Saturday, September 28, 2019

Family Sunday - Watch


Mark 13:32  “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

Matthew 24
37  “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
38  “For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,
39  “and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”

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.

1 Thessalonians 4
16  For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
17  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

There is no doubt that Jesus will come with the shout of an archangel and with the trumpet of God. This is a clear reference to the Feast of Trumpets which marks the beginning of the Jewish New Year. This feast is called the Feast of Yom Teru’ah in Hebrew, which means “Blowing the Shofar”, “Shouting loudly”, and making a lot of noise to awaken those who are asleep and get them up and going. This is the one picture painted from Genesis to Revelation that is undeniable and confirmed by the Living Word.

You can read more about this feast in Leviticus 23 where the dates are set. The Feast of Trumpets begins on the 1st day of the Jewish month of Tishri. We don’t know exactly which day or what hour it will be because it takes two witnesses observing the first sliver of the new moon to blow the trumpets and sound the alarm. This will mark the beginning of the Jewish Biblical New Year. Tonight at sundown the witnesses will be looking and at some point, within the coming hours, the trumpets will sound, and the celebration begin.

·        This is known as the day that God created the heavens and the earth.
·        Jewish Rabbis teach that God created Adam and Eve on this day.
·        They also teach that God will send Messiah on this day.
·        Many NT scholars teach Jesus was born during this time.
·        And, we believe He will come again during this two-day feast … we just don’t know the exact day or the hour … but neither does Jesus.

During the next 21 days we will celebrate the remaining unfulfilled three feasts ordained by God. According to the scriptures, the return of Jesus could be anytime within the next few hours to the next few days.

When we view the feasts which God ordered in the Bible and understand them as hidden treasures, filled with knowledge of things to come, and realize that each year the Jews were participating in dress rehearsals for the great events they represented, we can easily see the life of Jesus and God’s plan for mankind. So far, we have witnessed:

The Feast of Passover - Jesus was crucified as our sacrificial Lamb
The Feast of Unleavened Bread – Jesus body was buried with our sins
The Feast of First Fruits - Jesus was resurrected and lives forevermore
The Feast of Pentecost - God sent the Holy Spirit to fill us with power      

These four feasts have been ultimately fulfilled in Christ first coming and in God sending the Holy Spirit. The next feast, beginning at any minute now, will mark the day of the return of Jesus for His Bride. This year might just be the year He comes.

I can easily imagine, in fact I have purposely sat down, closed my eyes and prayerfully imagined what excitement there must be in heaven and wondered if Jesus is sitting on the edge of His throne right now, waiting to see if God will say, this is the year Son, go get your bride! It could be any minute now. Why not today or tonight …

Matthew 24:14  “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.’

Mark 13
35  “Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming — in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning — 
36  “lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping.
37  “And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”

My friends, what I say to you, I say to all … watch! Jesus is coming!!!

Offer the plan of salvation:
1.   Recognize you need a Savior
2.   Repent of your sins
3.   Receive Jesus
a.   By grace
b.   Through faith
c.   When you call upon His Name

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

High Places


It’s been said that it is easier to raise support for something you are going to do than it is to get support for something you did. For some reason the next thing seems more exciting than the last thing … the new thing seems better than the old thing. But, Without the old thing, the new thing would not have been possible.

This evening we are going to approach our Bible study with a little different mindset than usual. Instead of focusing on what God is about to do through the lives of the Apostle Paul and Barnabas, rather let’s see what this passage in Acts chapter 13 will reveal about what God has already done to make the new thing possible.

You see, sometimes we can get so caught up in what God is about to do that we miss giving Him credit for what He did.

Acts 13 NKJV
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.


Acts 13
1  Now in the church …
·        The Church is
o   Called out
o   Called together
o   Called to gather
o   Called to go
·        The Church is the
o   Body of Christ
o   Bride of Christ
o   Family of God in heaven and earth

1  Now in the Church that was at Antioch …
·        The Church is
o   One family
§  Worldwide
§  Universal
o   Many local households

1  Now in the Church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers:
·        Barnabas – A young spirit-filled committed Jewish Believer, a good man, and a great teacher who was sent from the Church in Jerusalem to Antioch of Syria to encourage and strengthen them.
·        Simeon who was called Niger – Niger is a Latin-based word meaning black. There were so many Simeon’s (Simon’s) in the Church that they had to start surnaming them:
o   Acts 15:14 - KJV Simeon; NKJV Simon; NLT Peter;
o   Simeon (Simon) Peter – The Rock – Simon Barjona - Johnson
o   Simeon (Simon) the Canaanite – Simon Zelotes – a Disciple
o   Simon the half-brother of Jesus
o   Simon the Leper – Leprous Simon
o   Simon of Cyrene – Who carried Jesus’ cross – Cross Simon
o   Simon, Simon Iscariot-  the father of Judas Iscariot
o   Simon the Pharisee –  Luke 7:36-44 – Alabaster Simon
o   Simon Magus – Samaria/Sorcer Simon – Converted and Rebuked
o   Simon of Joppa – Tanner Simon – Clean Sheet Simon
o   Simeon Niger – Simon the Black
·        Lucius of Cyrene – Some imagine this to be the same as Luke, writer of the Gospel of Luke – But I don’t – Cyrene is in Libya, North Africa
·        Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch
o   Probably the son of the nurse of Herod Antipas
o   Perhaps a foster brother; more of a companion/servant to be schooled with and play with and otherwise accompany
§  Lived in the same household
§  Unfettered Access
§  Limited privilege
o   Herod the tetrarch –
§  The Son of Herod the Great by his Samaritan wife, Malthace.
§  He was the Herod that beheaded John the Baptists
§  He was ruler of Galilee and much of Israel during the whole of Jesus’ earthly life and ministry.
§  He was the one Pilate sent Jesus to be judged by in Jerusalem … He asked Jesus some idle questions and had Him mocked and sent Jesus back to Pilate dismissively.

Manaen, the New Testament Prophet Teacher in the Church at Antioch, had been brought up with Herod in the same house, around the same people, but evidently turned out very different!!!

Why? Because, even in the highest places, the richest palaces, the evilest regimes, and the most ungodly households … God has witnesses … Even in the household of Herod!

Luke 8 NKJV
1 ¶  Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him,
2  and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities — Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons,
3  and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him from their substance.

Herod’s steward’s wife was a Born-Again, spirit-filled, disciple and financial supporter of Jesus and followed Him from city to city listening to Him preach the Word, bring the Good News Gospel, heal all kinds of diseases and cast out devils. No wonder Manaen became a Believer in Jesus and a powerful preacher of the Gospel.

God has people in high places …

·        Moses in Pharaoh’s house – Hebrews 11:25
·        Obadiah in Ahab’s house – 1 Kings 18:3
·        And even Believers in and around the evil Emperor Nero’s own family …

Philippians 4:22  All the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar’s household.

Never fear … never despair --- God’s had people everywhere! He has them in the highest places, the richest palaces, the evilest regimes, and the most ungodly households … God has witnesses everywhere!

Where are you? Who can you influence?

The greatest move of God in the coming generation will have to sit upon and launch off of the things we do for Jesus in this generation.

·        God has a plan
·        He will succeed
·        You have a chance to participate

It’s called today!

Saturday, September 21, 2019



The setting:
• When the Jewish religious leadership in Jerusalem began persecuting the Jews who believed that Jesus had been resurrected from the dead and that He was the promised Messiah Who was sent into the world to save men from their sins, they began to persecute these Believers.
• Things got so bad that a young charismatic, spirit-filled Believer named Stephen, who was a deacon in the Church at Jerusalem, was stoned to death by a group of radical religious Jews.
• Stephen’s death emboldened the aggressors and sent fear into the hearts of some of the Jews who had become Believers in Jesus.
• Many Believers were scattered abroad for fear of their lives and they took Jesus with them wherever they went.
• Some of these Jewish Believers went as far north as Antioch … the capital city and commercial center of Syria.
• These Believers preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ to other Jews who lived in Antioch. 
• Many believed and were born-again, and a new Church was birthed in the city of Antioch.

Antioch was built along the Orontes River, only 16 miles from the Mediterranean Sea, by one of the generals of Alexander the Great about 300BC. In the days of early Church, Antioch was a hub of activity from trade to travel. 

If a person wished to travel from Jerusalem to Antioch, they could walk the 300 miles north or they could make a day’s journey to either Joppa or Caesarea and take one of the many ships heading north along the Mediterranean coastline and disembark at Seleucia and make the short half day walk on into the city of Antioch. 

Today the modern-day city of Antakya, along with the ancient ruins of Biblical Antioch, is located only 12 miles northwest of the Syrian border in the country of Turkey.

By the time we get to our text in Acts 11, verse 19:
• The Apostle Peter was in Jerusalem informing the other Apostles that God had saved Gentiles in Caesarea, filled them with the Holy Spirit, and that he had baptized them in the Name of Jesus. 
This was both shocking and wonderful news to the Church leadership.
Evidently both Jews and Greeks, who were also referred to as Hellenists, could be born-again, water baptized and spirit-filled.
• The Church in Antioch was young, strong and growing, but they were preaching the Gospel onlyto Jews.
Things were about to change …
• The year is late AD42 to early AD43 – about 1976 years ago …

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.

The Church at Antioch became one of the most powerful and most productive Churches in history. The Church at Antioch was the first Church to fully accept and embrace the converted Saul of Tarsus. The leadership and the congregation were the first to reap the bountiful benefits of this learned Jewish scholar turned preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The elders of the Church at Antioch had the privilege of first recognizing and ordaining the Saul of Tarsus turned the Apostle Paul as a missionary/Apostle of Christ. The Church at Antioch as much or more responsible for the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole world as any other Church in history. 

Today, I have but two questions to present:
1. We know the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch … but why?
a. We might imagine it was a complimentary term, but we don’t actually know. Scholars have held much debate about this.
b. We don’t know if this term was given them by their enemies, as it happened with the Puritans; the Quakers; the Methodists and many others …
c. Or perhaps the Disciples of Christ began calling themselves Christians … 
d. Maybe it was simply a way for the citizens of Antioch to distinguish this group from other groups in the city.
e. There is a lot to being called something or being labeled by some term. One person in your group may accept a term you do not want to be identified with … 
i. What do you imagine when someone says – 
1. Pentecostal
2. Charismatic
3. Messianic
ii. Christianity has not always had a positive connotation.
f. Most likely, the name Christian was given to the group by Paul who to take away any distinction or appearance of division between Jewish converts to Jesus the Christ and Gentile converts to Jesus the Christ.
g. So, why were they called Christians? 
i. One reason alone …
ii. To identify them with Jesus the Christ.
• That’s never a bad thing …
• We should never shrink back from being called a Christian.
• We just need to make sure we areshowing people the real Jesus … and not just following the crowd.

Are you a real Christian?

Our second question for today is:
2. What does it mean to be a Christian?
a. We know both Paul and Peter accepted and embraced this term even though there were many false teachers in their day.
i. Acts 26:28 (King Agrippa said, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”)
ii. 1 Peter 4:16 (Peter said that if any man suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed but glorify God!)
b. The Greek word translated to the English word Christian in this verse is Christianos = Followers of Christ.
i. The very term Christian, used to identify followers of Jesus, qualifies Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah.
ii. This is why I believe it was given to the group of Believers by Paul as a term of identification instead of being given by an enemy or community as a negative label.
iii. They began being referred to as Believers in and Followers of the One True Messiah, the Son of Almighty God.
c. The English word “Followers” is found 8 times in the KJV of the New Testament. 7 of those times it is translated from the Greek word “mimetes”, from which we get the word imitate. To follow Christ is to imitate Him.
d. We understand the term Christianity means to follow Christ. What does it take to be a realfollower Christ?

Three things are essential for us to be like Jesus …

1. Love

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

• Love is Action

1 John 3:18  My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.

• If we are to be like Jesus we must love, pray for, and help our friends and our enemies.

Luke 6:27  “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.”

2. Forgive

Luke 23:34  Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.

Matthew 6
12  And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.
14  “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

3. Give

Galatians 1:4  who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,

Galatians 2:20  “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the lifewhich I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Ephesians 5:25  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,

1 Timothy 2:6  who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,

Titus 2:14  who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

God wants us to be a reflection of Jesus Christ in this lost and hurting world. 
1. Love others
2. Forgive them of the offenses they have caused you
3. Give of yourself unselfishly and without prejudice … give your time, your talent and your treasury to help hurting people.