*Favoritism fosters distortion in our heart and mind. It’s the breeding ground for prejudice and racism.
*Christianity is not a popularity contest, it is all level ground at the foot of the cross!
I. A GOOD GUY
*Good people still need to be transformed by the Gospel!
*No one is so bad that they are beyond the reach of God’s grace and no one is so good that they are beyond the need of it.
Quote: “Angels can deliver God’s messages to lost men, but they cannot preach the Gospel to them. That is our privilege and responsibility.” Warren Wiersbe
II. A PROUD CHRISTIAN
*The problem is not that the Gospel has lost any of its power to change the lives of all people. The problem is Christians who think the Gospel is only for a select group of people.
*Racism doesn’t have its roots in the Bible; Jesus died for every race. Racism is rooted in the hearts and minds of people who are filled with pride.
“Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:”
*The Gospel transforms our life so that we can now display the glory and grace of God to others.
III. A GAME CHANGING MOMENT
“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
II Corinthians 5:19
“To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”
*If you’re in a season of things going just the way you planned you should get prepared now for some divine rerouting.
*God’s method of bringing humility into our life is to help us become holy.
Romans 3:10, 11
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.”
“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
I John 4:9
“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.”
I John 4:19
“We love him, because he first loved us.”
*God took the greatest enemy of the church and instead of destroying him through judgment He changed him through grace.
I. GOD LOVES THE WORST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD
*Who are you, Lord?
*What do you want me to do Lord?
*You can’t love Jesus and hate His bride!
*It’s a shame when religious people can be more dedicated and motivated than God’s children!
II. GOD USES THE MOST UN-LIKELY PEOPLE IN THE WORLD
*People who are saved by grace are changed by grace and ultimately share God’s grace!
Quote: “The ultimate test of our spirituality is our amazement at the grace of God.” Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones
Ephesians 2:8, 9
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
*God glorifies Himself in saving the worst of sinners and uses those trophies of His grace to proclaim the Gospel.
*The preparatory work for greatness often starts with suffering.
*Preparation for service does not happen overnight.
Quote: “The most painful times in our lives are usually when God is taking out some cherished idol.” Tim Keller
Quote: “What God is doing in you is just as significant as what He is doing through you.”
*God’s rerouting processes in our lives not only affirm His love and grace for us but we become powerful instruments of His grace to others.
*The early church soon realized that in order for the Gospel to spread it was going to come at a great cost.
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
*Our life is not about us, our life is about pointing people to Jesus.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”
*Dying to self is the only way to live a life of fruitfulness.
Quote: “The only way to be blessed is to be a blessing and to be a blessing we must leave our comfort.” Tim Keller
I. RADICAL TRANSFORMATION
Quote: “A group of ordinary Christians living intentionally in a city to bring joy to it through word and deed.” JD Greear
*The Great Commission is not fulfilled by a few anointed preachers and pastors but through God’s people being filled with God’s Spirit, going to different places, proclaiming the Gospel to all people!
II. RACIAL UNIFICATION
*Perhaps the greatest display of God’s power was not through “miracle healings” but through lives that were radically transformed!
*The Gospel of Jesus Christ breaks down the race barrier and builds bridges of reconciliation creating unity and harmony.
“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
III. ROOTLESS FAITH
*Once saved forever following.
*We either give Jesus complete control or we have not given Him control at all.
Quote: “The pain of sacrificing our old selves is nothing compared to the joy of Christ living in us in our transformed lives.” A.W. Tozer
*Watch out for bitterness lingering in your life!
“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.”
A. Loss of your ability to love God
B. Lack of spiritual growth in your life
C. Lingering doubts about your salvation
*The cure for bitterness is found in repentance and returning to Jesus Christ so that you may rejoice!
*The life changing power of the Gospel cannot be purchased with money and joy does not come out of a bitter person.
*The church is to be a place of joy, where people who are filled with joy, are moving toward those whose lives are joyless!
*When it comes to God’s mission for the church there is no “Plan B”; “Plan B” is to enforce “Plan A”.
*The same God who shook the early church is the same God who is still at work in the lives of His people today!
*The pages of God’s Word not only remind us but reinforce the reality that the church of Jesus Christ is victorious!
I Corinthians 15:57, 58
“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
I. GENUINE FAITH
I Thessalonians 2:13
“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”
II. GATHERING FOR WORSHIP
Quote: “The gift of language combined with the gift of song was given to man so that he should proclaim the Word of God through music.” Martin Luther
Quote: “Worship has been misunderstood as something that arises from a feeling which comes upon you; but it is vital that we understand that it is rooted in a conscious act of the will, to serve and obey the Lord Jesus Christ.” Graham Kendrick
III. GENEROUS GIVING
*Generosity is not a percentage you give it’s the way that you live when your life has been changed by the Gospel.
IV. GROWING AND GOING
*Church attendance and community must always be connected!
“For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”
Quote: “A church that stays within the four walls is not a church at all!” Mark Batterson
*Evangelism and discipleship is not a destination it is to be the direction every believer is headed!
V. GODLY LEADERSHIP
“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”
“Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.”
“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”
VI. GUIDED BY PRAYER
*The whole idea of prayer in the Bible is not about a prayer time but a prayer life.
Quote: “A prayerful church is a powerful church.” Charles Spurgeon
VII. GOVERNED BY THE SPIRIT
*The early church is proof that with little money, minimally gifted people, uneducated leaders and limited building space the power of the Holy Spirit shook the world for the glory of God!
*A church that is continuing on is a church that will be growing!
*Our life still speaks to who we were and what we believed long after we are gone and done talking.
1. Man must come to God by faith and not works. Your religion and tradition will not save you.
2. Man must accept and obey God’s holy revelation above his own reason and self-will.
*They may kill the messenger but the message will never die!
I. THE MESSENGER AND THE MESSAGE
A. A Man That That Was Full Of The Spirit
*Our walk and our talk should reflect that we are under the direct and divine control of the Spirit.
*Does my testimony taint the message of truth?
“Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.”
B. A Message That Was Filled With Truth
1. A history of resisting God’s messengers and the message.
2. A history of breaking God’s Law.
I Kings 8:27
“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?”
*What brings a building to life is when those who have the life of God in them come together to praise, preach, and proclaim the name of Jesus!
“Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.”
II. THE MOB AND THE MURDER
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
*You answer the question of, “would I die for Jesus” by asking yourself, “am I living for Jesus”.
Quote: “The love of the church is the churches most effective apologetic.” Francis Schaffer
*In his death Stephen showed that although the world rejected him, He was received by the Saviour.
Quote: “Death reveals who we really are.”
“Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”
*Questions To Contemplate
1. What is the level of my surrender, sacrifice, and service saying about my love for Jesus and His Church?
2. What will the last words from my lips reveal about my life?
3. When I see Jesus what will I hear Him say to me?
*No church is perfect because it is filled with imperfect people.
I. THE HOLY SPIRIT PRODUCES GRACE IN THE LIVES OF GOD’S PEOPLE
*Mega grace is the result of the Gospel loosening the grip of greed on your life and tightening your grip of others.
II. GENEROSITY IS THE SIGN OF A HEALTHY CHURCH
*Grace filled people are generous people!
1. Filled with the Spirit
*Money may not be your idol but it will reveal what your idol is.
2. Mission Driven
3. Like Minded
4. Love In Action
5. Leading By Example
III. SATAN FAILED AT ELIMINATING JESUS SO HE SEEKS TO DESTROY THE CHURCH
*When Satan fills your heart you will trade Jesus for money.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, hefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”
“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.”
*The surest way to flush your heart of wickedness is to have your heart filled with a love for Jesus.
IV. GOD IS VERY SERIOUS ABOUT SIN
Quote: “God is indeed long suffering, patient, and slow to anger. In fact he is so slow to anger that when his anger does erupt, we are shocked and offended by it. We forget rather quickly that God’s patience is designed to lead us to repentance, to give us a time to be redeemed. Instead of taking advantage of this patience by coming humbly to Him for forgiveness, we use this grace as an opportunity to become bolder in our sin. We delude ourselves into thinking that either God doesn’t care about it, or that he is powerless to punish us. The supreme folly is that we think we will get away with our revolt.” R.C. Sproul, The Holiness of God
“Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.”
*When a church fears God the result is grace, generosity and growth!
II Peter 1:16
“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”
I Corinthians 10:11
“Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”
1. We must hear the Word.
2. We must heed the Word.
3. We must honor the Word.
*The power and presence of the Holy Spirit is still at work today!
Quote: “We may as well face it: the whole level of spirituality among us is low. We have measured ourselves by ourselves until the incentive to seek higher plateaus in the things of the Spirit is all but gone…. [We] have imitated the world, sought for popular favor, manufactured delights to substitute for the joy of the Lord and produced a cheap and synthetic power to substitute for the power of the Holy Ghost.” A. W. Tozer
I. THE SPIRIT’S MOVING
*They were connected and they were committed.
*There was unity in the community.
Quote: “In essentials unity, in non-essentials, liberty, in all things, charity.”
*The world cannot tolerate what the Scriptures teach and they are not going to stand by the Church and coddle Christians.
*Prayerlessness is not a self-discipline problem, it is a sign that you are not walking in the Spirit.
1. Communion with God in His Word.
2. Close connections with God’s people.
3. Commitment to prayer with and for others.
"Never will I be satisfied until God works in convicting power and men and women weep their way to the cross…oh that He would break me down and cause me to weep for the salvation of lost souls." Oswald Smith
II. A MEGA CHURCH
*The result of believing in the Gospel and obeying the Gospel is that you become a bold and generous person!
1. Where do I see myself in the picture of what God is doing through His Church?
2. Who do I know that needs to become a part of the picture?
3. What am I willing to do in order to reach the people I know with the Gospel?
4. Will I pray for boldness to proclaim the gospel?
“And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.”
Quote: “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” Tertullian
*Persecution did not destroy the church but instead it served to strengthen, purify and mature the church.
Quote: “Persecution is an inevitable element of genuine Christian faith”. R. Kent Hughes
“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.”
Quote: “Suffering in the badge of Christianity. The disciple is not above his Lord. Discipleship means allegiance to the suffering Christ, and it is therefore not at all surprising that Christians should be called upon to suffer.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Quote: “Salvation is free but discipleship will cost you your life”. Dietrich Bonhoeffer
I. THE SAME PEOPLE AND SAME PROBLEM AS BEFORE
*Religion and religious people always run to the rules and regulations to exercise control.
II. THE POWER OF JESUS NAME
*The name of Jesus is the only name that will save!
*Is it obvious to the people around us that we have been with Jesus?
Quote: “All religions are exclusive, but Christianity is the most inclusive exclusivity there is.” Tim Keller
*The beauty of the Gospel is that it confronts us in our sin and offers us grace.
III. THE BOLD PRONOUNCEMENT
*Are we obeying the high calling and holy command by Jesus to go and make disciples?
John 12:42, 43
“Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”
*Will there be overwhelming evidence of my love for Jesus this week?
“Money has never made man happy, nor will it; there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has the more one wants.”¬ – Benjamin Franklin
*Everyone will come to a place in life where they realize that money is not the solution.
I. THE MIRACLE
*Healing was not a gift to believers to make them better. It was a sign to nonbelievers to convince them to believe the message of the gospel.
II Corinthians 12:7-10
“And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
*God may not heal you to keep you humble.
*God may not heal you to keep you close to Him.
*God may not heal you so that you might better help others.
*The biggest need in your life is not to be healed from your “issue” but to be made spiritually whole through salvation in Jesus Christ!
II. THE MESSAGE
“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;”
*Repentance, Refreshing, and Restitution.
I Peter 2:24
“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”