Monday, February 13, 2012

Almost Persuaded or Fully Persuaded

Almost Persuaded or Fully Persuaded (2/18/09)
·         The prodigal son. Luke 15:11-16
o   Sin looks good but it will take you farther than you want to go.
o   If sin didn’t look good, then it wouldn’t be a temptation.  The devil knows your weakness and he will attack you when you are at your weakest.  But remember that God is greater.
·         Sin is be fun for a short while.  But you can’t dabble in sin and serve God.  The Bible says that no man can serve two masters.  Willful sinning is serving the devil!
o   The prodigal son had a great time for a while
o   Commercials make drinking look cool and movies make gambling look exciting.
o   College kids have a great time each year partying and having a wild time.
o   But you’re not promised tomorrow.  You never know when it’s your time to die.
o   I personally have known 4 people that died between the ages of 16 and 25.
·         Sin has a cost
o   Sin can cost you your family, money, home, or your life.
o   That homeless drunk on the street didn’t picture his life that way when he took that first drink.  Sin will take you farther than you wanted to go.
o   The drug addict on the corner that will sell his body to get that next high didn’t picture his life that way either.  But sin cost him more than he ever wanted to pay.
o   You know the difference between me and these men?  It could very well be that first drink that I didn’t take because I was saved at a young age.  God kept me from some of the things that I could have gotten involved in had I not accepted Christ at a young age.
o   Romans 6:23 - For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
o   This death is not limited to the earthly death that I spoke of above.  This death is the second death, eternal torment in hell with the devil and his angels.

·         It doesn’t have to be the big sins that I have just talked about either. Not putting God first in your life will send you to hell.  Not accepting Jesus as your personal savior is the ultimate sin.

·         But yet everybody is searching for something.  People simply aren’t happy anymore.  In this generation of me first, make me happy and not worry about others, and people still aren’t happy.  People say “I’d be happy if I had more money” but that’s not true because rich people aren’t happy either.  Single people will say that they would be happy if they could just find that perfect guy/girl.  But that’s not true because married people are constantly getting divorced because they wan t to be single again.

·         Remember the rich young ruler that we looked at last time?  By earthly standards he had everything, so he should have been happy.  But he realized that there was still something missing.  Something that he couldn’t fill with his money.
·         Even king Agrippa, a king that has great power and should have a sense of great accomplishment realized that something was missing in his life that he couldn’t fill with his power or money.  When Paul witnessed to him he said that he was “almost persuaded.”
·         Jesus can fill this void.  Jesus is the only thing that can fill this void.

·         It’s simple to be a Christian but people often try to overcomplicate it.  We have to believe that Jesus lived a sinless life, died on the cross, and rose again.  But remember that believing is not enough, even the devils do that.  We need to accept Jesus as our personal savior.  Then we need to love God with all of our hearts and all of our soul and all of our mind.  If we do this, everything else will fall into place.  We shouldn’t have to worry about doing things that we shouldn’t do because if we truly love God with all of our heart then we will listen when the Holy Spirit tells us not to do something.

·         King Agrippa and the rich young ruler were both holding on to something.  They weren’t willing to give God total control of their lives.  Many of us are holding onto something too.  Maybe it’s drugs or alcohol.  Maybe it’s a filthy mouth that you don’t want to give up.  Perhaps it’s your popularity.  Or could it be that you love your money more than you love God?  Maybe you worship your car a little more than you ought to.  Can’t drive your car to church when it rains because your car will get dirty? Something’s wrong there.

·         Or maybe you are a Christian and you do love God most.  But maybe other things are creeping up to a very close second and third.  We need to be fully persuaded to serve Christ to be a good Christian.  If we’re not careful, we’ll let these things take over and we’ll let God temporarily slip to 2nd or 3rd in our life.  I think that most Christians are guilty of this every now and then.  We don’t mean for this to happen.  We need to make sure that we quickly regain our focus and put Christ back to 1st in our lives.  We need to strive to keep God the center of our lives.
      The devil can’t take away your salvation.  He simply doesn’t have the power!  Remember, Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.  But so often the devil can start with one little sin, and then you’re hooked.  Before you know it, he’s gotten you to give up your salvation.  This is why we have to be careful not to let earthly stuff creep up and become as important as God is in our lives.  The devil is good at what he does, he knows our weaknesses and he knows how to best use them against us.  So remember, we need to be fully persuaded to follow Christ.  Being almost persuaded will send you to hell.  Sin will take you farther than you want to go, cost you more than you want to pay, and keep you longer than you want to stay.  Remember this the next time that you want to do something that the Holy Spirit is telling you not to do.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

An Informed Descision...

(Phillipians 2:10-11)
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

There will come a time when, before the Almighty God, every knee will bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

For a Christian, the dream has come true. All that we've worked for, all that we've suffered for is here. The best day of a christian's life is when we get to see Jesus face to face, when we get to bow before the Almighty God and here him say "Enter in my Good and Faithful servent"

For the sinner, this is a sad day. This is the day that you realize that you bet on the wrong team, and that you bet your life on it. You had every opportunity to make an Informed Descision, yet you chose to blindly bet that there was no God. You lost, and now it's time to settle up. You have an Eternity in Hell to think about the gross error in your logic. Life is but a vapor on earth and yet you chose to live it for yourself in exchange for Eternal Torment.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Judgement Day by Andy Hayes

You're standing at judgement day. Alone, all alone in a big room,full of emptiness,no one is there for you. You alone are accountable for your actions. You stand there, in front of God---He is the judge and the jury, He is the prosecuter and the defense---He is dressed in white apparel and speaks with a bold thunderous vice. he instructs the prosecutor to make his case. then the prosecuter methodically makes his case. He lists the wrong that you've done,the people that you've hurt. And them, most incriminatingly, he tells of all the times that you should have helped people, but you stood by doing nothing. The prosecution rests.

Now the judge, in his thundering voice, asks the defense to present its case. The defense immediately rests. There is no defense for you. No way to justify your actions. No reasons why you didn't help the people you should have, only EXCUSES!!! Then the Judge asks you if have anything to say for yourself, you stand there, trembling, and try to speak. Nothing comes out. You gather yourself, you take a deep breath, still trembling, you start saying that you tried to live right, that you gave money to the church, that you didn't do anything really bad, "I never killed anybody," you say in a shaky voice.

Then you slowly shuffle your feet back a half step and stand there, trembling, waiting. Waiting for the verdict, yet already knowing the answer. You tremble even more. Your knees begin to shake, and you can't stop them. Then just as God begins to speak the verdict, Jesus steps out of nowhere and says that He'll take your place. He knows all the wrong you've done, but He's still willing to take your place. God asks him if He's sure. He nods his head, and God stares at you and says, "Do you realize how lucky you are?"

But this is not how it will happen. Jesus has already taken your place. He came to earth as a man, a mortal man. He left glory and took on mortality. He was tried and tempted just like you and I. Only he sinned not. He was the one and only worthy sacrifice. The only one that there was and the only one that there would ever be. He offered Himself as a sacrifice. He was beaten almost beyond recognition. Why? Because He loved us. He did nothing to deserve this treatment. But He was willing. He paid the price, the agonizing price. Nailed to the cross, for you and I. But it wasn't the nails that held him there. It was His love for us. His love, for the very people that were putting him to death held him to the cross---nowthat's love. It's a free gift, from Jesus to us.
He paid the price. He bought the ticket that will save you from an eternal death.

So where do you want to spend eternity?  Do you want an eternity where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth in eternal darkness? Or would you rather have an eternity that is so great that it can't even be described in words? The only thing we know about Heaven is that it will be an eternity with the one that loved us so much that God sent his only son to die for us. Your ticket is paid for ; all you have to do is accept it. Have you? Will you accept it today?

Today is the day of salvation. Today is the day to accept your reservation in Heaven This might be the last chance you get. You're not promised tomorrow. You're not even promised your next breath. Accept Christ today! Don't risk being one day too late. Imagine yourself in front of that judgement seat, God says, "Depart from me you worker of iniquity".

You begin to plead, "I was going to accept you! Really, I was! I was going to accept you tomorrow!"  But instead you end up in HELL all because you were one day too late. Don't let this be you! All you have to do is open your heart and accept Jesus. Will you accept him? Will you secure your eternity today?

Thy Will Be Done...

We have to be careful not to use the phrase "Thy Will Be Done" as a cop out in case he doesn't answer the way we want him to.

Now a true Christian should truly and always want the will of God to be accomplished, so that is an important part of our prayer, but if we are using this simply as a cop-out then we need to re-examine our relationship with God and how close we are living unto him.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Just As You Were Christian...

The last couple of times i taught we talked about how to be saved.

- Salvation
to believe Jesus is the Son of God,Crucified, and rose again. But even the devils do this.

The cost of sin is death,how it can be addicting, How a little sincan take you farther than you want to go,and keep you longer than you want to stay.

I talked about how the devil can't take away our salvation but he can get us to give it up by starting with these little sins.

Tonight I want to talk to you about how to live after were saved.
I'm sure we've all heard the song"Just as I am." The theme of the song is that we need to come to Jesus just as we are. We dont need to clean up our lives for Jesus to be able to save us, He will help us with that after we are saved. This is a great song and a very true song. This is a hang-up with a lot of people. They think that they need to clean up thier lives before they can be saved. But God will help us clean up once we are saved. There's more to the story than this...

Once we get saved we do need to clean up our lives. There has to be a change. Even a good moral person has to change to be a Christian. Our attitude about life,the way we treat others needs to change, Our prioroties need to change.

Alot of people believe that once they are saved they can do whatever they want to do with the rest of their lives and they will still go to heaven. They believe this because there are churches out there that will tell them this.
There are churches that wont preach against sin because it will hurt their attendance...(preach it honey!)

But, as we will see, The Bible is clear that you have to live Christ-like once saved.

(Romans 6:1-2,11-15)
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

If the world loves you, then your not living close enough to God.We shouldn't feel comfortable around sin.

(John 15:18-19)
“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

(James 3:1-13)
Our tongue is hard to control. Can be our attitude,temper,cursings,gossip...etc
We need to control our tongues not to sin.

(Matt. 7:16-21)
A good tree cannot bring forth bad fruit.

Maybe your at church every sunday and here every wednesday, but on the outside you feel like you have to compromise to fit in.
Is this Good Fruit?
Is tis Bad Fruit?
"A Good tree cannot bring forth Bad fruit."
So, based on that, if this is you, you need to re-examine your life. Maybe your not a "good tree".

Maybe your temper is short and you fly off the handle about every little thing. You need to control your temper. The Bible says..."be slow to anger."

Maybe it's your attitude towards authority..(boss,teachers,parents,elders), unless they want you to do something against God's Word.

I'm not talking about a slip-up here and there. I'm taking about not sincerely trying to be a good christian. I'm talking about trying to put God 1st on sunday and you 1st the rest of the week. You cannot serve 2 Masters.

I may have come across as a little harsh in this lesson. But let me assure you that I'm not trying to be mean. This is serious stuff were dealing with. Were talking Eternity in heaven or Hell. This is a Life or Death descision.
The best descision you will ever make is to accept Jesus as your personal Savior. But it doesnt stop there, the Bible is crystal clear that you have to keep sin out of your life.

Someome may tell you that I'm being old fashioned, that this world has changed and that you can live your life how you want to and still make it to heaven. But I have showed you through scripture how false that is.. You must strive for perfection, we must put Christ 1st in our lives...Its what it All boils down to, If we love God most, we'll live like he wants us to.

I need to live better too, we all have room for improvement. But when we do sin, we have an advocate to the Father through Jesus Christ. All we have to do is repent(and true repentance is to admit we are sorry for our actions)

I want to leave you with one final thought...
When Jesus was on the cross, He literally took our sin upon himself. God had to turn his back on his Son because of this sin. If God rejected his own Son because of sin, what makes you think he will overlook your sin and not reject you on Judgement Day?

Good things happen to Bad people...

Good things happen to Bad people, but it changes when they die.

(John 9:4)
I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.

Does our christian living reflect a "just as you were christian lifestyle"
Does it give us a license to sin? No
We will give an account of how we spent our time and resources to God.

(Matt 10:27)
“Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops.
We need to know our shepherd's voice and be close enough to hear.

(John 15:11)
“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.

(Romans 6:1-2)
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

Lets remember our Christian benefits...

Peace in times of Joy? How do you know if a person is a friend? They are with you when you need something, They are there in times of trouble. These are the times we experience peace. The best blessings happen from victory over trials....We need trials...

Lions Den or Den of Lions

Daniel 6:1-16
- A few things to point out

1) Verse 3 he noticed his excellent spirit. He noticed that something was different about him.
2) People were jealous of what he had that they could not get. So they sought out to get him.

Now to the lesson:
a) (verse 16)- cast him into the "den of lions"
b) Serving God will get you cast into a "den of lions" every now and then. But there is a reason for it:

- It will stregthen you
- To witness to someone else

John 6:1-12

God will allow us to go through certain trials and tests to prove us. These are the "den of lions" tests.
Daniel could have said, "I wont do it again", I'll only worship you, My King."
But then he would have failed the test and wouldn't have been a great witness to these people.
But in doing what he did, he proved his faithfulness in God and was a great witness to all these people.

- Look at Shadrach,Meshach, and Abednego.
- Paul was able to be happy in prison because he was doing what God wanted him to do.

Then we have the martyrs- realizing that even unto death, it is worth it to serve Christ. The martyrs killed for preaching about Jesus. To keep their life, all they had to do was stop preaching. But they realized that God had a purpose for them and it was worth it for them to fufill their purpose even if it took them giving their life to get it done.

You can be a great witness for God when he places you in a "den of lions". Just keep hold of your faith and realize that there is a reason for it. Maybe to strengthen you, maybe to be a witness for someone else.

You cannot be a witness for Christ in a lions den. Did you expect to find a rabbit in there? Of course you got eaten by the lion!

Should someone that's been an alcoholic for 50 years, then became a christian last month, go to a bar with his old crew? That's walking right into temptation with people that are most likely going to try to get you to drink.

Now lets soppose this same man goes to dinner with a few friends and a couple of them have a beer with dinner. Yes, he may be tempted, but this is a scenerio where he is better equipt to fight the temptation and pass the test.

Are you putting yourself into a situation where your most likely to lie?

The point that i want to make with this is that we will have troubles and trials in this life. Christian or sinner, we will all have troubles. But we, especially we as Christians, should do our very best to stay out of 
'lions dens."

You may make it into and out of a few "lions dens" without seeing the lion, but if you go into enough "lions dens" you will get eaten.