Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Miracles – Part II

ws071217

While people are praying for a move of God, most often God is waiting for a move of people!

God demands we participate in our miracles.

2 Kings 4 NKJV
1 ¶  A certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, saying, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the LORD. And the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves.”
2  So Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” And she said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil.”

Oil is often used in the Bible to represent the presence of the Holy Spirit. Any attempt to spiritualize this verse would certainly include the fact that when we have the Holy Spirit in our home, we ultimately have everything we need. The Holy Spirit is makings for a miracle.

3 Then he said, Go …

* Two thirds of God is Go! Human action is most often a required element preceding divine intervention. What would have been the outcome for Naaman if he had not have went and dipped seven times in the Jordan River? (2 Kings 5) What would have been the end of the story if Noah had not have built the ark, (Genesis 7), or if Moses had not have gone down into Egypt, (Exodus 3) or if the widow of (1 Kings 17) had not have made the prophet Elijah a little meal cake first?

* One’s refusal to do their simple part is the single downfall of God’s great plan for mankind. Go, here, is not a suggestion nor an option, but a command. When speaking with the lawyer of Luke 10:25, Jesus concludes the parable of the good Samaritan and solves the question of who is neighbor in verse 37 by saying,
> Luke 10:37 “Go and do thou likewise.”
* Go and Do are the two cornerstones of the Christian’s gospel responsibility whether they are seeking salvation for themselves or for others.

3 Then he said, “Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors …

* Sometimes when one does not possess what they need to get them from where they are to where they are going, borrowing is God’s provision for the interim. Deuteronomy 15:6 & 28:12 give us to understand that God’s aim is to bring us to the place where we will not need to borrow but shall rather be the lenders. In Exodus 3:22 & 11:2 the Israelites were instructed by God to go and borrow silver, gold, jewels and clothing from the Egyptians before leaving Egypt and thus spoil their captors. These borrowed riches of the sinners would later be used to make the instruments of worship for the wilderness tabernacle.
* God is not against borrowing.
* Borrow with a plan and plan not always to have to borrow.
* Borrowing can also be a test of humility. Will one obey God when they must first humble themselves in the sight of others? Will one admit that they need and then ask for that need to be contributed to? The humility of simply asking for help is and has always been one tenant of receiving the miraculous.

* There is an element of merging the natural with the supernatural to make a miracle. In 1 Kings 17 Elijah’s miracle comes from both the natural brook and the supernatural supply of raven’s food. When the brook dries up Elijah is not sustained only by the supernatural alone. God could have made water to flow from a rock or a jawbone of a donkey as He did for others in their hour of need. (Exodus 17; Numbers 20; Judges 15). Rather Elijah was instructed to proceed to his next miracle location which would require a natural supply from a widow’s meal bin plus the supernatural multiplied supply from God’s increasing hand.

* Where God is unable to motivate people to supply what they can and give what they have, He often does not perform miracles.

3 Then he said, “Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors — empty vessels …

* My brother once told me that the hardest position to fill is one with someone in it. I think this true as well with miracles. Perhaps many are not spiritually filled because they have not yet emptied themselves of the world. I am not talking about stuff. You can have stuff and stuff not have you. This was the barrier to the young rich ruler in Matthew 19:21 and Mark 10:21. The young rich ruler was just too full. The young rich ruler went away sad because his stuff had him. If this man would have emptied himself he would have been filled from heaven with true riches that would never fade, be stolen or corrupted. There is such potential in empty vessels.

* Full vessels are at their greatest day. You have to pour out at least a little before more can be poured in. Give and it will be given to you. Free up some unproductive and wasteful time so it can be filled with better and more profitable adventures. Life is the process of filling empty vessels.

* For more than three decades this concept of seeking empty vessels and lifting them to God to fill has been at the forefront of our church growth and kingdom expansion philosophy. Each time we have filled our Church we have looked for another empty vessel to fill. Full vessels get stagnate. Like Kendal Bevil, an elder in our church, once shared with me, “Even chickens die off to the size of the coup” Pastor Kendal Bevil. When what we are pouring into is not filled yet, there is a freedom to expect more to come from God. When all we have is satisfied then there is no greater expectancy.

3 Then he said, “Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors — empty vessels; do not gather just a few.

* This is where many people limit themselves and limit the hand of God. The prophet knew that he should direct her to get a big vision of supply. A vision that would more than meet her immediate need. A vision that would supply her and her family for many days to come so that she would not soon fall prey to needing another miracle.

* If you are going to go for a miracle anyway, what is the use of wasting all that God can and will do on just barely meeting your desperate temporary need. He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all you could think or ask according to or limited by whatever is working on the inside of you. (Ephesians 3:20)

* Don’t limit God.
> Psalms 78:41 … they limited the Holy One of Israel
> 2 Kings 13:18-19 King Joash limited his future miraculous victories by his own limited actions. Elisha was angry with him for not getting more.
> About 20 years ago I was praying about the church purchasing our first church van and I took a drive to get away and pray. As I sat at a red light on Twin City Highway I began praying in the spirit. I was agonizing about spending the money. The need was evident and growing but I was wanting assurance from the Lord that He would provide. I knew and operated under the principle that God only pays for what He orders. I was not looking for a miracle I was looking for the divine guidance we need to order our normal daily lives in respect to need verses income. I really wanted to be wise. At that traffic light God’s voice invaded my moment and I heard Him clearly speak louder than my thoughts, interrupting my thinking and praying. He simply said, “When it is all over and done with, I would have been willing to give you more than you will get … (there was a pause for a second and then He said) … go for it.” This gave me a whole new point to consider when thinking about kingdom matters that stretch me beyond my current means and into the realm of the miraculous.

This evening I want to encourage us all to take the limits off God! Your next miracle or the miracle someone else needs may only be waiting for you to “Go and Do!”

Remember:
> John 10:10 Jesus came to give you abundant life
> 2 Peter 1:3 and all things that pertain to life and Godliness
> 2 Peter 1:4 … exceeding great and precious promises

> Ephesians 3:20 God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above …

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Uncommon Sense


Gtcotr/ss070917

Being right isn’t as important as doing right. The Book of James says that to know what to do and then to not do it is the epitome of sin.

This morning we are going to take a brief look at the life of King Solomon.

1 Kings 3 NKJV
11  Then God said to Solomon: “Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice,
12  “behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you.
13  “And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days.

1 Kings 4 NKJV
29 ¶  And God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore.
30  Thus Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the men of the East and all the wisdom of Egypt.
31  For he was wiser than all men — than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was in all the surrounding nations.
32  He spoke three thousand proverbs, and his songs were one thousand and five.
33  Also he spoke of trees, from the cedar tree of Lebanon even to the hyssop that springs out of the wall; he spoke also of animals, of birds, of creeping things, and of fish.
34  And men of all nations, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom, came to hear the wisdom of Solomon.

1 Kings 11 NKJV
1 ¶  But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites — 
2  from the nations of whom the LORD had said to the children of Israel, “You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love.
3  And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart.
4  For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God, as was the heart of his father David.
5  For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.
6  Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not fully follow the LORD, as did his father David.
7  Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon.
8  And he did likewise for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.

Knowing what God wants is only half the equation. Even the devil and all his demons know what God wants. The Bible says that they are afraid of God but yet they still don’t obey Him.

There are only two things we need to pass every test in life
1.   We need to know the right answer
2.   We need to apply that answer

Only two things stand between you and your success in every arena of life
1.   Knowing the right thing to do - which is often evident
2.   Doing the right thing – which is the hard part

God can’t help us if we are unwilling to do the right thing. We can’t blame our problems on others … even if it’s true, blame won’t fix it. God is committed to giving us the right answers … the rest is up to us!


Life is a test … but thanks be to God that it is an open book test … The questions may change but the answers never do. Open the Book and apply the answers. There’s still time … You know what to do … Just do it!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Miracles


gtcotr/ws070517
Lesson One
        We do not choose the situations we face … We only choose how we shall face them.
2 Kings 4 KJV
1 ¶ Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, …
*  This account happened around 850 years Before Christ in a familiar region of Israel north of Jerusalem known as Samaria. The prophet Elisha was a disciple/servant of the old prophet Elijah and had become the senior prophet in Israel after God took Elijah to heaven.
*  This woman we read about in 2 Kings 4 is the wife of a man who had been a student in the school of the prophets under Elijah’s ministry. This family most likely from Bethel. (2 Kings 2:3) Men in these schools were for the most part non-Levitical, non-priestly men who felt called and compelled to learn the ways of the Lord and dedicate their lives to His service.
*  Since the days of Samuel and continuing throughout the Old Testament period, men who entered the school of the prophets were prepared to stand beside monarchy and the priest, to guard the nation and to proclaim and protect the God ordered rules of life and reward. Schools were established at Ramah, Bethel, Gibeah, Gilgal and Jericho. Before Elijah’s final departure he found it desirous to visit these schools and give parting instruction to the young prophets.
*  In answer to the call of God, this woman and her husband had relegated their lives and futures to a meager existence. In these times of spiritual drought for the masses, without a secure job and secular occupation, those who had dedicated their lives to serving God could not expect income as it was almost non-existent and certainly undependable.
*  Perhaps it is because she had learned the value of a Godly man’s counsel from having a husband so committed to God that now in her desperate moment she seeks out the advice of one she trusts as a true servant of the Lord.
saying, Thy servant my husband is dead;
*  This evidently was a sudden and unexpected death that had not been prepared for. As often does, sudden departures, even of servants of the Lord, can cause great and continuing hardship on those left behind to manage the affairs of life.
*  Since Elisha is Elijah’s recognized successor and chosen replacement, (2 Kings 2:15), it seems reasonable that this widow would go to Elisha for assistance in solving her problem. Thus she continues:
and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD:
*  The widow establishes that her late husband was not a careless nor reckless man who did not pay attention to his affairs but rather this statement lends credibility to the thought that he died suddenly and without fair notice or opportunity to make arrangements himself for the payment of his debt and provision for his family after his death.
*  The widow reminded Elisha that he was personally familiar with her husband’s service to God and his spiritual credibility.
and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen.
*  The husband has left family debt that the widow and surviving sons cannot pay.
*  Even though they have faithfully and fearfully served the Lord and been employed by choice and at personal cost in the spiritual service of God’s Kingdom, nonetheless, the current laws of the land apply to them. One cannot claim to be exempt nor excused from the laws governing others just because they have given their all in service to God. Even Jesus paid taxes, rendering custom to whom custom is due. (Luke 20:25) The Apostle Peter encourages saints to obey every ordinance of man while the Apostle Paul encourages us to submit to the magistrates who are in place. (1 Peter 2:13 & Romans 13)
*  The two sons, regardless of age, must by law fulfill the contract of payment either by monetarily satisfying their father’s debt or by serving out the debt as slaves until the year of Jubilee sets them free again.
*  This woman’s cry was for the immediate freedom of her sons. She is no doubt also grieving for her own recent loss. The added loss of her only two sons seems an unbearable eventuality unless someone intervenes.
2 And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee?
*  It is unclear from which frame of mind Elisha ask this question. Whether he is truly wondering or from an attitude of despair as to what to do. Even seasoned men of God can and do feel both when faced with solving others’ problems in the visible place of God. The Apostle Paul rehearsed that daily there came upon him the care of all of the churches (2 Corinthians 11:28) and he wondered at times if he had actually run and sown and labored in vain. (Galatians 4:11) No matter, genuine care and dedication was present in the prophet’s life and actions. His counsel will give this woman a chance to change things.
A Chance is only a Chance …
*  It is perhaps certain that Elisha knew that there was nothing which he, of himself, could do. This would require a miracle and thus he needed to move this woman into a position to receive from God. In order for a person such as this to receive a miracle they must:
1. Be motivated to depend on God and not the arm of man;
2. Offer what they have to God for His touch;
3. Obediently follow the prescribed course of action required for God’s intervention
* This can be anything from dipping in the river Jordan seven times, to walking the isle at a church and humbly submitting to the laying on of hands for help); and
4. Must use the blessings and benefits received for that which God intended when He thus blessed them.
*  Perhaps Elisha is using this interim time to think of a way to move this woman into faith filled action or maybe he is waiting to receive divine direction from God. At any rate there seems appropriate to the moment a certain pause after this question and before the next one. 2 Kings 4:2 continues:
tell me, what hast thou in the house?
*  It might seem to some that a true prophet of the stature of Elisha could have already discerned what it was that the woman had in her house. This brings to mind two possibilities of which both are, at times, true.
> First: Even true and gifted men of God do not always know what to do, but they do know Who does! Sometimes leaders don’t even know what to do about the works and miracles they themselves are involved in. But given time, God gets through and direction for the day comes to life. (such as the Prophet Nathan: 2 Samuel 7)
> Next: Often men of God, though they know, they await others to come to the knowledge as though arriving at it by themselves. People guided to truth who uncover it often feel more joined to it since they feel they discovered it. Counsel is in the heart of man and a man of wisdom draws it out. God is always speaking to those in need encouraging them what they can do … counsel hopes to awaken the sleep soul to the voice of God and hear a hearty Amen from the one who needs.
*  Note the prophet is going to identify something personal and costly to the widow … something in her house. Even though she has recently lost much, still the road to her salvation is to offer yet more of what she has. Much like the widow of 1 Kings 17, this woman must act in faith for her miracle. Trusting God is often easier when it is out of one’s abundance, however, seldom does that type of action produce miracles for the ones who supply even though it often is a miracle for those who receive.
And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house,
*  She evidently did not go immediately running to Elisha on the first day her husband died, but rather she waited, most likely trying every other natural means to supply. Now, only when she possesses nothing, do her creditors come as vultures, in their right advance, to lay claim to her most prized possessions. It can seem like when all else fails and there is no ability in reserve, that the problems of life unfairly pile onto the shoulders of God’s people. Through necessity many finally despair of any other way and turn to The Way, Jesus.
save a pot of oil.
*  The things we so lightly esteem are often raised to become our salvation. God chooses the simple things of this world and the things which are nothing to bring about great things. (1 Corinthians 1:28) Little David, from the backside of the desert, tending a few sheep, was brought from obscurity to greatness in the hand of the Lord. (1 Samuel 16:11 & 17:28) God has decided to place more of His honor on the unseemly. (1 Corinthians 12:23) In our humility we are exalted and in His gentleness are we made great. (1 Peter 5:6 & Psalms 18:35) It is in the weak of this world that God chose to place His greatest treasure. (2 Corinthians 12:10) These ignorant and unlearned men, earthen vessels of clay, just because they had been with Jesus were elevated to eternal recognition as their names are written on foundation stones of our New Jerusalem, the holy city ascending down from God. (Acts 4:13; 2 Corinthians 4:7; Revelation 21:14) As then, so now, the stone that the builders rejected becomes the head of the corner. (Matthew 21:42)
*  How appropriate it is to have only a little oil become much more than enough. Oil is representation of the Holy Spirit in the house. At one time there was most likely oil in abundance and in reserve. Probably there was a plentiful supply for the daily needs of the home and family, any unexpected visitors and even enough to share with others in need. Now, with the loss of the spiritual head of the house, the oil had dwindled. However, the great truth is seen in that only a little oil of the Spirit of God is more than enough when it is:
1. Dedicated to God
2. Mixed with faith
3. Given opportunity
It is enough to meet any need, solve any problem and last for the whatever season is to come.
Thank God for the bountiful and abundant grace which pours from and earthen vessel containing oil in the hand of God.
Is there some small thing in your life which you can offer to God for the miracle you desire?

·        What do you need?
·        What do you have?

·        What are you willing to do?

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Independence Day


Gtcotr/ss070217

On July 4th, 241 years ago 56 men who believed they were being led by God, pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor as they officially signed the Declaration of Independence from King George and Great Britain to form a new nation founded upon the idea that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights among those life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The forefathers of this great nation were men of action. They realized there was strength in unity and that victory could only be won under the guiding hand of Almighty God. They further understood that success would take hard work on their part and would be the result of a process which could cost them everything but would be well worth their investment.

The driving force that motivated our nation’s forefathers was their belief in a better tomorrow. The future of their children and their children’s children for generations to come hung in the balance and compelled them to give their all. They knew what they had and knew what they didn’t have. However, they also knew that all the complaining in the world was not going to change anything. So, they decided to focus on what could be and what they could have if only they could obtain and maintain the blessings of the Lord on their endeavors.

July 4, 1776 is recognized by the past generations of US citizens and citizens of the world as America’s Independence Day. Many people imagine that to be the day America became a free nation and a free people. They imagine correctly. However, July 4, 1776 was not the day the war for independence ended … O no! – Rather, it was the day the war began!

The declaration did set America free. How? People go free the day they first decide and declare their freedom. The enemies of America did not initially just give up and agree to let the people go. It took some to convince their enemies but the citizens of these United States of America did not need convincing … they had declared their freedom and they were free!

Our forefathers immediately set about to write a constitution and empower a government while waging war against those who opposed their freedom. Representatives of the original 13 colonies met, assigned responsibilities and began the process. They decided it would take the agreement of two-thirds of the new states to ratify the constitution and its amendments.

It was a long and arduous struggle to insure the liberties and rights of a growing nation and the generations of Americans yet to come. After endless drafts, several proposals, many revisions and much debate consensus was achieved. And on December 15, 1791, 15 years, 5 months and 11 days after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the First 10 Amendments to the Constitution of the United States called the Bill of Rights was ratified and became the law of the land.

Although other amendments were proposed at that time I feel it noteworthy to recognize something many Americans aren’t taught. Indeed, I believe the citizens of the United States have been led to believe something that is not the best representation of our founding father’s true intent. The truth is our forefathers were primarily conscious and rightfully concerned with the spiritual strength of this great new nation. They understood that to preserve this union all men must first and foremost be free to worship Almighty God without governmental interference.

Freedom of religion, not freedom from religion, is guaranteed by the first words of the Bill of Rights. The government was kicked out of Church affairs not the Church out of the government’s affairs. However, we have been subtly and subconsciously programmed and brainwashed by repetition to imagine the First Amendment to be primarily about freedom of speech, it is not. In fact, in my research this week into how the First Amendment has been re-titled, repurposed and referred to during the past 150 years, it alarms me to see the minimization of the framer’s true intent and first concern. How can we overlook this bold and revealing truth?

The 1st Amendment is presented to the American people and to the world in schools, publications, debates, news articles and on the world wide web as: Freedom of Speech, Press, Religion and Petition

But in reality, it should by all rights and reasons read as written and ratified by the colonies after 15 years, 5 months and 11 days of prayer and debate. Our Founding Fathers knew exactly what they were doing when they wrote:

Freedom of Religion, Speech, Press, Peaceful Assembly and Petition

Religious Freedom is the very first right mentioned. Why? Because that’s the way our founding fathers believed it and wrote it. After more than 5 years of debate, endless re-drafting and the ratification process, it was firmly decided that the very first responsibility of the new government of the United States of America was to protect the rights of its citizens to worship Almighty God without hindrance, intrusion or mandate by the government. Separation of Church and State is a one-way street!

Nowhere does the constitution suggest, require or imply that the government of the United States should be free from religion but only that religion should be outside of the confines, dictates and control of the government. It is rather implied by its prominent and primary position within the Bill of Rights to be of the utmost importance and protected as much or more than every other freedom. And by the way, history clearly records that these men believed in the Holy Bible, Jehovah God as its Author, and His Son, Jesus, as Savior of the world. This was the worship and the religion they intended to preserve, protect and to which they gave their pledge. The First Amendment reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Some people only see:
1.   What We Have
a.   And never imagine it can or will change …
2.   What We Don’t Have
a.   And complain about it …
3.   What We Could Have
a.   And do something about it!

Our forefathers saw what could be and realized the first step was to acknowledge God and give Him first place in their lives and first place in their endeavors. Benjamin Franklin said that if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without God’s knowledge, it is doubtful that a nation can rise without His intervention.

Whether talking about individuals, families, businesses or nations … the best way to build starts with putting God first.

That brings us to our text for today:

Matthew 6  NKJV
25  “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
26  “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
27  “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
28  “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;
29  “and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30  “Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31  “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
32  “For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
33  “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Commentary and Conclusion
·        A personal invitation to put and keep God first in everything …


Happy Birthday America … God bless America and God bless you!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Get Right or Get Left …


Gtcotr/ss062517

That’s the message Noah preached for more than 100 years before the flood came. Sadly, people didn’t listen back then but fortunately people are much more willing to hear what preachers have to say today. Funny thing is, the message hasn’t changed one bit in all these years …

Key Scripture: Matthew 7:21  “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”
22  “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’
23  “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
24  “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:
25  “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
26  “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:
27  “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
28  And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching,
29  for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

I must admit this scripture has always scared me a little and given me some cautious concerns. I do not doubt the power of the blood of Jesus to save my soul however I have rightfully and reasonably questioned myself and examined my heart to make sure: #1) I have recognized how lost I am without Christ; #2) I have repented of my sins; and #3) I have received Jesus as my Savior and made Him my Lord.

Claiming to be a Christian, having Christian parents and hanging with a Jesus crowd will not save your soul. There will come a day when Jesus will gather all those who have claimed to be Christians and separate them one from another as a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats. Jesus knows His sheep and He calls them by name. He will set them on His right side and those who have been living among His sheep with empty hearts and false claims to Christianity will be set on His left hand.

Many will claim to be a Christian in that day because they did Christian stuff however, unless you have a personal relationship with Jesus, all the works in the world won’t help you in that judgment.

Just two days before Jesus was crucified He made it very plain to His disciples when they asked Him what would be the sign of His coming again.

Matthew 24:3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

Jesus gives His answer in Matthew 24 and 25. If you are familiar with these passages you will recognize the signs of the last days:
·        People going about daily lives
Matthew 24: 37  “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
o   Like in the day of Noah
o   People getting married and starting families
o   Working in the fields
o   Working in factories
o   Busy with life …
·        Some people who are faithful servants and some who are hypocrites
·        Some wise and some foolish virgins …
·        Some who are diligent and faithful servants and some who are lazy and unprofitable
·        Then unexpectedly the Master will appear …

Text for Today: Matthew 25
31  “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.
32  “All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.
33  “And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.
34  “Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35  ‘for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;
36  ‘I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
37  “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?
38  ‘When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?
39  ‘Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’
40  “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’”

1.  Jesus is coming!
2.  He knows who belongs to Him.
3.  If Jesus is your King you will be found helping others.

We do not work to become righteous we work because our hearts have been made right with God and we have given our lives to Him to represent Him and do His will. Not everyone who feeds the poor will go to heaven. Not everyone who claims to be a Christian will go to heaven. But, everyone who is a born-again child of God will care about the poor and will live a life pleasing to God because of the heart change and a heartfelt conviction that salvation brings. Only conversion will save the soul … you must be born again.

Conclusion: Today you will be given Two Great Opportunities.
1.  Be Born Again
2.  Help Others

For the first to happen you will have to believe in Jesus from your heart and ask the Father to save your soul.


The second one will take you getting one of these backpacks and filling it with one item from each table, writing a simple personal note of encouragement and praying over it so that together we can all be a blessing to the homeless in our surrounding communities this month.