Sunday, April 30, 2006

Water Baptism

Water Baptism


I. Water Baptism Is A Grave For The Enemies Of The Past

A. The Water Baptism of Noah - A Baptism of Salvation

1) Genesis 7

2) 1 Peter 3:20

B. The Water Baptism of Moses - A Baptism of Deliverance

1) Exodus 14

2) 1 Corinthians 10:2

C. The Water Baptism of John - A Baptism of Repentance

1) Matthew 3

2) Acts 19:3-4

D. The Water Baptism in Christ - A Baptism of Resurrection

1) An answer of a good conscious toward God

1 Peter 3:21 ¶ There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

II. Jesus was Baptized

Matthew 3 NKJV

1 ¶ In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,

2 and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!"

5 Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him

6 and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.

13 ¶ Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him.

14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, "I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?"

15 But Jesus answered and said to him, "Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he allowed Him.

16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.

17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

III. We are commanded and commissioned to baptize

Matthew 28 NKJV

18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

20 "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.

IV. The first Church baptized believers

Acts 2:41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.

V. We Baptize

Romans 6 NKJV

3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?

4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Acts 2 NKJV

38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

39 "For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call."

The Question Today:

Have you been water baptized since you believed?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Antioch Principle

The Antioch Principle


We have been talking about callings. How that God:

* Calls us

* Prepares us

* Empowers us

* Sends us

A calling is an invitation to come and be prepared.

Matthew 22:14 Many are called but few are chosen.

If we want to know what God has called us to do, we can often look behind us to see what He has prepared us to do.

We have thus far looked at the 12 Apostles of the Lamb, the 70 disciples sent out by Jesus in Luke 10 and Philip the Evangelist.

We established that

‘He who calls us is responsible to keep us.’

1 Corinthians 9:7 No man goes to war at his own expense.

Tonight we are going to look at callings by looking at The Antioch Principle.

Acts 11 NKJV

19 ¶ Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only.

20 But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus.

21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord.

22 Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch.

23 When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.

24 For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.

25 Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul.

26 And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.


* These who went out from Jerusalem went: (verse 19)

‘As far as Antioch preaching to Jews only.’

* Then in verse 22 Barnabas was sent out by the church:

‘to go as far as Antioch’

Limited callings are valid callings, however, where one church or group draws a line or leaves off the spread of the Gospel, God will raise up another.

The Church in Jerusalem chose Barnabas to go as far as Antioch, then some time later, perhaps 2 to 3 years, having fulfilled his calling and duty to the Jerusalem Church, Barnabas is again chosen to be sent out again, this time by a different church, the church in Antioch, under a different calling and mandate:

Acts 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, "Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." (NKJV)

The church in Antioch was birthed by lay ministers most likely without credentials.

Lets read Acts 13 NKJV

Acts 13

1 ¶ Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, "Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."

3 Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.

Essential Elements of The Antioch Principle

Acts 11:26

Teaching and Time

This is the foundation upon which the work of God is birthed

Acts 13:1ff

Ministry to the Lord

Fasting (Speaks of living a spiritual life in genuine pursuit of God)

Listening to God

Fasting (Speaks of sincere engagement in the Holy things of God)


Laying on of hands (Public recognition and impartation)


Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Best Easter Sunday Message I Have Ever Heard


I do not want to waste the precious time each of you give to attend church nor the opportunity Jesus affords me to deliver a relevant message to His bride. I want this time to be meaningful, not boring.

However, what I have for you today is admittedly a message someone else has already preached. It is not original to me and it is possible that some of you have already heard this message. It is, nonetheless, The Best Easter Sunday Message I Have Ever Heard.

I ask for your attention as I repeat what I learned from this message. By the way, this is not my first time to borrow the text of this sermon.

Let me give you some background on what we are going to hear today.

* It was originally a two part sermon with 5 broad points

> Point one was preached at a Sunday Morning outdoor Easter Sunrise Service

> The remaining four points were preached that same Sunday in the evening, in a more intimate setting at a home group * Not all of the regulars could be there to hear it, so this well known traveling preacher decided to come back the following week where he preached it again for those who had missed it the first time.

Here are the five points: Dont expect me to do as good as he did.

Point #1. Go And Tell

> The preacher told how that:

* Jesus chose a woman to be the first evangelist

* He told her to proclaim His resurrection

* Some people who are looking for Jesus dont always recognize Him, and how that:

* One word from the Master can change everything.

Point #2. Dont Let Fear Rule Your Life

> Here he taught that:

* Even when there are reasons, we should not let fear control us or let problems keep us from the body of Christ.

* Jesus knows where we are, even in our secret places

* We cannot lock God out of our lives

* When we least expect it and may not deserve it, Suddenly Jesus shows up with a plan

* Jesus does not mind proving nor repeating Himself

Point #3. We Are Ambassadors Of Christ

> This point teaches that:

* Its not over, resurrection is just the beginning

* The Christians duty is now as important as Jesus was

* A Believer has authority in the Name of Jesus

Point #4. Receive The Holy Spirit

> Here the preacher taught that:

* This was not just a suggestion, but an imperative

* The Holy Spirit is an evident necessity

* Gods presence is with His people

* Our cry, (should be) Breath on me, Lord Jesus.

Point #5. What We Do Makes A Difference

> Finally that Sunday evening, those there heard how that:

* Jesus has transferred real power and authority to His followers.

* Christians hold a key to setting others free

I happen to have an outline of the notes from that sermon right here.

I. Go and Tell That The Resurrection Is A Reality

II. Dont Be Afraid

III. You Have Authority In My Name

IV. I Am With You

V. What You Do Makes An Eternal Difference

In fact, I recently purchased a copy of the transcript of that preachers sermon. I dont mean to bore you, but allow me read it to you in its entirety. I dont think that I can do it justice, so Im going to let Him speak for Himself. The preacher that Sunday, Jesus!

Would you turn in your bibles to that first Easter Sunday sermon.

John 20 (NLT)

1 ¶ Early Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance.

2 She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, "They have taken the Lords body out of the tomb, and I dont know where they have put him!"

3 Peter and the other disciple ran to the tomb to see.

4 The other disciple outran Peter and got there first.

5 He stooped and looked in and saw the linen cloth lying there, but he didnt go in.

6 Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there,

7 while the cloth that had covered Jesus head was folded up and lying to the side.

8 Then the other disciple also went in, and he saw and believed

9 for until then they hadnt realized that the Scriptures said he would rise from the dead.

10 Then they went home.

11 ¶ Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in.

12 She saw two white-robed angels sitting at the head and foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying.

13 "Why are you crying?" the angels asked her. "Because they have taken away my Lord," she replied, "and I dont know where they have put him."

14 She glanced over her shoulder and saw someone standing behind her. It was Jesus, but she didnt recognize him.

15 "Why are you crying?" Jesus asked her. "Who are you looking for?" She thought he was the gardener. "Sir," she said, "if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him."

16 "Mary!" Jesus said. She turned toward him and exclaimed, "Teacher!"

17 "Dont cling to me," Jesus said, "for I havent yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them that I am ascending to my Father and your Father, my God and your God."

18 Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, "I have seen the Lord!" Then she gave them his message.

19 ¶ That evening, on the first day of the week, the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! "Peace be with you," he said.

20 As he spoke, he held out his hands for them to see, and he showed them his side. They were filled with joy when they saw their Lord!

21 He spoke to them again and said, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you."

22 Then he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.

23 If you forgive anyones sins, they are forgiven. If you refuse to forgive them, they are unforgiven."

24 One of the disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came.

25 They told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he replied, "I wont believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side."

26 ¶ Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. He said, "Peace be with you."

27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Dont be faithless any longer. Believe!"

28 "My Lord and my God!" Thomas exclaimed.

29 Then Jesus told him, "You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who havent seen me and believe anyway."

The preacher was Jesus, the sermon was His. It was so good, the message so powerful that everyone needed to hear it, but not all of the disciples were present at that first home meeting.

So, Jesus showed up the following week and proclaimed the resurrection message to those who had heard, but had not yet believed.

You know, He is still showing up each week to confirm His resurrection in the hearts, the homes and the houses of worship all over the world.

He is here today, right here, in this sanctuary, in your home, office, hotel room, in your secret place.

Wont you hear and believe what Jesus is saying?

I. Go and Tell That The Resurrection Is A Reality

II. Dont Be Afraid

III. You Have Authority In My Name

IV. I Am With You

V. What You Do Makes An Eternal Difference

You can leave here today and tell people that you have just heard the best Easter Sunday sermon in the world.

Decide now in prayer what you are going to do about it’s message?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Called, Part 3

Called, Part 3


A calling is an invitation to come and be prepared for use.

We prepare ourselves by studying to show ourselves approved as workers who need not be ashamed because we can rightly divide the word of God. 2 Timothy 2:15

Preparation takes time, effort and dedicated resources. It is an investment in the future, both of the called and of the kingdom.

Many people who are called never qualify for their greatest day of use. Why? Because:

Matthew 22:14 Many are called, but few are chosen.

Such was the case of the young rich ruler … he was just as called as Matthew or Peter, however he did not answer the call.

Each person has a proper response to the call of God. For some it means leaving a secular occupation, like Matthew, for others it is adjusting their priorities, like the young rich ruler, yet for others it is only returning home to be a living testimony of what God has done, as in the life of the man delivered from a legion of devils in:

Luke 8 NKJV

38 Now the man from whom the demons had departed begged Him that he might be with Him. But Jesus sent him away, saying,

39 "Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you." And he went his way and proclaimed throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.

Both Matthew 10 and Luke 9 show Jesus calling, preparing, empowering and sending the 12.

Then Luke 10 shows Jesus calling, preparing, empowering and sending another group of 70.

You may benefit from accessing the messages from the last two Wednesday evenings on either the internet or by tape/cd which can be ordered at our information booth in the foyer.

In part two of this series we studied the life and call of Philip throughout the book of Acts.

Like I said last week, Philip, the deacon, evangelist, friend and father, was one of us. A believer who answered the call to come and be prepared in the house of God for the work of the Lord.

The best place for any person to get prepared for the work God has called them to do is the local church.

While we are on this subject, let me say a word about: The Local Church

Scripture teaches that The Church is God’s representational authority on planet earth.

Follow me on this one:

From a logical point of view:

The Church is the:

Bride of Christ

The Body of Christ

The Family of God in the earth.

What better representative can one get than this?

From a scriptural point of view:

Matthew 18 NKJV

15 ¶ "Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.

16 "But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’

17 "And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.

18 "Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

19 "Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.

20 "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them."

The church in Jesus’ day, the synagogue of Nazareth for example, was the seat of community, education, worship and benevolence.

The church is meant to be more important than we see it today. However, a community which does not respect God will certainly not respect the church.

But, we are talking about callings … so let me finish my rabbit trail and make my point - my point is this: The local church is the best place to discover one’s purpose, prepare for one’s destiny and, out from which, to pursue one’s call. (The Antioch Principle of Acts 13)

We, upon whom the ends of the world are come, are the best wine which has been reserved until these last days. We are called to this privilege and duty. We are those people spoken of in:

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

What need we do?

We who have been called, must be prepared

We who have been prepared, must be empowered

We who have been empowered, must be sent

As the voice of heaven declared in

Isaiah 6:8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us? Then I said, Here am I! Send me.

How shall others know unless someone tell them and how shall someone tell them except one be sent. Romans 10:14 & 15

Take your next step with God.

Offer yourself to your calling, to His equipping, to be empowered and sent. It may mean leaving one field of work for another … or it could require a change of priorities … or perhaps only that you go back home to your regular life with the testimony of what God has done for you. Whatever the call for this next season of your life:

Say with me, Here am I Lord, send me!

If we are faithful, God shall make us able - 2 Timothy 2:2

Answer the call,

Submit to the preparation, embrace the power and you will be chosen and sent

Go when and where you are sent

Stay for the season of God’s grace and glory

Then take the next step when chosen.

Like the life of Philip

Deacon, Evangelist, Missionary, Father and Friend

Dont stop growing and answering the call.

It will prepare you for your next step.

The journey is your friend.

Take the steps, climb to the highest calling

God has already prepared you for your next step.

If you want to know what God wants you to do just look behind you and see what He has prepared you for.

Sunday, April 9, 2006

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday


Key Passage: John 12 NKJV

1 ¶ Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead.

2 There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him.

3 Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.

Last week we began our Easter sermon series by following Jesus during the last two weeks before His crucifixion.

Next Sunday is Easter: The day we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection.

Last Sunday in history began the week Jesus left the Galilee and walked south along the Jordan River to the city of Jericho. Along the way He spoke many parables and healed several people.

Jesus knew He was on His last earthly journey to Jerusalem. Stopping in Jericho, Jesus met Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was unaware that this was the last chance to meet Jesus and perhaps his last chance to change.

To find out what Zacchaeus did and how his story can be your chance to change, access the archived messages online at or you can order a tape or CD from our information booth in the foyer.

Now, here we are this morning only one week from Easter. Today is part two in our three part Easter sermon series.

Here we are, sitting in a church in Southeast Texas, on the first day of the week, a very special week, Passover week, 2006.

Passover is always the 15th day of the Jewish month, Nissan, which this year corresponds to the 13th of April on our calendar. Actually Passover begins at sunset on the evening before, this year it begins Wednesday evening, the 12th. Now here we are:

But, I don’t want to lose you in all the details, the question is: where was Jesus on this same day in history, the first day of the week, Passover week, in about the year AD 30, the last Passover He would spend on earth before going to the cross?

As best as my studies can conclude, given that the account is recorded in all four of the Gospels, Matthew 21; Mark 11; Luke 19 and John 12, Jesus must have arrived in the small village of Bethany, almost two miles outside of the city walls of Jerusalem, just on the Eastern crest of the Mount of Olives, on Friday, late afternoon, just before sunset and the beginning of what the Jews still call Shabbat HaGadol - The Great Sabbath -- which is the Sabbath just prior to Passover.

We get this chronology from John’s account. Incidentally, Shabbat HaGadol for this year was yesterday, April 8th.

Now that we know when and where Jesus is, let’s turn in our bibles to the book of Mark to continue this story.

Mark 11 KJV

1 ¶ And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples,

2 And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him.

3 And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither.

4 And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him.

5 And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt?

6 And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go.

7 And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him.

8 And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way.

9 And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord:

10 Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.

11 And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve.

Notice the young colt in this story: Perhaps this colt is you!

This young colt speaks of Jesus’ desire to cultivate new leadership.

Notice in verse 4 that this colt was tied in a place where two roads met:

4 And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him.

Many of you today are standing at the point of decision in life.

Jesus is sending His disciple your way to “loose you” from the things which hold you …


If any person questions why? I tell you It’s because:

“The Lord has need of you!”

Jesus wants to go to your city, your school, your family, your workplace, your social places and into your friendships and He wants you to carry Him.

The Gospel needs a vehicle and you are His chosen vessel.

I have been sent today to untie you, let me set you free this morning. Come with me to Jesus. I will take my garment and place it over you and equip you to carry Jesus to your world.

How many of you will say this morning:

“Pastor, I am standing at the point of decision in my life.”

“I feel like the Lord has need of me.”

“I am willing to let Jesus ride on my back.”

“I will answer the call.”

Then take the first step right now, come, come now! If you are serious, come to the altar and let me place my garment of prayer over you so that you will leave here today, a carrier of God’s Word to a lost and hurting world.

You know, it says in John 12 that many important people believed that Jesus was the Messiah, Son of David, the promised King of the Jews, but they did not publicly identify with Him because they were afraid it would hurt their image, their standing in their community … it might make others mad at them.

John 12

42 ¶ Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:

43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

What a sad story.

Like the story of Nicodemus who came to Jesus by night. (John 3:2) Or the story of Joseph of Arimathaea, (John 19:38), a secret believer who only after Jesus’ crucifixion, confessed having a relationship with Him. Why did he wait?

Don’t wait until it’s too late for you. Come now and say: “Here I am Jesus - I believe in You - If You can use me - use me!” Come now! Just as you are.