Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Fourth Man - Part Two – Recovery


Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Recap of Part One – The Fall

Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

1. Man was created Spirit, Soul and Body, a triune being like God and in God’s image.

Genesis 2:15 Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.

2. Man was placed in the Garden and warned that there was something he needed to be on guard against, something that wanted his garden.

3. In Genesis 3 Eve was tempted. She listened to the wrong voice and made the wrong choice. Adam then listened to Eve instead of listening to what God had said which was catalogued in his heart and his head. He listened to the wrong voice and he made the wrong choice.

4. Man fell from grace and lost rights to eternal life. The flesh was born and now man could live and give life to things that were not born of God.

5. Where man had once been a triune being, Spirit, Soul and Body, he now had died to the spirit and in its place had brought birth to a fourth man, the flesh man. Adam and Eve had in effect been born again … born again from life unto death.

1 Corinthians 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening, (life giving), spirit.

6. The only remedy for man was a spiritual rebirth. So God sent His only Son, Jesus, but not the same way He sent Adam.

In part one of this series we established the fall of man and the birth of this fourth man called the flesh man, or ‘sarkikos’ as it is translated from the Greek. Now remember, the flesh we are talking about is not the body but rather the spirit of death which gives limited mortal life to all man born after the fall of Adam and Eve. This spirit of death wants to reign over everyone. Even after a person is born again, the flesh continues to wrestle with the new spirit of the life of God in man trying to regain control.

Just because the spirit of death can no longer lay claim to your soul and body for eternity after you die, does not mean that the spirit of death does not still want to lay claim to your soul and body in this life. The spirit of death is a nasty and selfish, evil and deceiving spirit.

At any rate, we established the fall of man and for more information on that you can access the archived messages at or through our website at Now, let’s get to the recovery.

The Recovery

We concluded part one with:

Galatians 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

The Spiritual rebirth of man is designed to produce a walk with God while we live on planet earth and not just an appointment with God after we leave planet earth.

This walk with God, being led by the Spirit, is a daily walk weeding through the voices which speak to us, listening for and discerning which voice is the voice of the Spirit of the Life of God directing us to do God’s will.

Being led by the Spirit can be as simple as not falling for those other voices which masquerade as the voice of God through reason, logic, emotion or some other avenue, attempting to deceive us and lead us astray. Once we understand where the pressure is coming from to make a decision, give voice to an opinion, act on an impulse or champion a cause, we can usually determine if the pressure is God.

For example: Imagine that you hear a sermon at church about prayer and are challenged to rise early and pray for 30 minutes for the next seven days. Let’s say that you make that commitment.

Well the next morning, or perhaps by the third morning anyway, you will begin to hear competitive voices as to whether or not you should get up and spend that whole time praying. These voices could come to you with reason, logic, emotion, sharing physical concerns, telling you that there is just not that much to pray about, offering alternatives to the commitment such as praying at a more convenient time of the day or for a shorter period of time, etc. All of these voices create pressure on you to make a decision favorable to them.

Some people experience this after they make a commitment to attend Sunday School, volunteer to help in Children’s Church or make a decision to financially support the vision. Voices ... competitive voices … where do they come from? Glad you asked!

Hey, did you hear about the woman who wanted to lose some weight? After several visits with a counselor she told a friend that she knew that somewhere inside of her was a 125 pound woman screaming to get out … but … she could usually shut her up with a cookie!

Sad to say but that’s the truth. We can usually shut up any voice we want to, even when that voice is the Spirit of God speaking to us. However, for the purposes of recovery, let’s suppose that we don’t want to shut down the voice of the Spirit, but rather just need to know which one of these voices in our head is God. What do we do?

It always best to become familiar with which voice is which. In other words, learn to discern and recognize where the voice is most likely coming from by the way it speaks, what it speaks about and its particular goals. This may require some soul searching. Examples:

The Voice of the Soul

The soul is the seat of the mind, will and emotions. The mind is quick to offer reasonable and logical arguments by putting two and two together and coming up with whatever supports our beliefs. The pattern of the mind is to look for things which validate our belief system. This is one reason why we say ‘love is blind’. There is even a song about … “When you love someone, you’ll do anything, you’ll do all the crazy things that you can’t explain … you’ll deny the truth, believe a lie … when you love someone.”

The voice of the soul will offer emotional arguments as well. All in attempt to protect self, personal preferences and belief system.

The voice of the soul is a great ally when you believe right but when you start believing wrong, you will start thinking wrong and feeling wrong and soon your soul will begin pushing for what is wrong. The mind is a terrible thing to waste, or to be at odds with.

So, what is the remedy for recovering the soul?

Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

If we will fill our minds with God’s word, our mind will continue to help us battle our own desires and experiences that aren’t God.

2 Corinthians 10

3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. (this mortal existence of man with its base animal nature)

4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,

5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

If what our mind is telling us to do just does not line up with the word of God, then our reasoning or feelings are faulty. We need to accept it, deal with it and don’t listen to that voice any longer.

The Voice of the Body

The body is simple. The body just wants to be warm, fed and cleaned once in a while. Don’t hurt me, don’t starve me and don’t make me work too hard. I want to eat, sleep and I need exercise. I get tired and I hurt sometimes. Hurt me too much and I will shut down. Other than that, I don’t really care if you are a Buddhist, follow Mohammad, get a black belt in Tai Chi or sit on the couch and watch TV all day. Treat me good and I will work for you long and hard, abuse me and I may quit on you early.

This is the voice that is quick to tell you that your commitment to get up early and pray should have come along with a second and most important commitment to ‘go to bed early!” The body has a way to punish you for abuse whether it’s drinking too much alcohol or doing too much physical labor.

This same body is quick to respond to stimulus and loving care. It is designed to heal itself for the most part and can be made into almost any tool you need to accomplish your vision … we just have to pay attention to its needs.

The Voice of the Flesh

Self-serving, jealous, envying, hateful, sometimes feeds on gossip, prideful, arrogant, filled with lusts, capable of murder and offers a deceptive feeling that we can make it on our own, don’t need anyone’s approval or support and tells us that we can survive anything … so “do whatever you want, you can always change later.”

Read more about the flesh and its goals in Galatians 5.

So, how do we recover from the snare of the flesh?

And by the way, the devil can, will and does use all of these voices, from reason and emotion, to hunger, from jealousy and lust to pain in his attempts to get you to disappoint or disobey God. He most often speaks through you to you. This is why we cannot even trust our own thoughts but must examine them by the Word of God.

Now, how do we recover from the snare of that spirit of death, the flesh?

Let’s turn to:

Romans 7
14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,)dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

Romans 8
1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Commentary about being spiritually minded … filling your minds, renewing your minds with spiritual things instead of carnal things. Feed the spirit and it will be strong enough to defeat the flesh.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The First Step


Every journey demands someone take the first step.

1 Kings 17 NKJV
8 ¶ Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah, saying,
9 "Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you."
10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, "Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink."
11 And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, "Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand."
12 So she said, "As the LORD your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die."
13 And Elijah said to her, "Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son.
14 "For thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the LORD sends rain on the earth.’"

This poor little widow was unaware that God had chosen her and had already enabled her and had commanded her to provide for this prophet. However, this would take a miracle of faith on her part.

She may not have realized that God demands we participate in our miracles. As with every other miracle of faith, someone had to take the first step. In this case, life demanded this little widow take the first step. God had done His part, the rest was up to her … could she muster the courage to do something no one else was being asked to do? Could she take the first step?

This is what we faced as a church each time we decided to commit to a new project, when we decided, for example, to:

* Pay off the outstanding church debt in 1988
* Start a World Missions Ministry sending and supporting missionaries all over the world.
* Plant a Church in Russia
* Birth many other Churches in our local communities
* Teach people how to witness effectively with RU100%SURE?
* Operate a faith based counseling clinic and international school
* Reach every nation on planet earth with the Gospel message
* Open a medical clinic to serve the needs of our community
* Partner with a Theological Seminary to provide education
* Drill water wells for children and families at risk & in need
* Broadcast the Gospel 24/7 to every country, city and home in the world
* Assist in bridging the gap between Christians and Jews
* Given hurricane and disaster relief to tens of thousands
* Provide funding and staffing for humanitarian needs globally
* Create an International Church Management and Consulting group
* Begin a gospel outreach to the people of Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Thailand and the Philippines by offering affordable opportunities to learn English as a second language in their city.

The list could go on and on and on. In some things we were successful and in others we failed, but we never failed to faithfully follow God into the unknown. Remember, all of these things were done above and beyond the regular Sunday morning and Wednesday evening church services which are the extent of many other church’s total activities. We accomplished all of this, not by taking special offerings, but through stewardship of our regular weekly offerings.

What kind of people would ever attempt such things? What kind of people does it take to take that first step? Let me tell you … it’s People with a Pioneer Spirit and Golden Triangle Church On The Rock is a Pioneer Church filled with people who possess a Pioneer Spirit.

You see, God has already done all He is going through the Cross and has made all grace abound toward us so that we can do all things through Christ Who strengthens us … we are more than conquerors.

After His death on the cross, His resurrection and subsequent ascension into heaven, Jesus sat down and His Disciples went forth. They immediately became Apostles, ones who are sent with a message, and the Spirit of the Lord worked with them and confirmed the Word with signs following. This has been our testimony as well.

We have done well. We now have 20 years of service and credibility behind us. However, we won’t stop here at the 20 year mark. We thank God for including us and giving us a chance to participate in His plan, but our hearts yearn to press onward and upward for the cause of Christ. I’m not ready to retire yet! Sinners are being born every day and we must reach every house on the road with the Good News before we can say we have reached the last house on the road.

Our vision stretches forth into the future and for as long as the Lord allows we will continue to be pioneers … those who take the first step, pay the highest price and often seemingly go it alone … alone that is, except for Jesus and that great cloud of witnesses who went before us with the same spirit of faith we now possess.

Men and women who fought battles, built arks, crossed seas, conquered enemies, established nations and won souls. We too have pioneer spirits that do not allow us to rest on our laurels but demands we go boldly forward, blazing a trail for others to follow.

At times in the past we have gone down the road to get to the end of the road and at times we have followed God down the road to get to the fork in the road. Each time we have embraced a new vision and begun our journey, only the Holy Spirit has known what the final outcome would be … we have simply followed by faith.

In all of our past years of service together we have held to a few basic truths, a few dynamic principles of the Kingdom. When I say a few principles I must confess, it started out to be a few, but through the years the list kept growing and now there are 457 points of truth. We often rehearse these points together so that we may never forget what the Lord has taught us on along the way.

Allow me this morning to share 5 of those first few principles God gave us 20 years to guide us as we began our journey. These foundational truths still hold a special place in my heart and in our history. I still use these principles as a guide for our church.

1. Don’t judge success on a weekly basis.
* Never allow yourself to be impressed or depressed by numbers and/or nickels.
* Life is a script which only God can write.
* Be great in your ordinary. It is the ordinary that prepares us for the extraordinary.
*The journey is your friend.

2. Give others as much room to fail as to succeed.
* Raise up runners for the next lap.
* Allow others to ride beyond your reach.
* Reproduction is the single limiting factor to Kingdom expansion.
* Build a tier underneath yourself; replace yourself; promote above yourself.
* If you are really that good at something else, you may find yourself doing it for someone else … delegate!

3. Church growth is a by-product of what we do, it’s not our vision.
* Church growth is God’s responsibility, Kingdom enhancement and advancement is our responsibility.
* The only marching orders God ever gave the church was to go into all the world and make disciples.
* Our vision is to expand the Kingdom of God.

4. Accept every resignation.
* You will never be able to lead those whom you are unwilling to lose.
* Both heaven and earth choose aggressive, decisive and determined individuals to lead the defining battles of life.
* If people are looking for authority, give them responsibility … authority should be given only to people who are responsible.

5. Count bad decisions, wrong decisions and even costly mistakes as a part of the process, not the problem.
* Don’t take a temporary situation and create a permanent problem.
* What you are going through is not punishment for your past but positioning for your future.
* Failure is not defeat.
* Your greatest day is yet ahead.
* Life is not always all about you!

In all of these past twenty years we have both grown up as a church and have reached the whole world with the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. Today we touch our proverbial Jerusalem, Judea Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the world together with caring hearts and helping hands. Well done, good and faithful servant of the Lord.

If you have ever been a goer, stayer, prayer or payer in this vision, believe me when I tell you, and you know who you are … we could not have done it without you.

Thanks to my wife, our children and their families, my eldership, and all of the tremendous and capable staff who have served me, the church and the congregation over these many years and to all of the precious individuals and families God has sent to and through our church since August 28, 1988, of whom I will stand before God and give an individual account of …

It is still our firm belief that:

God has a plan, He will succeed, and we still have a chance to participate!

Again, thank you for being the church and the people I so proudly Pastor. You mean the world to me!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Fourth Man - Part One: The Fall


Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

The first chapter of the book of Genesis begins with God creating the heavens and the earth and filling them with everything man needed. It was God’s evident intent to start a family in the earth and to be the Father of many children. The earth and more specifically the Garden of Eden was the home God built and the provision He made for His new family. God did not only want children but He also wanted Grandchildren.

Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

For this reason God created man from the dust of the ground, breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul.

By the time we get to the third chapter of Genesis, Adam and Eve were living in their daily routine of life, taking care of the garden, harvesting its fruit to eat, living in peace amongst the animals, ruling over all of God’s creation and walking with God in the cool of the evening. Life was great.

Many scholars, with whom I agree, believe that Adam and Eve had been warned that there was an enemy on the loose who wanted to take what they had been given away from them. The reason I lean toward this belief is due in part to the scripture:

Genesis 2:15 Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.

The Hebrew word translated ‘keep’ here in this verse has a certain implication in many cases. It is the Hebrew word Shamar and can mean: To watch over; to guard; to keep from being taken away or to basically protect. In fact we see this same Hebrew word used in:

Psalms 127:1 Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman, (Shamar), stays awake in vain.

At any rate, by the time we get to chapter three where Adam and Eve are in their daily routine of life, the devil shows up and begins to plot their downfall. Eve is tempted to disobey God and because she listens to the wrong voice, she makes the wrong choice and pressures her husband to do the same. Adam, as well, listens to the wrong voice and he also makes the wrong choice and all hell breaks loose upon them.

Mankind falls from the grace of God and looses rights to eternal life. Sin enters mankind’s realm and lays claim to everything they have. The original sin brought birth to life without God. What force has the power to produce life without God? Man!

What is the force in man that gives life but gives life without God? It's the carnal capabilities of man...

Let me lay a quick but solid foundation so we can see what we are up against and how we can defeat the takeover.

Genesis 2: 7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Now my terminology may differ a bit from the terminology you are used to but the truth will remain the same. Since I cannot know what terminology you grew up hearing allow me to suppose that you all know absolutely nothing about this subject and approach it from the ground up so as to build a foundation around the terminology we will be using today.

Just determine to not let the devil get you crossways with truth because of terminology. Look beyond the mere words I use to share truth to the truth itself. In other words, try to understand and don’t try to misunderstand. Ok … ready? Let’s go!

Man was formed by the hand of God from the dust of the ground.

1. The Body

God breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life.

2. The Spirit

Man became a living soul.

3. The Soul

This was God’s intent in the beginning. God made the first man a living soul by breathing His own Spirit into Him. When man fell he lost the Spirit of the Life of God.

Romans 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

Adam was in effect, ‘born again’, from life unto death. Man lost the Spirit of Life and was born again by the Spirit of Death and Death reigned upon all men, even upon those who had sinned after the similitude of Adam.

God made the first man, Adam, a living soul but He had to remake man in Christ to replace what was lost in the fall. This is why the scripture says:

1 Corinthians 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening, (life giving), spirit.

We now have a chance to be born again, from death unto life, by the life giving Spirit of God in Christ Jesus.

So, man without the life giving Spirit of God lives by the power of the spirit of death, which we know as the carnal nature of man.

Only the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus can make you free from the law of sin and death.

The carnality of man cannot be saved. We are told that the carnal man is at enmity with God, is not subject to God and cannot be subjected to God … rather the carnal nature must be crucified with Christ, placed in a watery grave and given no further provisions so as to continually starve its appetites.

Now we were created Spirit, Soul and Body by God, in His likeness, a triune being, through Adam. The Apostle Paul says that it is God’s will that we end this life and enter the next as a representation of the triune being, like God, Spirit, Soul and Body.

1 Thessalonians 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It is God’s intent to get us back to where He created us to be. This moment we see on earth is a parenthetical moment, from Genesis 3 through Revelation 22, in which God is dealing with carnality of man. Once we get beyond Revelation 22, we will be in a new day with a new heaven and new earth and pick back up on God’s original plan, taking care of His creation, tending the earth and walking with Him in the cool of the day.

But for now … we must deal with the carnal man we are all born with and those carnal appetites which attempt to lead us and drive us in the wrong direction. The carnal nature wants to control your life. You have the capability to have life on planet earth without the Spirit of the Life of God in you. You can be led by the wrong spirit, the carnal spirit of man.

Now we were created Spirit, Soul and Body and it is God’s hope that we live eternally Spirit, Soul and Body. So, what’s the problem?

The problem is that we were created a triune being and then Adam and Eve brought birth to a new element, the fourth man … Carnal Man!

1 Corinthians 3:3 For you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?

The Greek word translated ‘carnal’ in 1 Corinthians 3:3 is ‘Sarx’.

Where else can we find this same word in the New Testament to help us gain a better understanding of its true meaning?

Galatians 5
16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

The Greek word ‘sarx’ is translated in this scripture as ‘flesh’.

The Apostle Paul is not talking about the body here but rather to the carnal nature of man … the fallen nature of man … man’s life force apart from God … the spirit of death in man, if you will.

Don’t mistake this as applying to the body. The body has no nature but is rather an earth suit motivated by common elements of comfort.

Allow me to further explain, realizing that I can in no way exhaust this subject in the time we have here. You would do well to study more on this subject yourself & don’t forget Part 2 of this message: The Recovery! But allow me to lay a quick but solid foundation.

Let’s look back at:

1 Thessalonians 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Greek word translated spirit here is pneuma
The Greek word translated soul here is psuche
The Greek word translated body here is soma

So where is the flesh? Where is the sarx of man? Well it is definitely not in the eternal plan of God for you and for me! Why?

Well let’s look further into:

Galatians 5
17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.
18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
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.
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.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

How do we begin being led by the Spirit? Well, if you won’t allow yourself to be motivated and follow the dictates of the Soul, or the Body, or the Flesh, there is only one other voice that is in man … it’s the voice of the Spirit of God.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Old Is New

Key Scriptures: Ecclesiastes 1 NKJV
9 ¶ That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there anything of which it may be said, "See, this is new"? It has already been in ancient times before us.

In about the year AD54, the book of Acts tells us that the Apostle Paul visited Athens while on his second missionary journey. Waiting for Silas and Timothy to join him, Paul spent some of his time observing the life and culture in that mega city of its day.

Athens was one of the three main world centers of education where men of great intellect constantly investigated the physical laws governing the universe while others sat in counsel giving voice to the philosophies of life which many still embrace today. While there, Paul noticed that the people were very religious but they were being constantly led astray by their continual pursuit of new things.

This vexed Paul’s spirit and he wanted to share his faith with them in a way they could understand and embrace. In order to be successful he would have to find some common ground and learn to speak their language of life. You see, the task was not convincing God to save these, God was already willing to do that long before Paul arrived.

Rather the difficulty laid in Paul being able to present the simple message of the Gospel in such a way that these religious intellectuals could respect. They were quiet possibly plagued with a spiritual superiority complex and simple things just held no allure. Sometimes the greatest challenge we face is how to get complex people to accept the simple message we carry.

Let’s read our text for today and see how Paul accomplished this. The text will be found in Acts 17.

Acts 17 NKJV
18 Then certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered Paul. And some said, "What does this babbler want to say?" Others said, "He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods," because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection.
19 And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, "May we know what this new doctrine is of which you speak?
20 "For you are bringing some strange things to our ears. Therefore we want to know what these things mean."
21 For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing.
22 ¶ Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, "Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious;
23 "for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you:

The Bible is broken down into two main categories:

* The Old Testament
> which contains 39 books
> and covers almost 4000 years – approximately:
^ 2315 years in the book of Genesis alone
^ 1650 years from Adam to the flood in Noah’s

^ 300 years from the flood to Abraham
^ 14 generations from Abraham to David
^ 14 generations from David to Babylon

^ & 14 generations from Captivity to Messiah

* The New Testament
> containing 27 books
> but covering less than 100 years

It is the Old Testament’s duty to take man on a long journey through many generations from the creation of Adam to Messiah. However, it is the New Testament’s job to prepare each generation to live as a witness to the world in their lifetime.

The New Testament is designed to be the example of life and work for every Believer in their generation. God has no grandchildren, only children, and the church has to be birthed in every generation.

Sinners are being born every day and no generation will ever reach that proverbial ‘last house on the road’ with the Gospel message until they have reached every other house in their generation first.

World evangelism is a task given to each generation and it will one day be the completed work of the concentrated and combined effort of one generation, prepared for the task and unified in faith.

The Great Commission recorded in the book of Matthew, chapter 28, verses 18 through 20, is a command from Christ given to every born again believer and every Christian assembly as the one true vision and purpose of the Church.

We only have one life, not two, not three, but one life in which to serve God and do His will. In order to accomplish our work for Him we must know what He wants done and how He wants us to do it. This is why God gave us the New Testament … as an example, to show us the way we should live, walk, work and witness.

However, it is impractical to attempt a full understanding of the New Testament without first having a mind saturated with the foretelling scriptures of the Old Testament. This is especially true when studying the four Gospels: Matthew; Mark; Luke and John.

Jesus was born, lived His life and ministered under the provisions of the Old Testament. Many of the things we read Jesus saying were quotes He had learned from the stories and prophecies of the Old Testament. Jesus even defeated the temptations offered Him in the wilderness by quoting scriptures from the book of Deuteronomy.

This is not to say that any word from God, even one word, from the Old or New Testaments, does not contain the power to save. No word of God is void of power. (Isaiah 55:11)

If we heard only one verse, John 3:16 for example, our hearts can be touched by that message and its power to change our life.

However, to live a life in pursuit of knowing and serving God demands we study to show ourselves approved remembering that every scripture is given by inspiration and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness so that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (Bear in mind that when this verse was written by the Apostle Paul, 2 Timothy 3:16 & 17, he was not referring to New Testament scriptures, they were not in existence yet!)

This, by the way, is not intended to be a message on the value of the Old Testament and its benefits to understanding the New. Rather, this message is a message aimed at helping us to realize that there is nothing new.

The new you have been looking for has been right there all of the time … right with you … right under your nose …

* The old is the new you have been searching for!

You just need to wake up and understand it, appreciate it and invest in it. God works with what we have when we give it to Him.

For some of you this applies to your marriage, to others, your ministry, while to others it is the salvation you have been hoping for in other areas of life from your job to your church … don’t miss it.

There is no need to traverse the world looking for something new to excite or inspire you, something new to fulfill your dreams or make you complete … No! … what you need is right with you … its Jesus, Who was and is always in God, Creator and Savior of the world, Author and Finisher of your faith, Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, the Old and the New. Don’t overlook the wonderful blessings and God given opportunities staring you right in the face, right now, right where you are … Old is New! Start making the most of what you already have today.

Close for broadcast and altar call.

“My dear friends, some of you are discontent and dissatisfied with life and what it has offered you when if you would only spend the same amount of time investing in what you already have that you have been spending searching for something new to replace it, you would find that what you have always longed for has been right there with you all along.

There is no problem so complex that the simple message contained in the bible cannot solve. Open your eyes to the salvation and peace offered you by the Creator of the Universe. This new life is found in Jesus and submission to His will. Contentment will follow your commitment to Him as Messiah and Savior of the world.

Make Jesus the Lord of your life today!

Farther down in Acts 17, along about verse 30 the Apostle Paul gave remedy to those religious intellects who had been searching for the new and unknown. He simply said that God had commanded all men everywhere to repent.

Repent simply means to change. If you will ask God for help today, He will help you change. Let’s pray together right now.”

Sunday, August 3, 2008



I heard a story once about a man and his friend who were walking along the seashore the morning after a storm. They saw thousands of starfish washed upon the beach left there by the receding tide. Soon the sun would rise and scorch the starfish, dry them out and left there they would all die. It seems terrible, but it’s life.

As they walked along one of the men stooped and picked up a starfish and threw it into the sea. Then he continued starfish after starfish, picking them up and throwing them back out into the water. Soon he seemed almost obsessed with the activity. His friend watched for a while before becoming annoyed and finally he commented.

“There are too many starfish here … you’re not going make a difference.”

The friend replied as he picked up another and threw one more starfish out into the sea to safety, “Tell that to this one.”

You see:
A single raindrop raises the sea.

You may not notice it but God does and so do those who have been waiting for it, those who would die without it!

Today we are going to talk about three great truths of life. Before we get to the first great truth we are going to read from the last page of the bible, Revelation 22.

Revelation 22 NKJV
13 "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last."
14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.

Now for the three great truths of life …

1. The Circle of Life

* Things begin and things end
* God casts Himself as beginning and end – both are God!
* Life is a series of beginnings and endings
* It seems when we finally arrive at one destination it is

but the departure point for our next adventure
>Birth, Puberty; Marriage; Career; Child Raising; Retirement Death … life is a series of beginnings, endings and then new beg

> This is God’s design.
> We can begin a new chapter in life at any point.
* Things begin and things end and we are designed to take advantage of both, to make the most out of every opportunity.

The Cycle of Life
* Between each beginning and ending there will be ups and downs, mountains and valleys, successes and failures.

Remember Point #441 -
Failure is not defeat!

And Point #248 - The enemies of life cannot defeat you by conquest but only by consent. (Just never give them your consent!)

2 Corinthians 4 NKJV
17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,
18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

* There will be:
> Good times and bad times
> Glad times and sad times
> Times of increase and times of decrease
> Temptations to be impressed & depressed

John 16:33 "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

Psalms 34:19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all.

3. The Secret of Life
* The secret of life is giving
* God so loved the world that He gave … (John 3:16)
* Giving of:
> Yourself to God
> Yourself to others
> Your stuff for others
* What you do with what you have makes a difference.
Just like one drop of water raises the sea and each life saved means everything to the one who is saved, whatever you do, small or great, makes a difference in the life of that one you touch.

There are only two great commandments upon which the whole Word of God stands. Jesus said that if we will live these two commandments the whole will and plan of God will be fulfilled. (Matthew 22:37-40)

* The First Commandment:
Love God more than we do ourselves.
* The Second Commandment:
Love others as much as we do ourselves.

John 15:13 "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

As we build and live our lives we must prepare ourselves and others to embrace the circle of life, to endure the cycles of life and to enjoy the secret of life. So, make a living, make a life, and make a difference … one step, one act, one day at a time.