Sunday, June 30, 2002

Playing To Win

Playing To Win


Scripture: 1 Corinthians 9 (NIV)

19 Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.

20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.

21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.

22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.

23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

25 Every one who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.

27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

What Game? (the most important game you will ever play …)

The Game of Life

The game of life is not an individual sport, but a team sport.

The game of life is a team event

Imagine one individual wanting to compete in a football or baseball game or any team event as only an individual … it is not designed for that.

This game has not been a 100 yard dash but a 2000 year marathon relay and we may currently be in sudden death overtime

I. Five Winning Tips

#1. Sign Up (every player must sign up to get on a team)

Enlist in some event that moves the team forward and makes a difference

Let someone know you want to play

What can you do, what are you willing to try out for to help God’s side win?

Get Involved!

Not just a spectator

Be a participator

Not just a hearer but a doer (James 1:23 & 25)

#2. Show Up

Practices (church, family events, community activities)

Games (people are depending on you)

(even when you are not playing … be supportive)

#3. Suit Up

Armor that fits

Proven Armor (1 Samuel 17:39)

The Armor of God (Ephesians 6:11ff)

Garment of Salvation & Robe of Righteousness (Isaiah 61:10)

#4. Get Your Head In The Game

Renewing The Mind (Romans 12:2)


Keep your eye on the prize

Finish the course

Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

#5. Play To Win

A winning strategy has already been developed

The game will be won by the next generation to follow the plan

What Can You Do?

Familiarize yourself with the rules

Stick with the game plan

Run the play

Stay at your assigned position

Raise up runners for the next lap

This game has not been a 100 yard dash but a 2000 year marathon relay and we are currently in sudden death overtime

The game may outlast you

Pass the baton while you still have speed

Sunday, June 23, 2002

A Kindgom That Cannot Be Moved

A Kingdom That Cannot Be Moved


Key scripture: Hebrews 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

Bible Reading:

Luke 11

14 ¶ And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered.

15 But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils.

16 And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven.

17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth.

18 If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub.

19 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges.

20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.

21 When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace:

22 But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.

23 He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.

24 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out.

25 And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished.

26 Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

27 ¶ And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked.

28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

I. Messages From The Bible

There is a love message

There is a forgiveness message

There is a salvation message

There is a damnation message

There is a deliverance message

There is a power message

There is a prosperity message

There is an evangelistic message

There is a holiness message

There is a heaven message

However, what we believe and teach at COTR is a kingdom message

II. What Is The Kingdom Message (Beginning @ verse 20ff)

(but if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.)

* As far as Jesus is concerned

John 18:36 “… My kingdom is not of this world …”

Jesus has no desire to rule this world. He is interested in redeeming all who will out of this world before His Heavenly Father brings eternal judgment upon it and all of its children.

So as far as Jesus was concerned, the kingdom message is not a ‘Kingdom Now’ message but an ever advancing, ever coming Kingdom. A kingdom that is out of this world and always will be!

We are not trying to save the world but save people from the world (This regulates our vision, determines our priorities and guides our resources)

* As far as the devil is concerned

Banishes the powers of satan

Destroys the Works of the devil

1 John 3:8b … For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

Matthew 12:44 Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.

Matthew 16:18b … upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

* As far as man is concerned (what is the kingdom message?) (v. 28)

Lordship (blessed are they that hear the Word of God and keep it)

Dominion (more than just the authority to run the devil out, but also the fullness to keep him out)

Matthew 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.

III. How To Take The Kingdom By Force

Deny Yourself, Take Up Your Cross & Follow Jesus

Three Steps To Becoming A Martyr

3 P’s In Pursuit Of Purpose

#1 Prayer

Matthew 6:10 “Thy kingdom come …”

#2 Proclamation

Matthew 24:11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

#3 Persistence

Luke 17:20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:

21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

A Study Of The Miraculous - Part XV

A Study Of The Miraculous – Part XV


2 Kings 4:1-7

1 ¶ Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen.

2 And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil.

3 Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels; borrow not a few.

4 And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full.

5 So she went from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured out.

6 And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, Bring me yet a vessel. And he said unto her, There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed.

7 Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest.

Recap of the Miraculous: verses 1-6:

* The Prophet knew he did not have what she needed, but God did.

* Elisha introduced her to 4 basic steps:

> Depend on God and not yourself or others

> Risk what you have …


> Faith pledges are ok but not faith checks

> Not grudgingly or of necessity (2 Cor 9:7)

> God may have you risk what little you have but He is not known for having you give him what you do not have. (2 Cor 8:12)

> The widow was told to borrow empty vessels, not full vessels. She was being led to trust God with the little she had and not risk her neighbors substance.

* There is a difference between Faith, Foolishness & Presumption

* Miracles take faith

> Risk getting wet

> Risk trying on the other side of the boat

> Risk leaving security to follow Jesus

> Risk giving what you have to the poor

> Risk the fiery furnace

> Risk the lion’s den

* Risk your money if you want to, but don’t risk the banks, your neighbors, or your friends.

> Obey the rules

* God demands people participate in their miracle

> 1 Kings 17 -- the widow had to follow rules

> Naaman had to follow the rules

> Noah had to follow the rules

> Stay connected to God after the miracle

* There is a purpose for your miracle beyond what you think.

* There will be an after

* Miracles end and when they do our everyday, ordinary life begin again

> This was the children of Israel’s worst problem

> To be great in the ordinary prepares for the extraordinary

> Deuteronomy 8:10ff when you have eaten and are full … do not forget God … but bless Him for what He has given

* Elisha gave her instructions to:

> Go

> Borrow

> Empty Vessels

> Not A Few

> Shut The Door On Her And Her Sons

> Keep Her Hand On Her Miracle

* So she went from him:

> We talked about how:

* A break through may require a break with or break from.

* She learned that:

> Miracles Can Be Hard Work

* The difficulties you face may not be punishment for your past but positioning for your future.

> She Must Use What She Had To Get What She Needed

> She Must Start Where She Was To Get Where She Wanted To Be

> She Must Attempt What She Could Not Do To Accomplish What She Could

* Sometimes you have to do what you have never done before, to get what you have never gotten before.

* Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.

* We must begin something new if we ever expect to become something different (Genesis 26:13)

* We learned that:

> Miracles

* enable us

* equip us

* position us

> Miracles are often just the beginning of a work of God, not the end.

> Miracles Do Come To Pass … They End.

* When the miracle is over, the real work begins

> Sometimes Miracles End Prematurely

* When all available vessels are full

> The fact that they ran out of vessels will affect their future even though they may not realize it now.

* Locomotion verses

* Momentum

* As children of God we must learn to live in the shadow of miracles:

> A willingness to be spent again

* Broken bread & poured out wine.

7 Then she came and told the man of God.

* believe it or not this is not a common thing. Many times when people receive their miracle they do not come back and make contact with God. (Jesus and the 10 cleansed lepers … only one returned to Him: Luke 17:17)

* This very act can determine your future.

* This widow’s security was not in the deliverance or in the abundance but rather in her God and His continuing pleasure.

* And he said, Go,

* Again, two thirds of God is go!

* God continues encouraging us to participate in our miracles

* sell the oil,

> Work with what God gives you to work with.

* Occupy till I come: (Consider reading Luke 19:13-27)

> Luke 19:13 And <1161> he called <2564> (5660) his <1438> ten <1176> servants <1401>, and delivered <1325> (5656) them <846> ten <1176> pounds <3414>, and <2532> said <2036> (5627) unto <4314> them <846>, Occupy <4231> (5663) till <2193> I come <2064> (5736).

Strongs Concordance: Occupy

4231 pragmateuomai pragmateuomai prag-mat-yoo’-om-ahee

from 4229; TDNT-6:641,927; v

AV-occupy 1; 1

1) to be occupied in anything

2) to carry on a business

3) to carry on the business of a banker or a trader

> Means basically to be busy doing business

> God expects us to do business and trade in this world’s economy

> Proverbs 13:22 In fact the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.

> Deuteronomy 8:18 God will give us the power (means) to get wealth.

> Proverbs 8:12 God finds out knowledge of witty inventions.

> Luke 12:15 Even though a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses, the things he possesses often determine how effective he is in kingdom advancement and making a real difference.

> How did Jesus manage to stay on the move preaching and caring for the needs of those He met; as well as those whom He called to be with Him and send to preach for Him?

> Luke 8:1-3

1 ¶ And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,

2 And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils,

3 And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.

* These women ministered to Jesus of their substance

* Why? Because it takes money to do business … even kingdom business.

* Money comes from the work and trade of this world

* Those free and blessed to labor for carnal wealth are admonished to not think it strange or unfair that their duty is to share their carnal wages with those who have labored for spiritual things and shared those spiritual things with them.

(Romans 15:27; 1 Corinthians 9:11)

> Matthew 27:57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple:

* and pay thy debt,

* It is the will of God that we pay our bills

> don’t send the creditors away when you have it by you

* Proverbs 3:27-28

27 ¶ Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.

28 Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.

* and live thou and thy children of the rest.

* It is always God’s way to bless and make a blessing. God wanted this woman to understand that her miracle was given her for not only her desire, but also to bless her more than she asked for and also it demanded her be responsible for others as well.

* Your blessings should affect future generations as well as yourself.

* Proverbs 13:22 leave an inheritance to his children’s children.

> A four part process - four point sermon:

* Go

* Sell

* Pay

* Live & Care For

Miracles of Elisha and the double portion anointing.

As taken in part from Easton’s Revised Bible Dictionary

1. After Elijah’s departure, Elisha returned to Jericho, and there healed the spring of water by casting salt into it #2Ki 2:21

2. We next find him at Bethel #2Ki 2:23 where, with the sternness of his master, he cursed the youths who came out and scoffed at him as a prophet of God: "Go up, thou bald head." The judgment at once took effect, and God terribly visited the dishonour done to his prophet as dishonour done to himself.

3. We next read of his predicting a fall of rain when the army of Jehoram was faint from thirst #2Ki 3:9-20

4. Then of the multiplying of the poor widow’s cruse of oil #2Ki 4:1-7

5. The miracle of restoring to life the son of the woman of Shunem #2Ki 4:18-37

6. The multiplication of the twenty loaves of new barley into a sufficient supply for an hundred men #2Ki 4:42-44

7. The cure of Naaman the Syrian of his leprosy #2Ki 5:1-27

8. The punishment of Gehazi for his falsehood and his covetousness

9. The recovery of the axe lost in the waters of the Jordan #2Ki 6:1-7

10. The miracle at Dothan, half-way on the road between Samaria and Jezreel; of the siege of Samaria by the king of Syria, and of the terrible sufferings of the people in connection with it, and Elisha’s prophecy as to the relief that would come #2Ki 6:24-33, 7:1-2

11. On his death-bed in his own house #2Ki 13:14-19 Joash, the grandson of Jehu, comes to mourn over his approaching departure, and utters the same words as those of Elisha when Elijah was taken away: "My father, my father! the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof."

12. Afterwards when a dead body is laid in Elisha’s grave a year after his burial, no sooner does it touch the hallowed remains than the man "revived, and stood up on his feet" #2Ki 13:20-21

Sunday, June 16, 2002

Father's Day

Father’s Day


Becoming A Father

When God wanted people to know Him in His goodness, His kindness, His forgiveness and His love, He portrayed Himself as a Father.

He could have likened Himself to anything, but chose only one thing.

God has a special grace for fathers and the duties He burdens them with.

He understands the pressures, the responsibilities, the joys and concerns that come along with being a father.

Fathers have rank, audience and authority with God as scripture bears witness.

Today lets look at ‘What It Takes To Become A Father’

Note: Scriptures are in New King James Version’ Today

In Deuteronomy 9:27 Moses recounts his prayer for Israel in their time of rebellion against God:

Remember your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; do not look on the stubbornness of this people or on their wickedness or their sin.

We see this same thought line and prayer still in effect centuries later in 2 Kings 13:23 when Syria oppressed Israel in the days of King Jehoahaz:

But the Lord was gracious to them, had compassion on them, and regarded them, because of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not yet destroy them or cast them from His presence.

Why was God so gracious to these people? Why did He treat them special? It was because of the relationship He had with their fathers.

Fathers do make a difference!

Deuteronomy 1:8 ‘See, I have set the land before you; go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to your fathers - to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob - to give to them and their descendants after them.’

Deuteronomy 9:5 “It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart, that you go in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord your God drives them out from before you, and that He may fulfill the word which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

I. Our Spiritual Fathers

* Abraham -- The Father of Many Nations & The Father of Faith

* Isaac -- The Father of Israel

* Jacob -- The Father Of All The Israelites

The lives of these three men tell the story of fatherhood - From Beginning To Becoming.

Their lives test, unveil and reveal eternal principles through which God involves Himself with and intervenes in the affairs of mankind.

Abraham began a nation

Isaac continued the vision

Jacob became that nation

There is a three step principle of life: It is eternal and non- negotiable.

Me, you, each person you will ever read about or personally encounter will be controlled by this universal law of life.

It is imperative that we watch what we begin to do … each disappointing deed, every wicked sin and all evil practice has its beginning … the very first time. If continued … it will grow and dominate.

Simply put:

The Law Is:

We all eventually become what we begin and continue to be.

Key Scripture:

* Genesis 26:13 The man began to prosper, and continued prospering until he became very prosperous.

> Begin

> Continue

> Become

(KJV - Went Forward; Grew; & Became Very Great)

These 3 steps of life are sure and can not be avoided

What we begin and continue, we will become.

Becoming A Father Is No Different:

Gentlemen -- You will become the father you begin and continue to be … no more - no less!

Being a father is not always easy.

* The prodigal son’s father experienced many days of disappointment

* Joseph’s father endured the loss of his favored son for several years

* God sent His only Son as a ransom for those who hated and despised Him.

However, today’s world is in great need of fathers … fathers like our Heavenly Father

In order for us to be what God needs us to be, some of us must change and be changed,

We can change what we are and become what we ought to be … It begins by beginning

We can never change our tomorrows unless we can change ourselves today

We can only change and begin something new on a day that is called today

Tomorrow never comes


Begin to be the father that God intended your children to have

Continue being that father even in the tough times & ultimately

Become the father God needs you to be

Fathers …

What are you doing?

What are you becoming?

What are you needing to begin in order to become what you want to be?

Why not begin right now

Allow me to share with you where to start and what to do:

The first step is:

* Take an objective inventory of yourself

The second step is:

* Make a decision to begin changing

The third step is:

* Take positive action


Declare your decision

Confess your past wrongs

Make amends


Tell others you were wrong & you are sorry

Make Restitution

Whenever possible make it up

Build some protection against backsliding

A change of habits

A change of environment

A change of friends

A change of entertainment

A change in the way you act & react toward life

The last step is:

* Continue what you have begun

In spite of the hardships

In the face of disappointments

In light of your own failures and limitations

In the knowledge that

* You will become what you begin and continue to be.

It all begins with a beginning

It all begins with you … and …

It all begins now right now … right here in the altar …

let’s begin by being an example of beginning.