The Atheist’s Nightmare

Atheist's Nightmare, Muslim Nightmare,

Daily Spirit & Word: 723: The Atheists’ Nightmare.

Is a Believer and Follower of Jesus, who knows the Truth and believes it enough to begin to share it.

Ephesians 4:18 (NIV) “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.”

Last Wednesday evening we met an Atheist, he was one of the most intelligent and polite men I’ve met in a very long time. We have a little intelligence test, David went through all our trick questions and the Atheist got them ALL correct. There was no way we were going to fool this man. But it brought a smile to his face and warmed his heart. He loved debating.

On Sunday evening we attended a little session on putting on the Gospel Armour: You know the song, “Each Piece Put ON With Prayer”… i.e. we’re not to mechanically or ritualistically put the armour on. Ephesians 6:10-20.

We were reminded that our greatest BATTLE is not against flesh and blood: look what our battle is against: Whenever you open your mouth for Jesus there the battle rages. Once you decide in you heart “I’m going to share Jesus with this person, in this situation, right now” Then the missiles of the enemy begin to fly… but why? It’s because,  Ephesians 6:12 (NIV) “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

This DARK WORLD: the rulers, authorities and powers of this dark world: These are the people empowered by SATAN: The battle is not against those people, but the SPIRIT and EVIL that’s empowering them. They don’t even know it, they are unaware of it, they are DARKENED in their understanding. Ephesians 4:18 and BLIND to their condition, 2 Corinthians 4:4.

AND: The Spiritual Forces of EVIL in the HEAVENLY REALMS:  i.e. Satan and all his demonic army.

We can have ‘nice’ debates with people, we could get into logical arguments, but in the end it’s the LIGHT of Jesus Christ they need, not to be won over by argument. I keep repeating this little phrase to myself when engaged in debate, “Win an argument and you loose a friend”… We’ve just taken time to build friendship with that man or woman (be it only for a few minutes), so why ruin that hard won friendship by winning an argument? Let him win, let her win, then move onto the Gospel. I’d much rather loose a debate and win a soul for Jesus Christ. WHY? Because they’ve been blinded by Satan. They’re darkened in their understanding (they just don’t KNOW they are in the darkness, they a also Blindly Unaware) so just give them some awesome, bright, shining light. Let them see again, we can SOFTEN any heart with Jesus POWER. And we can bring LIGHT of understanding to any soul.

Take them by the hand and lead them out of their dreadful darkness, guide them into the light, usher them into the presence of Jesus Christ. 

YBH: “Yes, but HOW?” There is POWER in Gospel Words.

How does an Ardent Atheist get faith? The same way anybody else gets faith: Faith comes by hearing God’s Word…

Romans 10:17 (NIV) “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”

The message is heard through the WORD OF CHRIST. (THE WORD OF GOD).

AND: FAITH comes by hearing that message.

Sometimes it is almost physically observable when I see a person getting the LIGHT: When sharing the good news every week, we’ll observe the moment when the LIGHT goes on in a person’s soul. Suddenly they get it! I’ve been watching the physical reactions when we go through God’s LAW: A man suddenly puts his hand over his mouth. It’s like he’s got to stop trying to justify himself. A woman’s eyes well up with tears and she just goes silent for a few moments, then declares, “So we’re all sinners, we’re all doomed”… It’s such a wonderful moment when someone is brought into the light of understanding and knowing.

SEPARATED FROM THE LIFE OF GOD.

They are not just DARKENED and BLINDED, they are SEPARATED from the life of God.

Ephesians 4:18 (NIV) “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.”

They are also SEPARATED because of the ignorance in them, due to the hardening of their hearts.

So what does a HARDENED HEART need? It needs to be SOFTENED…

  • We got some dried mushrooms the other day, to be able to use them, we had to soak them for hours in water. It’s amazing watching those mushrooms go from dried up crisps and return to the fattened shape and form again.

A hardened heart must be marinated in the WATER of The Word of God: It takes time to allow the WORD to penetrate a hard heart. Sometimes as long as five minutes 🙂

I’ve heard some people say “My husband’s heart must be like granite (Granite has unyielding firmness, it’s impervious to water)” Granite can’t be penetrated by water that’s why so many people choose granite for worktops in their kitchens. However, no human heart is so hard that it cannot be penetrated with the WORD of God. It goes past the outer surface and penetrates right to the core of the soul.

My friends, it’s not that they have hearts that are too tough or hard, but it’s US (Believers and Followers of Jesus) who don’t have enough faith in the POWER of God’s Word to do it’s WORK. Just believe in the power of God’s Word. Accept that when you are sharing Jesus, He’s already beginning to draw that soul from darkness into His marvellous light. We are never working alone, the POWER of Jesus is working right with you the moment you open your mouth to share the Good News with someone, Jesus is beginning to work on their hearts.

KNOW THE TRUTH (Jesus) AND THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE.

It’s not just the Darkened, Blinded and Separated sinner who needs to know the TRUTH, but we Christians also need to BELIEVE and TRUST the TRUTH (Jesus). He’s with you! Do you believe and trust in that? I mean really believe it and trust it. If you begin to accept this truth, then I’m certain you are going to see many more of your friends, family, neighbours and workmates come to faith in Jesus Christ. It’s an Atheist’s nightmare when an Believer not only KNOWS the TRUTH, but BELIEVES him enough to share it.

Why is it a NIGHTMARE for them?

Because an Ardent Honest Atheist believes he knows there is NO GOD… He’s looked at all the available evidence and can’t find God. It’s not surprising to someone who knows God though, because we know they can’t see or know God for the simple reason they a BLIND and a blinded person cannot see. They are DARKENED in their understanding, because of their HARD HEARTS, so they cannot understand either. They are separated from the LIFE of God, so they are DEAD in their transgressions and sins.

Hebrews 4:12 (NIV) “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Oh my friends, if Christians can grasp this TRUTH, they’re going to see so many souls SAVED by Jesus. Those Dehydrated Souls Need The Living Water of God’s Word.

So don’t get alarmed when you encounter an Atheist, get the compassion of Jesus and lead them into the light, let Jesus open their blinded eyes and soften their hardened hearts with the gentle word of the Saviour of the World. Like my dried mushrooms, plunge them into the WORD of God. Soak them in it and watch their understanding be expanded, watch the LIFE of God beginning to take shape and form in their WORD enlightened and softened souls. Amen!

NOTE: I was given this message by the LORD today. I believe there are many Christians who need to know the power that is in them.
So many of our brothers and sisters in Christ need the assurance and confidence to share Jesus. This world’s powers, infected by the Evil forces in the Heavenly realms, don’t want you to be sharing Jesus today. They hate it of course, that’s why a man, training to be a Social Worker, was thrown out of University because of his Christian beliefs, it seems you can’t be a Christian in Public office today in the UK. You can’t share your faith with a Muslim colleague either, a Nurse lost her job because she gave a booklet to a Muslim colleague and invited her to church. Oh my friends, the BATTLE is most definitely on, but don’t be SILENCED or feel threatened. Jesus will give you the words you need when you are dragged before the Magistrates. He will be with you encouraging you and strengthening you in the BATTLE. The souls of those in the darkness are too precious to worry about the personal consequences of leading them into the light. That’s why Jesus said, “Take up your Cross Daily and follow me”… We are to die to self and live for Him.

The Worship Song: “Just One Touch From the King”

In verse 2: I believe that worship song is prophetic of our Nation today.

“There’s a great darkness over this land
A deep darkness on the people
But a light is shining
That the dark can’t understand
The Light of the world King Jesus
Do you know do you know
Do you know do you know”

All they need is JUST ONE, just one touch from the KING, then they’ll KNOW too.
They’ll be set free from the deep darkness, blindness, separation from the life of God.
Just ONE TOUCH FROM THE KING: The Lord Jesus Christ.
His POWER is in YOU!

Be fully blessed today,
Don.
Worship Song: “Just One Touch From the KING”.

 

I’m Going Home To Share The Good News

Jesus experienced rejection of his own family, friends, townsfolk, so don't give up or give in to the fear of rejection,

Good morning my friends, today I’m sharing the message I preached in church yesterday, but it’s even more impacting me than I thought, because there’s a principle that I’ve learned afresh, the importance of persevering in sharing the faith we’ve received no matter what kind of response it provokes in those who hear it. Don’t GIVE UP or GIVE IN when there’s a negative response.

Daily Spirit & Word: 722: Jesus Visits His Home Town.

The Incredible Unbelief in Jesus’ Home-Town of Nazareth.

“FEAR NOTHING”: Said Jesus. “Except: God…” We love all kinds of scary things: wild rides at the fair, scary rides a parks, pranks that make us frightened (the Bush-Man on Facebook), etc… but the one thing we should be afraid of we’re told, “we mustn’t tell people about that” because it’s not NICE to scare people. How is it OK to scare people with ghost, ghool, horror and thriller stories, but it’s NOT OK to scare them about God? My friends, “FEAR GOD”…Why? “Because the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom”.

Good morning my friends, we’re back with Mark’s Gospel again today, this time our focus is upon Jesus visit to His home town in Nazareth. However, instead of receiving a warm welcome, like those who return from war, he encounters unbelief and criticism, but that has tragic consequences for his townsfolk.

Mark 6:1-6 (NIV)
1 Jesus left there and went to his home town, accompanied by his disciples.
2  When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. “Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles!
3  Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offence at him.
4  Jesus said to them, “Only in his home town, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honour.”
5  He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.
6  And he was amazed at their lack of faith. Then Jesus went round teaching from village to village.

NOTE: 1: Their Initial Amazement.

The Situation: Jesus has just been thronged by thousands, news was spreading fast about all the miracles he’s been performing around the towns and villages and on the edges of The Sea of Galilee. The Deliverance of a man with thousands of demons, the woman who’d been sick for 12 years, the bringing back to life a girl who had died.

But then almost like a Train Hitting the Buffers at Land’s End in Cornwall: It all comes to a CRASHING HALT: Where? In a foreign town? NO! In a Roman Official’s home? No! Amongst the foreigners? No! Where? In Jesus’ Home Town.

He was in town accompanied by his disciples. 

One of the things that should have convinced his home town of Jesus’ status should have been the great entourage that accompanied him now.

Jesus Return Home: It’s like a Great General Returning from a Campaign: But instead of a Triumphant Rally, Jesus doesn’t even get a little party.

  • What does Jesus do? On the Holy Day: Sabbath: Jesus goes, like a good Jew would, to the Synagogue.
  • What does Jesus do in the Synagogue? “He began to teach”
  • What’s the initial response? “Amazement”...

Amazement: Is the feeling that accompanies something extremely surprising. Another word could be ‘Astonishment’. (It’s surprise, stupefacation, admiration, wonder, wonderment). Modern words: Impressed.

Listen to their Questions: they asked;

  • “Where did this man get these things?”
  •  “What’s this wisdom that has been given him?
  •  “He even does miracles!”

Jesus teaching is backed-up by the Miracles and Signs and Wonders He performed: Initial response: Amazement.

How would you feel if Jesus was here right now, teaching you the Secrets of God’s Kingdom?

You’d probably AWESTRUCK right?

You’re mouth would fall open and you’d gaze in wonder and amazement.

A modern word for that is WOW or WOWzer! Jesus is AWESOME.

What would be your response?

However, before you answer that question, let’s look at how they responded.

NOTE: 2) The Unreasonable Unbelief of Jesus Townsfolk and Family Members.

They are initially amazed and awestruck, they knew about the Miracles, but what a SHOCKING and SADDENING result for Jesus.

Listen to the next set of Questions: They KNOW all about Jesus of Nazareth.

  • Isn’t this the carpenter?
  • Isn’t this Mary’s son?
  • Isn’t Jesus the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?”

That’s right, they KNOW Jesus background. They KNOW where he comes from? They KNOW his family? They KNOW his trade / employment.

  • He’s a Carpenter: The Son of a Carpenter… “How could a mere Carpenter get so much wisdom, and miracles making power?” … “We know He hasn’t attended any Rabbinical School”… They are offended / scandalised by a mere Carpenter having the audacity to teach them.
  • He’s a Son: Of a woman we know all about. He’s just an ordinary man…
  • He’s got brothers and sisters amongst us here. (Mary obviously didn’t stay a Virgin after Jesus’ birth, she had other sons and daughters. Only Jesus was Mary’s Divine child).

NOTE: 3) WHY They Refused To Believe or Trust in Jesus:

They were amazed at his wisdom, they knew about the miracles, but the FOCUS instead upon His (human) Personality. Who He IS…

What was their response to Jesus teaching and their questioning and reasoning? “They Took OFFENCE at Him”...

Instead of being so impressed and filled with JOY, as they most certainly should have been, they are simply OFFENDED.

OFFENCE: Is a feeling of anger caused by an offence: i.e. Jesus was only a Carpenter, a Son and a brother, so why is He here ‘preaching and teaching’? Their offence was anger cause by who they thought Jesus was.

The Reason For Their Offence Was, “What right has this Son and Carpenter to TEACH us?” … “Who does He think He is?”… It’s a feeling of being appalled, aggrieved, bruised, outraged, pained, scandalised, violated and wounded… (A litle girl in our gathering yesterday stated “they may have been jealous of Jesus”… Jealously is a powerful emotion).

We don’t even know what it was that Jesus was teaching them in the Synagogue in Nazareth that day: Have you ever wanted to be a “fly-on-the-wall”? I’d love to know what it was they were so Scandalised and Offended about, but we don’t.

The most important thing for Mark (and the Holy Spirit) is that we know that in Jesus Home Town: Amongst Family and Townsfolk: They were offended by His PERSON more than his actual teaching in their Synagogue.

  • Their UNBELIEF is UNREASONABLE: Because of the EVIDENCE. (i.e. His wisdom, His Miracles) (No right thinking person when given the evidence they had received would deny Jesus or refuse to Honour Him). It’s just totally unreasonable.
  • Their UNBELIEF is  INEXCUSABLE: on account of all the evidence. They should have responded with open heart and hands and voices, but they didn’t instead they lacked faith in Jesus because they remained offended.

NOTE: 4) THEIR UNBELIEF IS COSTLY.

However, their Unbelief and Offence: has a terrible consequence for them.

A)  They Get a REBUKE from Jesus For Their Unbelief.

Jesus STATEMENT: “Only in his home town, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honour.”

That’s not merely statement of fact: but of OPEN rebuke. i.e. Strangers welcomed and honoured Jesus. Complete Strangers showed Him respect. Complete Strangers listened and responded to His teaching, but His town’s folk and even some of Jesus’ own family: were offended and without faith. They remained in STUBBORN UNBELIEF.

When there’s so much EVIDENCE: That kind of UNBELIEF is a Sin.

GRAVITY: It’s like saying, “I know that Newton Defined The Law of Gravity, but even though I can see an Apple falling from a tree, and every time I drop a cup it falls to the floor and smashed to pieces, I don’t believe in GRAVITY”… How foolish.

I remember an old Government Health and Safety Advert: About the Dangers we face a work:

“Sir Isaac Newton tells us why, an apple falls down from the sky,
and from this fact it’s very plane, all other objects do the same,
A brick, a boot, a bar, a cup, invariably it falls down; NOT up.
And every other working tool, is governed by the self-same rule.
So when you handle tools up there, let your watchword be; take care.”

The Evidence for who Jesus was, and backing up what He was saying and teaching was all around them: Yet even members of his own family and many in his home town remained in stubborn UNBELIEF…

You might be surprised by that, I am and So was our Lord Jesus Christ. Look at verse 6 of our reading today; “He was amazed at their lack of faith”… Their Unbelief is unreasonable, inexcusable, brings a rebuke, but note what happens next…

B) Jesus Wasn’t Able to Perform ANY Miracles.

Except heal only a few people. Surely healing a few people is miraculous, but what the text is telling us is that Jesus was hindered by their UNBELIEF and lack of faith.

C) thirdly, Jesus MOVES ON because of Their Unbelief:

What happened as a result of their Unbelief? “Jesus moves on from town to town teaching”… He moved away from His Home Town: Nazareth. He leaves behind his own family, neighbours who’d known him all his life, and goes to other towns in the area, to strangers rather than friends and family. What a dreadful shame.

My friends, there’s a STARK WARNING for us here today.

If we’ve been CONVINCED: that Jesus is who He claims to be “The Divine Son of God”, The King of the Jews, The King of a KINGDOM not of this Earth, The Expected One. If we believe that He could and did perform wonderful miracles. That He had amazing insightful and wise teachings, but refuse to put our FAITH in Him, then we’re just the same as His own family members and townsfolk of Nazareth.

Their UNBELIEF: Was both UNREASONABLE and INEXCUSABLE and thirdly, very COSTLY: If we’ve become convinced of Jesus, then we’re just the same; If we remain in STUBBORN UNBELIEF.

NOTE: 5) What’s A RIGHT RESPONSE TO JESUS?

Faith IS confirmed by our RESPONSE: How are we TRUSTING in Jesus today? (Not what we’ve done in the PAST).

It’s not so much about what we believe about Him. (As Nazareth did). But our HEART response to HIM.

It’s not about being impressed by Him. (As Nazareth was). But receiving HIM by FAITH.

Those people were impressed, but they REFUSED to Honour Him and Accept Him.

Remember what the Apostle John recorded in John Chapter One: ”

John 1:10-18 (NIV)
10  He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him. (Even the one’s who knew him best, his home town, didn’t not receive him).
11  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. (or believe him or trust in him or honour him).
12  Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—
13  children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
14  The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15  John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ “
16  From the fulness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.
17  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
18  No-one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.

Jesus was the ONE: The ONLY ONE, to ever make God Knowable: How? Because He was God.

“If you’ve seen me Philip, you’ve seen the Father”… John 14.

Today is the DAY Of SALVATION: 

Before Jesus moves on from you, to go to another soul and begin to work on them some miracles, to convince them with His teaching, will you OPEN your heart, mind, soul and life to Jesus today?

Will you RESPOND by Accepting or Rejecting Jesus?

Reason It Out: (It’s NOT a blind-leap-of-faith). Look at Jesus teachings. Look at the Miracles recorded. Listen to the Testimony of Believers today. Examine all the Evidence in History from the time of Jesus. All that EVIDENCE is still with us. Enough to CONVINCE the most sincere or sceptical seeker today.

LOOK AT CREATION: The Bible tells us that in itself us enough EVIDENCE in CREATION for the EXISTENCE of God.

Stubborn Unbelief will BE COSTLY: Not just in this life, but in the life to come after death.

Romans 1:20 (NIV) “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

CREATION ITSELF IS ENOUGH EVIDENCE.

Because if we CHOOSE NOT TO BELIEVE: On account of all the evidence we have been given. Jesus might just move on from trying by His Spirit to convince us… “He moved on from town to town teaching”

If we reject Him NOW: We will be rejected in ETERNITY.

Respond: Put you faith and trust in Jesus Christ today. Why? Because TODAY is the DAY Of SALVATION.

Don’t be like His own townsfolk and family; trust, believe and receive Jesus NOW.

For those who’ve never done that before or for those who’ve done it in the past but wandered away from Jesus.

I’m going to GIVE The A, B, C of Coming to faith in Jesus.

The Gospel: We want all our fellowship to know and be able to share the Good News.

  1. A) Accept: That you are a sinner, who needs God’s forgiveness. Without that forgiveness we’ll face God on Judgement day, carrying the weight of our own sins.
  2. B) Believe: Believe that Jesus Christ died upon the Cross for your sins. That He is the Son of God. That He is who He claimed to be GOD. That He died, but rose again and is alive now. You can know Him.
  3. C) Receive: ByREPENT & TRUST: We may accept we’re sinners, believe that Jesus died for those sins, but until we receive Him by Faith, we’re still just like those Townsfolk in Nazareth, Impressed, but still without TRUSTING FAITH. Receive Jesus by an act of faith. Repent and Trust in Him alone and God will grant you the gift of Eternal life, forgiveness of sins, cleansing from sin, New Life in Christ and Gifts of the Holy Spirit indwelling and renewal and power to life a good and holy and abundant life, useful and gifted for God’s service for evermore.

Repentance: Is a change of mind (Greek Word: Metanoia)  regarding our way of living: There must be an element of sorrow / regret for the way we’ve been living in rebellion towards God. Then when we’re broken and convicted it leads us to the decision / desire to want to live our lives in ways that a pleasing to God. True repentance therefore will lead to a change in the way that we live our lives.

Trust in Jesus: It like putting on a life-jacket when you jump from a sinking ship. or a Parachute from a Plane that falling from the sky. Without the life-saver or parachute, your demise is certain. Put ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST: AND YOU WILL BE SAVED. Without Jesus Christ we’re doomed to face a holy and righteous God, who’s justly angered by our sinful rebellion and will give us His justice on Judgement Day. Those who’ve not trusted in Jesus Christ (Put on the Lord Jesus to be clothed in His righteousness), will be thrown into the lake of fire with the devil and all demons.

BUT: God’s doesn’t want that, that’s why He sent his beloved Son to die upon the Cross, to take our punishment and save us from God’s wrath and judgement to come. That’s why it’s so important to have a right FEAR of God.

Finally: You may have similar responses from those who know you every well, when you give your life to Jesus and are transformed by Him. Your own family, townsfolk and friends might be initially surprised and then be offended by what’s happened to you, but when you begin to share the Good News with them, they may begin to say similar things to what they did about Jesus when He visited His home town.

(who does he / she think they are, they’re no different to me, they are just as sinful as I am, etc)… However, if it happened to Jesus, it can happen to us too. Don’t give up! Don’t stop following Jesus just because family, friends and neighbours don’t like it or won’t respond.

Remember how stubborn you were before you finally came to trust in Jesus Christ. I’ll bet that you didn’t trust in Him the first time you heard the Gospel. He had to draw you to Himself. He had to win your faith and trust in Himself. If it takes time with a stubborn person like yourself, then give those you love time to adjust to the claims of Jesus Christ. Coming to faith is often painful for people, because pride has to die first.

Don’t BE TEMPTED: (as much of our modern church has been) to water-down the hard parts of the Good News. Repentance is critical to true conversion. Without repentance from sin, we cannot be saved. A Satan-Blinded Sinner must see his / her sins for what they are; offensive to God, before they’ll see their need to let go of that way of living. Freely share God’s holy and righteous standards revealed in His Commandments, because you have an ally in the person with whom you are sharing, who’ll keep talking to them long after you’ve gone home to bed: it’s their own CONSCIENCE. Once you share the holy standards of God, the Conscience can be re-awakened and will begin to do it’s work. CONVICTION by God’s Holy Spirit will pull the sinner to his or her knees. It’s NOT all up to you, God wants them saved much more than you do.

Preach to them more than once, because their eternal souls are more valuable that your upset feelings or fear of further rejection. Our LOVE for them should compel us to give them as much GRACE as God has given to us.

So don’t give up, because God didn’t give up on you.

Don’t be put-off by an initial hostile response. Persevere, sometimes people will get angry when you share Jesus. I’ve had that many times, but after responding in gentle ways, their initial anger subsides and they begin to open us to receiving the Good News. Anger is just one of Satan’s ways of trying to scare you into stopping short, giving up and going home.

So don’t give-up on them, don’t give-in to fear, don’t water-down, don’t be afraid of rejection, because Jesus followed His own advice to the man delivered from demons (Mark 5) who went home and told everybody the good news. The Demon Possessed man had a good response when he shared, Jesus had a hostile response (Mark 6), but the PRINCIPLE still stands, GO BACK HOME and share the Good NEWS. Share about all the good things God has done for you and how he has had mercy upon you by forgiving your sins, giving you a new life and the gift of faith and eternal life. Some might reject it, but others may just be ready to respond and put their own faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!

A NOTE TO MYSELF: Remember how important it is to read the chapters before and after the one you are peaching upon, sometimes there are linked themes, i.e. The Going HOME of Mark 5 and Mark 6…

Have and AWESOME and AMAZING week with Jesus,

Don.

 

When Temptation Rears It’s Ugly Head.

flee temptation, run away,

Daily Spirit & Word: 721: When we give in to temptation.

What we’re saying to ourselves is; “Evil, be thou my good.” From Paradise Lost, book 4. Line 110.

Good morning my friends, what a dread-filled statement it is above; “Evil, be thou my good” yet the reality is that when we’re turning from the light towards the darkness, it’s like we are declaring to ourselves, “Evil, be thou my good”… Imagine the turmoil Judas must have been in at that last supper. He was with Jesus, with the other Disciples, eating, drinking, chatting away, but then the LORD brings the DARKNESS within Judas into the LIGHT.

John 13:18-30 (NIV)
18 “I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfil the scripture: ‘He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me.’
19  “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am He.
20  I tell you the truth, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.”
21  After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me.”
22  His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant.
23  One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him.
24  Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.”
25  Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?”
26  Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon.
27  As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. “What you are about to do, do quickly,” Jesus told him,
28  but no-one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him.
29  Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the Feast, or to give something to the poor.
30  As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.

Temptation is what Judas caved into when he betrayed the Lord Jesus Christ, the desire for other things, things other than the LORD Himself.

However, think about Judas and we’ll not have to look long to see ourselves. He must have followed a downward spiral, one temptation given into, then another, then another. The Bible records that Judas was a thief, he was the trusted treasurer, but he helped himself to the money given for the Lord.

JUDAS WEAKNESS:

Judas was a thief. He was in charge of the group’s money bag and sometimes stole from it. He was disloyal. Even though the other apostles deserted Jesus and Peter denied him, the degree of Judas’ betrayal was much worse, because he lead the soldiers to Jesus, then identified Jesus by kissing him. Imagine, the lips that praised the LORD, the hands that served the LORD, they are now employed in cruel betrayal. It was the LOVE of MONEY that was a root of evil within Judas.

Think how it’s possible to be close to Jesus Christ and yet in your heart be far away from Him.

  • What ‘things’ have gotten such a hold on you?
  • What ‘things’ have more light than the divine light of Christ?
  • What ‘things’ are more appealing than Jesus?
  • What ‘things’ are offering you more; satisfaction, gratification, payment or pleasure?

My friends, Christ has more, offers more, gives more, satisfies more than anything else in all creation.

Once there was a group of teenagers who started heckling us when out preaching the Gospel in St Budeaux Square in Plymouth. One, a very big chappie, with dark sunglasses on his face, walkman-headphones on his head, shouted, “I take drugs over Jesus any day”… Funny, I’ve never forgotten those words uttered over 27 years ago. “I’ll take drugs over Jesus any day”… He was obviously still in the darkness or he would never had said that. But would he? Judas was with Jesus when He performed miracles. Judas witnessed Jesus healing, blessing, teaching… Is it possible to be so close to Jesus and yet be a devil?

John 6:67-71 (NIV)
67  “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
68  Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
69  We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”
70  Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!”
71  (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)

YOU DO NOT WANT TO LEAVE ME TOO: DO YOU?

What a Question to ask! Would we ever choose to leave Jesus? How can we leave Jesus? Well, it begins with just a thought, “One bite won’t hurt”… “One little taste” … “Just once”… “Only for a little while” You can almost hear Satan whispering in your ears, “God didn’t mean you”.

No wonder the Scriptures, God’s Word, scream out to us: “Take CAPTIVE every thought”… “Take captive EVERY thought” “Take captive every THOUGHT”… 2 Corinthians 10:5.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NIV)
3  For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.
4  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
5  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

It is for FREEDOM that Christ has set us FREE:

Judas fulfilled Scripture prophesy, that one would betray the Christ, but Judas, like us, was FREE to choose, he choose foolishly, yet without a Judas, Jesus would have been alive, we’d all still be in our sins, and we’d have to face an SIN angry God on Judgement day. Why is God ANGRY: Because God hates sin. So Judas was a part of God’s plan of Salvation. However, though Jesus knew all about Judas, though it must have grieved him, though it obviously hurt him, He allowed Judas the freedom to choose. Amazing to think; so close to Jesus Christ yet so far away.

The hand that dipped the bread and handed it to Judas would soon be pierced with nails.

That’s the PAIN we cause the Christ when we give in to temptation.

It’s like we’re saying “Evil, be thou my good”… We’re choosing something God has forbidden. We’re choosing DARKNESS rather than Walking in the LIGHT.

YIELD NOT TO TEMPTATION

I love the old blues hymn sung by Al Green “Yield not to temptation”. To be honest, I’ve sang that song so many times when temptation has reared it’s ugly head.

Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin;
Each vict’ry will help you some other to win;
Fight manfully onward, dark passions subdue;
Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.

Refrain:
Ask the Savior to help you,
Comfort, strengthen, and keep you;
He is willing to aid you,
He will carry you through.

Shun evil companions, bad language disdain,
God’s name hold in rev’rence, nor take it in vain;
Be thoughtful and earnest, kindhearted and true;
Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.

To him that o’ercometh, God giveth a crown,
Through faith we will conquer, though often cast down;
He who is our Saviour, our strength will renew;
Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.

When faced with TEMPTATION: Run Away: Escape.

2 Timothy 2:19-26 (NIV)
19  Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”
20  In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble.
21  If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
22  Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue (RUN AFTER) righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
23  Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.
24  And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.
25  Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26  and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

Look to Jesus Christ. Fix your eyes on Jesus. “Flee the evil desires”

i.e. LOOK AWAY.

Run away, flee, fly, scarper, take to one’s heels, cut and run, escape, leg it, hightail it, head for the hills, avoid, shun, don’t look, think about Jesus, a favourite hymn, open the bible, call a Christian friend, get a brother or sister to pray for you, be honest, be open, don’t give the devil a foothold.

FIX YOUR EYES ON JESUS… 1 Corinthians 10:13.

Hebrews 12:1-4 (NIV)
1  Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses (Moses and all the others), let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
2  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
4  In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

Conclusion:

Say out loud “Jesus, be my good” … “Jesus, be my God” … “Jesus IS my God in whom I will trust”…

Think about the Sacrifice: His hands that touched in healing, giving bread, giving life to a dead girl, sight to a blind man, now pierced by nails.

Think about the LOVE of God: “For God so loved the world (YOU), that He gave His ONE and ONLY Son to die upon a Cross, so that you could be forgiven, cleansed, renewed, filled with the Holy Spirit, given the gift of eternal life, filled with God’s love, empowered by Holy Spirit, gifted to serve, anointed and blessed with the powerful presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, who promised, “I’m with you, even to the end of the age”… Jesus is with you right now, turn to Him, who is the LIGHT, shun the DARKNESS and it will flee away.

I am confident that you will overcome every temptation. Remember 1 Corinthians 10:13 (Commit it to your memory banks).

Have an Awesome Saturday.

Don.

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Living The Jesus Way

how to live like Jesus, be the SERVANT of all like He was

Daily Spirit & Word: 720: Living The Jesus Way.

Having a SERVANT Mindset.

 

Philippians 2:1-8 (NIV) If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!

So in the light of the above passage today, followers of Jesus Christ, when you are UNITED with HIM: In all your relationships with one another, have the same MINDSET as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Philippians 2:5-8

We SHOULD WANT TO BE;

  • Doing NOTHING out of selfish ambition or vein conceit.
  • Considering OTHERS better than ourselves.
  • Not ONLY thinking or looking out for ourselves, but also the interests of others. i.e. we are to look after ourselves as well, but ALSO others.
  • Having the ATTITUDE OF JESUS: The Nature of a Servant: i.e. how can we SERVE: God and Others.

So much of what we call ‘Church’ these days is all about ME rather than the Jesus ways we’re meant to emulate, copy and model.

How often have you thought to yourself: “I didn’t like that worship song”… “That Sermon just didn’t feed me” … “I’m not the one God’s calling to serve on the cleaning, tea making, Sunday School or welcoming rotas” …

Are these the thoughts of a self-sacrificing servant?

THINK AGAIN

  • Perhaps the majority liked that song.
  • Perhaps that Sermon spoke to someone on their way to faith in Jesus.
  • Perhaps God’s bringing someone to church that day, that only YOU can reach by welcoming them.
  • Perhaps you make tea in just the way that a first time visitor really likes.
  • Perhaps you’ve got just the message or personality that a child can relate to.

When we’ve got the SAME MINDSET as Jesus, we’ll not be thinking primarily about what BEST FOR ME or What I LIKE or Prefer, but how we can SERVE both God and Others in such a way that the whole body of Christ can be UNITED, built-up, strengthened, encouraged and brought even closer to the Lord than they’ve ever been before.

So this coming Sunday, come to worship the Lord Jesus with His ATTITUDE and MINDSET.

Think to yourself,

“What can I bring to fellowship that will make EVERYONE happy and full of joy?”

“What can I do that will make someone’s day on Sunday?”

It might be something SMALL to you, but it could be the most significant EXPERIENCE of genuine love that someone needed at just that moment in their life.

Your hands, your feet, your mouth can be used to serve Jesus every day. Not just in Church gatherings. How can you SERVE like Jesus at home, work, family and in the community? When people see you every day, do they KNOW you are a follower of Jesus because of your MINDSET of Jesus? Is your ATTITUDE the same as that of Jesus with people outside fellowship?

PRAYER: O Lord Jesus, as we get ready for PENTECOST again this year, and remember how you filled the first followers with Your Spirit, please so fill me with your Holy Spirit today, that I may be more like Peter was on that day, help me Lord to think less of myself and my likes or dislikes and think about You and others and how I can serve them in such a way that their lives will be transformed and set of fire with love for You. Help me to be SALT and LIGHT that brings JOY to You and Others. Amen!

It’s my wife’s birthday today, Lord help me to make it SPECIAL for her. Amen!

Have an awesome weekend with Jesus,

Don.

Jesus Washes The Disciples Feet

John 13:1-17 (NIV)
1  It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.
2  The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus.
3  Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God;
4  so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel round his waist.
5  After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped round him.
6  He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
7  Jesus replied, “You do not realise now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
8  “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
9  “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
10  Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.”
11  For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
12  When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them.
13  “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord’, and rightly so, for that is what I am.
14  Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.
15  I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.
16  I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.
17  Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

 

When Street Evangelism Brings Joy

Street Evangelism can sometimes be tough, but it's always full of joy

Daily Spirit & Word: 719: It’s NOT Always EASY.

When Sharing The Good News: Isn’t Received Like Good News.

But we spread the SALT and shine the LIGHT anyway.

And Return With Joy

Matthew 5:13-16 (NIV)
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
14  “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
15  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
16  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Good morning my friends, I love to tell you that our Street Evangelism last night was easy, that we saw lots of people coming to Jesus, that everyone we talked with welcomed our message, but it wasn’t like that last night. No, it was tough with a capital ‘T’…

However, it was amazing, it’s like the LORD Jesus has been preparing us for last night from the beginning, because many of the people we chatted with were opposed to the Message of Jesus Christ. We didn’t get into arguments, but we did debate. It was done with humility, great humour and sometimes seriousness.

We Encountered:

  • A man who made up his own version of Christianity, but wouldn’t read the Bible for fear of going mad.
  • A man who said he didn’t believe Jesus ever existed.
  • A man who said he worshipped the Devil.
  • A woman who told us to go away because she was bi-polar and was likely to explode in violence.
  • An Atheist who knew more about the Bible than most Priests we’ve bumped into. He answered every question in David’s Logic Test, He knew every one of the Commandments in order, but definitely was an open minded Atheist who was ready to debate his position.
  • A man and a woman who didn’t want ‘real’ sinners to get into Heaven.
  • And many more…

To say, “last night’s street witnessing was challenging”, would be an understatement.

However, we came back praising the Lord, because we’d planted the life transforming Gospel into the hearts of almost every one of those wonderful souls, apart from the bi-polar lady who just didn’t want to talk at all, we finished off with a great response to the Good News with an amazing lady and her colleague from Patty King.

I read a book a while ago with the title, “God Doesn’t Believe In Atheists” and the strap-line; “You can lead an Atheist to water, but you can make him think”… It’s a play on the old adage, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”… How to make an Atheist back-slide into belief… 🙂

Well, we most certainly can make anyone think: A horse who refuses to drink water can be a bit awkward for the man who needs to have his cart pulled. In order for a horse to be any use it needs to take on water, lots of it. So you’d put SALT into His Oats. Once a horse gets a mouthful of tasty, salty oats, just watch him lapping up that cool clear water.

That’s what we can do with an Atheist as well, put some LIVING SALT (Gospel Words) into his mind, to make him think, to let his God given Conscience go and do it’s work in bringing conviction of sin, leading to repentance and trust in the only Saviour of mankind. Then once he’s come to Jesus, he’ll be lapping up the life giving water of life from the Holy Spirit and drinking in deeply from the eternal fountain. He’ll discover satisfaction for his eternal soul.

Remember Jesus told us to be SALT and LIGHT… God loves Atheists, unbelievers, Satanists, bi-polar, Jesus rejecting people just as much as the Saint who bends the knee to the Saviour.

God doesn’t want a single soul to perish in Hell; LOVE, that’s our motivation for going out and engaging those challenging folks.

God, by His Holy Spirit and the Gospel of His One and ONLY Son, Jesus Christ, is PULLING people from the flames licking at their feet. His desire is that none perish in hell, but everyone to come to repentance. In order for them to come to the point of repentance though, they need to know HOW they’ve offended God and what it is that’s keeping them out of Heaven. Because, most people, even ardent Atheists, want to go to Heaven, if it exists. To show people HOW they’ve offended God to such a degree that they’ll be banished from Heaven forever, it takes patience, lots of it, kindness in great measure, gentleness, joy, love, persuasion, reasoning, more love, humility, respect and boldness. We’re not selling a message, we’re not salesmen with a neat set of pat answers. Each person is an individual, with their own personal experiences, questions, thoughts and reasons for not even thinking about Jesus or eternity. The vast majority are heading for hell in blissful ignorance of their fate. No wonder Jesus said, “The fields are ripe unto harvest, but the labourers are few”. It’s NOT easy, but it is such a JOY to be able to bring some light into their darkness. To give a little HOPE in the midst of hopelessness.

Finishing With An Encouraging Encounter:

The face of the lady from Patty King who heard the Good News last night was a picture, because when I asked, “Does that make sense?” She said, “Yes it does?” She’d been arguing that God would just forgive people anyway, but she didn’t want “horrible people” like; murderers, rapists, child-molesters, etc, to go to Heaven. Her problem was that she thought she was good and really bad people were much worse than her. She was measuring her goodness with what she perceived as their badness, thinking she’d be acceptable to God.

Well after some banter and joking and shedding some light on the true condition of their souls, they still thought their sin wasn’t as bad as others.

I said, “Think about it like this, telling lies is a sin right?” She nodded, “A single lie will keep us out of heaven, because it contaminates us” She didn’t think lying was such a bad sin as to keep a person out of heaven. So I explained, “You work in Patty King, imagine taking a delivery of chicken and one of the batch is smelling rotten, would you put that in the fridge beside the good pieces of chicken?” She said, “No, I’d throw it out”… I explained “that’s what God will do with any soul coming to Him, desiring to get into Heaven, if they’ve been contaminated with any sin; lying, stealing, lust (adultery) hatred (murder), etc”..  “He cannot let them in, because they’d contaminate His holy heaven”… Once she got it, she was open to hearing what God has done so that none should perish in Hell. So when I asked that question, “Dos that make sense?” The nod of her head was a wonderful picture. She said, “Yes it does”.

Tomorrow: We’ll be thinking about; Getting Ready For Pentecost. The Coming of The Holy Spirit.

Today: Always be prepared to give a reason for the HOPE that is in you.

Be filled with God’s LOVE for everyone, do good and share the Good News.

Remember to stay close to Jesus (John 15) and Be filled afresh with God The Holy Spirit, and Praise your Heavenly Father in worship and song.

Don.

 

How To SAVE The World

Good Works and Gospel Proclamation

Daily Spirit & Word: 718: How To SAVE The World?

Let Your Light Shine & Proclaim The Gospel.

Good morning my friends, Way back in 2014, I did some teaching on the Tabernacle and the Lampstand (DS&W:187: Let Your Light Shine). Today, I’m adding a little more light upon that teaching.

Jesus wants your light to shine, first before Him, but then BEFORE MEN. I’ve been sharing how when Christians are in the world, with people who don’t know Jesus as Lord yet, they are taking those people to CHURCH. Not the Church building, but because they are the Church, the Holy Spirit is in them. Well my friends Jesus wants you to let His Holy Light SHINE so that they can see God is real, alive and to bring them to the point of conversion so they will be able to glorify the LORD too.

Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)
14  “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
15  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
16  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD:

My friends, Christians were never meant to be hiding their light in a ‘church building’. We have always been commanded by our Lord Jesus to GO! Go into the WORLD: We’re meant to be both SALT and LIGHT to the people of the world who don’t yet know Jesus as Lord. However, we’ve been contented to SHINE our little light only in church gatherings. How on earth are the people of the world going to get saved if we’re hiding our light in church buildings? “You don’t light a lamp and put it under a bowl” My friends, Jesus didn’t set you on fire to hide that light, so GO. Go into your world today and LET THE LIGHT SHINE…

YBH: Yes but HOW? 

Verse 16 gives us the answer: “let your light so shine before men (people of the world), that they may see you GOOD DEEDS and PRAISE your Father in Heaven”… Awesome! So by just doing GOOD DEEDS people will see the light and come to the point of praising Father God.

Of course it’s not as simple as that, it never is. We’re also to “Give a reason for the hope that is in us”…

1 Peter 3:15 (NIV) “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,…”

How can they be SAVED unless someone preaches / shares the Good News with them?

Romans 10:14 (NIV)
14  How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

My friends, there will be many a soul in Hell, who saw your good deeds and thought, “Mary is a really good and nice lady, but I never knew why, I wish she’d told me about Jesus and how I could be saved.”… We’re not to shine our light so that people will see how good we are, we’re to shine that light in such a way that people will KNOW how good God is. So that they will begin to Praise our Father in Heaven, not us.

It has always meant to be Good Works: Kindness, goodness, faithfulness, love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness and self-control, but accompanied with and by the GOOD NEWS: How Jesus took us and cleaned us up, forgave us our sins and rescued us from sin, Satan and Hell. How Jesus has commanded all men everywhere to repent and believe the Good News.

Good Works Accompanied By Good News

So often the ‘church’ has made the mistake of being one or the other: All Good Works or All Good News, but Jesus / God’s intention was that it was always, always meant to be BOTH.

That is HOW we’re to let our light shine: Good WORKS and Gospel Good News.

Remember again how Jesus sent the Demoniac back to his own OIKOS: That word ‘family’ below in the original Greek is OIKOS, it was not limited to just family, but to everyone who knew the man well, his friends, neighbours, those he worked with or for, everyone who knew all about him, that’s what OIKOS means.

Mark 5:18-20 (NIV)
18  As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him.
19  Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your family (OIKOS) and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”
20  So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

Just like that Demon Delivered Man, many of our contemporary Christian brothers and sisters want to STAY with Jesus in the boat of the church buildings. It’s so tempting, comfortable and nice to be just worshipping, praying, praising, but Jesus is still the same, He’s sending US out into the world to shine the light and share the good news. He’s still commanding you and me to go and let your light shine before men, so they will in turn PRAISE your Father in Heaven. This is a REVELATION to many of you I know. Jesus commanded His Disciples to GO into all the world and spread the Good News and make more disciples.

The Delivered Man most certainly did “Let his light shine before men”… Not just in his home town but the whole area. My friends, if you’ve been set free by Jesus, if you’ve been set alight, on fire, ablaze, with His Holy Spirit, then you will be a shining light, people will see your good deeds, but let them know WHY? Why are you such a good person? Why are you doing so much good in the world today? It’s because of your SAVIOUR Jesus Christ and how He’s had mercy upon you. Let them know why and that Jesus wants to SAVE them too with the Good News.

Keep your LIGHT Shining, be continually full of the Holy Spirit my friends, because the most important part of a Christian’s life is the part that only the LORD God Almighty sees. Be filled afresh with the anointing oil of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit today and you’ll be shining for Jesus Christ bringing Him glory by the good things that you do and the way you are sharing the Good News of the Saviour. God’s got so much good planed for you today. Enjoy the day in His mighty power.

You might not SAVE THE WORLD or the whole world, but you’ll be letting Christ’s light shine on your own little part of God’s World. Let it shine! If the whole church is doing that, perhaps we can SAVE many thousands and millions of souls for Him. Amen!

Prayer: I’m praying today for the whole Christian Church in the world. That we’ll all see Christ’s Command to Go OUT, the teaching in the light of all the Scriptures is His desire is that “EVERYONE” comes to repentance, let us not be the ones who’ve failed You LORD by simply worshipping, praying and praising You, when we know we should have been shining Your light and sharing the Good News in the world before men. O Lord Jesus we know You didn’t save the church to hide the light in a building, but to shine Your light in the world. O LORD! The harvest is plentiful and the labourers are few, send out Your Labourers into the Harvest Field of this world. Lord we want to see so many people that we know a love saved, please Lord, let them see the light and respond to the Gospel. Father, watch over Your chosen people and remind us often that we’re to do good works and speak out the Gospel with words too. Amen!

Don.

P.S. HOLY SPIRIT: Someone asked me the other day; “Don, you keep saying be filled with the Holy Spirit, I get that, but can you please tell me how to do it?”

That HOW is so important:

Oh my friends, God’s longing to give you the Holy Spirit, we just need to claim what He longs to give us.

First, we must be certain that we’re SAVED: I say this, because from experience many people have simply come to ‘Church’ thinking they are saved by being a worshipper every week and doing the things that the ‘real’ saints in Christ do. We’re not a Bus simply because we sleep in a bus-garage every night. Neither are we Christians just because we attend church regularly. Many people want the Holy Spirit, but don’t want to submit their lives to Jesus Christ as LORD.

So please my friends, first  CHECK (Examine so as to determine accuracy, quality, or condition): you are in the Family of God: Have you genuinely;

  1. A) BELIEVED and TRUSTED in Christ’s DEATH upon the Cross for your sins?
  2. B) Have you REPENTED, which means letting go of all sin and begun to walk in His ways?
  3. C) and finally have you actually RECEIVED Jesus Christ as Lord?:

(If you are not sure you have, read the full Gospel CLICK Here and discover why you NEED Jesus as your Saviour).

That’s what the Bible calls full salvation. Once you’ve trusted in Jesus like that, then you’ll be born again of God’s Holy Spirit. You will be filled with Holy Spirit, but we need to keep being filled. In order to be re-filled: All we do need to ASK to be filled. God will not give you anything extra unless you ask Him for it. Here’s how to begin: Pray: “O Heavenly Father, please send the Holy Spirit into my life and fill me up as much as I need, fill me until I overflow with His presence and power. In the name of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ I ask You my Heavenly Father. Amen” Your Heavenly Father longs to fill you my friend. Receive the Holy Spirit in faith and watch what He does in and through you throughout the day. Keep a journal and make notes of your prayers and petitions and your encounters throughout the day. You’ll be amazed what God will do in and through you. He’s longing to get you all fired up today. So many believers believe that being filled is automatic or a ONCE OFF event, but the LORD wants to give us so much, but so few seek and ask for what He longs to give.

P.P.S. PLEASE PRAY FOR Anya. We met Anya whilst out sharing the Good News on the Streets in West Norwood, and she promised to come to church, which she did for the first time on Easter Sunday, then she came again two days ago on Sunday. Yesterday (Monday), as I was on my way to the Prayer Meeting, I met Anya who’d bumped into my wife, she was crying, as was my wife, Anya’s baby boy Alexander had died in Hospital that morning whilst undergoing a routine scan. Oh my friends, I can’t tell you the shock. I just embraced Anya. My wife and I prayed for her and continued to comfort her for a while. It’s amazing the PEACE the Lord has given to Anya, but it’s still very raw indeed. What amazing timing the LORD has, but we’re going to keep on praying He’ll bring Anya and her husband and extended family closer to Himself. Please also pray for us, the Christian Community and Family of the Lord in St Luke’s, that we can pour out His grace and love towards Anya. Amen.

 

Similar Topics:

Sharing is Caring: Why we shouldn’t hide our light.

The Light Shines in the Darkness: The people walking in Darkness have seen a great light.

Be Active In Sharing Your Faith: What happens in the saint who shares the Good News…

YOU Are the Church: How Christians have always been called to go and be the ‘church’ in the world. OIKOS.

 

 

The Power of Jesus to Heal

Just ONE Touch from the King changes everything

Daily Spirit & Word: 717: The Power Of Jesus Word.

There is POWER in Jesus to Heal

We’ve been following through Mark’s Gospel and we’re now on Chapter 5. The last teaching was about Jesus Power and Authority over Satan and The Demonic, today we observe Jesus healing and raising a little girl from the dead.

The Two Twelves: The Two 12s…
The Woman who has been bleeding for 12 years.
The Little Girl was 12 years old when she died.

Mark 5:21-43 (NIV)
21 When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered round him while he was by the lake.
22 Then one of the synagogue rulers, named Jairus, came there. Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet 23 and pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.”
24 So Jesus went with him. A large crowd followed and pressed around him. 25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
30 At once Jesus realised that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ “
32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it.
33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth.
34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

Jairus Get’s Bad News:
35 While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher any more?”
36 Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
37 He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James.
38 When they came to the home of the synagogue ruler, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly.
39 He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.”
40 But they laughed at him. After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was.
41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”).
42 Immediately the girl stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished.
43 He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.

12 Years Bleeding: “Just One Touch and I will be healed”.

My friends, that’s real FAITH.

Immediately” Jesus realised POWER had gone out from Him.
That touch of faith brought the POWER of HEAVEN.
My friends, when we approach God with FAITH: The Power of Heaven is OPEN…
FAITH: is believing without doubting. It’s a GIFT from God, so that no one can boast. All faith is a Gift from God.

But remember, our FAITH in what God can and will do will grow the more that we know that we can TRUST Him.
It’s a kind of faith that believes without doubting. Do you have that kind of faith?

Let me illustrate: You already have that kind of faith.

A Chair: How do you know that the SEAT you’re sitting on can hold your weight?

When you came in here today, you didn’t stop to check the chair out, to see if it was wobbly or anything, you just sat right down on it.
If you were a stranger walking into this building today, how would you know you could sit down and the chairs would support your weight?
That’s right, you can see other people sitting down. Lots of them, and they are not falling to the floor with everyone laughing at them.

Also Past Experience of sitting in chairs, they’re pretty dependable aren’t they.

In the same way that you can see others have trusted their chairs and not fallen to the floor, you can also see that in this place, some of the people have put their faith in Jesus Christ. No matter what happens in their lives, they don’t fall down, their faith remains, they keep trusting in Jesus, but why? Why do they keep trusting in Jesus, even when life get tough? It’s because they know Jesus, long years of reaching out and touching the Saviour in faith, have given them the assurance that He’s in complete control and knows what He’s doing.

So if you can see that others have had FAITH in their seats, can you see how impressive it is that others have that same kind of FAITH in Jesus. They have sat in those seats many times, so when they walk in to church they don’t even think about it.

My friends, this Woman who’d been bleeding for 12 Long Years: Must have heard about Jesus’ Miracles and as He passed by in the Crowd that day, she thought to herself, as the Scriptures tell us, “If I just touch the hem of His garments, I will be healed”…

What amazing reasoning: “If this Jesus can heal people of all kinds of diseases and deliver them from Demons, then a little issue of bleeding for 12 years will be nothing for this Miracle worker, all I need to do is reach out and touch Him”.

More about that reaching out to Jesus in a minute, but look what happened next;

NEXT: Jesus Brings LIFE back into a 12 year old dead girl.

The Girls Father: first a word about Jairus.
What encouragement Jesus gave Jairus.
He was a Synagogue Ruler… The Synagogue was a place of worship for Jews. Jairus was a very important man in society.
Mark 5:22-23 “Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet 23 and pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.””

“Jairus FELL AT HIS FEET”: Here was a Ruler falling at Jesus feet and begging Him… My friends, if you want Jesus to do something for you, something you are desperate for the King of Kings to do for you, have you gotten to the point of falling to your knees and pleading with Jesus? Sometimes, we don’t get answers to our prayers UNTIL we’ve gotten to our knees in prayer before God.
It’s not the act of kneeling, it the act of recognition of who Jesus is. Jairus knew only that Jesus was a Miracle worker and teacher. We know that Jesus was God on Earth, that He died because of His love for us, so that we could be forgiven and cleansed of all sin. When we kneel before Jesus today, we’re kneeling before God.

KNEELING: can be just a habit: many people kneel in prayer because that’s what they’ve been taught to do.

But there’s another kind of KNEELING: It’s A Humbling yourself before God. It’s recognising that you don’t deserve anything from Him and yet still coming to Him. Pleading for His grace, mercy, kindness… He loves our FAITH… He loves our TRUST… What’s stopping us KNEELING before Jesus?

PEOPLE KNEEL BEFORE THE QUEEN:
When the New Years Honours come around, people kneel before the Queen to be Knighted. They bow the knee in recognition of her Majesty and Authority. She wears a Crown to symbolise her Majestic Authority over her subjects. When she knights someone she says, “Arise Sir Knight”…
Jesus is the KING of Kings and Queens.
Our Queen has famously said, “I bow the knee to only one other KING and that’s KING Jesus Christ”… The Queen bows to Jesus. Jairus, the Ruler of the Synagogue was in good company… But have we actually BOWED before Jesus?

JUST ONE TOUCH OF THE KING:

The Queen Touches with her sword and says “Arise”… But the KING, our LORD Jesus touches and we cannot help but rise to new heights.

Imagine what frustration Jairus must have felt, when his little girl was at home dying, Jesus stopping along the way to ask, “Who touched Me?”… He would have been thinking to himself, “Oh please Master, come as quick as you can or it will be too late”…
What did Jairus ask Jesus to do for him? “PUT YOUR HANDS ON HER”
Jairus knew there was POWER in the touch of Jesus The Miracle Maker. “Put your hand on her so that she will be healed and live”
Just ONE TOUCH of the KING… Changes everything… (I love that song, because it speaks of a TRUTH about my King Jesus).

  • If it’s us reaching out to Jesus in FAITH: Like the Woman bleeding for 12 years. Changed her life forever. POWER of Heaven Opens: By Faith.
    If it’s up Jesus reaching out to us in His MERCY: Like the little girl’s father, Changed her life forever and her family’s life forever. POWER of Heaven Opens: By Faith.

Just ONE TOUCH of the KING: Changes EVERYTHING.

BUT THEY LAUGHED AT HIM:

Notice the CROWD that didn’t believe.

  • Like they laughed at Noah, when He built the ARK of God.
  • Like Sara laughed when the LORD said she would have a baby when she was nearly 100 years old.

My friends, if someone came to you and said, “I’m building an Ark because God is sending a flood to destroy the Earth” you’d probably laugh too.
If someone came to your funeral and said, “Put the boy down, I’m going to bring him back to life” You’d probably laugh too.
If someone came into a hospital today, when the doctors has said, “He’s DEAD” and he said, “He Going to LIVE” those Doctors would probably laugh too.
The CROWD Laughed at Jesus. It’s a laugh of incredulity. It’s a laugh of unbelief. They reason, “We know she’s dead”…

What did Jesus do when they laughed at Him?

That’s right, He put them out of the room. (Mark 5:40).

My friends, it’s a DANGEROUS thing to Laugh at God.
Laughing is Doubting when there’s EVIDENCE that it’s possible.
That kind of laughter is an insult to God.
Jesus put them out of the room.

  • God put Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, when they doubted God and believed the Devil.
  • God put Abraham’s wife Sara out for a while, when she laughed, when told in her old age she’d have a baby.
  • God put Zechariah, John the Baptist’s Dad out for a while when he laughed, when in their old age he and Sarah would have a baby; He was struck dumb until he wrote what the Angel told him, “His name shall be John”.

Unbelief (Stubborn Doubt) means exclusion from the things of God.
“He put them all out”… For laughing. For their unbelief.
My friends, if you are LAUGHING at the possibilities of what God can do today, be aware that it’s going to be very costly indeed. You might just miss the best Miracles you’ll ever witness in your life; only the parents and Jesus’ disciples; Peter, James and John, observed Jesus touching the little girl and her coming back to life.

Remember what Jesus said to Thomas: “Stop DOUBTING and BELIEVE”…. “It’s ME”….
Jesus response to Thomas’ faith once he’d seen Him: John 20:29 (NIV) “Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.””

Jairus trusted Jesus, instead of laughing, Jairus was full of hope and expectation and faith, he was with Jesus and His disciples in the room when Jesus touched the little girl and LIFE came back into her dead body. That touch of Jesus would change Jairus’ life forever.

After giving the girl back her life Jesus said, “Give her something to eat”…

He didn’t just give back her life, Jesus took care of her hunger too. That’s how much Jesus cares for that little girl my friends.

Do you know, that’s how much Jesus cares for you too. When you get the NEW LIFE Jesus wants to feed you with Manna from Heaven, The Word of God.

Conclusion:

  • With Just a WORD the 12 year old girl received life.
    With Just a WORD from God, the Universe was formed.
    With Just a WORD from Jesus, Demons flew out of a man.
    With Just a WORD from Jesus, The Storm was stilled.
    With Just a WORD from Jesus, The Crippled man’s hand was restored.
    With Just a WORD from God: Mankind came into this world.
    With Jesus WORD Lazarus came out of the grave.

There is POWER in the WORD of God.

  • With Just a TOUCH: Moses parted the Red Sea.
    With Just a TOUCH: Water poured from a Rock.
    With Just a TOUCH: Jesus opened a Blind Man’s Eyes.
    With Just a TOUCH: Jesus opened a DEAF Man’s Ears.

There is POWER in the TOUCH of the SAVIOUR.

My friends, Do you believe? Do you have faith? Do you TRUST Jesus can do all that He promised He can do?
He will come into your life: If you turn in faith and trust in His death upon the Cross for your sins. When you repent and put your FAITH in Him, He’ll do it. Do you believe that Jesus will come into your life? To give you NEW LIFE… Once you get NEW LIFE, you’ll also get a NEW HUNGER (New Desires) for the WORD of God. NEW DESIRES to live God’s way: His righteous life.

Just like you’ve seen others sitting in these chairs and believe they can hold your weight. You have FAITH in your seat.
So you can believe that Jesus will DO ALL He’s Promised: He’ll come into your LIFE today; Give you NEW LIFE, NEW HUNGER, NEW JOY… He may also give you FAITH to believe that He can do anything…

He’ll not only give you NEW LIFE, but a NEW HUNGER too.
How’s your hunger for God’s Word? It’s an indication of your place in God’s Family.
“Like babes in Christ, crave the pure milk of the word of God”…

DILLY & DALLY:
DELAY: When I was 12 Years Old. My mother ran a bath for me. She shouted out to me, “Donald, your bath is ready, the water is warm, come and get your bath before the water gets cold”… I dillied and dallied and by the time I got into that bath, the water was cold.
DON’T Dilly and Don’t Dally, the WATER of FAITH is warm today. Jump in and take the plunge and trust in Jesus.
DON’T Be Like the CROWD who LAUGHED: Jesus coming into your life right now might seem impossible, more than you can possibly dream, but Jesus is real, His promise is real, He’ll come if you just; Believe, Turn from Sin, Accept His Sacrifice of Himself upon the Cross for your sins and Receive Him by Faith… YES! You can do it today!…

What if you’ve done that already? You’ve TRUSTED Jesus.
Have you seen the new James Bond Movie? “Spectre”… James Bond is a Special Secret Agent Number 007.. He’s been selected and trained to infiltrate the enemy, wherever the enemy may be found. My friends, God has chosen you to be His Agents (Ambassadors) in this world. You are like His secret special agents; your number is 777… 🙂

You might still be laughing like the CROWD: What about the Plans God has for you? Have you laughed inside yourself, thinking I couldn’t do that, I don’t have the strength, the power or the personality… What’s God been calling you to do for Him, but you’ve laughed or doubted? Sara (Abraham’s wife got the shock of her life when she listened in on the conversation) an old lady having a baby; impossible. My friends, God might be calling you to do something for Him that at this moment in time might seem beyond your capacity, your ability, your power, but believe Him, recognise His POWER to do all things, even with you. He’s done it before and He can do it again through your life. Is Jesus calling you to use your GIFTS in His Service, in the Service of the Kingdom? Remember the weaklings in the Bible that God chose for great things; Moses, Gideon, Jeremiah, they all thought they were not upto the task or calling, but God transformed them all.

So my friends, I’m going to ASK YOU: Will you TRUST Jesus Christ: The POWER of His Word, The POWER of His Touch?
Believe me and everyone else here today, who’ll tell you, “It’s TRUE: Jesus Christ has done it for me and He’ll do it for you too”.
Take the plunge, jump in whilst the water is warm and the time is right.
Reach out in Faith and FEEL the POWER of God coming into your life again today.

Don.

NOTE: When delivering this sermon at an All Age Service yesterday, I split it into two: The Woman with the Issue and then the 12 Year old dead girl.

I used another illustration to show the little bit of faith we might have and it’s power.
A glass of water held over someone’s head, up-side-down… The water didn’t come out because a flimsy piece of paper stopped it. The paper is thin, sometimes our faith appears weak, but it has a might force behind it.
When we use our faith, exercise the little faith that we have, Heaven’s Power is Available. Amen!

You ARE The Church

OIKOS is the people you know

Daily Spirit & Word: 716: An Eye Opener Day Off.

“Go AND Tell”

Mark 5:18-20 (NIV) The Demon Possessed Man: Had been set free by Jesus.
18  As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him.
19  Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”
20  So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

Yesterday, on my day off, I attended an Seminar on Equipping Church Members for their Mission.

Eye Opener No 1: Christians Really ARE the Church.

What struck me was what I already knew, but hadn’t fully grasped.

Let me explain: I’ve known ever since I became a Christian and sincerely began following the Lord Jesus that a Church is NOT a building, but the people of Jesus. You know that too right? Every single Christian is a part of the body of Christ and Jesus is the Head. Now I knew that, but here’s what got me yesterday, I’ve been teaching people they are the church, but still treating our buildings as a ‘Church’ to bring people to. I’ve been telling our folks to invite people to church in order for them to be saved, not realising that I’d inadvertently become the CORK in the Neck of the Bottle of God’s Wine of the Kingdom. I was giving my Congregation an excuse not to share the good news with folks without even realising it. It was like I was saying to them, “OK, you don’t like evangelism or talking about Jesus, so why don’t you bring your friends to church so I can talk to them for you”… Sounds great right, but it’s NOT what Jesus wants or expects.

My friends, we were NEVER called to bring people into a Church building so that the Minister or Pastor or Evangelist could save them for us. Our mission from Jesus was always, always, always to bring people to Him, then they will be a part of the church and want to come to worship with you, i.e. once they are part the people belonging to Jesus Christ, then you’ll have to fight to keep them from coming to worship. Because they’ll have received the Holy Spirit and He’s not going to leave a Christian out in the wilderness for very long. The Holy Spirit will drive them into fellowship, worship, Bible study and prayer and move them to share their faith in Christ with others.

So for years, hundreds of years, the Church has been getting it all wrong. We’ve been inviting people to church, they come and then they become members of the church family, they go through all the hoops; baptism, communion, confirmation etc… but do they actually come to Jesus Christ and get incorporated into His body? Well my friends, a harsh reality-check is in order. You see, the more people we interview on the streets of West Norwood in London as we go out weekly sharing the Gospel, when we meet people who attend church regularly, the ones who say they are “Committed Christians”, guess what they don’t know? They don’t know what it means to be a follower of Jesus or how to get SAVED by Him. I can tell you I’m still shocked by how many of these GOOD Church attending folks don’t KNOW Jesus or the Gospel. Now I’m not judging them, but it’s only through one-to-one talking about the Gospel with people who SAY that they are committed Christians we’ve come to realise that most of them just don’t know what it means to be saved. At best they’ll say “I hope to get to heaven if I’m good enough”… Even folks who attend Pentecostal, Evangelical and Charismatic churches, these are the ones that you’d expect would know, right? But they just don’t.

What’s Been Happening?

My friends, we’ve been inviting people to come to church, they’ve come, but instead of actually coming to Jesus Christ, they’ve become members of our church club, they’ve emulated the sheep, copies what the real sheep of Jesus do, but they haven’t come to Jesus Christ and been born again of His Spirit. Some have wonderful worship experiences, sense the Holy Spirit, feel the Spirit, but don’t know the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord or Saviour for themselves. They have no assurance of their own salvation. They know all about Jesus, they know the language of Zion, i.e. all the terminology of the church, but they’ve yet to fully entrust their lives to Him.

Eye Opener Number 2: You Are ALREADY bringing them to Church.

We’ve been telling people to invite people to come to the church building, and many have faithfully done so.

But Jesus didn’t tell us to do that, He told the Church to go to the people, share the Gospel (Good News), get them saved, then begin to Disciple them into the Christian way of life. We’re doing it the wrong way around for hundreds of years. Thankfully many have been ‘saved’ in the process, but just think of the potential if we were to do it the way Jesus wants us to?

Here’s what got me; EVERY CHRISTIAN is already taking people to Church. How? Because they, themselves, are the church. Whenever you meet another person who doesn’t yet know Jesus as Lord and Saviour, you’ve just taken the church to them.  When they are with you, in your presence, (if you are a Christian) then they are in church. That’s AWESOME! Think for a moment about that, how many non-Christians are in your presence every single day? At the bus stop, in the shopping queue, in the Cafe, in the restaurant, at school, college, work? Well my friends, they’ve just been to Church when they’ve been with you in those places: You are Church.

Eye Opener Number 3: Overcoming Fear of NOT Being A Credible Witness:

Because we ARE the Church, we’d better make sure that we’re being a credible witness always. Now that’s really hard, but because our NON-Christian friends are in Church when they are with us, the Church is a Holy Place right? You are holy because you are the Temple of the Holy Spirit who lives in you. So we’d better up our game, smarten up our witness, live like Jesus lived. In the New Testament, God’s Word tells followers of Jesus Christ, “Be HOLY for I AM Holy”…

Reality Check: One of the Number 1 Excuses for not inviting people to Jesus or to come to church with you: “They’ll see my weaknesses and know I’m not living as I should”… I was really surprised by this one, but it makes sense. We’re not inviting people to Jesus or to Church because we’re not living the Christian life we’re supposed to be living. You don’t want them to know what a genuine Christian is supposed to look like. You’ll be exposed as a fraud or a failure or an hypocrite or a weakling Christian. That’s understandable right? But …

But your non-Christian friends are WATCHING your life anyway, they’re looking to see if what you say you believe, you actually put into practice in this world. How’s your Christian living? Reality Check again: My friends, if they know you profess to be a ‘Christian’ and your not following as you should, they already KNOW that.

Evey Opener Number 4: Who Actually Brings People To Jesus?

You may not be aware of this, but 95% of people come to a genuine faith in Jesus because of; weak Christians who are not following as they should, because of dumb Christians who don’t know as much about the Bible as they should or want to, because of people who are not ministers or evangelists or gifted in evangelism. 95% of you came to Jesus that way. It wasn’t the Pastor who led them or you to Jesus, it was the average failing follower of Jesus just like you who did.

  • Most people don’t respond to the Gospel the first them they hear it.
  • Most people don’t come to church the first time they’re invited, get over it.
  • Most people are just as stubborn and foolish as you were at first.
  • Most people don’t want to be ‘religious’, they’ve not got time for that. Neither have you.

We all want to win thousands of people to Jesus don’t we?

Well if we’re going to do it, then we’d better be sure that when we’ve taken them to Church (i.e. when we’re with them in the world), that we’re living the Christian life as best we can. However, we need to realise that God is much bigger than even our weakest attempts at following Him. He’ll use you because He’s IN YOU.

My friends, YOU are the church of Jesus Christ wherever you are. No matter where you are, then you are on Mission. Because Jesus said, “You are the Light of the world”… “You are the Salt of the Earth”… Let’s be the salt and light He wants us to be when we’re with the people Jesus brings across the pathway of our lives. He is going to use you to bring people to Himself anyway, but let’s enhance the prospect of many more actually coming to Him.

“Church isn’t a place that people can go to, it is a PEOPLE they already KNOW”

Conclusion:

“It’s a New Dawn, It’s a New Day, It’s a New Life and I’m feeling good”…

Church is not a place that people could go to, it’s a PEOPLE that non-Christians already KNOW.

They know you, that you are a Christian, they love you still, even with all your weaknesses and failures, Jesus loves them too.

Now think of all your; friends, family, neighbours, workmates, fellow travellers you see every day, the ones who KNOW that you are or profess to be a Christian. These people are ones who KNOW that you LOVE Jesus: These are the people that God has brought into your life to lead them to Jesus. Now, even though we’re weak, foolish and don’t follow as we should, He’s going to be using you to lead them to Himself.

Remember what Jesus said to the man who was possessed by a Legion of Demons? Mark 5:19 “Go back to your family and tell them what God has done for you, how He has had mercy upon you”

The original Greek didn’t say “FAMILY” it’s a strange word: OIKOS: It lieterally means all the people who know you very well indeed. It’s those in your circle of life who know you best. The ones who’ll say, “I know that ________________ (insert your name) is a Christian”… These are the people who are your very own OIKOS.

My friends, you can do that too with all those people you know. Just like the man delivered from demons. Go back to your own OIKOS, the people who know you well. You can tell them all that Jesus has done for you (Your Testimony)… You can tell them HOW God has had mercy upon you, by forgiving you for all your sins and setting you free. You can share how you know you don’t follow Jesus as you know you should, but that you still love Him anyway, because of all the mercy, grace and faith you receive from Him.

Mark 5:18-20 (NIV) The Demon Possessed Man: Had been set free by Jesus.
18  As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him.
19  Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”
20  So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

My friends, go back to your OIKOS and share with them what Jesus has done for you. You will be His witnesses today… Salt and Light.

But before you Go and Tell your OIKOS and invite them to come to Jesus. It’s very important that you PRAY for them first. Bring them to Jesus in prayer first. Let Him open up their hard hearts. Let the Holy Spirit go to work on their minds… Let God take captive their thought-life and set them on the road to Salvation. Believe that Jesus loves them even more than you do, then you go to them and share Jesus.

In the lead-up to Pentecost we, along with everyone in the Church of England, have been called to a week of prayer for the evangelisation of the Nation. During that week we’re going to see how it’s possible to be WEAK Christians and still lead our own OIKOS to Jesus Christ.

Have an awesome weekend with Jesus my friends, I’m really looking forward to gathering with my OIKOS again.

Don.