CONCLUSION: So, now it’s time to put it into practice. It’s time for us to pray for our kids. If you aren’t a parent, then pray for any kids who are in your life – nieces, nephews, friends’ kids.

PRAYING WITHOUT CEASING STARTS TODAY!

  • Your commitment to be a faithful person of prayer starts today!
  • Your commitment to be a powerful parent of prayer starts today!
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Sermon notes from 7/22/18 – “Waging War Against the Money Monster”

“WAGING WAR AGAINST THE MONEY MONSTER” – 1 Timothy 6:5b-12

CWBC – July 22, 2018

Jon Daniels

INTRO – Good morning, everyone! I’m so glad we are here to worship Jesus together today!

“Scooby Doo” – Great cartoon as a kid. Crazy “monsters” who scared Scooby & his friends.

“Monster movies” as a kid – Boris Karloff as “Frankenstein” – Bela Lugosi as “Dracula” – Lon Chaney, Jr. as “The Wolf Man.” These movies were actually released in the 1930’s & 40’s. But we watched them as kids. Not necessarily innocent movies that I’m recommending, but the monsters in them were not really realistic or believable.

 Horror movies have morphed into much darker, sinister movies w/ very disturbing themes & subjects, many of them w/ overtly spiritual overtones. Lots of evil, occultic, Satanic subjects & characters. The “monsters” in these movies are usually deviants, sexual perverts, & psychopathic killers, & the violence & gore in them is nauseating & extreme. This is not a sermon against these movies or against this movie genre, but I will say that allowing these types of images & subjects into your mind opens you up to all sorts of evil, demonic, Satanic forces that a Christ-follower shouldn’t pursue. There are some truly scary monsters out there that you & I don’t need in our lives.

There’s another monster that most of us have faced or are facing right now in our lives. It’s the monster of money. Money itself is not bad. But it can quickly morph into a big, ugly, scary monster that has the potential to attack us, hurt us, & even bring death into our lives in certain areas. When debts mount up; when spending gets out of control; when greed takes over; when tithing & giving to the Lord’s work slows down or stops – all signs that the monster of money is beginning to attack. As we continue our sermon series on “Fighting for Your Family,” we need to look at the importance of “Waging War Against the Money Monster.”

 So open your Bibles or your Bible app to 1 Timothy 6:5b-12 (page ____ in the pew Bible).

 

1 Timothy 6:5b-12 (ESV)

 

…imagining that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and[a] we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

Fight the Good Fight of Faith

11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

EXPLANATION – 

Paul wrote 3 letters that are known as his pastoral epistles – 1 & 2 Timothy & Titus. These are letters that Paul wrote to 2 men who would carry on his work after he was gone. Whereas his other letters were written to specific churches (to the church at Thessolonica, the church at Colossae, etc.), these 3 letters were written to individual men, pastors who were leading churches & dealing w/ the issues that faced them in these churches & communities.

When Paul wrote 1 Timothy in the mid-AD 60’s, he wrote it to give young Timothy advice & counsel on leading the church at Ephesus. They needed direction in leadership issues, worship issues, & doctrinal issues. Timothy also needed Paul’s counsel & experience in addressing some false teachers who were trying to sway the believers in the church at Ephesus. Right off the bat, Paul tells Timothy that the reason he was in Ephesus was to “charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine” (1:3b).

This “different doctrine” that Paul was referring to was the Gnostic heresy that the Church battled against for centuries. The Gnostics claimed to have a much deeper understanding of spiritual things than the average Christian. They separated God as spirit & man as matter, & claimed that they only want to bridge the gap between God & man was through a multitude of angels of different ranks, levels, & appearances, instead of through the one Mediator, Jesus Christ. According to the false doctrines of the Gnostics, salvation was achieved by finding favor w/ these angels, rather than through grace alone, by faith alone, in Christ alone.

One of the components of the heresies that Paul was writing about was that the false teachers viewed religion as a means to make a buck. Nothing wrong w/ preachers getting paid a decent salary. But there’s a whole lot wrong w/ false teachers who use religion as a way to get rich. Lots of ungodly, un-Christlike, unspiritual false teachers in our world today.

Paul’s instruction to Timothy to help him battle against the heresies is the same instruction for us to battle against false teachings of our day: 1 Timothy 4:11-16.

APPLICATION – 

 Erwin Lutzer, pastor of Moody Church in Chicago, preached a sermon entitled, “Till Debt Do Us Part.” Shared this letter:

“We’ve been married for 20 years. We have young children.” I’ll summarize here. “We fell into debt. I took a second job because I lost some of our money in what I thought was a solid investment. Even though we are making it financially she wants out of the marriage because she feels that I have neglected her emotionally, which I have because I took a second job trying to make up the extra money that I lost. She spends hours on the Internet and is corresponding with a man she dated before we were married. She’s helping him with his issues but I think I know how this is going to end. I feel helpless to stop it.”

After hearing this letter, do you see what I mean by the danger & destruction & death that the out-of-control monster of money can bring into our lives? According to a Gallup poll, about 50% of all divorces happen b/c of money issues – usually related to overwhelming debt & the burdens it brings. See how it’s a monster that will attack us?

So to protect our families & wage war against this monster, let’s learn or relearn 3 essentials when it comes to the financial area of our lives:

Learn the principles of contentment – v. 5b-8

Ben Franklin – “Contentment makes poor men rich. Discontentment makes rich men poor.”

This Greek word for “contentment” occurs in the NT in a few other places:

  • 2 Cor. 9:8 – “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”
    • NLT: “And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need & plenty left over to share w/ others.”
  • Hebrews 13:5 – “Keep your life free from the love of money, & be content w/ what you have, for He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

The word for “content” or “contentment” means to be satisfied in one’s circumstance or position in life.

Paul certainly had learned to do that. Phil. 11b-13 – “…I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself. 12 I know both how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. 13 I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me.” (CSB) So how can we learn to be content?

  • Be more concerned w/ spiritual profit than worldly profit – v. 6
  • Have an eternal perspective on life – v. 7
  • Realize how truly rich we already are – v. 8

 

Learn the possible dangers of wealth – v. 9-10 – We know that there is nothing inherently wrong or sinful about a person having wealth. But there are some dangers that come w/ the accumulation of wealth.

Tunnel vision – the tendency to focus exclusively on a single or limited goal or point of view.

That’s what happens to us when we become consumed w/ the desire to be rich. We develop monetary tunnel vision. That’s all we can see, all we can think about, all we are concerned about. Everything else fades out of focus in our lives. And it’s a DANGEROUS place to be! Look at the dangers the Paul lists here in v. 9-10. Let’s just do a little word study here in these 2 verses.

  • Verse 9:
    • “desire” – intend, plan
    • “fall” – experience
    • “temptation” – trial, given for the purpose to make one stumble
    • “snare” – trap, danger
    • “senseless & harmful desires” – foolish, without understanding; spiritually & morally hurtful; lusts, craving, coveting
    • “plunge people” – to sink; drown
    • “ruin & destruction” – state of utter destruction & death; waste, loss
  • Verse 10:
    • “love of money” – one Greek word that means greed
    • “root” – basic cause, primary reason
    • “evils” – wicked, bad, immoral, wrong
    • “craving” – yearning, longing, striving to attain
    • “wandered” – strayed away
    • “pierced” – to be put on a spit
    • “pangs” – distress, grief, intense anxiety & anguish

“Money is not the only cause of misfortune and evil, but it is a powerful one. Love of money is the root, the life support for a variety of wrongs and destructive behaviors.[1]

 

Learn to pursue the things of God – v. 11-12 – The Christ-follower must do these 3 things if he/she is to successfully defeat the money monster:

  • Run –
    • Run away from some things (“flee”) – Lack of contentment; the Love of money
    • Run to some things (“pursue”) – righteousness, faith (TITHING & GIVING), love, steadfastness (perseverance & endurance), gentleness
  • Fight – agonizomai – struggle, contend, compete – Fight against some things & fight for some things
  • Live – “Take hold” – seize, experience beyond the “good confession” that you make. Don’t just SAY you’re a Christian – LIVE THE LIFE!

[1] Larson, K. (2000). I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon (Vol. 9, p. 245). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

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Sermon notes from 7/8/18 – “Laying the Right Foundation”

“LAYING THE RIGHT FOUNDATION”

CWBC – 7/8/18

Jon Daniels

INTRO – Good morning, everyone! I’m so glad we are here today to worship Jesus Christ together!

Most of us in this part of Mississippi understand how important a foundation is in the building of a house or a building. Anybody here know what this is? (show slide w/ words “calcareous fossiliferous mudrock”) How about if I say this? (slide w/ “Yazoo clay”) All you have to do is say those words & people immediately cringe. It’s actually “calcareous fossiliferous mudrock” & people hate it!

The opening lines of an article in the MS Business Journal state this: “Oh, that devilish Yazoo clay. It continues to be the bane of builders in Central Mississippi, making shambles of the best-laid plans — not to mention foundations. The water-loving formation expands when moist and contracts when dry, making it a moving target and a disruptive force in the construction industry.” (http://msbusiness.com/2008/06/yazoo-clay-old-problem-getting-new-look-from-researchers/)

Southside Baptist Church – We had to keep cutting the bottom of the front doors of the church shorter & shorter b/c of the Yazoo clay beneath the church, causing the building to move.

House fire that is a total loss – “Well, we saved the slab!” Might be a joke w/ firefighters, but not a joke when it comes to families in our society. We need to save the slab, the foundation.

The family is under fire in our society today. It’s getting harder & harder to accurately define what a family is these days. Traditionally, it used to be a man & a woman who were married to each other. The man was the father, a woman who was the mother, & those 2 had kids, which produced a family. But nowadays, that traditional family is getting rarer & rarer. It still it exists, but it doesn’t seem to be the norm any more.

  • Psalm 102:25 – “Long ago you laid the foundations of the earth & made the heavens w/ your hands.”
  • And long ago, God laid the foundation for the family. We need to make sure we are laying the right foundation for OUR families & building on that foundation.

Open your Bible or your Bible app to Matthew 7:24-27 (page 812 in pew Bible). Beginning series for remainder of July – “Fight for Your Family.” Today: “Laying the Right Foundation”

Matthew 7:24-27 (ESV)

Build Your House on the Rock

24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

 

EXPLANATION – The family is the foundation of our society. And a strong family must have a solid foundation. Jesus makes it clear in this parable that a strong foundation is important in every area of our lives. We MUST lay the right foundation for our families, & that foundation must be Jesus Christ & the Gospel.

This passage of the 2 house-building men comes at the end of Jesus’ foundational teachings of the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7). This powerful sermon that Jesus’ gave covers several important subjects & issues that directly impact our families. One person said: “If we were to summarize the Sermon on the Mount in a single sentence, it would be something like this: How to live a life that is dedicated to and pleasing to God, free from hypocrisy, full of love and grace, full of wisdom and discernment.” (https://www.gotquestions.org/sermon-on-the-mount.html)

Let me give you a very quick overview of what Jesus teaches in the Sermon on the Mount:

Matthew 5:3-12 – The Beatitudes
Matthew 5:13-16 – Salt and Light
Matthew 5:17-20 – Jesus fulfilled the Law
Matthew 5:21-26 – Anger and Murder
Matthew 5:27-30 – Lust and Adultery
Matthew 5:31-32 – Divorce and Remarriage
Matthew 5:33-37 – Oaths
Matthew 5:38-42 – Eye for an Eye
Matthew 5:43-48 – Love your enemies
Matthew 6:1-4 – Give to the Needy
Matthew 6:5-15 – How to Pray
Matthew 6:16-18 – How to Fast
Matthew 6:19-24 – Treasures in Heaven
Matthew 6:25-34 – Do not worry
Matthew 7:1-6 – Do not judge hypocritically
Matthew 7:7-12 – Ask, Seek, Knock
Matthew 7:13-14 – The Narrow Gate
Matthew 7:15-23 – False Prophets
Matthew 7:24-27 – The Wise Builder

In the passage we are looking at today, Jesus makes it clear that these principles & truths are foundational for our lives. He says “Everyone who HEARS these words & DOES them will be like the man who built his house on the rock” (v. 24). Luke wrote it this way in Luke 6:47-48 – “Everyone who comes to me & hears my words & does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep & laid the foundation on the rock.” When we build our lives & our families on the Rock of Christ Jesus & the Gospel, we show that we truly are His hearing, responding, obedient disciples, not deaf, superficial, disobedient disciples.

In contrast to the “wise” man, Jesus describes the “foolish” man. Greek word for “foolish” means, “dull, stupid, unwise.” This is the person who is not willing to dig down deep, to put in the work necessary to study the Bible, learn its truths, & apply them to their family’s life. This is the person who hears the sermon on Sunday morning but chooses not to put the sermon into practice. That person will sooner or later find out how foolish that choice really is when their lives crumble like a house of cards. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, the person who ignores Jesus’ teachings, or who just thoughtlessly goes through the motions of life will eventually experience a devastating crash in their lives. Jesus put it this way: “And GREAT was the fall of it.” The Greek literally means, “It was a MEGA fall!” Brenna Manning commented on this verse: “If we bypass these words of the Great Rabbi, the spiritual life will be nothing more than fantasy.”

APPLICATION – 

Every family will be built on some kind of foundation. The only RIGHT foundation is JESUS!

The Design – From the very beginning of time, God has made it clear that the design for the family is HIS design. Gen. 1-2 is the creation account. The crowning pinnacle of His creation was the creation of man. He created Adam & Eve & brought them together in the first marriage. Gen. 2:24 – “Therefore a man shall leave his father & mother & hold fast to his wife, & they shall become one flesh.” God blessed them, & instructed them to “Be fruitful & multiply…” (Gen. 1:28).

Jesus emphasized this same divine design in Matthew 19 when the Pharisees were challenging Him about the question of divorce. He said in v. 4-6 – …“Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Then the Apostle Paul gave this instruction in Eph. 5:22-31 – 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.[a]28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

So, you see that the perfect design for families was God’s design from the beginning. And it’s still the best design, despite all of the efforts by our society to redefine what families are supposed to be. You cannot improve on God’s design for the family! “Focus on the Family” writer, Glenn Stanton, wrote: “Sociologically and anthropologically, no society anywhere has found an alternative to the gold-standard of parentage—-a married mother and father—-for providing the health, safety, educational and life-opportunities that thriving children require.” (https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/you-cannot-improve-on-gods-design-for-the-family/)

Our society is trying to redesign & redefine families, & unfortunately, some of those ideas are seeping into the minds of many people within the Church, especially in the younger generations. Our society’s support & celebration of gay marriage, gay couples adopting or having children, unmarried couples living together, & other unbiblical family practices is unleashing storms into the lives of families at unprecedented levels.

 

The Difficulties – The rain, floods, & wind that Jesus talked about in His parable came to both men. That’s true for all of us. The storms are going to come to all of us in some way or another. Can’t avoid them. They are going to come to all of us. We can’t avoid them, but we can prepare for them. And that’s the difference between the 2 men in Jesus’ parable.

The difference is in how each man had prepared for the imminent storms. The man who listened to Jesus’ teachings, learned from Him, & applies His teachings to His life stood strong when the storms crashed in on him & his family. The man who foolishly ignored Jesus’ teachings & went his own way, doing his own thing, thinking he could do life w/out heeding Jesus’ teachings experienced devastating destruction of his house. All of that could have been avoided if he had just listened to Jesus & heeded His instructions & commands. Dr. Tony Evans: “A house, in this biblical parable, can refer to many things. It can refer to a person’s life, church or even our society. But it can also, quite literally, refer to a family and their home. If and when we seek to build our families on anything other than the stable foundational principles of the Word of God, it will not last when life’s trials and challenges come upon us.” (http://tonyevans.org/the-foundation-of-family/)

How foolish we are to KNOW what Jesus’ commands are regarding our lives & choose to disregard them & disobey them! Why do we expect that there will not be adverse, negative consequences in our lives when we do that! But it happens all the time. And the damage that is done to our families as a result of our foolishness is horrific, painful, &, many times, irreparable.

Watching the show, “Deadliest Catch.” Episode talking about “mixed seas” & “rogue waves.” Mixed seas are when waves are coming from every direction instead of one direction. Unpredictable. Turbulent. Dangerous. Rogue waves are those massive waves that come out of nowhere & crash into the boats. Those waves weigh a hundred tons or more & are 60 feet high or more. Also known as freak waves, monster waves, or killer waves.

Sounds a lot like the turbulent waters that many families find themselves in these days.

 

The Do-Over – Mar. 3, 1966 – date that many of you older adults will remember well. Candlestick Park tornado. F5 tornado that touched down just south of Raymond. Continued right through south Jackson, destroyed Candlestick Park shopping center, throwing cars ½ mile into the air. Killed 19 people in Hinds County, & by the time it dissipated near Tuscaloosa, AL, the death toll had reached 58 people.

But you know what happened after that? People emerged from the rubble & destruction & began to rebuild. Many of you then grew up in south Jackson in one of the best places to live in in Mississippi.

Rev. 3:20 – I know this verse refers to Jesus knocking on the door of the Church. But I believe we can also make the application of Jesus knocking on the door of the houses of families that have been devastated & destroyed by the storms. After a tornado passes through a city or town, people go all over the rubble of the homes calling out for survivors. Jesus does the same thing in our lives as families. He comes to us after the storms, in the midst of our rubble, knocks on the door of our broken-down house, & offers us His grace & His power to put our families back together again. He offers us His grace-filled do-over so that we can rebuild our families HIS way & according to HIS plan.

 

CONCLUSION – Maybe you feel like you’ve been through a tornado in your family. Maybe you feel like you’re in one right now. Maybe you feel like there’s some Yazoo clay underneath the foundation of your family right now.

Today, Jesus offers you His do-over. Come to Him today. Let Him help you rebuild your family on HIS foundation. Remember:

 

Every family will be built on some kind of foundation. The only RIGHT foundation is JESUS!

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Sermon notes from 7/1/18 – “The State of the Church”

“THE STATE OF THE CHURCH”           Matthew 16:13-20

CWBC – 7/1/18

Jon Daniels

INTRO – There’s a lot of talk these days about the state of the church, & much of is not good. Many people are saying that the SBC is dying. We decreased in members for the last 11 years, & have decreased in baptisms in 8 out of the last 10 years. We’ve brought some of it on ourselves through our own sinful actions.

Some of the negative talk comes at us simply b/c of who we are & Who our Savior is. You can talk about God all day long & no one will get upset. But the moment you mention Jesus Christ, the ravenous wolves come out.

But you know what? Today, we are not going to worry about the naysayers & the negative critics. We are going to celebrate the Church today! And we are going to start by hearing about some of the cool things that happened to our youth last week at youth camp. Gunner is going to come share w/ us.

(GUNNER WILSON)

This passage in Matthew 16 is an important passage in our understanding of the place of the Church in God’s Kingdom work. One commentator said this: “This passage serves as a transitional section in Matthew’s Gospel. Peter’s confession summarized Jesus’ ministry up to this point. And Jesus’ announcement of the church began Jesus’ preparation of the disciples for their leadership roles in his absence. Jesus’ intention to build his church marks a major transition in God’s pursuit of his great plan of the ages. The old wineskin of Israel had been set on the shelf temporarily, while the new wineskin of the church was introduced.[1]

The Bible makes it clear that the Church is God’s plan for His work to continue in this world. It was His idea. It is endued His power. It bears His name. It is the Body of Christ.

The Bible also makes these 3 things clear about the Church. It makes it clear:

…what the message is – v. 16 – What are we supposed to be proclaiming to the world?

  • “Our church is better than all the other churches”?
  • “Just live a good life & do the best you can & in the end, everything will work out”?
  • “Jesus will make you wealthy, healthy, & influential”?
  • “We hate anyone who is different from us or disagrees with us”?
  • “Sinners are not welcome”?

Unfortunately, those are some of the messages that the world is getting from the church. One of the main reasons that so many young people are leaving the church today is b/c they don’t feel that the church is a safe place to come w/ their doubts about God & their questions about faith. They’re afraid that, if they voice a doubt or pose a question about why we believe the way we do & why we insist that everyone else believe this way, they’ll be judged & pushed aside, or that no one will care enough to listen & try to help them. The church has got to think hard about the messages that we are sending, & make sure that we are sending THE message that we need to send. And that message is what Peter said about Jesus:

“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

THAT is our message! Everything flows out of that foundational truth. B/c Jesus is the Son of God, He is our Savior that was sent to us to rescue us from our sin.

  • John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten SON…”
  • Romans 8:31-32 – “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not graciously give us all things?”
  • 1 John 4:9 – “To us, the greatest demonstration of God’s love for us has been his sending his only Son into the world to give us life through him.” (Phillips)

The message that we have that no one else has is that God has come to us to save us. We don’t strive to get to God. We don’t hope we’ve made it. We trust in the One who has come to us to show us the love of God & save us for eternity when we trust Him alone. What an awesome message! Everything we do is based on this message,

…who the members are – A person doesn’t join the church the same way they might join a club or a hunting camp or a civic group. There may be some similarities, but the church is so much more than any secular club or organization.

The Church is the living Body of Christ. Col. 1:18 tells us that He is the Head of the Body. Those who have trusted in Him alone for their salvation are the members of His Body, placed there in the Body by the Lord Himself. 1 Cor. 12:18, 27 – “But now God has placed each one of the parts in one body just as He wanted…Now you are the Body of Christ, & individual members of it.” (HCSB)

So you see, your church membership is not just here at CWBC, but it’s much, much bigger than that! You are a vital, necessary, critical, important, crucial member of the Body of Christ! We are connected to one another, & all of us are connected to the Head of the Body, Jesus Christ Himself. You don’t “un-join” the Church. You can’t disconnect yourself from the Church any more than my ear can decide on its own to disconnect itself from my physical body. You are in the Body forever & have a HUGE responsibility to honor the Body of Christ.

  • 1 Cor. 12:24b-26 – “…God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there my be NO DIVISION IN THE BODY, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”

Listen, we don’t get mad at another member of the Body other when they sin – or we try not to. We don’t get mad, but we do hurt b/c their sin hurts all of the Body. We don’t hate them, but we do grieve over another’s sin b/c it affects so many other people. We don’t judge them, but we do have a responsibility to call sin what it is & to help that person to repent & get back into fellowship w/ Jesus & w/ His Body.

– Galatians 6:1 – “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression [sin], you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness…”

…what the mission is – v. 18 – “…on this rock I will build my Church, & the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

 Caesarea Philippi – very pagan city. Very immoral city. Worship of the Greek god, Pan, happened here in a temple built for that purpose. Here’s a pic of that area I took when I was in the Holy Land (show pic).

“Interestingly, Jesus chose to deliver a sort of “graduation speech” to his disciples at Caesarea Philippi. In that pagan setting, he encouraged his disciples to build a church that would overcome the worst evils.

The Gates of Hell

To the pagan mind, the cave at Caesarea Philippi created a gate to the underworld, where fertility gods lived during the winter. They committed detestable acts to worship these false gods.

Caesarea Philippi’s location was especially unique because it stood at the base of a cliff where spring water flowed. At one time, the water ran directly from the mouth of a cave set in the bottom of the cliff.

The pagans of Jesus’ day commonly believed that their fertility gods lived in the underworld during the winter and returned to earth each spring. They saw water as a symbol of the underworld and thought that their gods traveled to and from that world through caves.

To the pagan mind, then, the cave and spring water at Caesarea Philippi created a gate to the underworld. They believed that their city was literally at the gates of the underworld – i.e., the gates of hell. In order to entice the return of their god, Pan, each year, the people of Caesarea Philippi engaged in horrible deeds, including prostitution and sexual interaction between humans and goats.

When Jesus brought his disciples to the area, they must have been shocked. Caesarea Philippi was like a red-light district in their world and devout Jews would have avoided any contact with the despicable acts committed there.

It was a city of people eagerly knocking on the doors of hell.”

(https://www.thattheworldmayknow.com/gates-of-hell-article)

Jesus stood just across the way from this immoral cesspool & gave His disciples these marching orders: Build my Church!

So what does this mean for our mission? It means that you & I are called & commissioned to take the message of Jesus to those who are banging on the gates of hell right now. Just as He told His disciples, He tells us: BUILD MY CHURCH! Don’t get sucked into the temptations of the enemy & this world. Keep your eyes on me, your mind on the Gospel, your heart on those who are lost, & BUILD MY CHURCH!

We can’t hide from evil; we need to storm the gates of hell w/ the overpowering truth of the Gospel! We are to take back the ground that Satan has claimed & build the Church on that very ground w/ Jesus Christ as the foundation!

  • What a task!
  • What a dangerous thing to do!
  • What an opportunity to see God do something that only HE can do!
  • What a privilege for us to be used by Him to build HIS Church!
  • What a mighty, mighty Savior we have!
  • What a mighty, mighty God we serve!

[1] Weber, S. K. (2000). Matthew (Vol. 1, p. 248). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

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Sermon notes from 6/24/18 – “Let’s Talk to Isaiah”

“LET’S TALK TO ISAIAH” – Isaiah 6:1-8

CWBC – 6/24/18

Jon Daniels

 INTRO – (10 mins) – Good morning, everyone! I’m so glad we are here to worship the Lord Jesus together, aren’t you?

 

Does anybody here know what this is? (pics of Daddy’s can-crusher) Mama really didn’t know what Daddy did w/ the cans he crushed, but he sure liked to crush them.

Alan Redpath, British evangelist in mid-1900’s – “When God wants to do an impossible task, He takes an impossible man & He crushes him.”

 Has God ever crushed you?

 Open your Bibles or your Bible app to Isaiah 6:1-9a (page 571)

Isaiah 6 (ESV)

Isaiah’s Vision of the Lord

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”

And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” And he said, “Go…”

 EXPLANATION – 

Isaiah – OT prophet who prophesied, or spoke for the Lord to the people, about 740-700 BC. He was the “prince of the prophets” – spokesman for God – spoke the finest Hebrew in the OT, using some 2,200 different Hebrew words in his writings. He wrote hymns, & wisdom poetry, & even poetry that resembles a love song in 5:1-7.

He ministered to the affluent people of the time. Stood before 4 different kings – Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, & Hezekiah. He stood strong as he proclaimed the words of God to the people who were “deaf & blind” (6:10), who turned a deaf ear to his warnings of God’s coming judgment on them, much like many people today, both inside & outside the Church. There was no equal to Isaiah among all the prophets.

  • Jeremiah wept
  • Jonah ran
  • Habakkuk stood confused
  • Elijah hid in a cave
  • But Isaiah stood alone & preached the truths of God.

Former OT seminary prof, Kyle Yates (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1922-1942) – “The last 40 years of the 8th century BC produced great men, but the greatest of these was Isaiah…As a spiritual giant, Isaiah stands as the loftiest peak among the mountains…From the day of his vision in the temple, he possessed a spiritual depth that set him apart from his contemporaries.”

APPLICATION – 

So, what made this temple experience so powerful, so significant & life-changing that it set him apart? It was there that God crushed him. Everything changed after this event!

APPLICATION POINT: GOD HAS TO CRUSH YOU TO USE YOU, BRO!

In our “Man Cave Conversations” this month, we’ve talked to:

  • Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego – “Don’t bow down, bro!”
  • Elijah – “Face your enemies, bro!”
  • Joseph – “You better run, bro!”

And now, Isaiah – “God has to crush you to use you, bro!” My daddy may not have had any significant reason to crush cans, but our Heavenly Father definitely has some significant reasons to crush us.

  • Alan Redpath – “When God wants to do an impossible task, he takes an impossible man & He crushes him.”
  • All through Scripture we see that God’s school is a school of brokenness. Think of all those who were broken by God, then used by Him in a powerful way:
    • David
    • Jonah
    • Moses
    • Peter
    • Paul
  • God’s School of Brokenness (Swindoll): We try to run from it. We try to avoid it. We try to resist it. But only as He crushes us & removes all the crutches that we’ve learned to lean on in our times of trouble will we learn to lean on Him alone. He has to teach us to quit relying on the flesh & start relying on the Spirit. THEN He can use us.

Look at Isaiah’s experience in ch. 6:

THE VISION – v. 1 – Awestruck when he saw this vision of the glory of God. Amazing sight to behold! He saw the perfect holiness of God! He saw the brilliant glory of God! He saw the powerful majesty of God! There’s no way that his life would ever be the same after this vision!

THE VOICES OF ANGELS – v. 2-4 – Accompanying this vision was a thundering sound which overwhelmed him. These seraphim were fiery angelic beings that spend their time in the presence of God worshiping Him. Their 6 wings suggest that they were powerful beings. And even though they were in God’s presence, even these superhuman creatures could not gaze directly at the holiness of God.

Seeing these fiery angels must have been amazing! But even more amazing was the sound that they made as they thundered out their praise of God in antiphonal fashion, echoing each other w/ those powerful words:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” Back & forth, rocking the foundations of the temple! Let’s do this right now! (divide down the middle & repeat it back & forth)

THE VERDICT – v. 5-7 – All of this led to Isaiah experiencing a crushing conviction of the sin in his life. “Woe is me!” – DEEP sorrow! Utter despair! Luther – “I am dissolved!” Hebrew literally means, “I cease to exist!”

What was it that crushed him? When he saw the glory of God in all of His infinite holiness & perfection, & when he heard the thunderous cry of the thrice-repeated “Holy, holy, holy,” he knew he was done. Seeing & hearing & knowing how holy God is brought his sins to the forefront of his mind in dreadful clarity. He know that he had nothing to stand on, no excuse to make, no way of overcoming his impurities & his unholiness. He was totally at the mercy of God, totally dependent on the grace of God, totally broken over his sins. He knew that there was NOTHING that HE could do. And THAT’S when God broke through.

  1. v. 6-7 – God dispatched one of the seraphim to take a burning coal from the altar & touch Isaiah’s mouth w/ it. Why his mouth? B/c that was the area of uncleanness, the place where Isaiah had admitted & confessed his sin. And what happened? INSTANTANEOUS FORGIVENESS & CLEANSING! No delay! No trying harder! No attempting to do better so God will be happier with him! None of that! “Your guilt is taken away & your sin is atoned for!” AFTER the brokenness. AFTER the crushing of his heart. AFTER the touching of the burning, cleansing coal to his sin. NOW, YOU ARE FORGIVEN! And THEN, he heard…

THE VOICE OF GOD – v. 8-9a – AFTER the crushing of the Lord, Isaiah heard God speak. And his response to God? “Here am I! Send me.” And God simply, but powerfully said, “Go!” This one word is the most wonderful evidence of God’s grace in this passage!

  • “Send me!” ——– “GO!”

 CONCLUSION – Application point again: “God has to crush you to use you, bro!” Do you want to be used by God? Are you willing to let Him crush you?

Spurgeon: “We are but men, frail, feeble, & apt to faint.”

Hudson Taylor: “All God’s giants have been weak men.”

  • Every pastor you know is a weak man.
  • Every church staff member you know is a weak man or woman.
  • Every deacon you know is a weak man.
  • Every Life Group leader you know is a weak man or woman.

And we must face up to those things in our lives which cause us to be weak. God will crush us to rid us of those things. It’s not an easy experience, but it’s a necessary experience in order for God to use us greatly in His work.

So what is it that you need to face today? What is it that is bringing the crushing conviction of God today? Whatever it is, you must face it today. If you don’t, you’ll never be the man or woman of God that you could be.

  • You’ll never have the prayer life that you could have.
  • You’ll never be the husband that you could be, or the wife that you could be.
  • You’ll never hear the voice of God like you could hear it.
  • You’ll never be the leader you could be.
  • You’ll never be the witness that you could be.
  • You’ll never be the servant that you could be.

What is it? What’s sitting there in your heart, needing to be purged, cleansed w/ the cleansing fire of God? What is it that causes you to say as Isaiah said, “Woe is me! I’m in trouble! I’m done! I’m unclean & unholy! Woe is me!”

God wants to use you, brother! God wants to use you, sister! And He must crush you to bring you to a place of brokenness to cleanse you so He can use you! And He WILL use you!

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