The KEY to Unlock AWESOME Fellowship

The REAL Lord's Prayer: Forgiveness

Daily Spirit & Word: 746: The KEY to Unlock AWESOME Fellowship.

The closer Christians get to Christ, the closer they get to one another.

Song of Songs 2:15 (NIV) “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.”

Good morning my friends, there’s something I hear from time to time in church gatherings, people feel slighted or left-out of things, so they stop coming to church. They forget that our battle is NOT against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. That ‘flesh and blood’ includes our own flesh and our own blood; our thinking and our feelings.

What needs to be done when we’re feeling left-out?

Get ever closer to Jesus.

I’ve asked countless people who’ve felt miffed by church members, hurt or offended, “How’s your Bible reading going?” “FINE” they’ll say, but it’s the way they answer that I’m listening to, more than what they say. “How close to you feel to Jesus today?” You know what they respond with, “Oh I’ve always loved Jesus”… My friends, let me say this as gently as I can, if you are feeling hurt or offended, then unless you deal with it by taking it to Jesus, you are opening the door of your heart for Satan to come in, when you do that, he will steal from you, kill your passion for fellowship with Jesus and those in His family, and destroy your walk with the LORD.

Song of Songs 2:15 (NIV) “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.”

  • You’ll know your are loosing the battle for your soul, if you’re desire for close fellowship with other brothers and sisters in Christ is slipping.
  • You’ll know you are loosing the battle for your soul, if you don’t want to read God’s Word, pray, praise and witness for Jesus.
  • You will feel isolated, hurt, offended, alone.

So what can you do about it?

How can those hurts be healed?

Turn AGAIN to Jesus: Repent of the bitterness you’ve been feeling towards someone.

Satan is a great LIAR, the Bible calls him the father of lies. He’ll want you to be nursing your hurt. He’ll want you to hold onto it for a long time. He knows it will DESTROY you.

He wants you to get upset with your brothers and sisters in Christ. He loves nothing more that a wounded soul festering in their hurt.

What’s needed is FORGIVENESS:

When you get hurt, learn to forgive each other quickly or it will turn to bitter anger and hatred which is MURDER.

  • You can’t forgive someone or a group of people if you are far away from Jesus.
  • You can’t run away from that hurt either, by staying away from church gatherings.
  • You can’t fool God, He knows what’s happening on the inside.
  • Unless you forgive, then neither will your own sins be forgiven.

We’ve been praying the LORD’S PRAYER every day (as part of the lead-up to Pentecost), but as part of that prayer, Jesus taught us to pray about FORGIVENESS, he told us about FORGIVENESS TWICE.

Why did Jesus do that? Because He KNOWS we’re going to be offended and hurt by one another.

LOOK VERY CAREFULLY AT THE LORD’S PRAYER:

It doesn’t finish with “For thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory, forever and forever Amen”

THAT’S NOT IN THE BIBLE

THAT’S NOT THE END OF THE LORD’S PRAYER AT ALL.

Matthew 6:9-15 (NIV)
9  “This, then, is how you should pray: ” ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
10  your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
11  Give us today our daily bread.
12  Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’
14  For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

The Real LORD’S Prayer is all about forgiveness.

So, let’s pray the LORD’S PRAYER properly, as Jesus taught it. It’s all about forgiveness, letting God’s Kingdom rule and not allowing Satan to get a foothold into our lives by harbouring grudges and not forgiving others.

  • We all want to be forgiven by the LORD.
  • In His Kingdom there isn’t going to be any lingering thoughts of hatred or bitterness any more.
  • Your sins are washed away by Jesus Christ, His blood purifies you from all sin.
  • But that forgiveness can be BLOCKED.

Jesus knew that, that’s why He taught His disciples twice in his prayer about FORGIVENESS.

UNFORGIVENESS OPENS THE DOOR FOR EVIL TO COME INTO YOUR HEART.

“Lead us NOT into temptation” We are tempted NOT to forgive. Especially when we get hurt by someone who’s meant to be following Jesus.

Jesus said it SO CLEARLY: ”

Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

When we’re walking around with UNFORGIVENESS in our hearts, we just can’t get close to Jesus.

UNFORGIVENESS is the sin that blocks our access to Him and to our own FORGIVENESS.

You may not think that you’ve got anything to worry about, you are a ‘good’ person, but don’t be deceived my friends. Every one of us SINS every single day, we all need forgiveness, all the time.

If you want to get better fellowship, if you want to feel close to other Christians again, to get closer to your brothers and sisters in Jesus, then you are going to have to face the hurt head-on, take it to Jesus, ask Him to forgive you for holding onto it for too long, then release your friends by forgiving them. You will very quickly discover a NEW JOY comes flooding into your soul. Some people have likened it to their first EXPERIENCE of coming to Jesus. He’ll wash you clean and give you instant fellowship with Himself. He’ll restore your LOVE for each other. He’ll enable you to totally forgive them to such an extent that you’ll want to bless them and see them being blessed by Jesus.

My friends, the LORD’S PRAYER is all about FORGIVENESS.

God’s forgiveness of your sins and your forgiveness of EVERYONE who hurts or offends you in some way.

It IS the LITTLE FOXES that ruin the vine.

When we let little hurts linger, we’re allowing the little foxes to pull the vine to pieces.

Song of Songs 2:15 (NIV) “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.”

Those little thoughts that we nurse, we allow them to ruin the VINE. God wants you to be so full of fruit, but the little FOXES will tear it to pieces.

  • Get right with Jesus by FORGIVING others.
  • Get close to Jesus by RELEASING your friends from their debts, trespasses and sins against you.
  • Get close to Jesus and you will get closer in fellowship with the saints in your church fellowship.

FORGIVENESS is the KEY to UNLOCKING AWESOME FELLOWSHIP

But what if it’s YOU that has HURT or OFFENDED someone?

They don’t want you to come and say “Sorry”, because that would release you.

What they NEED is HEALING:

G.K. Chesterson said, “A stiff apology is a second insult … the injured party does not want to be compensated because he has been wronged, he wants to be healed because he has been hurt”

They NEED our LOVE: Not our apology.

LOVE: “Love covers over a multitude of sins”… LOVE heals those wounds and hurts.

“Love one another, as I have loved you.” How did Jesus love us? He died so that we could be forgiven. So my friends, we too must be prepared to DIE every day, in order that LOVE may abound within our fellowships. Die to pride, even if you think you’ve done nothing wrong, go and get right with the offended party quickly. In that way you can stop the little foxes tearing the vine to bits.

Amen!

“We take captive EVERY THOUGHT to make it OBEDIENT to Christ”

Even those thoughts of hurt, anger, bitterness, hatret, wounds, feelings. Then we’ll get close to Jesus and our fellowship will be restored.

Forgiveness really is the KEY to Unlocking AWESOME Fellowship.

Don.

 

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.

 

Pentecost: The Day Fire Fell and Power Came

How to get the fire of the Holy Spirit, Anointing and Power

Daily Spirit & Word: 743: Pentecost

The Day The Fire Fell & Power Came

Pentecost Prayer Week: Day 7: Holy Spirit.

Good morning my friends, well the DAY we’ve all been praying about has arrived; Pentecost.

It’s the day when Christians all over the world celebrate the BIRTHDAY of the Church. It marks the moments when the Holy Spirit first came upon and indwelt followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, they receive the promise of the Father, the Holy Spirit and His POWER and AUTHORITY.

Pentecost is also a time for Believers and Followers of Jesus Christ today, to remember that SAME Holy Spirit POWER and AUTHORITY is available for every single one of us.

Before I was Born of The Holy Spirit, I hated standing up and speaking in front of people, my knees would knock together, I’d get a dry mouth and a thumping in my chest as if my heart was going to explode. However, when I received Holy Spirit and stood up to speak for Jesus, WOWzer! I literally FELT the power of the Holy Spirit flood into my being. I feel His presence with me and sometimes I feel it much stronger than others. There is a quickening that happens when He wants me to say or do something.

On the first day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon Peter and the other Apostles, about 120 of them, they too were TRANSFORMED. Oh my friends, we’ve been praying all week for the AWAKENING of the Church. To see the whole Church set on FIRE with Holy Spirit to go out and EVANGELISE THE NATION.

What we really need, more than anything else, is this SAME FIRE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT to ignite each and ever truly born again follower of Jesus Christ.

Pray and ASK: How much more will the Father in Heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ASK Him?

ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE. 

Get the FIRE of The Holy Spirit Today.

Acts 1:8 (NIV)
8  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

  • What will we receive? POWER.
  • How will we get that Power? When the Holy Spirit comes upon you.
  • What is the Power for? To be Jesus’ Witnesses all over the world.

Awesome!

PENTECOST: Have you been praying all week for your OIKOS (Those who know you are a Christian and a sincere follower of the Lord Jesus Christ)?

To effectively be the WITNESS God wants you to be, you are going to NEED this FIRE from HEAVEN: The POWER of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus said, “Apart from Me, you can do nothing”… You are POWERLESS without Holy Spirit. He is the manifest presence of the Lord Jesus Christ within you.

Be filled today, ask your Heavenly Father to send Holy Spirit into you afresh, anoint you with Holy Spirit power and authority. If you ask you will receive. Don’t doubt, ask in FAITH. Just receive the Holy Spirit by faith and walk in His power to witness to those you’ve been praying about. Then watch the difference!

Amen!

Don.

Pentecost Power Prayer:

Acts 1:8 (NIV)
8  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

What will we receive? POWER.

How will we get that Power? When the Holy Spirit comes upon you.

What is the Power for? To be Jesus’ Witnesses all over the world.

Awesome!

When the Day of Pentecost Came:

Acts 2:1-4 (NIV)
1  When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.
2  Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.
3  They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.
4  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

What Happened on The Church’s First Birthday?

They BEGAN to Witness Immediately:

Acts 2:14-21 (NIV)
14  Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say.
15  These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning!
16  No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17  ” ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.
18  Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.
19  I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke.
20  The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
21  And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

My friends, with Holy Spirit POWER and AUTHORITY you too can be EFFECTIVE WITNESSES for the LORD.

Ask and you shall receive. Amen!

Two Responses to Jesus

Are you reluctant to share the Good News of the Gospel?

Daily Spirit &Word: 742:

Two Responses to Jesus.

Some say, “I won’t”, but do.

Some say, “I will” but don’t…

Good morning my friends, what an awesome day and week it’s been. Curry night was great Indigo was a treat to the taste-buds. Ying Kai came to my home and so did Pastors and key leaders from other churches in West Norwood. He shared the simplicity of the Gospel and Discipleship, encouraging us to not-overcomplicate the process, but to allow so much more room for the Holy Spirit, it’s not about systems, programs or fancy marketing, but relying completely upon the empowering, guiding and equipping of the Holy Spirit in the knowledge that Jesus will always be with us. Praise the LORD for Ying Kai, his wife Grace (who exudes God’s grace and gentleness).

I was reminded during that meeting yesterday about Jesus Parables and the one about the Two Sons. It’s in a section of Matthew’s Gospel where Jesus was challenged by religious people who were not following Him or His teachings.

The Parable of the Two Sons

Matthew 21:23-32 (ESV)

23  And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?”
24  Jesus answered them, “I also will ask you one question, and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things.
25  The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man?” And they discussed it among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’
26  But if we say, ‘From man,’ we are afraid of the crowd, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”
27  So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.
28  “What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’
29  And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went.
30  And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go.
31  Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you.
32  For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.

Jesus was talking with the Pharisees, they are the religious elite of the time, people who should have known how to serve the Lord and be a light to everybody for His glory, but instead of working with and accepting Jesus, they had turned against him. This Parable was directed at them, but in some ways it’s directed at every single Christian. Because like those sons, we’ve all said, “Yes” to Jesus, but only a very few who’ve received Christ as Lord are actually being obedient to the things that Jesus commands. His primary command that we ignore or disobey is what we’ve been praying about all week, “Going into the world to share, spread and broadcast His powerful, life-transforming, Gospel message with everyone”…

The first said “I won’t” but later had a change of mind.

There are many people, who upon first hearing the demands in the Gospel message, initially reject it, refuse to acknowledge their sin or their need for God in their life, but later on change their minds. But there’s a much deeper teaching in this parable for those who’ve got ears to hear. What is the SPIRIT saying to you today?

One of the primary reasons Christians STOP or DON’T obey Jesus instruction / command is because of FEAR of rejection or non-acceptance of the message they are taking into the world, their friends and relatives.

So they end up being like the son who said, “I will”, but don’t continue to do it. My friends, I want to encourage you to CHANGE YOUR MIND again, go back to Jesus in prayer and say to Him: “Lord I will go for You”. “I will take Your message of Good News, I will believe what You’ve promised; Authority, Power, Persuasion and Presence when I go. I KNOW that You will be working on those to whom you send me, that by Your Holy Spirit, you’ll be drawing people to Yourself. Give me the courage to continue to be obedient to Your Commands and teachings, and to never give up or give in to fear again.” Amen!

What do you think made the reluctant son change his mind?

It could be his conscience was bothering him or perhaps it was the fact it was his own dear father asking him to do the work?

My friends, You’ve been following Jesus for so long, it’s time to be living in obedience.

A Lady Who’s MIND has been CHANGED.

One lady, who was at our meeting with Ying Kai yesterday, said to me last night, “I know so much, but I’ve been doing so little with what I know”... She’s been on course after course, training after training, but hasn’t put very much of what she’s learned into practice. Don’t get me wrong, she’s the sweetest Christian lady you could ever wish to meet, she’s got a real heart for people and loves and gives so much of her time, talents and treasures to Jesus already. But she felt convicted, because there was an area that she’s been neglecting, even though she knew it should be the highest priority in all her service of the Lord. “Sharing the faith” transitioning from service to witness. She felt she just hasn’t learned or been obedient to actually SHARE THE GOSPEL. She said, “I’m going to come out and learn HOW to do it with you”… I’m praying she will come.

It’s NOT what we know, it’s WHO we know that counts. 

The BIGGEST LESSON:

The biggest and strongest message I’ve been learning afresh this week: It’s not what you know that matters, it’s WHO you know. You know Jesus, that’s enough, take what you know about Jesus and how He’s had mercy upon you, how He’s saved you from your sins, cleansed you and forgiven you for so much. Take WHO you know to the people who don’t know Him yet. That’s what Jesus is asking for: Obedience to His Commands.

I’m praising the LORD now, because, even if only ONE person gets this message, this whole week has been a tremendous success for Christ’s Kingdom. However, I know there are MANY MORE brothers and sisters out there, who KNOW they too should be sharing Jesus offer of NEW LIFE with many of their family, friends, neighbours and work-mates and even going farther to share the Gospel with strangers. Some of you have tried and then given up because you didn’t get the response you thought you’d get. Don’t give up, because God didn’t give up on you. Keep going, and keep going back to Jesus again.

Which son will you be?

The one who said, “I will” but didn’t?

Or the one who said, “I won’t, or can’t or it’s not me” but did?

Be like the sweet lady I was talking with last night or the first son in the parable and also Moses, who all said: “I won’t, I can’t, It’s not me”, but eventually gave in and did what the LORD asked them to do.

Be assured that I’m praying for you all, that the LORD will be with you, calling you, equipping you and enabling you to serve Him with your life. Don’t wait for the equipping though, because it comes as we step out in obedience to His Commands.

Thy will be done.

Thy Kingdom Come! Amen.

Praise be to the LORD!

Don.

P.S. Hope you all have an awesome Pentecost Weekend.

We’ve got an Open Air Baptism Service on Sunday: Outside St Luke’s Church.

At 10.30am. No matter what the weather, we’re going to BAPTISE some people tomorrow.

One of the Candidates is a lady called Emma who only gave her life to the LORD on Tuesday. Praise the Lord!

COME!

 

 

When The Message is Rejected

praying for your OIKOS, don't give up or give in, because God didn't give up on you.

Daily Spirit & Word: 740: When The Message Is Rejected.

Good morning my friends, we’ve been chatting all we about National Evangelisation, taking the Gospel in obedience to Jesus command to “Go”, to all the people in your OIKOS (Remember OIKOS is all the people who know that you are a follower of Jesus Christ, a Disciple). However, what happens or what do we do about the people who reject the Gospel? When we’ve been praying for them and we finally get the courage to share with them, what happens if they say “No” or “I’m just not interested”…

Quick Answer: LOVE them even more.

Long Answer: Don’t Give Up on Them, because God didn’t Give Up on YOU!

First pray for them again. Go back to your Heavenly Father and talk to Him about them.

It’s amazing when you go back and review with the LORD all that you’ve been saying and doing to win your loved ones to Jesus. Why? Because in talking it over sometimes the LORD gives you words of knowledge and insight about; Himself, your approach, about them as people and about yourself as well.

Then go back and check out the Scriptures and ask yourself, “What does the LORD want me to do now?”

Re-read the Great Commissions in Matthew, Mark and Acts. Then re-read the Kingdom Parables of Jesus; what God’s Kingdom is like. (I’ll be doing a mini-series soon on the Kingdom Parables).

Why? Because you’ll discover afresh God’s Heart, the Father’s Heart, for everyone who doesn’t know Him yet. You’ll be encouraged to know the LORD still wants them to be saved. Think about Noah building his Ark, the people laughing at him, the mocking he endured as year after year as he built his boat on the hill. Then when the LORD sent the rain, who got into the Ark with Noah? It was his son’s and their wives, his whole HOUSEHOLD (OIKOS). Throughout the Bible you’ll discover the LORD’S HEART for the extended family of those who LOVE HIM. How His blessings flow from generation to generation of those who put their trust in the LORD. The same is true of many of the great people of God in the Bible; Jacob, Joseph in Egypt his whole family saved, Abraham, etc… God’s HEART is to SAVE your extended family and those who know you well.

Next: Be encouraged, because very few people accept the Gospel the first time they hear it.

Think about how many times you had to hear about Jesus before you eventually; believed in Him, felt remorse for your sins and repented of your old way of life and received the Lord Jesus as Saviour. When you consider how long it took you, how stubborn you were, how you had to have your foolish thinking challenged and changed before you said “YES” to Jesus, well then it makes it easier to handle their initial or repeated rejection of the Good News. Don’t give up, because God didn’t give up on you.

Don’t Give Up, Because God Didn’t Give-Up on YOU!

Next: When the Gospel is NOT Good News for some people:

For some people, God’s Good News of the Gospel is not good news for them, because many sinners love their life of sin, they can’t imagine what life would be like without it and believe they’d feel hemmed-in, trapped, curtailed from enjoying life as much. So it’s no wonder they don’t surrender to Jesus immediately. It might take them a few days, months or even years to realise that the sinful lifestyle (life without God) is empty and doesn’t really bring them lasting satisfaction in their soul, also that rejection of God’s offer of new life will begin to plague them. Their Conscience springs to life when you’ve shared about Jesus and it does so every time you are with them, because you become a living Gospel presentation every time they meet you. It’s as if you’re preaching to their Conscience just by being there. They will be reminded of the Good News when they see you, they will be reminded how they’ve chosen to reject Jesus.

So don’t feel defeated or discouraged by their initial or repeated rejection of Jesus and His offer of New Life.

The Wearing Down Process:

It take years for a river to form a canyon.

My Father In-Law: Called it the wearing down process.

My wife, when she wanted something from her father, didn’t ask just once. She asked him again and again, giving more and more reasons why she should have what she wanted. She was an expert at wrangling things out of her father. He said, “Julie can wrap me around her little finger” Why? Because she knew her daddy loved her. She knew her father’s heart. She knew it brought him great pleasure to see her happy. So my wife learned the wearing-down-process.

Your friends, can be worn-down by God too. They’ll be wooed by the Gospel. They’ll be won over time because they’ll eventually see, know, recognise that Jesus Gospel is REAL, Genuine and True. However, please remember, time is short, we don’t know how long we’ve got left on this earth, their eternal destiny is at stake, we don’t want anyone in our OIKOS to die without trusting in Jesus.

SHALLOW Ground or Rocky Road Hearers:

Too many come to Jesus thoughtlessly, i.e. not knowing enough, they don’t put their faith upon the ROCK, but on the shifting sands of their feelings. They’ll remain for only a short time, because they’ve not really trusted in the Lord Jesus, but just an idea of what trusting Jesus would be like.

Too many come too quickly and don’t really leave behind their life of sin. They want to have a foot in both camps; the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. Remember Jesus said, “You cannot serve both God and mammon”… Why? “Because you’ll love the one and hate the other”…

Matthew 6:19-24 (NIV)
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
20  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
21  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22  “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light.
23  But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
24  “No-one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

The meaning of Jesus’ words have been debated, but it’s obvious really, we can’t serve God and SIN. One or the other will be our Master, we cannot LOVE both at the same time. Repent of your sins and turn afresh to Jesus Christ to be forgiven, cleansed, renewed. Seek the fullness of Holy Spirit to enable you to say “NO!” to sin again in your life.

Conclusion:

Pray always for your friends and family in your OIKOS who’ve rejected Jesus offer of new life and His gift of Eternal life.

  • Don’t give up on them, because God didn’t give up on you.
  • Remember, God’s wearing down and wooing process, He’s drawing people, by His Holy Spirit to Himself.
  • Remember, God’s given them a Conscience, every time they see you their conscience will be pricked.
  • Keep loving them even more, because it’s like heaping burning coals into their lap.
  • Remember, the Father’s Heart: He wants ALL PEOPLE to be SAVED. Everyone to come to repentance. He’s patient too.

Be blessed and encouraged to keep sharing Jesus, again and again and again. God is patient, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Don.

The Parable of The Sower:

The KEY to unlocking every parable of Jesus.

Mark 4:1-20 (NIV)
1  Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered round him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge.
2  He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said:
3  “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed.
4  As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.
5  Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.
6  But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.
7  Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain.
8  Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.”
9  Then Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
10  When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables.
11  He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables
12  so that, ” ‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’ ”
13  Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?
14  The farmer sows the word.
15  Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.
16  Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy.
17  But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.
18  Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19  but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.
20  Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.”
We all want to think of ourselves as “Good soil hearers”… Are we producing a crop of seeds to plant again in the hearts of others? When we begin to share (plant the seed) what we’ve received, then we become the Good Soil Hearers.

 

Prayer Week Day 2 Winning The Battle For The Lost

Winning the battle for the Lord, taking captive the Lost for Jesus

Daily Spirit & Word: 738:

Winning The Battles For The Lost.

The Good News of Jesus Christ: Is God’s Terms of Surrender.

It’s God’s PEACE Treaty: With a Rebellious World.

 

Pentecost Prayer Week: Day 2: TAKING The Rebellious Captive for Jesus.

Good morning my friends, I was so encouraged by the response to the invitation to come and pray yesterday. We had a good group come first thing in the morning. KEEP THE FOCUS… “Praying for National Evangelisation”. That the whole body of Christ may, during the lead-up to Pentecost Sunday this year, be seeking the LORD in prayer for Evangelism.

I said on Sunday, EVANGELISM sends shudders down the spine of most ordinary believers in Jesus, but a committed follower KNOWS that when he / she begins to follow Jesus, He foods their souls with His LOVE and a new DESIRE to SAVE OTHERS.

  • This DESIRE: is not saying you are better than anybody else.
  • This DESIRE: is not saying you are any less sinful than others.

However, it’s knowing God HEART to win and save and call EVERYONE to repentance, to put their own faith and trust in the LORD Jesus Christ, so that they too can experience His love flooding their souls, be transformed by that love, and come with you to win some more people for Jesus.

HOW TO BE PRAYING FOR YOUR OWN OIKOS:

Once you’ve put together your own LIST of those who know you well: Your OIKOS: (those in your life who know you are a follower of Jesus).

Begin to pray about their lives, take your friends to Jesus in prayer. DO IT NOW… Spend a few moments thinking and praying for your friends (I’m going to do that too).

NOW: Write down some of the thoughts that came to you as you were praying for them.

Do you know what my first thought was? “They’ll reject it again”…

I’ve shared the ‘good news’ of Jesus many times with most of the people in my own OIKOS. What going to be different now? I’m praying for them MORE. I’m asking Father God to move into their lives in advance of me TALKING with them. I’m asking HIM, by Holy Spirit, to change their HARD hearts towards God and the GOSPEL… It’s the LOVE of sinning that’s keeping most of them away from Jesus.

Whenever anyone, who’s heard and understood the Gospel, refuses to come into the light, then YOU must KNOW what it is that keeping them in the DARKNESS.

Isaiah 9:1-4 (NLT) The People Walking In Darkness.
1  Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory.
2  The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.
3  You will enlarge the nation of Israel, and its people will rejoice. They will rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest and like warriors dividing the plunder.
4  For you will break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders. You will break the oppressor’s rod, just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian.
What does this passage say to you?

It tells me: They are walking in deep darkness (they are blind).

It tells me: They are going to see a LIGHT… (the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the LIGHT: Jesus is the light of the world).

It tells me: The LIGHT is not going to shine on them, but IN them. (Their HEARTS need the LIGHT of Jesus).

Why Don’t They Come To Jesus?

It’s not intellectual, because the Gospel makes total sense to even a simple little child. Jesus came and took our punishment for sin, when we trust Him, we too can be cleaned-up and forgiven for every sin.

It’s not because they believe in a different religion: though some believe in a god that tolerates sin, this is a different religion from Biblical Christianity. But that’s not what’s keeping them away from Jesus.

It’s their LOVE of sin that keeps them in the DARKNESS.

Sin is transgression of God’s Law: To refuse to come to Him is the greatest sin. To refuse to believe in Him is worse than any other sin. People don’t want to come into the light, because like Jonah, they would rather rule their own affairs, run their own life, take charge of everything themselves. Once they hear and understand the Gospel, they suddenly KNOW that coming to Jesus means surrendering that control over to Him. To allow Him to be KING of their hearts and lives. It’s their LOVE of independent living, of living without God ruling over them, that’s what’s keeping most people who’ve heard and understood the Good NEWS in the DARKNESS.

John 3:18-21 (NLT)
18  “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him (i.e. who puts their faith and trust in Jesus), But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.
19  And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.
20  All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed.
21  But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”

PRAY: That God will MOVE into their DARKNESS and let His light shine in their DARK HEARTS.

NOW: Let’s TAKE them Captive: Catch them in Jesus’ fishing net.

Pray about their LOVE of the DARKNESS: Ask the Lord to show them the darkness is not a friend. Ask the Lord to give them wisdom to be able to reason with Him.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NLT)
3  We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do.
4  We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.
5  We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.

Our WEAPONS: Prayer, God’s Word, God’s Law {The Ten Commandments} (A schoolmaster to lead people to a knowledge of their need of Him).

  • Don’t EXPECT to WIN: Without Prayer.
  • Don’t EXPECT to WIN: Without God’s Word, God’s Spirit, Jesus Presence, His Light.
  • Don’t EXPECT to WIN: Without God first breaking down their hard-hearts…

YOU CAN WIN:

  • Use the WEAPONS God has provided: Prayer, God’s Word, God’s Law…
  • Wear His Gospel Armour, Ephesians 6:10-20. Because you’ll come under fire.
  • When you pray, seek God’s Word, plead with the LORD for their Salvation.
  • Cry for your loved ones lost condition. Feel their darkness and separation from the Lord.
  • ASK GOD: To give you a heart that loves them enough to share Jesus with them.

Our War Hospital: The Gospel is God’s CURE after the battle has been won. i.e. don’t give the gospel too soon. Win the battles first, then offer them the cure. His PEACE treaty. His terms of SURRENDER. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is God’s PEACE TREATY for a rebellious world.

My friends, I firmly believe we are going to SEE a mighty move of God in our land. We’re going to see countless thousands SURRENDER to Jesus Christ as Lord. We’re going to see so many lost people SAVED for Jesus. We’re READY LORD. Bring in the Lost Sheep.

So today, let’s CAPTURE those who’s rebellious thoughts and hearts want to stay away from the Lord Jesus, in the Name of Jesus.

Their stubborn refusal to believe in Jesus: Turn them Lord, because we KNOW this is Your heart’s desire.

Break their heard hearts and give them a heart of flesh, soften them up LORD, because we KNOW this is the Father’s heart.

Open them up to You Lord.

Now, let me speak to them about You Lord Jesus, and Your LOVE for them, what you did so that they could be saved from their sins and help them to submit to You. Amen!

Have an awesome day praying for National Evangelisation of our NATION.

If you can, join us in praying for our NATION:

If you can, come and pray with us at 8.00am in St Luke’s Church, West Norwood.

If you can’t come PRAY at home, at work, on the way to work.

We’re praying for EVERY Christian to have a heart for those who don’t yet know Jesus as Lord.

Don.

NOTE: Tomorrow we’ll be thinking of strategic ways to reach into the lives of those we LOVE with God’s Love.

Heaping Burning Coals.

 

Helping The BLIND to SEE and The Deaf to HEAR

The Blind and Deaf need our Compassion and Kindness, a miracle so they can see and hear their NEED of Jesus Christ

Daily Spirit & Word: 734: The FISHERMAN’S MIRACLE.

When The Fish Jump INTO the Boat.

 

How does SIN Separate Mankind from God?

People are BLIND = Cannot immediately see their need of Jesus.

People are DEAF = Cannot HEAR when you tell them the Good News.

Need to be shown HOW they’ve become SEPARATED from God.

Good morning my friends, we’ve got a wonderful thing happens once a month in West Norwood: The West Norwood Feast. It’s a GOLDEN Opportunity for us as Christians, to build significant and purposeful relationships with our community. We’ve been commanded by the LORD himself to GO into the world to share the good news, that’s brilliant and so many of us are being obedient to that command here in St Luke’s, in many different ways. However, once a month we don’t really need to go out and go fishing, because it’s like the FISHERMAN’S MIRACLE, the fish are jumping into the boat, i.e. The Community is coming to us.

When we don't need to go fishing
Fish Jump into The Boat

 

THE FISH ARE JUMPING INTO THE BOAT

A TRUTH We’ve Discovered:

94% of people want to go to Heaven.

How have we discovered this TRUTH? Because every week we go out into the streets and engage with people who don’t go to church, and we ask this question: “Do you believe in Heaven?”

Another TRUTH:

They want to go to Heaven on their own terms, i.e. without the NEED of being religious.

How do we know? Because we ask them, “Do you think you’ll get into Heaven when you die?”

Again 100% of people, who believe in heaven, HOPE they’ll get in, and 94% think they’ll be good enough for heaven.

Most say things like this:

  • “You don’t need to go to church to be a “good” person.”
  • “You don’t need to be a religious person to get into Heaven, you just need to be good”.
  • “If there is a God, then He’d be a good God and let people into Heaven”.

This my friends, is the ‘religion’ of the vast majority of people in the world.

They believe in a god that will let anyone into heaven, regardless of how they’ve lived their lives, because most of the time, they’ve been good, i.e. Their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds. So they’ll be good enough for heaven when they die.

They don’t know it, but in believing this, they’ve broken the Second Commandment: They’ve made a god to suit themselves, which is Idolatry. Because their god is not the God of the Bible: It’s a world-wide man-made god. Their god is tollerant of sin and will allow the sinful to get into Heaven. However, we know that they don’t know or understand that God is Holy, Righteous and Good.

WHAT THEY DON’T KNOW OR UNDERSTAND:

My friends, most people don’t know or understand this truth; “How sin actually separates mankind from God”. (or more pointedly, how their own sin has separated them from God forever and forfeited all hope of heaven).

They are convinced of their own goodness in God’s sight. It’s like they are wearing: Dark Glasses and Sound Excluding Headphones. (i.e. they won’t see and can’t hear: The Bible says, they are BLIND and DEAF: DEAD in their transgressions and sins).

So like the miracle of the BLIND man being healed and the DEAF man being able to hear, we need a way to ENABLE them to see and hear this truth.

First: Let’s Check Your Own Compassion Level:

You are out having a picnic at Beachy Head: (Beautiful White Cliffs & Lovely Green Grass): You are sitting eating your sandwiches and drinking your juice. You notice a BLIND MAN: He’s walking along towards the edge of the cliff tops, tapping his white stick. Oh and by the way, he’s wearing PINK Headphones.

If you were watching a Blind Man walking along with big pink headphones on his head, tapping his way with a white-stick towards a three hundred foot cliff, blissfully unaware of where he’s heading, what would you do? WHAT WOULD YOU DO? You know that if he keeps going he’s going to tumble over the edge and die. What would you do?

(BTW: Josie Nystrom: Thank’s for being prepared to act this out in church on Sunday: You are a STAR).

That’s right, YOU’VE GOT COMPASSION, you would run as fast as you could and grab hold of the blind man and stop him in his tracks.

  • Shouting at him wouldn’t work, because he can’t hear you.
  • Showing him the cliff won’t work, because he can’t see the danger. 

So you’d just grab hold of him.

Your NORMAL human compassion kicks-in and you act automatically to stop anyone from falling to their death: right?

Firstly: For you to be able to LEAD people to Jesus from today onwards, I’m going to explain what happened in the Garden of Eden. How mankind, because of Adam’s sin, got separated from God, and remained separated until God came down to the Earth in Jesus and made it possible for us to come back into Heaven (Paradise, The Garden of Eden)  and be with Him again.

Secondly, God has given us a WAY to GRAB PEOPLE: Hold them and show them their DANGER.

Thirdly: Have COMPASSION: Remember, they are BLIND and DEAF: The People of this World who don’t know Jesus Christ as Lord: They can’t see and they can’t hear so they don’t KNOW the Danger they are in.

We KNOW that if they were to die in their sins, they’d face God on Judgement day and be sent to Hell.

Surely we’ve got the same kind of COMPASSION for the lost souls of this world as we have for a blind man walking towards the edge of a cliff?

Listen to your NORMAL Human Compassion and think about their ETERNAL Destiny.

The GARDEN of Eden Explained:

(How SIN Separates Mankind from God). 

To Demonstrate: I need: an Adam, an Eve, God and the Serpent (Devil). (Demonstrate Physically). A fruit tree and an apple (piece of fruit). Light Sabre: Flaming Sword. & Jesus. An Cherub and someone to be Jesus.

Read Genesis Chapter 3. Genesis 3.

(Act it out: Demonstrate HOW Mankind Got Separated From God).

  • God said, “Don’t touch or eat or you will die”:
  • Eve was tempted first, then gave some to Adam.
  • They hid themselves, because they KNEW they were NAKED.
  • God came looking for them. (He knew what they’d done, but wanted to confront them with the truth).
  • Eve blamed the Serpent (Satan).
  • Adam blamed both God and his wife.
  • God banished them all from the Garden of Eden.
  • Put flaming swords in the way… (Question: Why did God put a flaming sword between mankind and Eden? Answer: Because man wants to get Eternal Life without going to God).

What is SIN?

1 John 3:4 (NIV) “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.”

Another translation of the Greek says; “Sin is TRANSGRESSION of The Law”…

The LAW spoken of in the verse above is The Commandments of God. When we sin we break God’s Law. The punishment for breaking God’s law is DEATH and Banishment from God’s presence or access to the tree of life. (Example: See Adam and Eve in Genesis 3)…

What Is The Punishment For SIN?

The Bible tells us: “The soul that sins it shall die” Ezekiel 18:20.

And: “The Wages of sin is DEATH”… Romans 6:23.

A person who sins is acting as if there are no commandments, i.e. without any laws. Or as if God has not said that it’s wrong.

This is a perfect picture of what life is getting like in our world today, people doing whatever they like, as if there is no moral law against it or as if God had not declared in the Commandments: You shall not steal, you shall not lie, you shall not covet, you shall not….

When Adam sinned the whole human race became infected with SIN. It’s in our blood, our nature and our character. We sin from early years all the way through our life. Every day we sin in some way. In our natural born state as human beings, we are sinful. King David said, “I was sinful from birth”… When was the first time in your own life that you became aware of your own sinful condition? For me it was when my brother and I stole some lead. We both knew we were doing wrong, then it was stealing sweets from Woolworths. When we stole those sweets we blamed Woolworths for making it so tempting, by putting them right next to the exit doors. Just because we were tempted to steal, it was our own greed that was driving us, not Woolworths placement of those sweets. One act of stealing, in God’s eyes, makes me and my brother into thieves. We are guilty of stealing. The punishment for sin: is death, because we’re guilty of offending God, not Woolworths. Whenever we sin, our conscience is crying out to us to STOP: But we ignore our own, God given, Conscience. Over time, with repeated offences the conscience gets quieter and quieter until it becomes almost undetectable by our soul. It’s like our conscience becomes seared or dies. However, a miracle can happen, we can have our conscience re-awakened and revived, by Hearing God’s LAW. Suddenly when we hear the Ten Commandments the Conscience comes back to life again and warns us of the impending dangers of our sinful actions, thoughts and choices.

What’s The Cure For SIN?

God came down in Jesus to rescue us from Satan, Sin and Death, Eternal Separation from God in Hell. (Hell is God’s place of banishment for rebellion against Him. Away from God’s presence for all eternity is going to be terrible, all you need to do to know what it’s like is read or listen to the words of Jesus on the subject).

  • But BECAUSE of HIS LOVE: God so loved everyone in the world, He doesn’t want a single soul to perish forever in Hell. So that’s why Jesus came to die in our place upon the Cross.
  • Forgiveness for our sinful rebellion is possible. It’s free for us, but it cost God dearly.

Question: How can we GRAB HOLD of the Blind and Deaf?

  • They can’t see.
  • They won’t hear.

Satan has both blinded them and made them deaf to the Gospel. (i.e. those who’ve never repented and trusted in Jesus).

2 Corinthians 4:3-5 (NIV) They Can’t SEE.
3  And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. (They are Blind)
4  The god of this age (Satan) has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
5  For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.

Matthew 13:14-15 (NIV) They Can’t SEE or HEAR.
14  In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: ” ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. 15  For this people’s heart has become calloused (hard); they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn (Repent), and I would heal (Forgive and Cleanse) them.’

Thankfully God has given us a WAY:

It is POSSIBLE: To open blind eyes and unblock deaf ears.

With two great tools: To open eyes, unblock ears and in the process to soften hard-hearts.

1) The Conscience: God given moral compass. (Some people’s conscience is dead, but we can bring it back to life again).

2) The Commandments: God has written these upon their hearts. (They KNOW the truth deep down inside their souls).

With these two great Spiritual weapons, we can enable the blind unbeliever to see and the deaf rebel to hear. We can grab hold of them and stop them falling over the deadly cliff of death into the pit of eternal Hell.

Their own Conscience will bear witness to the TRUTH within their hearts. It will do so long after we’ve finished talking with them. Because, with the help of the Holy Spirit (Who’s job it is to bring conviction of sin), they’ll be brought out of the darkness into the light of understanding.

John 16:8 (NIV) “When he (Holy Spirit) comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment:”

Only the Holy Spirit can bring conviction of sin. All we have to do is get people’s hearts ready for the Holy Spirit to do His work. He’s already bringing conviction upon many people in the world today, because you’ll have been praying for them before you even go and speak to them.

God has chosen you and me, those who believe in Jesus Christ, to work with Him (Holy Spirit) in bringing the world to faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

Here’s HOW Jesus did it: It’s called THE WAY OF THE MASTER.

OPENING UP THE COMMANDMENTS:

(Practically Grabbing Hold of the Blind and Deaf Before they fall into Eternity).

Here is explained HOW to use God’s two great tools to bring people out of the darkness into the light.

Start where people are: That’s what Jesus did.

They (most of them) all want to go to Heaven.

Ask them, “Are you or Do you think you are good enough for heaven?”

Most will think they are or hope they are good enough.

Ask, “Have you heard of God’s Ten Commandments?” Even if they haven’t heard them, they are written upon their hearts anyway, so their conscience will remind them.

Ask, “Do you think you’ve kept those Commandments?”… Most think they have.

Begin by asking, “Have you ever told a lie?” Explain that a liar can’t get into Heaven.

Then proceed through all Ten (if you need to). Most times you won’t need to go through all TEN of the Commandments, because you’ll notice that the Holy Spirit is working on their souls, their conscience also bearing witness. When they stop trying to justify themselves, you’ll know they are ready for the GRACE of the Gospel: The Good News of Jesus Christ.

NOTE: The Old Time Preachers: The Apostles, Jesus Christ, George Whitefield, Charles Wesley, Spurgeon, Moody, J.C. Ryle, etc: all called the COMMANDMENTS (The Law) the preparation of a soul for the Gospel. The preaching of the Law opens up a heart, ploughs the hard soil-hearers, and gets ready for the seed of the Gospel to be planted.

Once you’ve explained the Commandments, and God’s Holy Standards of Righteousness, you don’t need to spend very long at all on the Gospel. The GOOD NEWS.

It’s like a good doctor explaining a patient’s need for treatment. He won’t spend very long on the cure, because once he’s explained the symptoms and what will happen if the patient is not treated, they’ll be ready for the cure. “Give it to me, please, Doctor. Give me the cure…”…

When you are like a good doctor and explain the patient’s need for a cure, then I’m sure you are going to see many of those fishes jumping into the boat all by themselves 🙂 Once they know the danger they are in, they’ll jump into the net of Salvation.

The CURE for Sin’s Curse: Death and Hell: New Life and Heaven.

Jesus came and died in their place upon the Cross, so they don’t need to go to their death with their sins still on them, they can be forgiven, cleansed and given a new life, if they will believe in Jesus, trust that His death was for them, turn in repentance (forsaking sin) and receive Him as their Lord and Saviour. (SEE The GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ).

Conclusion:

Here in West Norwood in London, we’ve been given a Golden Opportunity, when the World comes to us once a month for the FEAST, let’s be focused and be ready to make the most of God’s amazing golden opportunities, and build significant relationships with those He is already drawing into His Kingdom Family. With His help and tools we can open up blind eyes and deaf ears.

Be strategic, look for the people who’s hearts He’s already softening:

  • They’ll be the ones He’s drawing to Himself,
  • They’ll be open to hearing the Good News about Jesus.
  • They’ll be ready to discover a new way of living.
  • They’ll be frustrated with their life so far.
  • They’ll be aware they can’t live-up to their own standards.
  • They’ll be being convicted by the Holy Spirit of their need of Jesus.

They may not be instantly ready to repent, because it may take several times to hear God’s good news and the whole Gospel, but there will be AN OPENNESS. Remember how stubborn you were, before you finally repented and trusted in Jesus Christ? It took a while to convince you of your own need of a Saviour, so don’t ever give up on someone, keep praying for your loved ones every day. God cares more about their eternal welfare than you do, He’s patient, because He doesn’t want a single human soul to perish in Hell. (2 Peter 3:9).

Remember: Adam and Eve, they show us how the great divide happened, how mankind’s relationship with God was broken, and in Jesus Christ, God’s Son, we find the cure for man’s sinful rebellion, sin, wickedness and waywardness. Like the compassion we have for the Blind Man, let’s be filled with the same compassion as our Lord Jesus Christ has and go out and save those He’s calling into His Kingdom family. Amen!

The People of this World need our COMPASSION not our CONDEMNATION.

Have a wonderful week, keep fishing for men and women.

Remember to have compassion because they are blind and deaf; don’t shout at them they can’t hear you, don’t try and show them, because they can’t see their need of Jesus yet, but rescue them and with the tools God has provided to open blind eyes and unblock deaf ears; Their Conscience and His Commandments, and the Holy Spirit working on their souls, together let’s make them aware of their spiritual condition: let’s go fishing for souls in the sea of life. Hopefully, with God’s help, we’ll be able to catch a few fish before we’re taken back into our Eternal dwelling place. Amen!

Jesus said, “I will make you fishers of men” Matthew 4:19 and Mark 1:17… i.e. When we come to Jesus, He makes us want to catch fish.

“If you don’t want other people to be saved, then you are NOT saved yourself. Be certain of that.” Charles Spurgeon.

The people of this world need our compassion not our condemnation.

They are Blind and Deaf: But you can, with God’s tools and help, open up their EYES and EARS…

Be blessed in Jesus,

Don.

The People of this world are BLIND and DEAF: S.O.S….

They need our compassion and kindness, to be shown their need of a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. They are headed for a fall into Eternity, so let’s get the same kind of compassion as Jesus Christ has, and save some souls. There is an S.O.S. but they don’t know their danger, because if they did they’d cry out “S.O.S” … “Save Our Souls”…

 

Loving The World Leads You Away

King Ahaz appealed to the King of Assyria for help, folloed worldly ways

Daily Spirit & Word: 731: Following The Patterns Of This World.

What happens when we follow worldly ways?

Good morning my friends, what are you going to do when trouble comes knocking at the door of your life?

2 Kings 16:10 (NIV) “Then King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria. He saw an altar in Damascus and sent to Uriah the priest a sketch of the altar, with detailed plans for its construction.”

King Ahaz, was the king of Judah, he was one of Judah’s baddie kings, because instead of following after and serving the One True God he’s followed previous kings and their evil practices that God had clearly forbidden. His life was a ‘Spiritual’ ruin and wasteland.

During his reign, Syria attacked Judah. But instead of going to God for help Ahaz appealed to the king of Assyria to come to his aid and help him defeat Syria. Imagine, he took the silver and gold from the Temple of God to bribe the Assyrian king to help him. The Assyrian king did assist Ahaz and together they defeated Syria.

However, After the great victory, Ahaz went to Damascus to meet the king of Assyria. Our verse today tells us about that very visit. We can note three things that happen to Ahaz and to us when we seek the world’s help in times of trouble instead of God’s.

You’ll notice in the verse these three things; The obligation of Ahaz, the observation by Ahaz, and the orders from Ahaz.

1) The Obligation of King Ahaz:

Obligation of Ahaz. “Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria.” Ahaz was obligated to go to Damascus to express his appreciation and give honour to the king of Assyria. Ahaz had forsaken Jehovah God, He’d wandered away from the God who had defeated the mightiest armies of Egypt and sought the assistance of a Worldly King when trouble came. Instead of going to God he appealed to the King of Assyria. So now he is the servant by choice (2 Kings 16:7) of the king of Assyria.

2 Kings 16:7 (NIV) “Ahaz sent messengers to say to Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria, “I am your servant and vassal. Come up and save me out of the hand of the king of Aram and of the king of Israel who are attacking me.”

My friends, when we forsake God we become obligated to the world, we become the World’s slaves and servants, and that obligation will only become a burden to us.

It reminds me of the church that went to the National Lottery for money to rebuild it’s church, now that church is full of practices and activities and groups that no normal Christian would ever entertain. When we go to the world for assistance instead of to God, then world will burden us and we’ll become obliged to serve it instead of God. Instead of being a light to the world, we become it’s servant and slave. When we go to the world for help, it’s then that our SALT looses is ability to savour.

1 John 2:15-17 (NIV)
15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16  For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.
17  The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives for ever.

It was obvious from King Ahaz’s conduct that he did not LOVE God or God’s commandments. It’s important to check where our affections are leading us, are they drawing us away from God and Kingdom living? or are they drawing us closer to Him and Kingdom service?

When we love the world then we’ll become IMPRESSED with what the world has to offer instead of God. This leads us to consider what Ahaz saw when he visited the worldly King of Assyria after he helped him.

2) The Observation by King Ahaz.

“Saw an altar that was at Damascus.” Ahaz was impressed by an altar he saw in Damascus. This altar was for heathen ungodly worship, but that did not seem to bother King Ahaz. Why? because we already know from previous verses in our chapter that he was already involved in heathen worship, even killing one of his own children. (2 Kings 16:3,4). So no wonder when Ahaz observed that magnificent foreign alter he was impressed with it.

1 John 2:16 “For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.”

This world is always concerned with how things look, and that’s what impressed Ahaz. You may be tempted, when following worldly lusts to be impressed with how things look in this world. How people have fashioned their buildings, structures, clothes, vehicles and lives, etc… You might be impressed with their gadgets and gizmos, and tempted to long for them.

Having rejected Israel’s God, Ahaz was given to false religion which emphasizes ritual and outward form and appearance. All false religions aren’t concerned with the inner man or how to please or serve God. Their practice of religion is to see what they can get out of their god.

It’s never their inner character or conduct or the wishes or commands of God.

After being tempted and teased and impressed we now see where it leads King Ahaz.

3) The Orders from King Ahaz.

“He saw an altar in Damascus and sent to Uriah the priest a sketch of the altar, with detailed plans for its construction.”

King Ahaz wanted an altar just like the one in worldly Damascus to use at the Holy Temple of God.

What’s really strange is that in The Temple God there was already an holy altar. Judah didn’t need a new one. God had prescribed the pattern and form of Israel’s altar already.

Can you see what’s happening in King Ahaz’s life? He’d gone to the world for help, he’d become obliged to the world and now after being impressed with the world, Ahaz wanted to shape and pattern his whole life and worship to become more like the world. We shouldn’t be surprised by this, because our affections and desires will change once we wander away from God.

When we go to the world for help, we’ll end up far away from the Lord.

My friends, when we go to the world for help in times of trouble, then we too will become obliged to the world, we’ll become it’s servant instead of God’s, we’ll want to fulfil it’s desires and wishes and we’ll be obliged to do so. Secondly, because our hearts are already away from the Lord, our desires will begin to change and we’ll want to become more and more like the world, we’ll want to fashion and patter our whole life and our worship to become more worldly. We’ll become more concerned with what the world thinks about us rather than what God thinks.

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15.

When Ahaz was attacked his life was already in ruins, so he naturally followed his fleshly instincts and went to the world for help. He must have thought, “I’m being attacked by a big boy, I’m going to get a bigger boy to come and help me”… What should Ahaz have done? He should have gone to the BIGGEST and STRONGEST and MOST ABLE: God, the KING of the UNIVERSE… Amen! If he had followed God’s desires, he would have been able to withstand ANY Enemy Attack.

My friends, Don’t GO to the world for help in times of trouble or hardship. Instead, first, go directly to your LOVING Heavenly Father.

Last night on Alpha we discovered just how much our Father in Heaven longs to give us what we need.

INSTEAD: ASK YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER FOR HELP:

Luke 11:9-13 (NIV)
9  “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
10  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
11  “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?
12  Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?
13  If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Jesus said, “I AM the light of the world, whoever follows me will never walk in darkness again”… King Ahaz was walking in the deepest darkness, look at the rest of chapter 16 to see just how far away from the LORD Ahaz took the true worship.

John 8:12 (NIV) “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Sometimes we just don’t get because we forget to ASK.

Following Jesus will not make you immune from attacks or trouble, but when you face those trouble by faith, walking closely with Jesus, you will have total PEACE and even the deepest JOY that the world cannot understand.

When we forget to ASK, we’re walking in the darkness instead of the light and we’ll be led astray to follow worldly ways instead of God’s ways.

Ahaz made his choice long before an attack ever happened, my friends, if you are experiencing the blessings of peace now, keep close to Jesus, stay close to Him every day and He will guide your affections and heart’s desires.

Don.

 

Living In The Fountain of Life

Christian living in the power of the Holy Spirit

Daily Spirit & Word: 728:

Living In The Power of The Holy Spirit.

A Battle Royal: How to live a submitted life.

“When you do what pleases you, does what you do please God?

Good morning my friends, what a wonderful Alpha Experience evening we had last night. Our theme for the evening was all about The HOLY SPIRIT. We looked at the teaching, filling, empowering, seeking and yearning. We all admitted our NEED of God The Holy Spirit.

However, one of the main points of our discussion was what we’d talked about the previous week: How does God guide us? How does the Holy Spirit let us know His will? How can I live in such a way that I know I’m going to be victorious as a Christian?

We will understand and know His guidance the more we SUBMIT ourselves completely to Christ, but what we discovered afresh last night was, the more you submit yourself to God, the more you begin to realise how just un-submitted we really are. And therefore, how much we need God’s grace, mercy, forgiveness, cleansing, power and presence every single day.

THE WALK OF GENUINE FAITH:

  • The Walk of genuine faith in Jesus really is a battle of WILLS: God’s Will and Our Will. 
  • The Walk of genuine faith in Jesus really is a battle of DESIRES: God’s desires and our own sinful desires.
  • The Walk of genuine faith in Jesus really is a battle of WANTS: What God wants and what we want.
  • The Walk of genuine faith in Jesus really is a battle of PLEASURES: What pleases God and what pleases us. 

Thankfully our wills, desires, wants and pleasures change as we submit ourselves to Jesus and seek the fullness of Holy Spirit, but then as we go on in the walk of faith, they sneak back into our souls, sometimes, undetected.

Thankfully Holy Spirit reveals our condition: He’s a gentle Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ, but he’ll not leave you, those who’ve received Him as Lord, in a condition of sin for very long. His heart’s desire is that you become more and more like Him: Holy, righteous, good and faithful.

When we follow our heart’s desires, wills, wants and pleasures instead of or in-spite of God’s revealed will, we become like an Adulterer: Unfaithful to the one who’s loved us.

James 4:4-10 (NIV)
4  You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred towards God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. (We become friends of the world when we do worldly things that God hates).
5  Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?
6  But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
7  Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
8  Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
9  Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.
10  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

When Holy Spirit shows you your condition, He does not do it to make you feel guilty, but to bring you back, to stop you falling, to keep you on track with God’s good plan for your life. However, just like Adam and Eve hid in the garden when they sinned against God, our NATURAL tendency is to hide too, we want to cover it up, pretend it never happened, keep it in the darkness. As God looked for and called for Adam and Eve, he’ll be doing the same with you and me by His Spirit. “Adam, where are you?” … “Eve, come out of hiding”…. Notice what happens when we respond to the pull of the Spirit, when we draw near to God, “He draws near to us”. What grace, what love, what amazing mercy.

Encouragement:

  • Submit yourself to God:
  • Resist the devil (the worldly attractions, temptations and pleasures),
  • Come Near to God: When we draw nearer to God (Nearer my God to Thee)… He comes bounding towards us in Spirit. “He will come near to you”…
  • Wash, Purify, Grieve, Mourn, Cry: i.e. feel what God feels because of your sinful wills, desires, wants and pleasures and mourn about it. Decide in your hearts that you want to be cleansed and set-free again.
  • WHEN: When you submit, resist, draw near, wash, grieve and mourn and cry: i.e. HUMBLE yourself towards God: He WILL LIFT YOU UP.
  • WHAT IF?: What if I’ve failed again? What if I keep falling? My friends, if you feel guilty then you are in a good place, because God’s not giving up on you. It’s when you stop feeling guilty and keep sinning you should really start to worry, because “God resists the proud”. However, if you feel the sorrow of a sinner’s heart, then you will receive from the Lord “MORE GRACE” James 4:6.
  • Remember Psalm 103:12. When you come in true confession and contrition (sorrow for sin), then God takes your sins away from you and FORGETS all about them, as if they never happened.

Psalm 103:11-13 (NIV)
11  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
12  as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13  As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;

The Holy Spirit’s Intense Jealousy:

James 4:5 “Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?”

The Holy Spirit, that God caused to LIVE IN US, “Envies Intensely”: i.e. He’s jealous for God’s Glory and your own goodness in the Christian life. There’s an intense feeling of JOY when we walk in step with the Spirit.

FOUNTAIN OF LIFE:

The Holy Spirit: Becomes in us (Inside Us) a SPRING or FOUNTAIN… i.e. we get filled up with the Holy Spirit from within… It’s not external, but internal filling we need. Some people erroneously, mistakenly, foolishly “Call Down” the Holy Spirit, but how can you call down someone who’s already there? He is in you if you are saved by Jesus. You are full of Holy Spirit, but we leak… All we need is a greater filling, more of His fullness, more LORD!…. “Go on being filled with the Spirit” Ephesians 5:8-18.

Awesome! Because when God lifts you up, you’re going to have one of those MOUNTAIN-TOP EXPERIENCES.

Focus on God’s desires, focus on Jesus, focus on His awesome tender compassion, kindness and love.

  • He give GRACE to the Humble.
  • He RESISTS the Proud.
  • The Spirit’s Presence is like a FOUNTAIN.
  • Go on being filled… i.e. every day. 

Amen!

Don.

Worship: Wonderful Grace.

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.