Sunday, January 25, 2004

The Mysterious Ingredient

The Mysterious Ingredient


Turn in your bibles this morning to Colossians 3 if you would.

Key Scripture: Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (NIV)

There is a mysterious ingredient we can add to our lives which will make us the kind of Christian God is pleased with. For you bible scholars, I am not talking about Hebrews 11:6 and the subject of faith

There is a mysterious ingredient that can make us more like God than we are like ourselves.

What is this mysterious ingredient?

This morning I hope to show you how you can add a valuable ingredient to your life which will mysteriously affect you and make you think, feel and act like the Christian you were born again to be.

I am going to ask you to follow along closely so that you do not miss this morning’s life changing opportunity.

In the book of Nehemiah we are told of Ezra asking the congregation of Israel to stand up while he read from the scriptures. He continued to read from morning until evening. I don’t intend to do that this morning, but I do wish to read a longer passage than I normally would for a Sunday morning service. I won’t have you stand, but I do covet your undivided attention.

I would like to begin by reading 17 verses from the book of Colossians. I realize that it is hard at times to keep connected to someone reading for that long. However, I have chosen a translation, The New International Version, which I hope will be interesting and easy to follow. I ask you to ready yourself with me and listen closely this morning as we look together at this important passage written by the Apostle Paul while he was in his prison house in Rome in about the year, AD 62. (Source: Barnes New Testament Notes, Colossians)

Paul was imprisoned under Nero, Emperor and Caesar of Rome. This is the same Nero who supposedly fiddled while Rome burned in the summer of AD 64. Blaming the fire on Christians, Nero enacted legislation which declared that Christians were “haters of all men” and supported putting them on public trial, persecuting and executing them as enemies of the state. (Source: Nero Burning Rome And Ancient Roman Politics, article by Esther Mitchell, copyright 2002, @

Actually Nero and his wife, in their insatiable and unbridled lusts, viewed Christians as threats to their own divinity and unleashed their hatred upon them. Some say Nero started the fire. This hatred for Christians would finally deliver the Apostle Paul to his death in AD 66. He was beheaded under sentence from Nero. Less than 2 years later, Nero took his own life ending the line of conquering Caesars and signaling the decline and eventual collapse of the Roman empire. This demise is perhaps the only noble thing Nero ever accomplished.

At any rate, here is Paul, late in his life and ministry, writing to a church which he most likely has never visited, and never will visit.

Now remember according to our key scripture, Galatians 2:20, we, and these in Colosse, which are born again, have already been crucified with Christ, are dead and have been buried with Him, nevertheless we are alive -- or rather Christ now lives in us.

Colossians 3 (NIV)

1 ¶ Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.

2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

5 ¶ Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.

6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.

7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.

8 ¶ But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from your lips.

9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices

10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

11 Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

12 ¶ Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

That’s a tall order, but that’s the Christian life and example.

What is that mysterious ingredient that can make us think, feel and act like this? Where we:

Love the unlovable

Forgive the unforgivable

Have peace that passes all understanding

Joy that is indescribable and overflowing

What is that mysterious ingredient?

Colossians 1:26 The mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints.

Colossians 1:27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (NIV)

This is God’s ace in the hole - His trump card - His only hope.

Christ In You

God hopes that the Jesus He put in you will find a way out!

John 16

7 ¶ But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.

John 14

17 The Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

18 ¶ I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

19 Before long, the world will not see me any more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.

20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.

Acts 17:28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’

Christ living in you is your hope of eternal salvation.

Christ living through you is God’s hope that others will be saved.

The mysterious ingredient, the key to being more like Christ, is simply letting the Christ in you live, & love, & forgive & work through you.

Let Jesus think, feel & speak for you & through you.

Live the Christ in you

Decide right now to let Jesus live more through you.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Oxen & Asses

Oxen & Asses


Key Scripture: Deuteronomy 22:10 Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together.

It’s often bad enough just to be understood, let alone misunderstood.

“Those who walk the highest road of truth, tread the razor edge of heresy.” Reverend Moses Vegh

One of the great communication tools is voiced in this simple sentence, “Seek first to understand before seeking to be understood.”

I ask you this evening to seek with me to understand the current application of the key scripture to our lives in God’s plan for these days we live in.

I. Yoked Together

A. Oxen are symbols of strength, dependability and increase

* Proverbs 14:4 Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.

> This verse speaks of:

* The cost of productive ministry

* The increase available from yokable ministry

B. Asses are a symbol of an undisciplined, selfish and stubborn will

* Job 39:5 Who hath sent out the wild ass free? or who hath loosed the bands of the wild ass?

* bands - Comes from the Hebrew root word - yacar

Meaning to allow oneself to be corrected & instructed

* To be disciplined (stubbornness is like iniquity & idolatry)

C. Asses are an unacceptable sacrifice

Exodus 13

12 That thou shalt set apart unto the LORD all that openeth the matrix, and every firstling that cometh of a beast which thou hast; the males shall be the LORD’S.

13 And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break his neck …

* Asses Are An Unacceptable Sacrifice

* If a lamb does not take its place, then death is all that awaits the ass.

4. Some People Are Likened To Asses In The Scriptures

Genesis 49

14 Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens:

15 And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute.

5. Genesis 16:12 And he shall be as a wild ass among men; his hand shall be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell over against all his brethren. (ASV)

* NIV says, wild donkey of a man

II. Traditional Reasons For Not Yoking The Ox & Ass Together

A. The Ox is considered a clean animal, fit for sacrifice and good for food.

B. The Ass is considered unclean, he does not chew the cud, nor does he have a split hoof, rendering him unfit for sacrifice and food.

C. For whatever reason, God has made it pretty clear that the ass is not acceptable to Him. If man cannot get some good out of the ass, does not desire to work with his stubbornness to get some productivity out of him, then just kill him, God does not want him.

III. A Deeper Revelation

According to Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible

* When yoked together, Asses continually attempt to bite oxen … it’s their nature.

* Unlike Oxen, Asses will feed on poisonous weeds that produce toxic breath.

* Oxen yoked together with Asses tend to turn their heads away from the toxic breath and continual biting.

* When the Ox turns his head, his shoulders twist, putting only one shoulder against the load he is pulling.

* When the Ox twist in the harness, the harness is stretched and the Ass is loosed from the weight of the load.

* An Ass that is not pulling a load will begin to wander, drag his feet, pull back and eventually balk.

* An Ox yoked with an Ass has to pull the whole load with only half of his strength, combating the foul and biting mouth of the wandering, balking Ass while he drags the Ass along with the load.

* The Ox that is left yoked with an Ass, smelling the toxic breath, will become sick, weak and will eventually die.

III. The Terrible Truth About Asses

A. First is the: Uneducated Asses

1. 1 Timothy 1

12 ¶ And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;

13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

2. Luke 12:48a But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes.

B. Then you have the: Educated Asses

1. Luke 12:47 And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.

2. Luke 12:48b For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

3. Proverbs 26:12 See that man who thinks he’s so smart? You can expect far more from a fool than from him.

4. James 4:17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.

5. Conclusion

* It’s better To Be An Uneducated Ox Than An Educated Ass

* John 15:22 "If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.”

Don’t be an ass, for heaven’s sake, don’t be a smart … educated ass!

The Good News

IV. You Don’t Have To Be An Ass Anymore

A. Die to your asinine ways … accept the Lamb’s sacrifice for you - God is willing to - He offered the Lamb for the right to keep you

B. Be born again through salvation

C. Be transformed through discipleship

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Christianity, The Religion Of Choice

Christianity, The Religion Of Choice


Key Scriptures: Matthew 7:13-14 (KJV)

13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

According to Barna Research Group,

We ended 2003 as follows:

According to the most recent surveys:

Of all adults in the United States

99% believe that they will not go to hell when they die

84% say they are Christian

80% claim they have prayed to God

50% accept the bible as being true

40% report they attend church

38% have confessed their sins and accepted Jesus as savior

4% say they allow the bible to influence their daily decisions

Millions of Americans are spiritually satisfied but are totally confused about Christianity, the religion of choice. Somehow, like Eve in the Garden of Eden, this generation has been deceived.

Have you found Matthew, Chapter 7

15 ¶ Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

I. Matthew 7:1 "Judge not, that you be not judged.

* Romans 2:1 ¶ Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.

* 1 Thessalonians 5:12 “Know them which labor among you …”

* We are not called to be judges, but fruit inspectors.

A. You will know others … you cannot even help it, you will -

1. By their fruit

* Either The Fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

2. Or The

* Works of the flesh

Galatians 5

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,

20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,

21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

* Not, “won’t go to heaven” … just won’t live in the kingdom of God

> What is the kingdom of God? It’s not just more stuff:

* Romans 14:17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

B. Not the person who has one time fallen, but those who practice carnality will not enjoy being right with God, & you will know them …

II. Don’t Be Too Quick To Examine Others; They Will Know You Too!

John 13:35 "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

We cannot fool others anymore than they - Others will know us

By seeing our love in action

III. Like The Philippian Jailer of Acts 16:30

* “What must I do to be saved?”

* What must I do to be a reflection of God.”

A. The First Thing Is Conversion

* An instantaneous miracle

* It comes from being born again

* John 3:7 You must be born again

* When you get born again, you get a fresh life to fill up and furnish with Godly thoughts and deeds

* 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

* Getting Saved is a matter of choice

B. The Next Thing Is Transformation

* A miraculous in progress

* Romans 12:2 Transformed by renewing the mind

* Philippians 2:12 Work out your own salvation …

Matthew 13:33 Another parable He spoke to them: "The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened."

Hid - mingled or mixed in

Leaven here represents the Holy Spirit

3 Measures - Spirit, Soul & Body

A woman works yeast in the dough until it works out, until the whole lump of dough is saturated with the yeast.

* Transformation & Renovation is a process

* Transformation takes working out what has been worked within. Transformation takes a lifetime of choices.

Christianity is the religion of choice

Salvation requires a choice while transformation requires a lifetime of choices.

It’s a narrow way, loving when you are not loved back, forgiving even when you see no change in the other person, serving others while others are only serving themselves … It’s a narrow way - be one of the few that finds it!


Wednesday, January 7, 2004

True Happiness

True Happiness


I. An ounce Of Prevention

Ephesians 6 (NIV)

10 ¶ Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

11 Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

13 Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,

15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

A. Dressed for the day of battle

1. Prepared before the fight

2. I can imagine several families began building boats the day after it started to rain.

B. v. 16 KJV says, “Above all …”

* Faith is designed to act as a shield … not a pair of tweezers.

C. Faith, in its best application, is covering and a preventive measure. It’s a relationship with God before hell gets hold of you.

D. Many times, however, people make their greatest demand on faith only after disaster strikes and the enemy breaks through.

E. It is my goal as a shepherd to offer you an opportunity to prevent the common troubles of life and ministry.

With that in mind let’s look at:

II. Jonah’s Roller Coaster

* In the first chapter of Jonah we find God revealing His will to this prophet.

Jonah 1:2 "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me."

* The following verse tells us that Jonah rose up and made plans, even paying his own way, to go to Tarshish not Nineveh.

A. Jonah was disobedient

* The continuing story describes the consequences of Jonah’s choice.

> He went through a great storm

> His selfish unconcern was revealed to others

> He was cast overboard

> Swallowed up by the great fish God had prepared

> Ended up at the bottom of the mountains with weeds wrapped around his head and the depths closed about him.

* Evidently disobedience does not produce tolerable consequences.

* As a result, Jonah’s soul fainted and he remembered the Lord.

Jonah 2:7 "When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the LORD; And my prayer went up to You, Into Your holy temple.

* Jonah realized that in his own vanity, he had believed and cared more for himself than for God and by that had become his own worst enemy.

Jonah 2:8 They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.

* Jonah prayed and told God that he would obey Him.

* The fish is commanded by God to spit Jonah up on dry ground.

* Jonah is delivered

* Jonah hears a fresh word from God.

Jonah 3

1 ¶ And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying,

2 Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.

* verse 3 says …

B. Jonah was obedient

* Jonah went and preached the word to Nineveh and they repented and God forgave and restored them.

* Jonah was perhaps the most successful prophet/evangelist of his day.

* Jonah’s obedience fulfilled the will, purpose and plan of God.

* Common sense would tell us that:

1. Disobedience caused Jonah hardship and failure.

2. Obedience brought success

3. Disobedience left Jonah unhappy

4. Obedience and fulfillment of God’s will should make him happy.

5. Why then was Jonah still so unhappy?

* Chapter Four:

1 ¶ But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry.

2 He prayed to the LORD, "O LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.

3 Now, O LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live."

4 But the LORD replied, "Have you any right to be angry?"

* Let’s get this straight:

1. Jonah was disobedient to God’s word and will and didn’t like the results.

2. Jonah was obedient to God’s word and will and still didn’t like the results.

3. Jonah was in a place where nothing would make him happy or satisfy him for very long because Jonah was not submitted to God and not committed to anyone other than himself. Jonah did not care about making God happy and without sowing those seeds, he could not reap happiness.

Jonah 1:3 … to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.

II. Jonah Lived An Unfulfilled Life Of Service

A. Jonah

1. Went outside of the city and sat down

2. God attempted to get through to Jonah

Jonah 4

5 ¶ Jonah went out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city.

6 Then the LORD God provided a vine and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the vine.

7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the vine so that it withered.

8 When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, "It would be better for me to die than to live."

3. Jonah just didn’t get it!

9 But God said to Jonah, "Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?" "I do," he said. "I am angry enough to die."

B. Jonah was disobedient to God’s word, God’s will and God’s way

C. Jonah was obedient to God’s word, God’s will and God’s way

D. Jonah was never happy to do God’s word, God’s will and God’s way

III. True Happiness Results From Making God Happy

Greater, much greater, than just the fear of intolerable consequences should be our desire to be ever pleasing to God. This desire is born out of a deep and abiding love and respect for Who He is and what He has done.

John 8:29 “I always do those things that are pleasing to him."

Psalms 40:8 “I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart."

Romans 7:22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.

IV. Psalms 16:11 In Your presence is fullness of joy.

A. Delight is a fruit, a product of intimacy with God.

B. Delight is a powerful force

Psalms 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Isaiah 58:2 Yet they seek Me daily, And delight to know My ways … They take delight in approaching God.

C. Where Do I Find Delight - True Happiness?

Isaiah 58:13 ¶ "If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, From doing your pleasure on My holy day, And call the Sabbath a delight, The holy day of the LORD honorable, And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, Nor finding your own pleasure, Nor speaking your own words, (NT Sabbath is not a day, but a lifetime)

Isaiah 58:14 Then you shall delight yourself in the LORD; And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the LORD has spoken."

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Jonah never found it … He did not care if God was happy … but he did not realize … If God ain’t happy - ain’t nobody happy!

Sunday, January 4, 2004

Resolution Realities

Resolution Realities


Please turn to The Book of Genesis, Chapter 2

Key Scripture: Genesis 3:9 ¶ But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?"

Each New Year brings thoughts of fresh beginnings. A new or renewed chance to start afresh, to begin again, to leave the old habits and patterns of life behind and start down a new pathway.

Almost anything is possible if we will only begin.

I have heard it said that if we are to have a successful journey, we must begin with the end in mind.

Beginnings are important and a definite first step, however, beginning a task merely opens the possibilities, it does not guarantee success.

Beginning alone does not guarantee success.

Success and achievement of our goals are realized through a combination of principles working together in a process.

Success unfolds one step at a time revealing the completed work.

New Year’s Resolutions seldom succeed, not due to a lack of sincerity or need, but rather due to a lack of the follow through required to achieve the desired results.

You see, there is but one New Year’s Day. It’s followed however, by 364 evident opportunities to live the resolution.

Life is not just one, but rather a series of choices.

We choose to stop one thing and begin another.

Then we choose daily to continue that course or abandon it.

Life is a continuing choice.

I believe that 2004 is a year of choice

A year of choice - A lifetime of consequences

One other thing I believe the Lord put in my heart was that this year was not a year to waste time.

Genesis 2 (NIV)

7 The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

16 ¶ And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;

17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."

18 ¶ The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."

21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh.

22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

Since the beginning, men have raised Three Great Questions Of Life

1. Where did I come from?

2. Where am I?

3. Where am I going?

The greatest arguments on earth center around the origin of man.

The greatest inventions are aimed at serving us where we are.

The greatest challenge we face is determining where we are going.

I. Where Did I Come From?

A. We don’t know what happened prior to about 6000 years ago.

* Elaborate

B. God created man, as we now know him, from clay and spirit

1. God made woman from Adam’s rib

2. God put them in a Garden of Pleasure and gave them guidelines for life in the garden of pleasure.

C. Adam and Eve chose to go against the guidelines of God, disobeyed Him and went their own way.

1. They had been deceived into thinking they could live in greater pleasure without following God’s guide.

2. They lost the garden of pleasure and were separated from God’s guiding presence and His life giving principles.

3. The carnal, selfish nature of fallen man became the life force that multiplied and dominated as Adam and Eve reproduced children, and families spread abroad on the face of the earth.

D. With no other hope, God sent His Only Begotten Son, Jesus.

1. To be born of a virgin - All man and yet All God

2. To live a sinless life

3. To die a sacrificial death, atoning for the sins of Adam and all men and women since Adam.

4. To offer to every person a chance to be born again, (John 3), not entering into their mother’s womb a second time, but to be born of the Spirit of God, as a child of God, free from the dominion of sin and more powerful than the carnal and selfish appetites of the flesh.

* To Once Again Offer A Choice To Man

You came from a place where you had no choice, you were doomed in the clutches of satan, held captive in reserve unto death.

II. Where Am I?

A. The bible is full of character references

B. Bible stories about real people in real life situations who offer us a chance to find ourselves in their shoes and help us see where we are in life. Characters like:

* Abraham; Isaac; Jacob; Joseph; Moses; Ester; Daniel; Job; Peter; Jairus; The Woman With The Issue Of Blood; Mary; Martha; The Woman Caught In Adultery; Cornelius; Thomas; Gideon; Paul; Phineas; Barabas; Bathsheba; Ruth; The Lad With Fish And Loaves; The Pharisees; Sadducees; The Young Rich Ruler; One Of The Twelve Spies; Samson; Delilah; Jael; King Saul

* All have stories, real life stories, that were lived out one day at a time, one choice at a time, either following God’s guidelines or abandoning them.

* Character references giving us immeasurable benefits as we survey their lives and decisions, searching to find where we are.

C. Of these, none is more valuable than the life story of David.

* The smallest and youngest son of a Bethlehem sheep farmer

* Anointed to be the King of Israel while in his youth

* Achieved recognition as a battle hardened warrior

* Then spent years in exile, homeless and on the run

* Was ultimately crowned king of all Israel, however

* This process took more than 25 years. Why?

2 Samuel 7:8 “I took you from the pasture, tagging along after sheep, and made you prince (a King) over my people Israel.”

D. Where Are You?

You are in the middle of a making! (God’s got a plan …)

E. What in the world is going on … what’s happening to me?

* The Holy Ghost is happening to you

* You are in a battle.

* The second most dangerous part of the battle is when the devil deceives people into thinking they are not in a battle and that everything is ok just the way it is.

* The most dangerous place is when you start working with the devil to defeat the efforts of the Holy Ghost who is attempting to help you, correct you, instruct you, warn you, deliver you and use you.

F. Life can make you better or bitter, frustrate you or educate you and the choice is yours.

G. Jesus died to give us a choice

Not choosing is the wrong choice

H. What will you choose in your day of battle?

* Proverbs 24:10 ¶ If you faint in the day of adversity, Your strength is small.

* Proverbs 24:10 ¶ If you fall to pieces in a crisis, there wasn’t much to you in the first place. (The Message)

11 ¶ Rescue the perishing; don’t hesitate to step in and help.

12 If you say, "Hey, that’s none of my business," will that get you off the hook? Someone is watching you closely, you know—Someone not impressed with weak excuses.

III. Where Am I Going?

A. Each of us are bound for heaven or hell

* Not only in eternity, but also in this life.

B. Heaven is a once in a lifetime choice

* This choice saves you from an eternity in hell.

* Missing the hell of this life however, requires daily decisions to follow through … to daily follow the guidelines of God.

* Salvation is a beginning … Success in this life will require follow through

C. The single reason most New Year’s Resolutions fail is a failure to follow through.

D. Perhaps it’s a:

* Lack of conviction

* Lack of passion

* Lack of discipline

> The going gets tough and so they go

IV. Conclusion

Where did you come from?

From a place of no choice.

Where are you?

At or approaching the point of decision.

Where are you going?

Depends on your choices.

Visitors Welcome

2004 Discipleship Opportunities