Sunday, February 23, 2003

First Love - First Works

First Love - First Works


Revelation 2

1 ¶ Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.

4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Three Steps to Recovery

Remember where we fall (or you will just keep falling again …)

Repent for falling (Repentance is a proper response for sin)

Redo - Renew the first works - back to basics

I. Remember Where We Fall

A. Genesis 3

1 ¶ Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

6 ¶ And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

note: Listening to the wrong voices leads to making wrong choices

B. Tempting Voices (Very Subtle Voices)

1. Outside Voices

* hath God said?

* He didn’t mean it.

* you will be just fine - even better - and so will others

2. The Voice From Within

* it is good

* it is pleasing

* it is desirable (I want it - I deserve it)

* it is wise (it’s just the best thing right now)

* others can benefit from this too

Note: Considering the temptation keeps it alive and holds the door open to sin

C. James 1:14 & 15

14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

D. We fall when we stray from the Jesus. Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way

II. Repent - Turn from your own way to Christ’s way

A. Matthew 3:2 John the Baptist message was ‘repent’

B. Matthew 4:17 Jesus began to preach, He first preached ‘repent’

C. Mark 1:15 Jesus preached, “repent ye, and believe the gospel.”

D. Mark 6:12 The disciples were sent out to preach that “Men Should Repent”

E. Revelation 2 & 3 (5 of the 7 Church Problems could be fixed …)

1. 2:5 The Church In Ephesus - Repent or I will remove the light

2. 2:16 The Church In Pergamos - Repent or I will fight against you

3. 2:22 The Church In Thyatira - Repent or undergo great tribulation

4. 3:3 The Church In Sardis - Repent or loose it all

5. 3:19 The Church of the Laodiceans - Repent or be spewed out

Note: The majority of problems people face today at home, school, work, in marriage, business and child raising, in political, social settings and at church, could be completely done away with if people would just repent.

F. 2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

III. Redo/Renew The First Works

A. What are the first works of Christianity?

B. What makes all that’s gone wrong - go right?

C. What changes a life, a problem, a marriage?

D. Your First Love - Jesus! (Revelation 2:4 - left first love)

1. Matthew 14:30 Peter cried out, Lord, save me

2. Romans 10:13 All who call on the Name of the Lord shall be saved

E. Jesus is Lord and Savior!

* He can save only because He is Lord

* Where He is not Lord, there is no Savior

* We cannot receive salvation without receiving The Lord

IV. Recovering From The Fall

A. The Damning Power of Sin

B. The Governing Power of Sin

C. God made Jesus your Savior, but you must make Him your Lord

1. If He is not Lord of all, He may not be Lord at all!

2. When we call upon Him as Lord, He saves us, delivers …

3. Make Him your First Love and following Him your First Work

4. Where did you fall; Repent; Redo your commitment to Him

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Two Year Review



Turn to 2 Samuel 23

When we consider that there is no new information our challenge is then to better acquaint ourselves with the old information and put it to good use. (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

Two years ago on Wednesday evening, February 21, 2001, a word from God came to our church to prepare the leaders and families and get the wine skins ready for what God would do in our day and with our church.

That evening I preached from a passage in 2 Samuel 23, concerning the “Attitudes Of Mighty Men”. This is the story of those who served their King, David, in such a honorable and courageous way so as to be elevated to position and responsibility in the legion of honor. These men cared for their King’s well being and led the armies of Israel into battle.

During King David’s reign, he established this Legion Of Honor which consisted of 30 top positions in his army. Within this group of 30 mighty men there were basically 3 levels of attainment. To be one of the 30 meant that a person was captain over hundreds or thousands of soldiers. There were also 3 positions available for those who excelled above their peers for leaders who were over a group of captains. These 3 positions were higher in rank but still a part of the 30 man legion of honor. From here there was only one more promotion one could attain within the group, that was to be accepted into The Three Mighty Men Of The King.

This highest promotion into the top three mighty men serving the King meant that these had proved themselves to be loyal, trustworthy, courageous and capable soldiers, committed to the cause and fully given to their King.

Even though we may not attain to this high position in life, it behooves us to respect these men and learn from their examples. Their:




Friends & Followers




In review of the last two years, lets go back over some of the messages God has given us to prepare us for His use.

I. 2 Samuel 23

8 ¶ These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time.

9 And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines that were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away:

10 He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil.

11 And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentiles: and the people fled from the Philistines.

12 But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory.

A. The Mindset Of A Mighty Warrior

1. The Three Mighty Men Of David

a. Adino the Ezenite, Chief among the captains

1. spear

2. against 800 he slew

3. at one time

4. He fought against ‘INSURMOUNTABLE ODDS’

b. Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite

1. sword

2. the men of Israel were gone away (alone and nobody would know)

3. his hand clave to the sword

4. He fought in the face of ‘INDEFINABLE FATIGUE’

c. Shammah son of Agee the Harahite

1. stood the ground

2. defended the pea patch

3. against a unified troop gathered against him

4. He fought in spite of ‘INSIGNIFICANT REWARD’

Note: Spear - Long Distance Enemies - Prayer

Sword - Close Quarters Enemies - The Word (Confession)

Stand - Enemies Within - Meditation (Cast/Captive)

This is the mindset of a mighty warrior of the King! … now ‘attitude’

2 Samuel 23

13 And three of the thirty chief went down, and came to David in the harvest time unto the cave of Adullam: and the troop of the Philistines pitched in the valley of Rephaim.

14 And David was then in an hold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem.

15 And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!

16 And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD.

17 And he said, Be it far from me, O LORD, that I should do this: is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives? therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mighty men.

B. The Attitude Of A Mighty Warrior

1. vs. 13-15 close enough to know the longings of their King

2. v. 16 strong and courageous enough to brake through the enemy’s lines for their King

3. vs. 16-17 committed enough to not let the pouring out of their life affect their continued service to their King

a. it was a rebuke

b. it was not a devaluing of their lives but a real valuing

Note: You won’t serve Jesus in this world without serving someone else

Note: A true test of leadership is servanthood ... but …

The true test of a servant is how one feels and acts when they are treated like one.

C. The Test Of A Mighty Warrior

1. The Mountain top test

2. The Valley Test

3. The Test of waiting

4. The Test of Finished

D. The Friends & Followers Of A Mighty Warrior

1. The Let’s Go Over Crowd

2. The Let’s Take Over Crowd

3. The I’ve Been Over Crowd & Don’t Have The Energy To Go Now

4. The It’s Over Crowd

E. The Life Of A Mighty Warrior

1. The Circle of Life (you live and die)

2. The Cycle of Life (good things & bad things will happen)

3. The Secret of Life (Giving ... Sowing & Reaping)

note: While People are waiting on a move of God ... God is waiting on a move of people!

note: A move of God is not a great church service or prayer meeting ... it’s a great life and we will have to wait to see if we are actually having a real move of God.

F. The Choices Of A Mighty Warrior

1. You can go over

2. You can go under

3. You can just go on ... but that’s often just a choice to go under later

G. The Demands Of A Mighty Warrior

1. Obedience: To do what someone else tells you to do.

a. we obey people we trust

b. we obey those we agree with

c. we often obey those we fear

d. we also find it easy to obey those we like

f. basically we often obey those we want to and those we have to

2. Submission: To yield your strength and/or decision to another

a. submission is an act beyond obedience

b. while we may obey those we agree with and trust, submission demands that we obey those we disagree with, do not fully trust, like or are weaker than us so that we do not even fear disobeying them.

c. submission does not even begin until we are asked to do something we do not want to do.

3. Loyalty: Demonstrated commitment to something outside yourself.

a. how you act in private & public when you must submit

b. while we obey a leader we agree with, it takes submission to obey a leader we disagree with however, it takes loyalty not to complain about it!

c. Loyalty is how you act about doing something you don’t want to do

I trust we are rubbing the oil of God’s Word & Spirit into our wine skins. Let us get our families ready for God’s greatest.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Concerning Debt

Concerning Debt


Three Steps To Getting Out Of Petty Debt

#1. Stop Digging

#2. Take An Inventory

#3. Get A Plan

So Far:

Stop Digging

Taking Inventory

Consider Assets

Consider Liabilities

Consider Your Ways

The Question: Where is God in your finances?

Taking Inventory (Continued)

When things are not like you want, expect, need them to be, then:

Consider Your Ways - Haggai 1:7

The Question Tonight:

How Do I Feel About Money?

Since money is not our source,

Money should neither impress nor depress us.

Impressed with others who have it and/or depressed about you when you don’t.

We are going to use the Apostle Paul’s admonition to his son in the faith, Timothy, as an inventory sheet to examine our soul.

1 Timothy 6

5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

6 ¶ But godliness with contentment is great gain.

7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;

18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;

19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

Inventory Issues

Gain equals godliness or godliness is gain?

No ownership, only stewardship.

Content with food and raiment.

The Pursuit Of Riches

they that will be rich (not those who are rich, but who would be)

(will - the purpose & design of life; the object of earnest desire)

(this ‘will’, not willingness, destroys contentment)

Proverbs 28:20 ¶ A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.

The love of money (perhaps money one already has)

* Does the money you have, have you?

1 Tim 6:17 Charged those who are already rich

* misplaced credit - high mindedness

* misplaced trust - trust in uncertain riches

> the deceitfulness of riches

Mark 4:19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.

Mark 10:24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!

the responsibility of riches

* Luke 12:48 To whom much is given, much is required

> good deeds should be as abundant as riches

> liberal in distribution, not stingy or miserly

Proverbs 11:

24 ¶ There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.

25 ¶ The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.

26 ¶ He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it.

> sociable to share

Acts 4:34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,

The eternal impact of money

Have you considered what your money could do for you in eternity, providing you purchase your rewards now, in this life?

The Young Rich Ruler:

Matthew 19:21 purchase treasure in heaven with money on earth

Luke 16:11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?

Examining Yourself:

* Do you think God is impressed with people who have money?

* Have you considered how temporary earthly wealth is?

* Are you content with godliness, food and clothing?

* Are you hungry or determined to be rich?

* Do you love money, money and more money?

* Who gets the credit for what you have?

* What can money do to protect you?

* What do you do with what you have?

* Are you stingy?

* Do you socialize and share with others less fortunate than you?

* Are you laying enough in store for eternal rewards?

Sunday, February 9, 2003

Faith And The Enemy

Faith And The Enemy


Turn to Matthew 14

Tell the story of Peter getting out of the boat & walking on water:

* John the Baptist had been imprisoned beheaded by Herod.

* Jesus, when he heard of this, departed into a desert place to pray.

* The multitudes found where Jesus was and came to Him.

* Jesus had compassion on them and healed their sick.

* It got very late and the great multitude needed food.

* All that was available was 5 barley loaves and 2 small fishes.

* Jesus took them, blessed them, broke them and gave them to His disciples and the disciples did the same and gave them to the people.

* More than 5000 men, besides women and children ate their fill.

* Twelve baskets full of left-overs remained.

* Jesus instructed His disciples to get into the boat and row to the other side of the lake while He sent the multitudes away.

* Jesus sent the people away and went up into a mountain to pray.

* When evening came Jesus was on the land alone and the ship was in the midst of the sea, tossed by the boisterous winds which blew contrary to its desired course.

* Verse 25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.

* The Fourth Watch - During Jesus Time Was A Roman Watch

> The 1st Watch 6 til 9 p.m. Evening

> The 2nd Watch 9 til 12 midnight Midnight

> The 3rd Watch 12 til 3 a.m. Cock-Crowing

> The 4th Watch 3 til 6 a.m. Morning

* Jesus had spent most of the night in prayer

* The disciples had spent most of the night rowing hard against the winds, only making about 3 to 4 miles in the over 9 hours.

* Jesus came to the tossed and troubled boat, walking on the water.

* The weary disciples saw Him, thought He was a ghost and cried out for fear.

* Jesus spoke to them, “Be of good cheer; It is I, be not afraid.”

* Peter spoke up and said, Lord, if it really is you, ask me to come to you on the water.

* Jesus said Come

* Peter got down out of the boat and walked on the water to go to Jesus.

* But when Peter saw how strong the wind was, he got afraid and began to sink.

* Peter cried out to Jesus, Lord, save me.

* Jesus stretched out His hand immediately and caught Peter and rebuked him.

* When both Jesus and Peter returned to the boat and got inside, immediately the wind ceased.

* All the disciples in the little boat worshipped Jesus and said, “Truly, You are the Son of God.”

Remember I told you that Jesus kept Peter from completely sinking and when He caught Peter and lifted him up, Jesus rebuked Peter: Let’s see what Jesus said to Peter.

Key Scripture: Matthew 14

v.31: And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

little faith = one Greek word

GK: oligopistos = two words

oligos -- little; small &

pistis -- trust or assurance

No Faith Mark 4:40

Little Faith Luke 12:28

Great Faith Matthew 8:10

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

2 Thessalonians 3:2 “… All men have not faith.”

Matthew 9:29 Jesus told two blind men: “According to your faith …”

Mark 5:34 Daughter, your faith has made you whole.

Hebrews 11:6 Without faith it is impossible to please God …

Four Ways Faith Comes

#1. Romans 12:3 Every man is given a measure

* Salvation Faith

#2. Galatians 5:22 Faith is a fruit of the spirit

* John 15:5 I am the vine, you are the branches … much fruit!

#3. Romans 10:17 Faith comes by hearing the word

#4. 1 Corinthians 12:7-9 Faith is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit

Jesus to Peter, Matthew 14:31

“O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”

Peter had the faith to get out of the boat and walk on water, but somewhere, somehow, doubt entered in and caused his faith to diminish and become too little to sustain his miracle.

Doubt Is The Enemy Of Your Faith

Doubt will cause you to fear

Fear Stops Faith

Doubt Is The Enemy Of Your Faith

3 Basic Forms Of Doubt

#1. Not Enough Information

Acts 2 On the day of Pentecost when men from every nation heard others who were not naturally acquainted with their country, culture or language, nonetheless speak and glorify God in their native tongue.

Acts 2:12 And they were all amazed and were in doubt saying one to another, What meaneth this?

Doubt - Greek: Diaporeo

“to be perplexed due to a lack of information”

“I have no idea what in the world is going on!” = Doubt

Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge …”

One cannot have faith for or in something they do not know about.

Romans 10:13-14 (Whosoever - How - Not Heard)

#2. Hesitation Caused By Indecision (or wrong decision - already decided it cannot happen - pre-judged the matter - unbelievable)

Mark 11:23 A well known, much quoted faith scripture which contains a warning that doubt can stop your miracle:

For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, be removed and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

Doubt - Greek: Diakrino (For those who care about correct translation of GK)

This form of usage is:

Aorist - Tense

Passive - Voice

Subjunctive - Mood (conditional, depending, potential, possible)

We find the same Greek word ’diakrino’ in a different voice & mood, translated into a different English word in:

Romans 4:20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.

Stagger - Greek: Diakrino

Aorist Tense

Passive Voice

Indicative Mood (A simple statement of fact that the action actually did occur, is occurring or will occur)

We find the same Greek word again, used slightly different and translated into another English word in:

James 1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. (7) For let not that man think he shall receive anything of the Lord. (8) A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

Wavering & Wavereth - Greek: Diakrino

Present Tense

Middle Voice (Subject performing action upon himself)

Participle Mood (’ing’ ’ed’)

Diakrino = Stagger - Waver - Hesitate by Pre-Judging

#3. Second Thoughts

Matthew 14:31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

Doubt - distazo

it’s root - ‘dece’ comes from duo

meaning = twice or duplicate

Aorist Tense here is equal to Past Tense

Active Voice - The subject is the doer of the action

Indicative Mood - A statement of fact that the action did occur.

If we were to scholarly investigate this scripture (like Sherlock Holmes) we would find 4 things irrefutable:

* Something was done

* Peter did it

* That’s a fact

* It caused him to begin sinking

What did Peter do that caused him to begin to sink?

Peter duplicated!

He did something twice --

Peter did not ‘Diaporeo’ - he was not pereplexed!

Peter did not ‘Diakrino’ - he did not hesitate to get out of the boat!

(Peter did not pre-judge that it could not be done)

Peter ‘Distazo’ - he thought twice - duplicated the decision making process and thought twice about it!

Peter had second thoughts about Jesus’ word being enough to sustain him in the middle of the miracle!

What caused Peter to have second thoughts?

Matthew 14

24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.

25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.

26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.

27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.

28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.

29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.

30 But (verse 30 “… when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid“); and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.

Peter got his eyes off Jesus, looked at the circumstances, got afraid and fear caused him to have second thoughts which in turn caused his faith to deteriorate and he began to sink.

Doubt will turn great faith into little faith!

Good News

Peter cried to his Lord, “Save me!”

And He did.

Jesus will still save those who call upon Him today.

Romans 10:13 Whosoever shall call upon the Name of The Lord, shall be saved.