Sunday, June 28, 2009

Not The End


Key Scriptures: John 14
1 ¶ "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

For centuries there has been division among believers and denominations about pre tribulation rapture, mid tribulation rapture, post tribulation rapture, or no rapture of the church at all.

Depending on how one puts together the various scriptures on this subject throughout the bible and interprets them, an argument can be made to support any one of these doctrines.

In fact the Bible has so much to say about these things, and it could seem a bit confusing if it were not for the overriding admonition from the Apostle Paul who wrote to the Church in Thessalonica and said:

1 Thessalonians 5 NLT
1 I really don’t need to write to you about how and when all this will happen, dear brothers and sisters.
2 For you know quite well that the day of the Lord will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night.

This makes it pretty clear … the day of the Lord will come unexpectedly … In fact Jesus told His disciples that He did not even know the day nor the hour in which He would return …

However, without respect as to when Jesus is coming back … one thing is very clear and very certain:

Acts 1:11 “… This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."

Jesus is coming back! … and as to when, I might add … if He comes for no one else …

Jesus is coming back for you in your lifetime.

We call this event --- death!

Through the last 30 years of ministry, I have noticed that almost no one teaches or preaches or hears much about death or what happens after death, unless they are at a funeral. So, people who never go to funerals may never have the chance to hear the truth about this ‘all important’ event which every one will experience for themselves.

So, without further ado, let’s leave the question of when Jesus will return and turn our attention to the fact that He is coming back, and coming back for each one of us soon. For many, He’s coming sooner than they think, sooner than they want, and even sooner than they can afford. I hope you are ready when He comes for you.

Let’s turn to 1 Thessalonians 4 and see what will happen:

1 Thessalonians 4 NLT
13 ¶ And now, brothers and sisters, I want you to know what will happen to the Christians who have died so you will not be full of sorrow like people who have no hope.

The scriptures cannot be clearer that the Holy Spirit is talking about the death of a Believer in Jesus as Messiah, Savior and Lord. There is no other way to get ready than to believe upon Jesus and profess Him as Lord.

Philippians 1
21 ¶ For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.

When one of the thieves on the cross asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His Kingdom, Jesus replied … ‘Today you will be with Me in paradise.’ Wherever Jesus was headed, the thief was assured that he was going be right there together with Him.

The Apostle Paul makes us to understand that when it came time for him to die, he full well expected to find himself in a far better place, right in the presence of Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 4
14 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus comes, God will bring back with Jesus all the Christians who have died.

Bring back? Yes, God will bring back with Jesus all the Believers who have died. Well, wonder what we will be doing between the time we die and the time we come back to the earth with Jesus?

Luke 16 records Jesus’ account of two men who died and their immediate after life experiences. One man was carried by Angels to be with Abraham in a place of comfort while the other man’s body was buried but his soul went to a place of torment, each one awaiting the final judgment.

Now I firmly believe that God has a work ethic. I think there is work going on in heaven, perhaps building a city, outfitting mansions, making streets of gold and gates of pearl. I even imagine that someone is tasked with the job of inscribing the names of the twelve Apostles on foundation stones of the New Jerusalem.

At any rate …

2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

When the Believer dies, they are immediately present with the Lord. James tells us that the body without the spirit is dead, not the other way around.

1 Thessalonians 4
15 I can tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not rise to meet him ahead of those who are in their graves.

In light of all of the scriptures on this subject we know that the souls of men who have died are not dormant and waiting in the grave in some type of soul sleep. The body, which is a corruptible mortal shell, an earthly house for the soul, dies and returns to dust but the spirit and soul of man continue alive, alert and in God’s hands.

Ecclesiastes 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

1 Thessalonians 4
16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the call of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, all the Christians who have died will rise from their graves.

This is where and when the souls of Christians who have already died will be clothed upon with a glorified body, an eternal, immortal house for the soul, incorruptible and undefiled, just like it happened to Jesus in that Garden Tomb on that first resurrection day nearly 2000 years ago. Souls will receive glorified bodies … this must happen.

1 Corinthians 15
51 ¶ Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—
52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

The dead first and then the living receive their new glorified bodies.

1 Thessalonians 4
17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and remain with him forever.

After the great resurrection of the saints in their glorified bodies, those Believers who are still alive on earth will be immediately changed into the image of Christ, in a twinkling! With His appearing there shall come a miraculous transformation of our earthly bodies and we will shed this old tabernacle, this earthly flesh, and take upon ourselves the image of the incorruptible and immortal as we are caught up in the air to be with our Lord forever.

1 Thessalonians 4
18 So comfort and encourage each other with these words.

So, death is not the end, for the believer or for the unbeliever. I have heard say that there are no dead atheists … I think that is so.

I am confident that Jesus will return for me in my lifetime and it is imperative that I be ready. This is why I have chosen to accept my heart felt conviction that Jesus is the Son of Almighty God, sent to earth as both Son of God and Son of Man, born of a Virgin in the town of Bethlehem, raised under the guiding hand of God’s chosen earthly parents, lived a sinless life, died an atoning death, resurrected to life the third day victorious over sin, death, hell, and the grave, and coming again to signal the close of this age and to put an end to all sin and wickedness.

I believe in Jesus, He is my Lord, my Savior and my soon coming King. It is to God our Father, through Jesus His Son, that we owe all honor, glory, worship, and allegiance. Be reconciled to God!

Death is something you cannot stop, you cannot fool, and you cannot afford to be unprepared for. Trust in Jesus today for you know not the day nor the hour when the Son of Man will come again, if for no one else, just for you! Get ready now and live in peace and comfort!

Thursday, June 25, 2009



Please turn with me to the book of Philippians.

There is a principle we have been repeating and benefiting from here at COTR since the fall of 1988. It was true then and it remains true today. This principle simply stated says:

Many hands make a light load.

Not only does God partner with us and us with Him, but also God designed life so that we must also partner with one another in order to be productive in life and in Kingdom adventures. When Jesus knelt in prayer as recorded in John 17, the agony of His soul which He poured out to His Father God included His cry that His followers might live and work in the power and expression of unity. “Make them one, Father, even as We are one …”.

Simple partnership in life’s endeavors … Have you found the book of Philippians yet? This is the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Church in Philippi. You see …

Philippi, the chief city and capitol of Macedonia, was the first place in Europe where the Gospel was preached by the Apostle Paul. It was on the Sabbath, down by a river where Paul met a business woman named Lydia. Paul spoke to her about Jesus while Lydia listened intently and as a result she and her whole household were saved and baptized into Christ.

It was in Philippi that Paul and Silas were put into prison and it was in that prison, mentioned in Acts 16, where at midnight they prayed and sang praises to God. At midnight, while the prisoners were listening, a great earthquake shook the city and the prison doors flew open. As a result of these things the jailer of that city, along with his whole household, was saved and Paul was ultimately released to preach Christ to the city before journeying onward.

A few years later, around AD 61 or AD 62, Paul found himself in another prison … a prison in Rome. In fact by this time he had been in bonds in Caesar’s palace for about two years and had achieved great success in witnessing to many royal servants of Caesar and to other prisoners alike. Many believers occupied the courts and city streets of Nero’s decadent Rome.

Around this time the Church in Philippi heard of Paul’s imprisonment and cared to know of his continued well being. They sent a messenger, a member of their Church named Epaphroditus, who also brought an offering from the Church to help Paul with his current financial distresses. Now, the Apostle Paul takes it upon himself to write this letter to the Church in Philippi. He hopes to send Timothy to see them soon and also believes that his case will soon be heard and judged by the court of Rome so that he might be released as well.

Nonetheless Paul tells the Church that the things which have befallen him, with his imprisonment, have actually worked out to the benefit and the furtherance of the Gospel. He encourages them not to be afraid of their adversaries or other hardships and, if necessity prevails, to remember that it was given them to not only believe on Christ but also to suffer, if need be, for His cause.

The book of Philippians holds such powerful words of courage and commitment to the Gospel and gives us a picture of the relevancy of the Gospel in the every day adventures of life and ministry.

Tonight I want to focus on the words of Paul found in the 4th chapter of Philippians as he is closing this last letter to his friends. As you turn there let me reiterate that at the time of this writing Paul is in prison in Rome and, as the founding Apostle of the Church in Philippi, is very well pleased with them, their ministry, their concern and their continued partnership with him.

(Provide studied commentary on each scripture with an emphasis on relationship and partnership as necessary to the advancement of the Gospel)

Philippians 4 NKJV

10 ¶ But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity.
11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:
12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
14 Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress.
15 Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only.
16 For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities.
17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.
18 Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.
19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
20 ¶ Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

(Conclude with an encouragement to continue partnering through the church with those who are enhancing and advancing the Gospel. As a result of doing so, our God shall not only meet the distressful needs of so many ministers here and around the world but will also supply all of our own individual needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus to the glory of God the Father.)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father’s Day


Key Scripture: Ephesians 6:2 "Honor your father and mother," which is the first commandment with promise:

Everyone and everything needs a father … it is God’s way!

Each Child
Every Community
All Nations
The Whole World
Every Local Church Family
And even you!

Not every person who claims to be a father is in fact a good father. However, even a good father, even God, cannot keep a child from experiencing difficulties or making bad decisions. But, without a good father, hurting children never get the chance they need to recover themselves from the problems of life.

When God could have portrayed Himself in any image, He chose that of a Father.

Let’s look in the book of Genesis at the very first image God gives us of this God-like creature, the father.

Genesis the first chapter tells the story of a father’s provision.

Genesis 1:1 ¶ In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

The following verses reveal God’s work as He creates a safe and secure world into which His family will be born, grow up and live. It is His vision, the vision of a Father, making provision for those He loves, even those who have not been born yet, generations to come.

Everything begins with a father.

Genesis chapter two shows us that a father is not only concerned with current needs but also with the future.

Genesis 2:18 ¶ And the LORD God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him."

God had the future in mind … and He still does …

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Where there are no fathers, there is no future.

It’s in Genesis two that we first read of a home, a family, a community responsibility, a job, and an expectation of a better day.

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

The concepts of tending and keeping relate to tilling and protecting. Caring for the current provision and making the earth better for a future season of life.

A father is concerned with both current and future needs … however …

It’s in Genesis the third chapter that we find what is perhaps the most difficult and yet the most crucial responsibility of a father, that of relationship … relationship beyond the disagreements and disappointments of life.

Genesis 3 tells of the disobedience of man and their subsequent fall into sin and separation from God. Adam and Eve disobeyed and disappointed their Father and this brought division. When they lost their relationship, they lost their closeness, their security and their future. They lost sight of their Father, but their Father never lost sight of them.

Genesis 3:21 ¶ Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.

What skins do you think God used? What skins were available? The skins of an animal … an animal chosen by God to be sacrificed for man’s sin so that the Father could be restored in relationship to His family … many believe the animal was a lamb.

This act describes the never ending love and devotion of a Father towards those to whom He is a Father, and towards those to whom He hopes to one day become a Father. A father makes the effort and pays the price to open a door of relationship.

So, in light of these elemental truths of God’s Word, let’s look at:

Fifteen Attributes of a Father

A Father is:
1. Patient
2. Kind
3. Secure
4. Humble
5. Courteous
6. Unselfish
7. Temperate
8. More about the future and less about the past
9. Just
10. Truthful
11. Persistent
12. Faithful
13. Hopeful
14. Committed
15. Forever

Perhaps you recognize these attributes. They are listed in

1 Corinthians, Chapter 13, also known as the ‘Love Chapter’. That’s right, the love chapter.

You see, the concept of a father is synonymous with the concept of love. Not just any love, but agape love. The never ending, un-earned, sacrificial, and selfless love and devotion which epitomizes a father made in the image of God.

1 John 4: 8 & 16 tells us that God, our Father is love.

Fathers, in light of this tell me, what should you be? Allow me to read a small portion of:

1 Corinthians 13 NLT
4 ¶ Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud
5 or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged.
6 It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
8 ¶ Love will last forever …

Without regard to what gift, talent, job or special ability you have, or none at all, nothing qualifies you to be a father more than love.

* Love for your family
* Love for your community
* Love for your world
* And, Love for God and His Work


* Nothing begins without a father
* Where there are no fathers, there is no future
* A father loves at all times

Can’t you see … God made it this way … Your family needs you, your community needs you, the whole world needs you, God needs you and so does the Church … Come on guys … Be a father!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Having a Voice in Destiny


Did you know that God can speak? He can communicate to anybody with anybody or anything He wants. He is God. Not little god, but God! I grew up different than some, well maybe most. You know all those stories my dad tells are not just stories to me, but it was my life. I have seen amazing things, miracles, healings, manifestations, signs and wonders. It was common to have something happening on a weekly basis. Revelation 2:7 says “Let him who has ears hear what the spirit is saying”. With that, I was taught that I could talk with God and even better, God would talk to me. It has served me well growing up. A couple of years ago, as I was in a season of growing, I got really close to God. I would wake up at 6 a.m. every morning and while the shower was heating up and I was making coffee, I would pray and tell God anything I wanted to, but when I got in the shower, that was God’s time. I know this will sound funny, but I would set down and say to God, “Good morning! What would you like to talk about?” After that, I would wait. At first, it seemed to be just a feeling, but by the end, He was waiting on me to get in and listen. You see God’s spirit is searching the world, looking for those who are seeking him. The word also says that we are to seek the Lord while He may be found. As a side note, get up early, find a quiet place and seek God. From David to Jesus, we see a pattern of characters in the bible praying early in the morning. I promise that one thing will change your life forever. Ok, back to my story. The shower became a place where God would share to me truths and give me something to meditate on through the day. Single statements that changed the way I looked at things.

Tonight, I’d like to share one of those truths with you. Maybe I should call all of these things God has shared with me “shower truths”, then again maybe not.

· Your Spirit should control your mind, your mind will control your tongue and your tongue will shape your destiny.

If you have your bibles open them to the book of Proverbs, chapter twelve and let’s look at our key scripture.

Proverbs 12:19 - The truthful lip shall be established forever, But a lying tongue is but for a moment.

Let us break this statement down into parts. “Your Spirit should control your mind”. Our spirit man is our connection to God. It is what should drive us once we are saved; a new creation, the place where Jesus dwells. When we our saved, we are reborn in spirit. It’s where we get the term “born again” out of John 3. The “Spirit” receives impressions of outward and material things through the mind (soul). The spiritual faculties of the ‘Spirit’ are ‘Faith,’ ‘Hope,’ ‘Reverence,’ ‘Prayer’ and ‘Worship’ to name a few. The word “should” in this statement is important to note. You see, it denotes choice. “Should” represents our will to do whatever we will to do. It’s a balancing act. You have your body, mind, spirit and flesh all vying for your will. I will take a drink of water, I will read my bible, I will seek to understand, or I will do wrong. Do you see the picture? Left unchecked, the biggest voice will be the one in control. That’s why Paul said he “slays his flesh daily”. We should build up our spirit daily to be able to let God have control in our lives. We do this by praying, reading God’s word, worshiping, and listening. Building communication and strength in God’s will for our lives. We could talk all night about this one, but for the sake of time let us move on.

“Your mind will control your tongue.” The Gates to the ‘Mind’ are ‘Imagination,’ ‘Conscience,’ ‘Memory,’ ‘Reason’ and the ‘Affections.’ It is who we are, are personality. The mind is the gateway for our will. Every action must first pass through the thought of the mind. God designed us that way. Before sin there was no “flesh” or fourth man. Your body is different than your “flesh”. The Greek word for flesh is Sarx and the Greek word for body is Doma. Your body is not bad. You body needs things to survive like water, food and rest. Your body will fight for control of your will, like when you’re fasting. If the body is stronger than your spirit, you will find yourself in a ½ gallon of ice cream after about a day of fasting. How many have experienced that? You mind facilitates your action by whatever voice is the loudest in your life. Is it your Spirit, Mind, Body, or Flesh? Which one is your mind listening to? Which one are you feeding the most? I will not watch that. Body, get up and pray, read your bible. That comes from a strong spirit, telling the mind what to think, feel and say. Be careful to guard your mind. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we wrestle not with flesh and blood” … Where does the devil attack us? With our thoughts just like Eve, “hath God said?” He planted a seed of doubt, a question filled with a lie mixed with truth and prayed a pone her Reason and Imagination. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 says, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” The knowledge of God is easy, it’s been written down for us. We have it in our hands and on our hearts. David said I hide your word in my heart that I might not sin against Thee. Once again, we find having a strong spirit is important. Let’s move on.

“Your tongue will shape your destiny.” By now we should have an idea of where this is going. It’s about confession. Proverbs 6:4 says “You are snared by the word of your mouth.” The power of God is His word. God made a confession in Genesis, “let there be light” and it was so. The power of God in us is one of believing and confessing it. Romans 10:9-10 states we must confess and believe if we are to be saved. What we say is our confession and our confessions will rule our lives. What are we confessing? How hard something is, defeat or failure? “Well, my marriage is never going to get better.” “This job is never going to go anywhere.” “My children are horrible.”

Some years ago, my wife and I had our first son, Boaz. Most of you know him as Luke, but that’s story for another time. He was the hardest baby we’d ever seen or even heard of. He would scream and cry for 18 to 20 hours a day. For 9 months of his life it was hell. During this, my poor wife almost went crazy. She couldn’t sleep, eat or even have a bath without a constant fear or reality of him screaming. If he was asleep, the whole house shutdown. No one in or out, no talking, no TV, no playing, the phones were turned off. It was horrible. He was horrible. But my wife after hearing a story from my grandmother about my dad, who was born addicted to valium and would scream until he passed out and how she never said anything but good things about him, and would tell him he was a good boy. Well, this changed the way TK thought and spoke about Luke. And do you know what, things changed! Today, ask anybody about our son Luke and they will tell you, he is a great boy. Sweat and soft spoken. He gets that from me of course.

You see, your tongue has the power to change things. One of my life’s confessions is Romans 8:39, I cannot be conquered, I cannot be defeated. The bible says you will have whatever you confess. In the beginning was the Word. Jesus was, is and will always be the Word of God. The Word rewrote destiny for us. We were heading for destruction and now we are bound for glory. Your words whether good or bad with shape your destiny. From salvation to promotions, from relationships to healing, life and death are in the power of the tongue. If we are going to be able to control what we say, we will have to go back to the source, our spirit. It needs to have the biggest voice to our will. How can we strengthen our spirit man, its simple?

· Read

· Pray

· Listen

· Worship

If you will do this, your spirit will grow stronger and stronger, your flesh will grow weaker, your thoughts will change, what you say will conform to the word and God will have His way in your life. You will have a voice in your destiny.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sound Doctrine


In about the year AD56 or AD57, approximately one year after the Apostle Paul had been forced to leave the city of Ephesus due to his teachings which incited a riot against him, he felt a strong spiritual desire to return to Jerusalem to observe the Feast of Pentecost. He greatly cared for and dearly missed the Church in Ephesus but because time disallowed, and due to there being no guarantee he would be wholly welcomed into the city, he was unable to visit there.

Instead he sent for the elders of the church to meet him some 30 miles south in the port city of Miletus. Knowing by the spirit that he would never again have the opportunity to teach his beloved Church family in Ephesus, Paul makes his defense to these elders before sailing on.

Key Scripture: Acts 20 NKJV
26 "Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men.
27 For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.”

Interesting to note that Paul equated his eternal innocence with the fact that he had not singled out his own personal favorite scriptures or those of his listeners, nor did he stick to any one subject, no matter how it excited the congregation, when teaching the people at Ephesus. Rather, he made sure the people were exposed to the whole counsel of God. In doing so, he was freed from the blood of all men. In other words, he left them well able to please God in every area of the Believer’s life and ministry, the rest was up to them.

The Apostle Paul was given the privilege and honored position of writing two thirds of the New Testament under the inspired direction of the Holy Spirit. These 14 books, beginning with Romans and concluding with Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, are considered by many to be the absolute heart of the Bible.

Jesus chose Paul to be His Apostle, sent to the whole world to declare the Gospel and establish sound doctrine for each believer and every church in every generation to follow. The most important and protected treasure Paul possessed was the doctrine of Christ and the Church. Not just the favorite or exciting verses, but the whole Word.

It is generally agreed that from all of his journeys and his many disciples, Paul loved and favored his young son, Timothy, along with the Church in Ephesus, above the others. It seems this way to me as well, seeing how much time and attention Paul spent indoctrinating them both in the word, the way and the will of the Lord.

We know that Paul spent 3 full years teaching the Church in Ephesus and while there he boasts that all who dwelt in Asia had heard the Word of the Lord as a result of the Kingdom Expansion efforts of that Church. The Church in Ephesus is most likely responsible for planting the seeds which ultimately became those seven churches spoken of in the first chapters of the Book of Revelation.

We also know that Paul left Timothy in Ephesus and at one point wrote to Timothy to remain there in order to protect the doctrine. As we understand, Timothy ended up being the Senior Pastor of the Ephesian Church which grew to tens of thousands in membership.

What gave this Church and those leaders such strength? Paul spent time establishing them in the sound doctrine of the Gospel of Christ. Not only did he spend time teaching the Church sound doctrine, but he also spent time teaching sound doctrine to Pastor Timothy.

Paul was so focused on Church doctrine that he saw fit to continually write Timothy exhorting him concerning this matter. No less than twelve times Paul takes his valuable and limited opportunities to encourage Timothy to pay close attention to the doctrine.

What is doctrine? Doctrine refers to the solid and immoveable eternal truths which make up the foundational teachings of Christianity. Every believer should understand Church doctrine and each Church should teach doctrine as the standard of Christian faith and practice.

You see, when the Holy Spirit was sent to those 120 Believers locked in that upper room on the day of Pentecost, as recorded in Acts 2, they received power to be a witness. Before then, those Believers were weak, afraid and doing nothing at all for the Lord. Afterwards they all immediately unlocked the doors, went out into the crowded, festival-filled streets of Jerusalem and began witnessing. That day 3000 souls were saved and thus the first Church was birthed.

But what did the Church do to teach and keep those 3000 straight and strong? Let’s read …

Acts 2 NKJV
41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.
42 ¶ And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine …

This was the foundation of their faith and this morning I want to give you an overview of the doctrines of Christ as taught by those Apostles of Jesus our Lord. These foundational teachings are essential to making and keeping each Believer and every Church strong and in God’s will, doing God’s work.

1. The Lost Estate Of All Mankind
* Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

2. Salvation By Grace Through Faith In Jesus Alone
* Ephesians 2

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

3. Water Baptism By Immersion Because Of Salvation
* Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

4. The Authority Of God’s Word
* John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
* John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

* Luke 21:33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

5. The Baptism Of “Power To Be A Witness”
* Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

* The Great Exchange

6. Kingdom Expansion

* Two Great Commandments

Matthew 22
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

* One Great Commission

Matthew 28
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

7. Impending Judgment

* 2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

8. Eternal Reward

* Revelation 21
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Certainly we have not exhausted the doctrines of the church. We have not discussed the aspects of divine intervention, healing, deliverance, prosperity, angels on assignment, fallen angels, demon possession or Church government. (Now I did not say demon possession of Church government … that’s another subject entirely)

Just remember, not every spiritual experience rises to the level to be accepted as a foundational doctrine of the Church. Some claimed and verified spiritual experiences, although not invalid, are still not strictly taught in scriptures and thus do not afford us enough information from heaven’s perspective with which to support and defend a doctrine based on that experience. Doctrines are taught as truth which every believer should embrace and seek to experience for themselves. These need scriptural foundation and confirmation.

What we have covered today is representative of the essential elements of both the faith and practice of a New Testament Church.

So I pray, as did the Apostle Paul, that you be established in sound doctrine, which is the whole counsel of God. Amen!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009



Key Scripture: Psalms 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.

Turn with me to the book of Joshua where I trust we can find some elements of Joshua’s success which we can apply to our own lives.

At this particular time in history, Joshua, the son of Nun, from the tribe of Ephraim, was already 85 years old. He had been following Moses in the wilderness since leaving Egypt over 40 years earlier.

Joshua had been Moses’ right hand man in the wilderness and had also witnessed the miracles Moses did in Egypt. Joshua crossed the Red Sea on dry ground and was later chosen to be one of the twelve men who first spied out the Land of Canaan a generation earlier.

When Joshua was only in his mid forties he was a slave to Pharaoh in Egypt. One day a man named Moses came to town declaring that the Great God, I Am, had sent him to deliver the Children of Israel from bondage. Joshua heard the stories of a promised land, a land flowing with milk and honey, a land wherein the Children of Israel would eat bread without no lack and rest in freedom from all of their enemies.

Tell the continuing story of Joshua for the next 40 plus years as a spy, a servant to Moses and now, after Moses’ death, at 85 years old, Joshua is the leader of the Nation of Israel.

What makes Joshua, or anyone else, or even God for that matter, think he is the man who is going to accomplish what Moses did not?

Interesting thought, however … over the following 25 years Joshua did just that. He led Israel across the Jordan River on dry ground, brought the walls of Jericho tumbling down, defeated every foe in Canaan and divided the promise land among the tribes. Joshua died at 110 years old completing the work Moses started.

Again, what made Joshua able to succeed where Moses evidently did not? Well God shared with Joshua some key elements of leadership that guaranteed his success. Let’s read beginning in Joshua the first chapter and see if we can identify some of these key elements.

Joshua 1 NKJV

1 ¶ After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, it came to pass that the LORD spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, saying:

2 "Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—the children of Israel.

3 "Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses.

4 "From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your territory.

5 "No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.
6 "Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.

7 "Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.

8 "This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."

Three times in this brief passage God commands Joshua to be strong and courageous. So, I suppose these two elements should be at the top of our list of leadership qualities without regard to who and where we are called to lead … family, business, community, church.

1. Strong

2. Courageous

The concept of being strong here does not imply a physical strength which Joshua could use to intimidate his followers, but rather this word means to be resolute. (A determination which holds us steady to course despite the oppositions or obstacles we face … A security which comes from knowing who you are and whose you are.)

Courage, on the other hand, is the ability to attempt the impossible and the guts to try things which others, even others better than you, tried and failed.

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."

Be resolved to not let fear rule your life or dictate your decisions and on another note: Be fearless and don’t get caught off guard, don’t become discouraged, don’t get depressed or be detoured by the things which happen along life’s way. Be strong and courageous!

You know, these things are necessary to any leader who has been given a great job to accomplish. Courage and determination are very common elements of leadership and not only did Joshua have these qualities resident within him, but Moses also had them. So far we haven’t seen anything in Joshua’s life that Moses did not also possess … and yet Moses allowed the people to get the best of him …

If Joshua is going to succeed where Moses did not, he is going to have to come up with something else to add to his leadership tool kit. What else is there? Is there anything else in this brief exhortation from God to Joshua that would make him successful?

Joshua 1:8 "This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

3. The Written Word of God on Which to Meditate

Meditating on God’s Word is one of the lost arts of leadership. Almost no one teaches the power and the promises of meditation. With all of the get rich quick schemes and success gimmicks sold on the market today I would not be surprised to find little or nothing at all about the biblical principles of meditating as a guaranteed pathway to prosperity and success. But – we have God’s Word on that matter!

What is meditation? The best way I have found to explain it to the modern man in today’s world is to liken meditation to something many face on a daily basis … worry!

Meditation, for lack of a better example, is just worring in reverse. Worry is simply believing that what the devil or the world or our own circumstances say is going to come to pass and there is absolutely nothing which can be done to stop it. That’s the art of meditation.

Meditation is worrying about what God says coming to pass and convincing ourselves that nothing can be done to stop it. Whether it pertains to forgiveness, salvation, healing, finances, relationships, or our future, God’s Word is true and if given the chance in our life, God’s Word will change our situation to line up with God’s Will.

A great part of our prosperity and success is believing and confessing the Word of God. This begins by putting the Word in our hearts and filling our minds with God’s commands. As we place God’s Word in our thoughts and allow that Word to turn over and over in our minds, beginning when we rise from our sleep, when we walk in the way, as we sit with our friends and lay upon our beds at night, we will receive powerful, life giving and life changing revelation from the Holy Spirit.

The living Word of God will get off the page and into our life.