Service Notes

Notes from Sunday Worship Services

I Want To Be Saved

Sunday Morning Service, 6/27/10

Songs

  • [ Come, Now Is The Time To Worship]
  • [ Rejoice]
  • [ Everyday]
  • [ Enough]
  • [ Love Has Come]
  • [ Holy Is The Lord]
  • [ How Can I Keep From Singing]
  • [ Majestic]
  • [ God Is Alive]

Testimonies

> Jack Rohrer

There have been times that were rough, but every time, God pulls me through. People at work ask me, “How can you handle it?” I say, “It’s not me; it’s God.”

> Will Booker

I’m thankful for the goodness and mercy of God. Anything in God we can give God credit for, we should. We’ve got to have God’s energy and love in our life. If you’re trusting in God, that can carry you farther than you could ever imagine. That’s my testimony.

Message: I Want To Be Saved

> Pastor Thomas

Every generation has questions about God. There’s a bus with a sign on it saying something like, “Don’t be a follower of God; make up your own mind.” The enemy gets in there with all kinds of false statements, trying to get people to not get into God. In the sixties when I was growing up, it was “God is dead.”

How many of you, as an adult, have been chewed out for something you’ve done wrong?

> (many hands)

So there you are. We as an adult sometimes do things wrong. We don’t need someone hovering over us all day saying “Do this; don’t do that.” But like children, we need guidance.

How many of you went in to boot camp already knowing what you were supposed to do?

> (no hands)

How many of you, when you got there, thought “this is crazy!”?

> (lots of hands)

When I was in the Navy, we had to wash our own clothes with a bucket and a scrub brush. Then, whether summer or winter, cold or hot, we had to tie our clothes up on the line with these little pieces of rope. And they had to be just so – if anything was the least bit wrong, the Company Commander would pull the strings loose and let the clothes fall on the ground. Then you had to wash them all over again. Nowadays, recruits have their laundry done for them. That’s just not right!

It’s the same with Christ. You have to have the basics of Christianity to build on. But people have been in the church for twenty and thirty years without gaining a foundation of understanding of the word of God. Therefore everything in their life is based on misunderstanding, superstition, and fallacies.

In this scripture, Peter had just come from the beach after hearing Jesus say “Feed my sheep; feed my sheep; feed my lambs.” Like all the Jews, he was in Jerusalem for the Passover and the day of Pentecost. People heard a commotion and started gathering outside the upper room. So Peter leaned out the window and started to preach. He told them about this Lord and Christ whom they had crucified. He reviewed the prophecies of the Old Testament foretelling that Messiah would come. They heard the message and were pricked in their hearts, and said:

Acts 2:37
  1. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

Then Peter said, “Repent.” That is the foundation of our faith: repentance. You can go down the street and ask prostitutes, muggers, thieves, and store clerks: “Do you believe in Jesus?” And everyone of them will answer “I believe.” But belief doesn’t wash your soul clean. That’s where the foundation of many people starts to crumble. They say, “Well, I believe!”

Is anybody a millionaire in here? Drat! Well, if you were a millionaire, how would you know? By your bank account. You could have a nice, fancy car, or a nice, fancy house and still be in debt up to your eyeballs. But if you’re a millionaire, you’ve made financial decisions that have increased the size of your bank accounts. Many people think that millionaires dress a certain way and drive certain cars. I had the privilege of knowing a millionaire: he used to coach my little-league team. He drove an old, beat-up Chevy and lived in a ramshackle house. Why should you spend your wealth trying to impress people that don’t matter?

How many of you know that you’re saved? How do you know that you’re saved?

  • By the Word of God
  • You’ve repented and obeyed the Word of God, and continued to live a repented life

You can’t know you’re doing that if you don’t know the Word of God. People say, “I know that I’m saved, because I gave my heart to Jesus when I was ten.” But what have you been doing since then? Drinking, smoking, cussin’, and fussin’: that doesn’t save you. You say, “I can feel Jesus in my heart.” That doesn’t save you either. That’s just the pricking in your heart trying to get you to repent. The Bible says that we are new creatures in Christ. We don’t behave or talk the same way anymore.

I remember the first day that I got saved. I was stationed on the Navy Base working with the Ninth District Military Security Group. Sometimes we went out and picked up deserters, and sometimes we just made the rounds. I had my soda on the dashboard in that “magic circle” where you put your drink. I drove over the railroad tracks and the magic left the dash. The soda levitated, moved over, and dumped in my lap. And I swore. Then I pulled over to the side of the road and cried. I was a combat veteran; I was a man. Yet because I swore, it broke my heart, because I knew that I had displeased God. We can’t let filthy communication come out of our mouth. Some people say that you can’t be in the military without swearing, but I spent eight years in the military. I spent four as the best heathen Satan had, and four striving to be the best saint that God had. I know that it is possible to serve in the military without swearing.

So if you do something wrong, let it break your heart. God wants you to come to him and say, “God, I’ve blown it; I’ve not done right; I need to change.” Then God allows us to change. We change from the old songs we used to praise to learning to sing praises to God. The saying is, “You are what you eat.” We may not look like hot-dogs and hamburgers, but we look like we’ve been enjoying them. Before my Dad died of heart disease and emphysema, he said “I realize now that mos tof that stuff was heart sludge.”

Church, going to Bible studies once a week is not going to sustain your spiritual life. Praying when something goes wrong is not going to sustain your spiritual life. If you don’t put the spiritual things of God in your life and become that new creature, then your old man will reign. And your old man will not make it into the kingdom of heaven. God’s not going to ask for a list of the people who attend this church. God isn’t even going to ask for your baptismal certificate. God’s already got a list. In fact, he’s got two. One of them is the book of works. When you swear, it’s written down. (I can’t imagine how that happens, but it does.) If we don’t understand that as a foundation of our faith, then we’re going to make bad choices, and that book of works is going to be filled with things that we don’t want written down. But the Bible says that everything done in secret will be brought to light.

I don’t believe in “Jesus light.” There is light beer, light margarine, maybe even light hamburgers, but there is no “light Jesus.” We need to live our lives with an understanding of the will of Jesus. Then we won’t have to guess about what to do. We won’t have to ask for someone else’s opinion or approval. There is only one who needs to approve of what you do. We know that we can do all things through Jesus Christ. But when we get away from that and do things by ourselves, man we get into trouble, don’t we?

After that message, Peter said:

Acts 2:38
  1. Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Mark 16:16
  1. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Why is baptism important? Why is getting baptized in water important? They don’t give you a bar of soap, and it isn’t about membership in a church. But if we look at the history of the world, we see that first the earth was a ball of water, and out of that water came dry land.

In the priesthood, there was a laver of water outside the sanctuary, and God said the priests must wash, that they die not.

We don’t have to understand why God thinks it’s important. We just have to do it, like I had to tie my underwear on a line with a certain knot.

Pastor Paine, there have been restaurants that we’ve been to where you couldn’t get in unless you were wearing a coat and tie. There are other restaurants where the first thing they did when you went in was to take a pair of scissors and cut off your tie. It’s a matter of culture. And wherever you go, that culture is obvious.

Is it obvious to the world that your culture is the culture of Christ? Is it obvious to the world that you’ve humbled yourself to Christ? One of the good things about baptism is that it forces you to humble yourself.

Before you cash a check at the bank, you’ve got to sign it. And before you get saved, you’ve got to get baptized. Why? Because God said so.

I love the example where Paul was in Ephesus:

Acts 19:1-2
  1. And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
  2. He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

Now he was asking believers, not a caravan of merchants. He was asking people who believed in Jesus Christ. And he said, “Have you received that extra portion of the spirit, that holy annointing of God?”

Acts 19:3-4
  1. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.
  2. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.

So church, we might not have all come from the same culture and lived the same life, but if we come to Christ, we’ve got to all learn the same basic fundamental steps.

Acts 19:5
  1. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

The Bible says that there was a man who had learned something about God, but then he was taught more perfectly.

Acts 19:24-26
  1. For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen;
  2. Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth.
  3. Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands:

I’ve been married thirty-five years. Pastor Paine and Debbie just celebrated their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary. You are married today because you made a commitment together. It’s not always been cheesecake and roses. But we never once felt that we couldn’t make this commitment and fulfill what we had committed. Church, it’s the same way when you follow Christ and really fall in love with him.

I could take you through the Old Testament and show you were it said that God would do this, and take you to the New Testament where Jesus did it. Where they asked him, “Jesus, show us the father”, he said:

John 14:8-9
  1. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
  2. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

If you look in the mirror, do you see anybody else? You brush your teeth and comb your hair and go about your day, and then you pass by a window and catch a reflection and gasp, “What was that?” You need to get a good look at yourself and your faith, and say “Do I look like Christ?”

I can show you in the Old Testament where it says “They shall look at me whom they have pierced,” and we know they pierced Christ. He didn’t come to change the law, but to fulfill it. Church, we come here to learn these things so we can go out and share them. You’ve got to make an active commitment: believe, get baptized in Jesus’ name, and then live that repented life. And if something happens like a soda levitating into your lap making you sear, you’ve got to pull over and say “God, I’m sorry.”

I heard a song on the radio saying “I’d sell my soul for one night with you.” Church, the world doesn’t think much of your spiritual well-being, does it?

Luke 9:25
  1. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?

You’ve got to cherish your relationship with God like I cherish my relationship with my wife. I remember being somewhere with Pastor Paine and his wife, and some guy came up and said to her, “Yo, mama, what’s happening?” He said right away, “She’s not your mother.”

If you’re in Christ, you’ve got to let people know. You’ve got to live that committed life. If you’re in the Navy, you can’t wake up in the morning and decide to be a civilian. Church, sometimes the devil will try to tell you that you just don’t want to live for Jesus.

Noah built the ark just the way God told him to build it. When the rains came, the boat floated, and the Bible says that eight souls were saved by water.

1 Peter 3:20-21
  1. Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
  2. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

Jesus ministered to thousands, yet only a hundred and twenty were in the upper room. He healed ten lepers, but only one returned to thank him. We go our and preach the message but few people receive it.

The Bible says that we’ve got to be able to give an answer of the hope within us. How? By doing exactly what Peter and Paul and John and Philip did: by expounding the message of salvation. It’s got to be important to you. I’ve read many books in my life; some I couldn’t get into and others I couldn’t put down. How many of you have read the Bible?

Mrs. Davis, you’ve been working in the kitchen for a long time. And oh, those rhubarb pies! But she doesn’t need a recipe card. Why? Because she’s done it and done it and done it and done it. I go and bake a cake and I’ve got to look at the box for every step. It amazes me, watching those chefs that just throw things together and it turns out right. Sometimes I follow all the steps and my cake still doesn’t turn out right.

Church, you’ve got to follow the word of God and put it into your life. Our ministry is all about you knowing the word of God. It’s about you knowing, so that when you’re in the middle of the Oceanview or in the middle of traffic, you have the word of God. I’ve run out many times in the middle of Oceanview to help plug up people’s bloody holes from being shot, stabbed and run over by the bus. And you’ve got to have an answer.

We’ve got Bible study booklets available:

  • The Bible
  • The Holy Ghost
  • Water Baptism
  • Prayer
  • The Godhead

You don’t even need to buy them; you can just pick them up and study. We have people who love God and love you and they’ve taken the time to categorize things. They want to see you saved. They want you to make it into heaven. These things are important. Because once you start reading those things, you’ll find more and more. My first Bible was so marked up and underlined and highlighted that it fell apart.

Church, you’re saved because you’re living a life every day that is pleasing to God.

There was a man who went through boot camp and went into Mary’s Tailor Shop and bought a chest-full of ribbons because he thought they were pretty. He was pretty impressive until that first-class got a-hold of him. He was in the brig the same day.

Don’t just carry your Bible under your armpit. God wants the real deal. Every one of us can live a spiritually powerful life. It’s just a matter of choice.

Pastor Paine told me a story this morning that I thought was so funny, because I’ve experienced it:

> Johnny, get up!

> I don’t want to get up!

> Johnny, you’re the Pastor. Get up!

Church, be saved, and be able to prove it: to yourself, first of all, and then to the others around you.

Be Ye Separate

Wednesday Worship, 6/23/2010

Songs

  • [ How He Loves]
  • [ Blessed Be Your Name]

Message

> Pastor Thomas

I am not ashamed of the gospel. The word of God is the authority under which we live.

How many people know that a four-star general got fired today? He stepped outside the bounds of military protocol and talked to a reporter. Duh! A reporter does what? He tells everybody what he hears! So it showed up in the newspaper and he got fired.

We all live under the authority of something, and as a church family, we live under God’s. Child psychology says that if you give a child a crayon in a room and say “color and have fun,” the child will not be happy, because he has not been given boundaries. But if you give the child a piece of paper and say “Why don’t you draw me come pictures,” the child is happy because he knows the rules. God does the same with us; he sets boundaries so that we can know what is expected of us.

As I was preparing for this Bible study, I ran across an article called Playing by New “Separation” Rules. The author was a pastor who was talking about running a radio station.

> Think of what it would be like to change the rules of a baseball game in the middle of the fifth inning and start using fast pitch softball rules, or maybe to really spice things up, go to Tee Ball rules. There would be cries of unfair play from all concerned. Yet that is exactly what is happening in Fundamentalism. There is a spiritual war that is raging against the truth of Biblical separation and as a result men and ministries are changing the rules of “Separation” to fit their specific agendas.

It isn’t fair for God to change the rules in the middle of our life. What we deal with is what mankind has been dealing with since Adam and Eve, and even they broke the rules. She thought about doing something she wasn’t supposed to do, and Satan said, “Didn’t God say you could eat of everything?” And she said, “God said we could eat of e verything except…” God didn’t speak to Eve; he spoke to Adam. But the power of God’s word is not diluted when it passed from Adam to Eve.

Now the author of this article wrote:

> When you come to a fork in the road, you cannot take both roads, you must practice separation. When you write your name, you must practice separation of the letters in order for your name to be legible and understandable by others.

I used to be accused of that. I thought a run-on sentence was when you didn’t pick your pencil off the page; you just kept writing. Imagine writing Psalms 23:1 with no spaces.

Psalms 23:1
  1. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

You wouldn’t be able to make out what it says.

> When it comes to right and wrong you must practice separation from the wrong and do that which is right, you cannot embrace both. Separation is practiced every day in practical ways and nobody thinks anything of it, except when it comes to spiritual matters, then everyone has a differing opinion. … These young fundamentalists for the most part do not have a working knowledge of Biblical separation and abhor what is called “Secondary Separation”, that is Separation from Disobedient Brethren which is clearly taught in the New Testament.

Romans 16:17
  1. Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
2 Thessalonians 3:6-10
  1. Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.
  2. For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;
  3. Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you:
  4. Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.
  5. For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

Pastor Paine told me about a summer conference he attended where the preacher said, “Young ladies, if your boyfriend doesn’t have a job, you shouldn’t have anything to do with him.” The next day, there was a row of young men on the front row wearing t-shirts that read, “Got Job – Love Jesus”.

2 Thessalonians 3:11-15
  1. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.
  2. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.
  3. But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.
  4. And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.
  5. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

Now, he’s writing about people who make a compromising stand. He says not to have anything to do with them. We don’t make that distinction in the church anymore. That person is causing division in the church, but the church today doesn’t have the ear to hear that. It requires making a choice.

Rod Williams and Dave Rivera, come up. What are the differences between these two?

  • Height
  • Hair
  • Weight
  • Age

Is that judging, or is that just calling it like it is? If one of them robbed a bank, and the description matched the other guy, they’d never catch the bank robber, would they? We’ve got to discern between different things in order to make a separation. Now if someone tells me about a certain snake that is poisonous, here’s how I’m going to make the separation: I’m not going to have anything to do with any snake! I’m not going to look for fangs or anything; I’m just going to get out of the way.

Pastor Taylor had someone break into his truck for the second time. I told him, “You want to know how to keep it from happening a third time? Put a snake on the driver’s seat with a sign that says he hasn’t been fed lately.”

God tells us that there are snakes in the world around us.

> This fundamental radio missionary is being told that the separation principles behind the station’s music standards are arcane and counterproductive. In other words, he is being told that the rules have changed. “Touch not the unclean thing”; “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers”; “make a difference between the holy and the profane” are ancient concepts that have little bearing in our selection of music for worship and personal listening. A large segment of churches that are part of what is known as Fundamentalism no longer use Separation principles from God’s Word in making their musical choices.

> It is unconscionable that a church, a preacher, or organization would impose their lower standards on someone with higher standards. … Those who cry for lower standards argue that it is wrong for someone with higher standards to impose their higher standards on someone with lower standards. Yet when Paul addressed this very issue of low standards in the church of Corinth in I Corinthians 5, he implored the Corinthian leaders:

1 Corinthians 5:7-8
  1. Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
  2. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

> Paul said to throw out the lower standards and put in place God’s high standards in Corinth. We have it backwards, we are seeking to throw out the higher standards and go with lower standards. We are changing the rules to fit our agendas.

He says about the changing rules, “God didn’t dumb-down the message.” When the four and five thousand ate the fishes and the loaves, he thinned out the crowd by teaching. He didn’t teach with high and uncommon words, but he taught so that only those who really wanted to follow stuck around, and everyone else beat feet. taught so that only those who really wanted to follow stuck around, and everyone else beat feet. He didn’t turn it into milk-toast. Thousands ate at his teaching, but only a hundred and twenty were in the upper room. God doesn’t want a large number in the church; he wants those who are in the church to know him, to know what “thus saith the word of God.”

2 Corinthians 6:17-18
  1. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
  2. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
Philippians 2:12
  1. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

God wants us to be like the truck driver that didn’t want to get too close to the edge of the road. He doesn’t want us to sit on Satan’s porch wondering whether we should go in. God wants us to be separate.

Matthew 15:1-2
  1. Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,
  2. Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.

In psychology they taught us the story about the monkeys in the cage with a bananna. They put a pole in the middle of the cage and a bunch of bananas at the top of the pole. What do you think the monkeys did? They started to go up the pole for the bananas. But every time one of them got started, the scientists hosed down all the monkeys with water. When the monkeys stopped going for the bananas because they didn’t like getting hosed down, the scientists put a new monkey in the cage. As soon as he started going after the bananas, the other monkeys stopped him, because they didn’t want to get hosed down. One by one, they put in another new monkey, and took out an old monkey, until none of the monkeys in the cage had ever been hosed down, but still none of them would go after the bananas. They had learned a tradition from the other monkeys, but they didn’t know why they were following it.

Rod and I were talking about Navy tradition today. The U.S. Navy has two hundred years of tradition. The British Navy have a thousand years of tradition. A lot of guys don’t know why they do things. But they give everyone a Bluejacket’s Manual that explains why they do things the way they do. And God does the same thing; he gives us the Bible. You won’t find anything in the Bible that says you should kneel down and kiss my ring, but you’ll find where we should come into the house of God with an attitude of praise and thanksgiving.

Matthew 15:3-7
  1. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?
  2. For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.
  3. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;
  4. And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.
  5. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,

You know what the word “hypocrite” means? It means “actor.” John Wayne was a hypocrite.

Matthew 15:8-9
  1. This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
  2. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

The problem the church has today isn’t that they don’t believe in Jesus Christ, but that they don’t know what God’s word says. I know that I’m preaching to the choir today. I know that every one of you know the fundamentals of faith. But it’s good to go over them. And maybe you’ll hear something new.

After the law was given and the temple was built, people got into the habit of going into the temple and doing their thing, and the law was lost. It just became a matter of tradition.

Later, in 2 Kings, Hilkiah found the law hidden in a temple law. He rent his clothes because he realized that Israel was not following the law of God. The king realized “we’ve blown it.” But God gave them a space of repentance.

Nehemiah 8:1-3
  1. And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel.
  2. And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.
  3. And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.

He had the scribes and the priests out there, and they made sure that the common man understood what was read. And when they mourned and weeped, he said “Don’t mourn; don’t weep. Go and wash your face; rejoice and have a great time, because now we know. We can’t change what we’ve already done, but now we’re going in the right direction.”

God is showing you that your not reading the word of God is no excuse. There is a way to live that is different from the way the world lives.

Matthew 10:34-39
  1. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
  2. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
  3. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
  4. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
  5. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
  6. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

We’ve got to say “I have decided to follow Jesus.” That decision is one we have to make every single day. And “if my brother don’t go, won’t hinder me. If my sister don’t go, won’t hinder me. If my wife don’t go, won’t hinder me.” Yet how many times do we let the people around us hinder because we don’t want to rock the boat; we don’t want to be that different. How else are we going to win them over? You can’t talk like the world to win the world! You’ve got to talk like a Christian, and the world will come knocking at your door asking why you’re so different.

Luke 9:57-61
  1. And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
  2. And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
  3. And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
  4. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.
  5. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.

After Jesus preached a rather hard message,

John 6:67-68
  1. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
  2. Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

See, Jesus wasn’t just making it acceptable and wanting everybody to come around him. He was looking for the dedicated, the few, the ones who wanted to be his disciples.

Not everybody can be a Marine. They’re very selective. The Army, however, will take anybody who can stand up and is breathing. (If you’re in the Army, I apologize.) The Navy is very selective right now, isn’t it? You’ve got to pass a battery of tests to be accepted.

God wasn’t looking for the masses; he was looking for those who would let God shape them into what God wanted them to be.

Mark 8:34
  1. And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

What does it mean “to take up a cross?” Back then, the people knew. People were being crucified on crosses. It meant to “take up the sacrifice necessary.”

Mark 8:35-38
  1. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.
  2. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
  3. Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
  4. Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

If we don’t love God enough to every day pick up our cross and live Godly in Christ Jesus, Titus says:

Titus 2:11-12
  1. For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
  2. Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

So when does it say we’re supposed to live right? In heaven? I love that version of the Lord’s prayer that says: “My will be done on earth, until I get to heaven.” “God, I’m going to live my way, and you’ve just got to understand.” Yes, God understands, and no, he’s not going to accept your or my interpretation. He’s said what he expects. Does anyone have trouble understanding what “ungodliness” is? We know, don’t we? How about “worldly lust?” We know what worldly lust is, don’t we? But are we denying it or embracing it? Are we denying it or flaunting it? Church, you can’t go out to bars and night-clubs and associate with those things, and then deny live righteously. You could have a brand-new toilet plunger, but you’re still not going to drink out of that thing.

We go out and associate with the things of the world, and then when our garment is stained we say, “God, I’m ready to go to heaven.” And he says, “Go to the left.”

What does it mean to live “soberly, righteously, and godly?” Church, you can’t have two interpretations. If there are two movies, and one is showing “adult subject matter”, and the other is Disney’s “Fantasia”, then there really isn’t a choice for the Christian, is there?

My Dad used to say to me, “Son, you can go and do those things, but then you’ve got to move out and get your own place. As long as you’re living in my house, you’ll follow my rules.” The choice wasn’t really that tough. I liked living in that house, eating my mother’s cooking, driving the car when I needed to.

In order to live in our Father’s house, we have to follow his rules. We can live unrighteously in this present world and go to hell, or we can make spiritual choices and go to heaven. It’s our choice.

Leviticus 20:26
  1. And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.
2 John 1:10-11
  1. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
  2. For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
Galatians 1:8-9
  1. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
  2. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

You can’t interpret the word of God in order to satisfy your own flesh. Your flesh isn’t going to get to heaven. It’s your spiritual man who is going to live forever, so stop putting your flesh first. Start making spiritual decisions. Ask me if I like all of the commandments.

> (Do you?)

No. But God didn’t ask me. He didn’t ask me if I wanted to pick up my cross. He just said “pick up your cross.” I like what we put up on the billboard:

> WHAT IN HELL DO YOU WANT?

What is there in hell that you want? I had enough heat just going from my car to the door. That’s about as close to hell as any of us want to get. True?

Romans 16:17-18
  1. Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
  2. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

If somebody doesn’t go along with these things, mark them!

I’m going to use Pastor Paine as an example. If I decide to go to Pastor Paine and say, “I think we should lower our standards, and we’ll get more people in church.” Pastor Paine is going to mark me and tell people “Don’t listen to Pastor Thomas any more.”

Now the Bible says to work out your own soul’s salvation. If your wife or friend is telling you to do something contrary to the word of God and holiness, mark them. The Bible says not to even eat with them. It says “know not to eat with such an one.” You say, “Pastor, that’s judging.” You bet your boots! We have to have judgment. You’ve got to decide what’s more important: hanging out with your friends, or getting into the kingdom of heaven. Choices are important, like who we date. You can’t date lost people. If you’re baptized in Jesus’ name and you love God, you cannot date lost people. Can’t happen! You say, “well, I’ll win them to the Lord.” Hah! Hardly ever happens! Win them to the Lord, then you can date them. We can’t have our best friend a lost person. You’ve got to have your best friends saved. I’ve got plenty of friends who are lost, but if I’ve got a choice between going out to eat with them or with Dan Lantis and Bruce Wilson, I’m going to eat with my saved friends. I’m not going to sacrifice my spiritual time that my spiritual man needs, over lost people. Now I’m all for everybody and anybody in this church having somebody in their life. If you want a wife or a girlfriend, praise God! Get more people saved so that you can.

Nehemiah 13:26
  1. Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin.
1 Corinthians 6:12-20
  1. All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
  2. Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.
  3. And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.
  4. Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.
  5. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.
  6. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.
  7. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
  8. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
  9. For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Amos 3:3
  1. Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

You can have lost friends; you can have lost acquaintances. We can have lost family-members, and have family reunions, but God and his people, and their souls, come first.

Isaiah 56:3
  1. Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.
Isaiah 56:6-7
  1. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;
  2. Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.

He’s saying “don’t get upset because you’ve made a decision to follow God.” And those who have made a decision to separate themselves and follow God, he’s saying “Blessed are you.” God wants us to make a choice, and not to complain about the choice that we made. Read that chapter. Then when your friends say “Let’s go have a pool party,” don’t say “My church won’t let me.” You can do whatever you want. But do you know that the Bible says when a man looks on another man’s wife, he looks on his nakedness? Guys, you can’t let yourselves go into places and look at other men’s wives and daughters in their nakedness. God says “Don’t.” And we who are husbands and fathers should never put our wives and daughters out for other men to gawk at. Guys, put your eyeballs in their sockets. Yeah, they might be good-looking, but it ain’t your ice-cream cone. If you want one, get one of your own. But don’t say “I can’t.” You can do anything that you want. Just decide you want. I can do anything I want to, but I just don’t want to do things that make God angry, that upset the Holy Spirit, that cause conflict in the church (I’m not talking about Christian Fellowship; I’m talking about the church.) So don’t sit there with a frown on your face. Sin if you want to; smoke if you want to; drink if you want to. I don’t care; you’re not going to answer to me; you’re going to answer to God.

1 Peter 2:9
  1. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
1 Peter 2:5
  1. Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

God’s people are peculiar. We like holiness. God wants holiness. And if that makes me peculiar, I can live with it. If other people don’t like it, I don’t have to live with it; they do, for all eternity.

John 12:48-50
  1. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
  2. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.
  3. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.

When I go up to heaven to answer for my life, nobody is going to be there to make excuses for me. Nobody is going to be there to make excuses for you.

How many of you have ever gambled? Go ahead; I’m not going to hold it against you. Raise your hands if you’ve ever gambled.

> (Some raise their hands)

How many of you have ever won, consistently?

> (No hands raised)

That’s why they call it gambling. There will be a book of life in heaven, and a book of works. There won’t be a book of intents.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18
  1. Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
  2. And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
  3. And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
  4. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
  5. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

It’s real, real simple. This isn’t a new thing. This is a thing that has been going on with man from the beginning. God had the priests read this from the gate, and he had key people out there explaining it to the people. Church, if someone comes up to you and tries explaining it any other way, you need to get away. And if anyone has a question, God wants you to be the one to shepherd and guide them in the ways of God. God loves a cheerful giver. I’m not talking about money. God loves a cheerful giver of your life.

Rod, is this the first time you’ve heard this message? Pastor Ulysse, I dare say you’ve preached this message in Haiti. This isn’t a new thing. Deal with it.

Our Father

Sunday Morning Service, 6/20/10

Songs

  • [ Let All The People Praise Him]
  • [ I Saw The Light]
  • [ I’ll Fly Away]
  • [ I Bless Your Name]
  • [ Alpha And Omega]
  • [ Above All]
  • [ You Are Worthy Of My Praise]
  • [ God is Alive]
  • [ Let God Arise]
  • [ All To You]

Testimonies

> Mark Sanders

You know, God puts us through tests and allows us to go through things. Many of you know that I own my own company, and that’s not always as cool as it seems. You don’t always get paid every week, or even every two weeks. Sometimes it stretches out to a month. But I’m keeping myself positive.

> Bruce Avants

I really appreciated that song, because I’m “old-school.” I’m also learning to “tweet” and “blog” and all sorts of things. But we’re all God’s people, and that will never change. We all come in to fellowship on Sunday morning. So when you see your brother or sister out in town, take the extra time to cross the street and say “Hi” to them.

> Ben Schoch

I got saved in August of 1990 in Waukegan. What was it that kept me going all that time? (By the way, if you see someone who has been in the ministry as long as I have, that just means they’ve had more opportunity to make mistakes.) I have to make each day a new day. Today is going to be a victorious day. Yesterday is a wash, but today is a new day. And if you keep doing it, before you know it, you’ll be close to the end of your life, and saved.

Message: Our Father

> Pastor Paine

I’m going to talk to you about your relationship with God on this father’s day.

The scripture doesn’t tell us about the prodigal son’s relationship with his father, but it does tell us that one day the son took his inheritance and went out in town and wasted it “with riotous living.” Even today, there are those who are involved with what the scripture refers to as riotous living. But it came to pass that he realized that he had not chosen the better part. When he came back, he found his father waiting for him, and there was a great reunion.

There were different phases of his life. There was a time in his life when he thought his father was wise and brilliant, and there was a time when he thought his father was foolish. There was a time when he didn’t want his father’s input, and there was a time when he realized he couldn’t go it alone.

I’m talking about a relationship with our heavenly father today. It’s my prayer that each of you will see your relationship with God move in the right direction today: get better; be blessed.

In the Old Testament there was a warrior named David. He was the one who killed Goliath. He loved God, and God loved him. Goliath died at the hand of David because he knew that God would do what he said he was going to do. In the New Testament, Paul said “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

There came a time in David’s life, when he was king, that he told God to turn the other way. “I’m going to do it my way, God.” The scripture doesn’t record the actual words, but he must have felt in his heart that it wasn’t any of God’s business what he did with his life. He saw a woman on a rooftop, and went to her, and slept with her. Then when she was with child, he tried to find a way to cover up his sin. He invited her husband, Uriah, to return from the battlefield and spend time with his wife, but Uriah wouldn’t do it, and David knew that he had to cover up his sin. So he had Uriah killed on the battlefield.

The prophet Nathan showed David that he was wrong, and David repented. You can read it in Psalms 51:10-15.

I’d like to share with you something I found about relationships with a father:

  • 4 years: “My Daddy knows everything.”
  • 8 years: “My Dad is really smart.”
  • 12 years: “My Dad probably doesn’t know that.”
  • 16 years: “My Dad is absolutely clueless!”
  • 21 years: “Dad is pretty out-of-touch.”
  • 30 years: “I’d like to find out what Dad thinks.”
  • 40 years: “Let’s get Dad’s opinion before we make a decision.”
  • 50 years: “I wish I could ask my Dad about that. He’s pretty smart.”
  • 60 years: “My Dad knew absolutely everything.”
  • 70 years: “I’d give anything if Dad were here. I really miss him.”

How’s your relationship with your heavenly father?

Jesus began his sermon on the mount, and preached for a long time. He preached about our relationship with God, and how it is that we accept what God has for us. Then he comes to the part of how to pray:

Matthew 6:9-13
  1. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
  2. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
  3. Give us this day our daily bread.
  4. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
  5. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

When I was a young child, I learned to say that prayer really fast. If you do it right, you can get it out in about four seconds. But let’s read it slow, so that this prayer is not only my words, but it is my walk.

> “My father, which is in heaven, I hallow your name. I speak your name not lightly, but with understanding that you are God; you made me. You gave me free will, which is a fearful and wonderful thing. Let things be so orderly in earth that they mirror what is in heaven.”

As you say this prayer, you realize that it’s about how to live. Some of you, as you went to buy a Father’s day card, you read the words and wished that your relationship could be more like those words.

After the prayer, Jesus continues to teach us how to evaluate our life:

Matthew 6:14-15
  1. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
  2. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Sometimes I like to turn a scripture around. “Your heavenly father will forgive you, if you forgive your debtors.” Jesus is teaching us that if we forgive, we’ll be forgiven. This is more than a prayer; it’s a way to evaluate your life. If you have unforgiveness in your heart, then it needs to be eliminated. Forgiveness is the greatest gift that you can give yourself. When you forgive someone else their trespasses, you set the template for how you want your heavenly father to treat you.

Matthew 6:16
  1. Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

> (melodramatically) “Oh, I’m going to fast, for the glory of God. Don’t give me any food; I’ll be all right. Just a little water.”

Jesus tells us that we should do what we do for the glory of God, and do it quietly. That’s not just in our fasting; that’s even in our living.

Matthew 6:17-18
  1. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;
  2. That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

That’s true about the way we fast, the way we love, the way we live, and the way we treat others.

Matthew 6:19
  1. Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

I have heard some teach on this and say that you shouldn’t have a savings account. I don’t believe that. But I do believe that your most valuable asset should be that you know your name is written in the lamb’s book of life.

That doesn’t mean that you should spend all of your paycheck on the first day that you get it, or that you shouldn’t have any savings. In fact, I believe that God teaches us that we should be wise stewards.

Matthew 6:20-21
  1. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
  2. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Your heart has to be with God, to have the peace that God wants you to have on earth. A few weeks ago, i brought a message called “Religion versus Relationship.” In that message, I told you that if your religion ever becomes uncomfortable, focus on your relationship. We aren’t going to be completely comfortable on earth. Other people make decisions that affect our lives. Some people say “Why are people hungry? Why are there wars?” Because God gave us free will, and that is what we chose. You say, “I don’t know anyone who chose to starve.” But some chose to be greedy. If you read Genesis starting at chapter one, you’ll find that man has made bad choices from the beginning.

Matthew 6:22-23
  1. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
  2. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

If we’re focused on the right things, we’ll be full of light. But if we focus on evil, then we eliminate that light. You make a choice what you look at, what you focus on, what your perspective is. So many times, we think that we’ve just been given a bad situation.

Matthew 6:24
  1. No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
James 1:8
  1. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

Maybe you have chosen to hurt your relationship with your heavenly father, either by the way you’ve treated your father, or by the way you’ve treated others. On this father’s day, you can make a choice to change that relationship.

Matthew 6:25
  1. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

How many of you have a refrigerator?

> (Nearly everyone raised their hands)

How many of you have food in your refrigerator?

> (Nearly everyone raised their hands)

My wife and I are so blessed that not only do we have food in our refrigerator, but we also have a freezer in the garage with food in it, too.

Pastor Ulysse preached a message not long ago and asked how many men above the age of twenty-one have ever gone three days with no food or water at all. Nobody raised their hand. But he went on to say that he suspects that if he had asked that question in Haiti, every single man above the age of twenty-one would raise his hand.

Matthew 6:26
  1. Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

Recently, I was in a worship service at our fellowship in Great Lakes, and a man who is a master-plumber who is my age or older (so he’s ancient), said “For the last eighteen months, I’ve been unemployed, and yet God has blessed me. Every bill is paid; I haven’t missed a meal.” That’s what the scripture is talking about. God knows our needs. When we feel our situation is perilous, that’s the time to build our relationship with our heavenly father.

I’m praying that as you hear these words today, you’ll examine your relationship with your heavenly father and see at least one aspect that needs to change for the better.

[Matthew 6;27-29]

God even dresses up nature. I’m not against dressing-up. I’ve had occasion to dress in a tux.

Matthew 6:33
  1. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Maybe what you’re hearing in this message is, “I’ve worried too much and not trusted enough.” Let’s all say it softly, so that the one who really needs to say it out loud doesn’t feel alone. I’ll say it first: “I have worried too much and not trusted enough.”

> I have worried too much and not trusted enough.

> I have worried too much and not trusted enough.

> I have worried too much and not trusted enough.

Somebody said, “I’m not worried. I’m not going in to work in the morning.” That’s a good way to ensure that you won’t get the next promotion.

Matthew 7:1
  1. Judge not, that ye be not judged.

That’s one of the top mis-quoted scriptures of all times. But listen to how he goes on and it will explain what he means.

Matthew 7:1-2
  1. Judge not, that ye be not judged.
  2. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

(Didn’t he just say not to judge?) But read in context and see what it means. One of the tricks that Satan plays is to get you to judge somebody’s motive. If the devil can get us to think about their motive in an improper way, then he drives a wedge between us and our brother, or sister, or mother, or father, or our heavenly father. “If God is good, then why do bad things happen?” The reason bad things happen is because we have free will. But Satan tries to get us to judge God’s motive. We know that he’s the giver of all good and perfect gifts. Remember the parable of the talents? What did the man say who had buried his talent? He blamed God because he was scared and hid his talent.

I’m going to tell a story that is embarrassing, because I’m the dummy in this story. It’s a story of how I let my natural brother hurt my feelings, because I interpreted his motive. I did one tour in the Navy and left as an E-4. My job in the Navy was that I was a cook. I liked cooking (I like cooking now, but I like eating better.) I was a cook for four years. My twin brother retired from the Navy as a captain. His last job in the Navy was the commanding officer of the base I was in. One day when we were together, my brother said, “My brother Pete and I were in the Navy. He was a fryer, and I was a flier.” And I took offense. The next time we were together, I decided to set my brother straight. I said, “Paul, would you come with me? I’ve got something to say to you. You remember when you said, ‘while I was flying, you were frying?’ He didn’t remember. “You remember when we were together, you talked about what I did in the Navy. I served with distinction and honor. I was a 4.0 sailor. I was sailor-of-the-quarter.” And my brother said, “I don’t remember what I said, but I want you to know that I’ve always spoken well of what you did in the Navy. I’ve always held you in the highest esteem.” And I was left wondering how I’d ever gotten it in my mind that he had thought differently.

Whose fault was that? The devil.

Matthew 7:1-3
  1. Judge not, that ye be not judged.
  2. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
  3. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Hello?

Matthew 7:4
  1. Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

When you see a fault in a brother or a sister, stop looking at that fault and start looking at your own. When you see a fault in a brother or a sister’s life, you’ve got one, too. The scripture tells us to go to the mirror and find it. That’s the one you should work on.

In case you didn’t get it, he goes on with these words:

Matthew 7:5-7
  1. Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
  2. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
  3. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

If you ever feel painted in a corner, go to verse seven.

Matthew 7:8-11
  1. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
  2. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
  3. Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
  4. If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Yes, Jesus said that you and I, because of our human nature, are evil. Our goal is to be strive to be righteous. I like to read it, “If you then, being human…”

Let me share with you some things that I got out of this message, as I looked at the man in the mirror:

  • Quit finding faults in others.
  • Quit thinking you know why people do what they do.
Matthew 7:24-29
  1. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
  2. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
  3. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
  4. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
  5. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:
  6. For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

Exploring Joseph's Story, Part 2

This morning, we want to continue our exploration of Joseph’s story. We saw last time how everything was set up for him, and we let off as he was sold and made his way to Egypt. Amazingly enough, our next chapter looks like it came out from nowhere, sandwiched in the middle of Joseph’s story. It’s a hard story to tell, but I believe that it is there for a reason, because it is connected with the story of Christ.

We are going to read the whole story. If you want to sleep, it’s okay as long as you don’t disturb the people around you. So don’t snore.

Genesis 38:1-30
  1. And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah.
  2. And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name was Shuah; and he took her, and went in unto her.
  3. And she conceived, and bare a son; and he called his name Er.
  4. And she conceived again, and bare a son; and she called his name Onan.
  5. And she yet again conceived, and bare a son; and called his name Shelah: and he was at Chezib, when she bare him.
  6. And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar.
  7. And Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him.
  8. And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother.
  9. And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother.
  10. And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also.
  11. Then said Judah to Tamar his daughter in law, Remain a widow at thy father’s house, till Shelah my son be grown: for he said, Lest peradventure he die also, as his brethren did. And Tamar went and dwelt in her father’s house.
  12. And in process of time the daughter of Shuah Judah’s wife died; and Judah was comforted, and went up unto his sheepshearers to Timnath, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite.
  13. And it was told Tamar, saying, Behold thy father in law goeth up to Timnath to shear his sheep.
  14. And she put her widow’s garments off from her, and covered her with a vail, and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place, which is by the way to Timnath; for she saw that Shelah was grown, and she was not given unto him to wife.
  15. When Judah saw her, he thought her to be an harlot; because she had covered her face.
  16. And he turned unto her by the way, and said, Go to, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee; (for he knew not that she was his daughter in law.) And she said, What wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me?
  17. And he said, I will send thee a kid from the flock. And she said, Wilt thou give me a pledge, till thou send it?
  18. And he said, What pledge shall I give thee? And she said, Thy signet, and thy bracelets, and thy staff that is in thine hand. And he gave it her, and came in unto her, and she conceived by him.
  19. And she arose, and went away, and laid by her vail from her, and put on the garments of her widowhood.
  20. And Judah sent the kid by the hand of his friend the Adullamite, to receive his pledge from the woman’s hand: but he found her not.
  21. Then he asked the men of that place, saying, Where is the harlot, that was openly by the way side? And they said, There was no harlot in this place.
  22. And he returned to Judah, and said, I cannot find her; and also the men of the place said, that there was no harlot in this place.
  23. And Judah said, Let her take it to her, lest we be shamed: behold, I sent this kid, and thou hast not found her.
  24. And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt.
  25. When she was brought forth, she sent to her father in law, saying, By the man, whose these are, am I with child: and she said, Discern, I pray thee, whose are these, the signet, and bracelets, and staff.
  26. And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more.
  27. And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, behold, twins were in her womb.
  28. And it came to pass, when she travailed, that the one put out his hand: and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out first.
  29. And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand, that, behold, his brother came out: and she said, How hast thou broken forth? this breach be upon thee: therefore his name was called Pharez.
  30. And afterward came out his brother, that had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and his name was called Zarah.

This morning, I was putting the last touch on the message, and I get lost. I found so much in it. I am just hoping that I am able to share what the Lord has for us this morning. I have no doubt that God has something for each of us this morning in this story. Remember that Judah was the one who suggested to sell Joseph instead of killing him. He said, “Let’s make some money out of it.” Afterwards, he left the family altogether and lived as a Canaanite. His best friend was a pagan. The Bible tells us not to forsake our assembling. If you need the hypocrite, if you need the gossip, they are there. Everything you need, you can find it in the family of God. But if you decide to leave, everywhere you go will be worse.

Remember that Jesus asked Peter, “Will you leave?” And Peter said, “Lord, I’d really like to leave, but where would I go? You have the words of eternal life.”

The Bible says that Judah saw the daughter of a certain Canaanite, and he went in unto her. It wasn’t a formal wedding. You know what I’m trying to say; he just did his own thing. The normal way was for the father to make the wedding arrangements. So she had a son, and he called his name Er. Now, there was a little of the old Judah left, so he took responsibility for naming the child with a Hebrew name. Er means “watchman.” But she bore a second son, and this time she called his name Onan. The name Onan means “the barbarian.” Why would you want to call your son “the barbarian?” That was a Canaanite name. So she bore a third son, and she called his name “Shelah”. Of course, by this time they were desperate for a girl, so they called his name “Shelah.”

So Judah chose a wife for his firstborn son, and her name was Tamar. This was the right way to do things. You may not think much of arranged marriages, but as you grow older, you will begin to appreciate it. I hope that my sons will get the opportunity to participate in this process. But in those days the whole family was involved in the process. If I were a younger brother, I would definitely be involved, because if the older brother died, I would be the one who would be stuck with her. So the younger brothers definitely will be involved.

There was shame and humiliation in being a widow, so the woman wanted to have children. Judah told his son Onan to go to Judah and give her children. The best I can explain this is that it was her “social security.” Onan thought, “How will I benefit?” So he decided to go unto her but not to let anyone else benefit. The problem with this verse is his selfishness. He refused to care for his brother’s widow by giving her offspring. He used her for his own benefit, but he didn’t care for her or for his brother. This was the sin. From a long time ago, this saying has been called “Onanism”, and they use this scripture against birth control, but all it is, is selfishness.

It is so bad that the thing displeased the Lord, and he slew Onan because of it. God doesn’t take pleasure in selfishness. There are different forms of selfishness, but let me give you an example so that you can detect it. You remember the words of Cain when the Lord asked about his brother? He said, “I’m not my brother’s keeper.” If you don’t look out from your brother, that is selfishness. You remember Nabal took food when he needed it, but when David needed food, he said, “I don’t care.” You remember the story that we call “The Good Samaritan”, with the Levite who saw the wounded man and passed by, because he didn’t care. This is what should be called “Onanism.” This is the sin of Onan: it is selfishness. Sometimes we see our brother and sister in sin, and we reject them. We say “Get away from me; I don’t want anyone to see me talking to you.” That is selfishness.

So after two of his sons died, Judah told Tamar, “Why don’t you go to your father’s house and stay there until my son Shelah is grown, and then I will give him to you.” That is not what should have happened. Tamar should have stayed where she was, and Judah would be her covering. What was going on in the inside was that Judah was saying, “Tamar has a problem. Already I have two sons dead; I don’t want to see the third one die also.” But the problem really started with Jacob: he came from a messed-up family, and the sin started with him.

Matthew 7:1-5
  1. Judge not, that ye be not judged.
  2. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
  3. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
  4. Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
  5. Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

The problem was not in Tamar; the problem was right there with Judah. Now, we know that Judah’s wife died, and he mourned, and finally started getting things back together. Somebody told Tamar that her father-in-law would be coming, and by that time she realized that she was being deceived. So she decided to take matters in her own hands. She put off her widow’s garments, and she dressed as a temple harlot. This was like, you have a church, and you want to attract young men into the church, so you have a temple harlot to attract them. That was how it worked in those days. Dress is very important; it was then and it is today. The way you dress says a lot. It is said that the dress doesn’t make the priest, but the dress helps you recognize the priest. If you go to a Catholic church, you know who is the priest. Whether you are looking for a job or working on the streets, whether you are male or female, it is important how you dress. When you see a cowboy, you see a hat and boots. When you see me, you think “There goes a preacher.” But if I wore my pants down here, (pointing to upper thighs) you would have a different thought.

So when Judah saw her, he took her to be a harlot, because she covered her face. So Judah saw Tamar and wanted to go in unto her. She said, “what will you give me?” and he said, “A kid from the flock.” She said, “That will do, but how can I trust you?” He said, “What shall I give you?” and she said, “Give me your signet and bracelet.” The signet was a stamp you put on documents; it was like your signature. It was your “self”. And she said, “give me your bracelet.” Your bracelet in those days was a sign of wealth. Like today, if you want to be recognized as a man of wealth, you wear your necklace and drive your Cadillac, or whatever. And she asked for his staff, and that was the same. If somebody had a staff, he was a man of importance. So basically, she was asking for his identity, his wealth, and his position. That’s what you get when you sin. That’s what you get when you use this body not for the glory of God. You lose it all.

Here in the United States, we have a great example. To put it in our days, it was like she asked him for his driver’s license, his credit-card, and his social-security card. Would you be willing to give that for one night, or for a few minutes? But he was so desperate that he said, “She’ll give it back.” And afterwards, he would not go back himself, so he sent his friend with the kid. And when he couldn’t find her, he asked everybody and said, “Where is the harlot that was here?” And everybody said, “There is not harlot here.” so eventually he went back and said that he couldn’t find her. So Judah said, “Let her take it to herself, lest we be shamed.”

This man still had God in him, and he was somebody with some kind of prestige. He didn’t want everybody in town to know what he did, so he said, “Let her keep it. Whatever she is going to do with it, it’s better than asking everyone in town where she is.” So three months later, it was told to Judah that his daughter-in-law was pregnant. That was the opportunity that Judah had been waiting for, to get rid of her. He sure didn’t want to give Shelah to her to marry. So he said, “Let her be brought to be burned.” It was the responsibility of the father-in-law to take care of such things. You see how quick he was to pass judgment? If we would only take a little time to think about things before we pass judgment, we would say “You know, I am no better.” It happened when the Pharisees would stone the woman, but Jesus gave them the opportunity to think, and no one could cast the first stone. (John 8:3-7)

So Tamar gave the signet, the bracelet, and the staff, saying “You know Dad, before I get burned, can you see whose these are? By this man I am pregnant.” So Judah said, “She is more righteous tham I.” And from that time on, Judah began to change his ways for the better.

So she had twins. The firstborn is very important, so they take care to mark the first one. He put forth his hand, and they marked him. But he pulled his hand back, and the other one came out first. So they called him Pharez. The Bible says “the elder shall serve the younger” and Jesus said, “the last shall be first.” I’ll give you a small list of how God’s ways are not our ways:

The Bible says to look a things to come, but not with our natural eyes. Things to come are like younger things. And basically the older you get, the less you are attractive. You may have wisdom or whatever, but newer things will survive and you will go.

We find that Abel, for example that Abel was the younger. We find Esau and Isaac; Isaac was the younger. We find Ephraim and Manasseh; Ephraim was the younger. Pharez was the younger, but he was the one who was in the genealogy of Christ.

In the genealogy of Christ, there are four women named:

  • Ruth the Moabitess: she wasn’t even a Jew.
  • Tamar the Canaanite: she played the harlot.
  • Rahab the harlot: she was a professional.
  • Bathsheba the mother of Solomon: that was a nasty story.

These are the only four women named. Jesus is truly identified with sinners. God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten son. God loved the souls in the world so much that he gave his begotten son. Christ identified himself with sinners; he came from all those nasty people in all those nasty stories.

I hope that these words will be like vitamins for your soul. I hope that as you read them, they will help you grow better. God bless you.

Exploring Joseph's Story, part 1

One of the most fascinating stories of the Bible is the story of Joseph. I am assuming that all of you know the story. And if you don’t, I am inviting you to explore the story with me. It is important and interesting. The book of Genesis has fifty chapters, and fourteen of them are dedicated to just Joseph’s story. That is over twenty-five percent of the book. From kids, we have learned and can tell the story, but I am inviting you to explore and examine it. There must be more we can learn from this story. As you learn more about Joseph, it is almost impossible not to see yourself in the story.

If you ever had difficult times in life, if you have ever been discouraged and troubled about life’s uncertainties, let us explore this story, and I can almost guarantee that you will see life differently. Joseph is a model of faithfulness, of walking not by sight, but by faith. I would ask you to take time at home or any chance you get. Don’t rush into that story, but take your time. Take time to enjoy it. When I was a kid, growing up in hard times, they gave me food, and it was so good, but so small. There is a word you used back then: it is called in Creole, “pinoche”. If they give you just a little piece of rice, you eat it one little grain at a time. You take it a little at a time so that you can enjoy it. I want you to take the story of Joseph the same way. As you explore it, I want you to see the many ways in it to make it personal to you. After you read it, you should claim it. You should say, “This was written just for me.” You should see at least one hundred ways that Jesus was a foreshadowing of Christ. There are many great men in the Bible, but Joseph is one for which there is no recorded sin. That doesn’t mean that he never sinned, but it was not recorded for him. Even when he was born, that was a miracle. Joseph was a great deliverer of the people of God, just like Jesus, not with weapon, but with exhortation and humiliation.

Before we go into the scripture, let’s see what family Joseph came from. Things were set up for him. Just like when you were born, you didn’t get to choose your mom and dad; they were there for you. Things were set up for you. But peace and love were not ready at Jacob’s house like you would expect from the man of God. From the beginning, when he got married (you know the story; we’re not going into every detail), but he thought he married Rachel, but he found out when he woke up in the morning that they gave him the ugly sister. That was a disappointment. So now he had to work seven more years to get the one he loved. You see that from the beginning, there was a quarrel in that household, because he had two wives. Then, because Rachel had no children, she said “Take my servant and give me children by her.” Now he had three wives. Thee are half-brothers and half-sisters. Then Leah said, “Take my servant also,” and he had four wives. In a house of brothers and sisters with the same mother and father, things are hard enough. Now to make matters worse, Rachel prayed again and God decided to bless her with one child. This was the child of his love, and you can’t begin to imagine how Joseph spoiled that kid. So Joseph had ten half-brothers (which are also half-brothers to each other), and one half-sister. It is a miracle for Joseph to come out as he did, because this wasn’t a house that had peace in it.

Genesis 37:1-2
  1. And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan.
  2. These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.

Joseph was seventeen years old. Of course, he probably was with his dad for a long time, and was very close to him. So being with his ten half-brothers, he cannot imagine why they were so mean (you can imagine what kind of kids they must have been!). Does that make him a tattle-tale? I don’t know, but you can imagine that if he was telling on them, then there was something to tell about. And also there is no record of them regretting their actions.

Joseph was in harmony with his father. As the scripture says,

John 5:19
  1. Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

You remember Jesus said, “I must be about my father’s business.” I imagine that was the kind of attitude Joseph had. He was spending his time being about his father’s will. Whenever Joseph or Jesus was doing something to be in the will of the father, they would ask “Is this something that will please my dad?” The Bible says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but the fear of man is a snare.

Proverbs 9:10
  1. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
Proverbs 29:25
  1. The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.

So Joseph had to choose whether to be in fear of his dad or to be in fear of his brothers.

Genesis 37:3
  1. Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.

Regardless of his love for Joseph, it is not a good thing for a parent to manifest his love toward a particular one of their children. But Israel did worse than that; he made him a coat of many colors. Now realize that the coat “of many colors” doesn’t have anything to do with colors. The language means “with extra pieces.” A regular working-man’s coat had no sleeves. But a coat with sleeves meant you were the boss. So when Joseph wore this coat, he wasn’t there to work; he was there to supervise.

Genesis 37:4-10
  1. And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.
  2. And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.
  3. And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed:
  4. For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.
  5. And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.
  6. And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.
  7. And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?

Do you think that there is something wrong with Joseph at this point? Why in the world would he be telling this dream? I don’t know whether he intended to hurt them, to provoke their jealousy even more. But one thing I see, that he said “I pray you.” He wanted them to hear; he wanted to be nice to them. They didn’t have anything nice to say to him, so he probably wanted to be friendly; he wanted to share. Also I see that Joseph was always with his mom and dad, because this was the true marriage, the true husband and wife. Joseph and Benjamin were their only two children, and the others were outsiders. I imagine that Joseph, at seventeen years old, didn’t have a clue about what was really going on. Did you ever meet a seventeen-year-old who didn’t have a clue? I think that he didn’t understand how badly his brothers hated him. Or maybe he wanted to tell the truth, regardless. Maybe he did want their anger. I doubt that, but we will look at all the possibilities.

There is a huge difference between dreams that we have and dreams that God has for you. Do you understand? It’s okay to dream yourself, but it’s something else for God to have a dream for you. Joseph was only sharing the dream. He didn’t make it up; that was God showing what he wanted. When God has a dream for you and for me, there is a long time, because God has to take time to build character in you, to shape you and get you ready. We know by reading his story that Joseph went through a lot. He got wise by dealing with those situations. If he had that wisdom, he would not have told his dream, but at seventeen he was pretty naive.

Genesis 37:11
  1. And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.

Joesph was basically innocent. If there was somebody to be hated, it was Jacob himself; Joseph didn’t do anything wrong. Now, looking at his brothers, I can imagine that you would say “these guys were bad.” But I want to take a little time to look at ourselves. The Bible says that his brothers envied him. And we know that envy is our natural physical desire. It is possible to be envious of anything.

envy
The desire to have what another person has.

Somebody has something and you desire to have that, it is still not wrong to have a desire. But envy is not simply a longing to have what another person has. The envious person wants to have something instead of the other person having it. If another person has something, it’s okay to want to have it too. But the envious person wants to have it instead of the other person having it. You see the difference? Because of envy, when you want to have what some other person has instead of them having it, but you don’t have it because that other person has it, now you hate that other person.

Almost anything can be envied: it can be thing, or a good voice, or making a basket; almost anything. Sometimes when you have something, you try to generate envy by saying that you have it. It used to be that everyone wanted to “keep up with the Jones”. But now they want to exceed the Jones. Every one of us could live way lower than we do, if it wasn’t for our neighbors. Every single one of us could live with one pair of shoes. You don’t even need your sandals, because you could go into the shower and wash and dry your feet, and go into your room. Remember on the ship, when you lived with all you had in your bunk, and you lived. But now you go home and you have all this space! So you have a lot of junk, too. Don’t get me wrong, I have those things, too. But I am aware that I can live with a lot less. The Bible says that if you have clothes to wear and food to eat, you should be content. That doesn’t mean that if you have more, you should get rid of them, but you should be aware that you have more.

Genesis 37:12-13
  1. And his brethren went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem.
  2. And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here am I.

Like Jesus, Joseph was hated by his brethren.

John 1:11
  1. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

Like Jesus, Joseph was sent into the world, into Shechem. If you don’t know, that was a very bad place. That was where all the people were killed; it was a dangerous place.

Genesis 37:14
  1. And he said to him, Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with thy brethren, and well with the flocks; and bring me word again. So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem.

So obviously Jacob was enjoying the reports. Now “Hebron” means fellowship, and Shechem is like the world. Joseph was enjoying the fellowship with his dad, and now he was called to go into Shechem to his brethren, into the world to save those who were in the world. But just as the parable of the servant who was sent and the people did not receive him, the father sent his own son and said “They will receive my son as they receive me.” But the people said, “Let us kill the heir, so that everything will be ours.”

Genesis 37:15-17
  1. And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, What seekest thou?
  2. And he said, I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they feed their flocks.
  3. And the man said, They are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan.

Now, “Dothan” means double-sickness. That is an even worse place.

Genesis 37:18
  1. And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.

That’s exactly like the parable that Jesus told. They wanted to kill the son.

Genesis 37:19-20
  1. And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh.
  2. Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.

His dreams really troubled his brothers. We talked about the difference between God’s dream and your dreeam. Man cannot destroy God’s dream for you; it will come to pass. Man can put you into the pit, but the Bible says that God wars with the devil, in the pit. When the three Hebrew children were in the furnace, God was with them in the fire. Don’t allow the pit to steal your dream. Dreams don’t change just because circumstances change. God’s dream remains the same regardless of the circumstances.

Genesis 37:21-23
  1. And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him.
  2. And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again.
  3. And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him;

Remember Jesus was also stripped out of his clothes. They grabbed the coat first because the coat generated jealousy.

Genesis 37:24-28
  1. And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.
  2. And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.
  3. And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?
  4. Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content.
  5. Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.

It seems to be a confusion about who bought him and who sold him, Ishmaelites or Midianites. But the Midianites were the sons of Esau, the brother of Isaac. Ishmaelites were the sons of Ishmael, the son of Abraham through his second wife. So they were all close.

Genesis 37:29-32
  1. And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes.
  2. And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, whither shall I go?
  3. And they took Joseph’s coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood;
  4. And they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their father; and said, This have we found: know now whether it be thy son’s coat or no.

You know the Bible says whatsoever a man sows, he shall also reap? This should remind you that Jacob stole his brother’s blessing with the skin of a goat, and by the blood of a goat his son was stolen from him. Know that your sins shall find you out.

Genesis 37:33-36
  1. And he knew it, and said, It is my son’s coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces.
  2. And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.
  3. And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him.
  4. And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh’s, and captain of the guard.

I want to leave you this morning with that verse. Joseph was dropped into that pit like Jesus was into the tomb. Of course, he was resurrected after that, so it was like taking Joseph out was a resurrection. But there was that call of Joseph to go into Egypt. The only person he loved was Jacob, his father, because by then his mom had passed away. He was among his brothers, but they didn’t like him. Now this caravan was taking him to a place to be a slave. That is were he is going to experience life, to experience hardship, to learn what life is truly all about. That is where he is going to prove what kind of faithful man he really is.

There is an encouragement here for you. Whatever it is that comes against you, think about it. Before you get discouraged, think “That might be my caravan to take me to Egypt, where I am going to experince life. I want to be a type of Joseph. I am going to be faithful. I am going to endure, because it is not my dream that I follow, but God’s dream for my life.” If that is your attitude, then you will be successful.

Relationship -vs- Religion

Sunday Morning Service, 5/23/10

Songs

  • [ Lord, I Lift Your Name On High]
  • [ We Worship You]
  • [ Oh The Glory Of It All]
  • [ At The Cross]
  • [ I’m Not Ashamed]
  • [ All To You]
  • [ Majestic]

Testimonies

> Ed Howe

I’m thrilled and privileged to be here. First of all, I thank God for calling me into this ministry. I was nobody, but he counted me faithful. I’m thankful that later on this week, Pastor Paine invited me and Chris to his house and took time to share with us. That was a tremendous blessing. I’m from Waukegan ministry, but I still think of this place as my home, because I’ve known everybody here for years. What makes it home is Christians, the fellowship of the saints.

In Waukegan, brother Kenneth is doing a great job. I’m working in military ministry; the young guys are excited about giving Bibile studies on base. I was telling Pastor Paine that the fellowship afterward is just as important. I didn’t think these guys could talk, but they’re learning not only to talk, but to listen.

People might not know the type of person I was before I met this ministry. When I first came, I didn’t say a word to anybody for a whole year. People were wondering, “Can this guy speak?” But I was just soaking it all in. Now the young guys ask me questions and it’s amazing how God gives me the answers.

I just thank God for everyone here and that you’ve remained faithful.

> Chris Ulrich

It’s been a very good trip. We planned this road trip not knowing there was going to be a conference, but we’re planning on coming for the conference as well. The last couple of days has been like a reunion. I’m proud to be a part of this ministry. I first got baptized at 16th Bay in Oceanview in 1988. I look at the way the economy is, and all the problems are real, but God gives us the strength and the fellowship and the truth, and that’s what really matters. I want to be prepared and ready for His coming.

We weren’t sure how things would go, but it’s been great, and everybody is looking forward to coming down for the conference.

> Seppie Hoenes

I was baptized on April 24, 2005. I’m thankful for the early leadership I had. When I was married, (barely a week after being baptized), I struggled with why Dwight was always at the church. But now I’m thankful that he did; they put Jesus first, and not me. So now I put Jesus first, too.

Message: Relationship -vs- Religion

> Pastor Paine

Acts 9:1
  1. And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,

If this is your first time in church, I’ve got to imagine that you’re pretty excited about the guy in the tie getting up and talking about “yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter”. But let’s read:

Acts 9:1-2
  1. And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
  2. And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.

Saul thought his mission and purpose in life was to persecute and yes, kill Christians.

Acts 9:4-5
  1. And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
  2. And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

“It is hard for you to fight my spirit, to deny that I am speaking to you about a change that you need to make.” There followed the conversion of Saul:

Acts 9:17-18
  1. And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
  2. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

So here’s the question: What changed for Saul? His religion? Or his relationship?

How many think it was his religion?

How many think it was his relationship?

How many think it was both?

They both changed the same day, but they’re not the same thing. Today it is my prayer that we would be able to discern the difference between our relationship and our religion. I submit to you today that some of our frustration with our daily walk is just frustration with our religion.

> The mission of the Navy is to maintain, train and equip combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas.

But there are a lot of things that those who are in the Navy do.

What is the mission of the ministry? What’s it called to look like?

Let’s suppose that in the US Navy, you really had a problem with the idea that enlisted and officers wear different uniforms, and you think that saluting is antiquated and should be abolished. That would irritate you every day, but it really has nothing to do with the mission at all.

Some of the things we do in ministry is simply about being effective, about making things work, and really don’t have anything to do with your relationship.

We should understand the difference between our relationship and our religion, and I contend that we need both. Religion is neither good nor bad, but it is essential, and in that context it is good. But it is sometimes frustrating, and in that context it can be bad. I grew up in a church where everybody stood up at the same time; everybody sat down at the same time; nobody said “Amen” out loud.

Some women would never consider going to church without having their heads covered with a physical covering. That’s based on scripture, but most of our women don’t have a physical covering for their heads. Do you think God can’t hear your prayers? I could have a study on why that scripture was written; it’s real. It’s scripture. It’s religion.

1 Peter 3:21
  1. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

Peter was talking about baptism; he said that it was doing the right thing, but more than that, it is an inside-out event.

I would challenge you to examine everything you do for God: is it an inside-out event, or is it an outside-in event?

How many of you think that the proper way to squeeze toothpaste out of a tube is to squeeze the middle?

You’re all going to hell!

(Now, if you edit this message and that’s all you get …)

The ONLY way to squeeze toothpase is from the bottom!

I told my wife Debbie that the next time we buy a house it needs to have two bathroom sinks, one for her heathen toothpaste and one for me.

Debbie, I love you. And when I get to heaven, I’m going to miss you…

Now, I’ve got another deep spiritual question to ask you. A four-lane divided highway, fifty-five miles per hour: does anybody think that it makes sense? I think Jesus would drive seventy-five, don’t you?

But when I come to my senses, I drive fifty-five miles an hour. I obey the law. Really, on my way to seventy-five, I stop every time.

So as we look at this idea of relationship and religion, I would say that often the same identical action has different motives. Sometimes we only see the action; we don’t know the motive.

Ephesians 6:12
  1. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

The devil doesn’t want us to be effective in ministry. There is a spiritual battle for that. One of the tools that the devil uses is all our our differences of opinion. Shall I jump right off the high diving board at the deep end?

Clothing: there are differences of opinion about what is appropriate. Clothing: religion or relationship? Some people think if you wear shorts, you’re going to hell. And some people are so angry about not wearing shorts… I was on base in Hawaii and there was a big sign. Even in civilian attire, you can’t wear shorts. I don’t know what happened; maybe somebody thought that if shorts were okay, then so were Speedo’s.

If we get angry about religion, we’ll hurt our relationship.

So my brother Gary was visiting not long ago. He said, “I was in an auto-parts store, and the guy in front of me got angry. He said, ‘You told me when I called that it would be thirty-five dollars, and now it’s sixty-five dollars!’” He was very angry. And the cashier explained, “When you called, you said that you needed this part for this model, and when you got here, I realized that you misspoke. The part that I quoted you won’t fit on your car.” And my brother said to the cashier, “That guy was so angry!” And the cashier said, “Sir, you don’t know what he’s going through. That thirty dollar difference might be the difference between his kids eating or going hungry this week.” And my brother said, “Wow! I never thought I’d hear theology from a clerk in an auto-parts store.”

Just like the US Navy has a mission, we have a mission. Jesus gave the great commission: that’s our mission, to go into all the world and preach the gospel. If we’re not good at understanding the difference between religion and relationship, religion will get in the way.

The CNO is the highest ranking officer in the Navy. For those of you in the Navy, do you think it’s possible that the CNO has at least one rule, one regulation, that in his mind, doesn’t make sense?

Yes?

Well, why doesn’t he change it? It’s reasonable to answer, “Because it works.” We’ve got to pick our battles on the battlefields of life. What we do matters, but why we do what we do matters more. There will be times in life when we will have to do the right thing to get our minds right.

Proverbs 16:3
  1. Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.

Sometimes when we know what’s right, but we don’t feel like doing it… (fifty-five miles an hour? airbags, divided highway?) All I’m saying is, you can have a strong opinion about something when there’s a rule.

There is a guy who believes that the right way to handle a red light is to come to a complete stop, look both ways, and then proceed with caution. After his third ticket, his wife asked him why he keeps running red lights. He said “If there’s nobody around, then it’s perfectly safe to proceed with caution.” She said, “Well, obviously there was somebody around, or you wouldn’t have gotten a ticket.” He said, “Well, he was behind me, and at the time, he didn’t have his red lights on. All I saw was his headlights, and I figured he would want to go too. But it turns out that he had nothing better to do than to give me a ticket for doing something that is completely rational!”

Finally his wife made him raise his right hand and say:

> I promise that I will never run another red light as long as I’m married to you.

So then one day, in the wee hours of the morning, he stopped at a red light. He looked left; he looked right; he looked behind him. There was nobody around. So he opened up his sunroof and got out his revolver and BANG! he proceeded with caution. Then he sent a money-order to the city to pay for a new light. (He didn’t send a check; he may have been crazy, but he wasn’t stupid!)

Proverbs 16:3
  1. Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.

Sometimes you’ve got to do the right thing, and you know it’s the right thing, and you’ve got to just do the right thing until you feel right about it.

That’s why religion is important to a relationship.

What are you mad about? (I’m not joking; I’m asking.) I’m mad about a lot of things! In the church!

(If you’re visiting, I apologize; we really do have great spiritual messages here.)

I’m mad about a lot of things! How many of you are mad about something? Put your hands up.

I’m mad about some things in the church. (Why don’t you change them?) Because they work. The other day Darryl got saved. His name got written in the Lamb’s book of life. Do you realize? His relationship changed yesterday. But so did his religion. There are some things that he’s got to avoid today that he didn’t have to avoid yesterday.

There are differences of opinion, even within the same family, about what is appropriate. Ask ten different people about “modest apparel” and you’ll get ten different answers. I confess that I lean toward the lenient side of “modest apparel.”

Some things we do because they work. I was joking about the toothpaste thing, but for a little bit of our marriage, there were moments when I thought “I’ve got to kill this woman! I cannot let her live! The toothpaste!”

We get that upset about some things in our religion, but we’ve got to learn to focus on our relationship. One of the ways you can discern the difference is to ask, “Is it outside-in, or inside-out?”

Sometimes religion asks, “How much can I get away with?” and relationship asks “How much can I give away?”

Some religion is necessary to be effective. But without a relationship, it is all for nothing.

Religion asks, “What do I have to do”, but relationship asks, “What can I do?”

Do you live your life to finish well, or do you live your life just to finish?

If today you find your relationship strained, ask God how you can improve it. Ask God, “Help me to fight the battles that matter, and ignore the ones that don’t.”

Just Like Peter

Sunday Morning Service, 5/16/10

Songs

  • [ I Have A Hope]
  • [ Love The Lord]
  • [ Everywhere I Go]
  • [ Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior]
  • [ Blessed Be Your Name]
  • [ I’m Amazed]
  • [ The King Is Coming]
  • [ Go Fight The Battle]
  • [ How He Loves]
  • [ How Can I Keep From Singing]

Testimonies

> Jeremy Thompson

Over the past few months, God has been working with me about being that light to everyone I meet. I had a couple of challenging conversations when I was back home. I got to share baptism a few times. I know he’s still working with me, and he’ll provide a way for me to make it through and share his gospel.

> Larry Glander

The testimony that is lived is the best. One day I was going into a workcenter that I don’t normally go into. After I had sit there a few minutes, the guy who was in there asked, “What’s up? Normally you’re whistling or humming, but today you’re just sitting there.” What they didn’t know was that I was beating myself up about some things that God had already forgiven me for. People watch, so be real; be sincere. That’s your best testimony.

> Kathleen Shields

We’ve all experienced ups and downs, but nothing can get you through it like God can. We’ve been worshipping in this church for about a year, and it’s just been awesome. I can see the light of God shining through every one of you.

Message: Just Like Peter

> Pastor Thomas

We are a blessed people, those who know the Lord and have a personal relationship with God. Sometimes we forget how blessed we are. Sometimes we forget how important that relationship with God should be. As an example, I’d like to talk about Peter today. Look at how much we are like Peter, not because of what he did, but because of what he didn’t do.

  • He didn’t follow through on his commitments
  • He didn’t keep his word
  • He didn’t always follow Jesus

In this scripture, they’d already had communion; already broken bread, and Jesus had already washed their feet.

Luke 22:31-34
  1. And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
  2. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
  3. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.
  4. And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.

This is the last time that Jesus ever called Peter by the name of “Simon”. That was a personal close relationship that Jesus had with Peter; his proper name was “Simon Peter”.

In this scripture, Jesus is on the shore, fishing. This time, Jesus calls him by his proper name.

John 21:17
  1. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

You know, my Dad called me “Buddy” all the time, but when he said, “Edward Jacob Thomas”, I knew that I was in trouble. So here is Simon in this intimate relationship, and they’d already broken bread.

Peter not only denied Jesus, he also cursed. Can you picture with me what it must have been like for Simon? This strong man, who said “Thou art the Christ”, who had walked on the water with Jesus, was now crying and brokenhearted. This big, strong guy was overcome, thinking “What have I just done?” But even weightier than the guilt was the shame.

Shame isn’t what you’ve done; it’s what you become. It is when you let the things you’ve done attach themselves to who you are, saying “I am bad; I am dirty; I am unworthy.” Peter was there, feeling all alone, dealing with these feelings. But every one of us know those feelings; every one of us have stood with Peter in that moment. We’ve crossed the barrier of ethics.

ethics
A system of moral principles

There are medical ethics. There is a certain standard, with lines that you can’t cross. If you cross them, you can be sued.

There is a legal morality. I love the joke about the two young lawyers who started a practice together. A lady wanted her will done, and the fee was a hundred dollars. So she paid the bill and left, and then he discovered that she had given him two hundred-dollar bills, stuck together. So his ethical dilemma was, “Should I tell my partner?”

We know what is right and wrong. There are codes of conduct, just because we are human beings. Archaeology shows that certain standards that we hold dear today have been kept since ancient times. If you steal something in some Muslim countries, you might be walking around without an arm. Out west, they might come at you with a six-shooter. Today, they come at you with a policeman. Regardless of what we’d like to do, we can’t take the law into our own hands, because that’s called being a vigilante.

We see codes of conduct in positions of power. You who are officers in the military can’t date someone of a lesser rank, and certainly not an enlisted person. That’s called fraternization, and there is a severe punishment for it.

I heard a quote once, “You can’t hold someone else down without bending down yourself.” There are people who hold others down, overpowering them.

Ethics, morality, position, power: every one of you have at one time or another crossed those boundaries.

Romans 3:23
  1. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Whether we’ve been drunk in public and done something to be ashamed of, or whether we did drugs… Church, I was not a good person before I got saved. I remember one day when we had just got back from Mexico with all the drugs we’d bought, and there was a blue haze in the room. I answered a knock at the door, and it was a state trooper. He had a warrant for someone’s arrest, but it was the wrong address. After he left, we’d never cleaned an apartment that fast in our lives. The policeman never came back, but I decided to change my life. I got orders to Japan and thought, “Nobody knows me there; I’ll stop doing drugs.” But I didn’t change. I found new friends who liked doing drugs, and started buying and selling them. When I got saved, I wondered how God could love me after what I did. But God doesn’t see degrees of right and wrong; he sees sin as sin. He sees what we’ve done, and it’s exactly what Peter did. When we cross the line of God’s ethics and morality, we carry that guilt. That burden raises its head in so many ways. We get angry. We try to justify it. We try to separate ourselves from what we’ve done. But shame attaches our past actions to how we think about ourselves. And that harms our ability to reconnect with God. Just like Peter, we’re standing outside, thinking “What have I done?” Peter hung out with the disciples after that day, but he wasn’t yet converted. He might have been active in the choir, the ushers, the music and art department, but he was not yet converted. Christ doesn’t look at our activity level, because sometimes we try to bury our guilt and shame in our actions. It wasn’t until Peter met Jesus on that beach – I’ve stood on those shores. Peter was a natural leader; when he said “I go a fishing”, the other disciples said “I’ll go with you.” Where are we leading others by our behavior? So here’s Peter fishing with the disciples, and Jesus saw them and said, “Do you have any fish?” Of course, he already knew, but sometimes God asks us “How are you doing?” Jesus asked the blind man, “What do you want?” Sometimes Jesus wants us to vocalize how we’re doing, so that we understand how we’re doing. So we say “God, I’m not doing all that great,” and God says, “So you finally realize!”

So they cast their nets on the other side, and the nets broke, and Peter jumped over the side and swam to Jesus. Peter was called by Jesus to lead; it was imperative that Peter get converted. Look at what happened afterwards! Peter was the first to preach the message of salvation; he was the first to bring the message to the Gentiles.

Look around; there is not a one of us who has not sinned since we got baptized. We knew that we broke the ethical codes when we did it. We denied fellowship with brothers and sisters to have fellowship with lost people, and we justify it. How about our language? We know that the Bible says “Let no filthy communication proceed from your mouth.” You can’t use profanity. Then you make excuse, saying “Well, they just make me mad!” Doesn’t the Bible say “be ye angry and sin not”? If you prepare your heart and study the word, then the Holy Ghost will do the work. But if you don’t prepare your heart, you’ll always be burdened with guilt and shame.

Jesus went to Calvary not so we could stay the same, but so that we could be changed. He went to Calvary to remake you in his image, not the image that the church wants you to be, but the image that God wants you to be. The went there because he loves you, and because he loves you, he expects you to be converted.

When you grow up and leave your parents, they’re not always there to hold you accountable. But Jesus is always there to hold you accountable. One day you’ll die and there are two books that will be opened: the book of life and the book of works. You know what’s missing? The book of intents. God couldn’t care less about what you intended to do. If your schoolteachers and your boss on the job doesn’t want to hear your excuses, what makes you think that God wants to hear them?

I like the sign they put out front: “What in hell do you want?” People stopped and took pictures. You’ve got to ask yourself, what in hell is so important that I want to go there?”

What do you call a bad day? No matter how bad it was, There isn’t anything that will compare to what hell has to offer. And there isn’t anything that is so good that it compares to what heaven has to offer. Decide which is more important. That’s a decision you’ll have to make every day, day after day. What prevents you from making the right decision is the burden of guilt and shame from making the wrong decisions. But if we bring our burdens to the foot of the cross and give them to Jesus, then we’ll walk away able to be converted. You can’t run the race with patience while carrying that load. It’s like trying to run the mile with two hundred pounds on your back. You’ve got to get rid of it, and the only place to get rid of it is at Calvary.

It doesn’t matter what you’ve done; Jesus can forgive all things if you’re willing to lay them down at the foot of the cross and change who you are. So don’t say “I’m not worthy.” Yes you are. You’re precious in the sight of God. His arm is not shortened that he cannot save, and his ear is not heavy that he cannot hear, and his love is not weak that he cannot embrace you. So don’t carry those burdens any longer.

Matthew 11:28-30
  1. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
  2. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
  3. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Ephesians 5:8
  1. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
1 Thessalonians 5:4-5
  1. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
  2. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
Hebrews 12:1
  1. Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

God has something for you, church. It belongs to you.

Stepping Out In Faith

Sunday Morning Service, 5/2/10

Songs

  • [ Because Of Your Love]
  • [ Sing Sing Sing]
  • [ Love The Lord]
  • [ What A Friend We Have In Jesus]
  • [ I Bless Your Name]
  • [ You Are Worthy Of My Praise]
  • [ Go Fight The Battle]

Testimonies

> Rod Williams

For all of you who are worried about what kind of job I have, I already have a full-time job serving God.

I thank all of you for the sacrifices you’ve made. I’m thankful, humbled and honored to be a part of what God has for us.

> Tami Rudolph

I’m just thankful for all the understanding. It’s not about what you say; it’s what you do in your life for Christ. I love you guys.

> Dan Lantis

I’d like to thank you all for allowing me to worship Jesus with you. We all had a decision of where to go this morning, or to stay in bed. I’m thankful you all chose to be here with me.

A few years ago, I was laying in a ditch wondering what’s up. I looked up to heaven and said, “If you’re up there, I’m ready to give it up. I’m ready to give my life up.” There was no qualifications; the spirit of God didn’t come down with a sheet of paper and start going through a checklist to see if I was qualified. But right at that moment, the star in the big dipper tail twinkled. I’m thankful that same twinkle of peace is in me, right down to my toes, right now. Through all the trials and tribulations that human beings bring up, God is still right here in my heart. I’m so thankful that God has touched me with all of your lives.

Message

As I was preparing this message, it really struck me, the decission that people make in life every day. If you’ve never done anything drastic, you’ve never had to trust or step out in anything, you’re very hesitant the first time. The very first time you drove a car, you adjusted everything, started the car, put in gear, and slowly started off. Now we do it all automatically.

It takes some confidence to be able to walk in faith. That almost sounds like a contradiction.

Proverbs 16:3
  1. Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.

When you do something once, it gives you the confidence you need to go on.

1 John 5:19-21
  1. And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.
  2. And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
  3. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

In this passage, we read “we know; we understand; we have confidence”. What I got in this passage is the fact that knowledge brings forth action. Knowledge un-acted-upon doesn’t get you anything. If you know to do something and you do it not, no one will ever know what you know. What have we got to show for our knowledge, for our belief? Many times we stand at crossroads, at decision-points in our life.

  • The woman caught in adultery

She could continue in what she knew, or she could follow Christ

  • Peter

He could re-surrender his will to God and allow God

  • Barnabas

He could keep silence and not cry out, or he could go against everyone and cry out to Jesus for help

  • Abraham

He could stay with his family or he could trust God

In some people’s eyes, talking to God is prayer, but God talking to us is a diseas. “You say that God talked to you, huh? Uh-huh.” But God talked to Abraham, and Abraham knew that God wasn’t asking something of him that was too great. When Isaac asked, “Where is the lam

  • King David

He was out in battle and the enemy came and captured his wife and children and all his possessions, and those of everyone in his army. The people sat around and complained, saying it was all David’s fault. He could sit around feeling sorry for himself, or he could encourage himself take back what the enemy had stolen.

  • Satan

He was an angel of God who decided to battle against God; he wanted to replace God.

  • Lot

His herdsmen were arguing with Abraham’s herdsmen. Abraham told him to take any direction he liked, and Lot looked at the cities and went there.

  • Saul

He was chosen by the people and anointed by God. He had a choice of doing what God told him to do, or to modify it a little. Isn’t that the same choice that Eve had in the garden? God told Saul to kill everything that breathed. So here’s Saul back from battle and the prophet asked him, “Did you do what God told you to do?” He said, “Yeah, I did it all.” “Then what’s this bleating in my ears?” Saul said, “Oh, we saved the best for a sacrifice.” God doesn’t want that kind of sacrifice. Saul had decided, “Instead of killing my sheep and my cattle; here’s some that I have to kill anyway. Why not sacrifice those?” Because of that decision, Saul lost his kingship, and it was also taken from his son.

  • The rich young ruler

He had a choice when Jesus told him to sell everything and give it to the poor.

Sometimes Satan is just offering you sin, and you’ve got to make a choice whether to sin or not. You can make excuses all day long. I love it when people say, “What’s wrong with going into the bars and just having a beer?” What happens when someone looks to you for a testimony and says “He’s doing the same things I’m doing.” The Bible says not to be a drunkard. Some things may not seem wrong to you. But you’ve got to decide whether to be holy. That takes faith. It takes faith to say, “I’ve never done this like this before; what kind of future will it bring me?” We have a crossroads of choice to make. One road goes to Christ and you don’t want to take the other. The enemy of the best decision is a good decision, and I submit to you that the enemy of a righteous solution is a good decision.

Horatio's Drive

That man in that car was the first man to travel across the United States in an automobile. You look on a map at the course he took and you might wonder why he went that way. Why did take the course he took? Because there were no roads. Many times he took wrong turns. He spent days broken down. But in letters he sent to his wife, he was always optimistic. In 1903, he drove into New York with the mud from every state in the union. A few weeks after he started, another guy left on the same trip, but he was factory-sponsored. A few weeks after that, another guy left, sponsored by another car-factory. Halfway through the trip, one of the factories contacted the original guy and offered to meet him at every stop with mechanics and spare parts. “We want to sponsor you,” they said. But no, he’d come halfway across the country on his own, and he wanted to finish the same way.

As we step out in faith, we meet un-tried territories. There are storms and tribulations that we will face.

Matthew 7:24-27
  1. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
  2. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
  3. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
  4. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

There is a structure we build in our lives. We build this structure by the way we think. If we think God can, we will step out in faith, but if we listen to the doubters, we won’t go anywhere. There is comfort in stepping back. Remember the old comedy routine where the sergeant asks for volunteers to step forward, and everyone takes a step back? But God wants us to step out in faith.

Psalms 107:28-32
  1. Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.
  2. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.
  3. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.
  4. Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
  5. Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

Sometimes the only way God can get you to praise him is by making your life miserable. So don’t wait for that to happen; praise him today!

Nahum 1:3
  1. The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.

As an example, I’d like to consider Jonah. You all know the story; God wanted Jonah to prophesy to the Ninevites, but Jonah didn’t go. Instead, he got in a boat to Tarshish. When the storm came and they wanted to know why, Jonah said, “I know why; God is angry because I’m running from him.” So they threw Jonah overboard and the whale swallowed him for what Pastor Paine likes to call his personal prayer time.

Matthew 14:22
  1. And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.

Jesus went apart to pray.

Matthew 14:23-24
  1. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.
  2. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.

For those of you who haven’t seen the sea of Galilee, except if you’re in a rowboat.

Matthew 14:25-27
  1. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
  2. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
  3. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.

If you are facing a storm right now, that storm can hinder what God has to accomplish through you. You’re looking at the obstacles to your path, whether financial, physical, or spiritual. And then God comes walking on the water and says “It is I; be not afraid.” God asks you to take a step out of your boat, your comfortable life that you have, and join him on the water. There were at least twelve guys in that boat, and one of them said “Lord, if it is you, bid me come out on the water.” Peter knew the mechanics of water; he knew he didn’t have big enough feet to displace enough water to float. He knew that if he tried to walk on the water, he would sink. But Jesus said “Come” and he started to walk on water, until he took his eyes off Jesus and looked at the storm and the water around him; then he began to sink. For those of you who have walked on water, you can do it again. If you’ve let your garment become stained by the sins of the world, I want you to step out on faith.

Church, you can make it “okay” in your own mind and heart, but God wants you to be holy; he wants you to be a priest, sanctified in him. And that takes walking on water, believe me. We want to be okay with our friends, but we can’t do that. If we want to see those around us saved, we’ve got to make a difference. We’ve got to step out of the boat, even if it means leaving friends behind. Pastor Paine has a book on leadership that says if you’ve got friends who are always broke and going nowhere, you’ve either got to stay with your friends and stay where you are, or make new friends and go where you want to go.

I was there once; I did drugs and had friends who did drugs. But when I got saved, I had to make a change. Within five years, every one of my former friends were either dead or in jail. I don’t know how often I’ve said to God, “Thank you, God, for sending Pastor Davis when you did.” I have learned to trust the spirit of God and step out in faith. After the storm is gone, we see miracles take place.

Luke 8:22-25
  1. Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth.
  2. But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy.
  3. And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.
  4. And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.

The disciples said, “We’re gonna die!” So Jesus rebuked the wind; he rebuked the sea, and then he rebuked the disciples. If I were afraid of the storm and hadn’t stepped out in faith, you wouldn’t have heard the gospel. I would rather endure the storm because I know that God can keep me through anything that I could face. Do you have that type of faith?

These are the people who saw Jesus get in the boat and ran around to meet him on the other side.

John 6:26-27
  1. Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.
  2. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

There is so much more in your Christian walk than the natural blessings you receive in fellowship. But it takes more than just sitting in pews to these kinds of miracles take place. You’ve got to step out of your comfort zone and start teaching Bible studies at work. You might teach that study to nobody at all for weeks and months before someone comes to hear, but it takes that kind of faith to see people get saved. Because you pray at school, someone else will see and ask “How did you do?” and you’ll be able to share with them. It’s what you do that other people will see and be inspired to get out of the boat that they’re in.

John 16:33
  1. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

You might be in the world, church, but you’re not of the world. We might be in the boat, but Jesus is here with us. He has overcome the world, but you might just be in the world. You shall have tribulation.

John 14:27
  1. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

We build our spiritual house with our mind and our heart. Don’t let it be troubled; don’t let it be afraid. It can and shall withstand the storms of life if we build it in the faith of Jesus Christ.

Acts 14:22
  1. Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

Those storms are there for a reason. Let people see you go through them with victory.

Romans 8:35-38
  1. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
  2. As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
  3. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
  4. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

What enables you to be persuaded? It is stepping out in faith that enables you to be persuaded.

Romans 8:38-39
  1. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
  2. Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

You can read that personally: my faith; my Lord. Through faith, God can do anything. He can enable you to heal the blind and the sick; he can enable you to teach Bible studies. If you step out in faith, God can enable you to do all these things. There are people who need to hear this message, and the only way they’ll hear it is if we step out in faith and get out of the boat and join Jesus Christ.

These Things Doth The Lord Hate: He That Soweth Discord Among Brethren

Sunday Morning Service, 4/25/10

Songs

  • [ All To You]
  • [ Majestic]
  • [ Joy In The Holy Ghost]
  • [ We Fall Down]
  • [ Let Us Adore]
  • [ How Can I Keep From Singing]
  • [ That’s Why We Praise Him]
  • [ Everyday]

Testimonies

> Brad Logan

I’ve been working on my PhD for some time, but I’m thankful for all the support that you have given me. I am in charge of a certain type of material that is used in torpedoes. As I travel, it is an awesome opportunity to meet and minister to people. It is also an awesome responsibility. We all have that responsibility to minister. I’m thankful that God has put me in this place.

> Joe Harris

In about two weeks, I’ll be getting out of school. It has been a struggle; I’m thankful that God has brought me through. It took a while for me to understand that God has a plan for me. I’m thankful for the support of this ministry that has allowed me to grow. I’m looking forward to what God has for me in the future.

> Maria Smith

I’m so thankful to be in this ministry. God has so much! Half of the people here have seen me grow up in this ministry. I know Pastor Thomas; he’s like a father to me. I’m so thankful that at the end of this journey, I’m going to make it to heaven.

Message: These Things Doth The Lord Hate: He That Soweth Discord Among Brethren

> Pastor Ulysse

Lord, I thank you again for this opportunity to listen to your word. Let your word do its work in every soul.

This morning concludes the series of messages on the things the Lord hates. We find the main text in Proverbs, and we will read it together for the last time. I hope you keep the objective of this series, that you should never read these verses without stopping to think whether you are doing any of these things that the Lord hates:

Proverbs 6:16-19
  1. These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
  2. A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
  3. An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
  4. A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

This morning we are going to see “He that soweth discord among brethren.” As we read this scripture, we don’t see ourselves as those who are sowing the seed of discord. But let us see what sowing, discord, and brethren mean.

sow
to cause feelings or ideas to develop.

I look at “sow” in the larger sense, in culture. The sowing, when you see it as a farmer sowing his seeds, you know how just a little handful of seeds can grow and bring forth fruits. Just one seed of corn can bring forth many; it multiplies. Also, I want you to consider that sowing doesn’t bring forth fruits right away; it takes time. So when you sow discord now, for it to bring forth fruit takes time. Though you sow seeds, even if it is good seeds, it will always have some bad seeds. Weeds grow naturally; you don’t even need to sow bad seeds; they come naturally. Flowers and good seeds must be cultivated; the bad seeds of discord will be there regardless. Think about also where the weeds come from: birds plant them, they even come from the fertilizer. They can come from moms and dads, from brothers and sisters. This seed we are talking about can come from anywhere.

discord
disagreement; primarily, an unpleasant sound.

When those who have ears for music hear a sound, they know when it is not music; they know when it is discord. So sowing discord is causing an unpleasant sound to develop. When you say “brothers”, you can see discord anywhere, but we are talking about brethren; we are talking about the family of God.

Discord is to be especially despised, because it feeds Satan’s plan in keeping division among the body of Christ. It’s like you are helping his goal. So you should keep this in mind. Also, it displays a poor image of Christianity. If there is division among us, we don’t look good. As brothers and sisters in the church, we simply don’t look good. So for this reason, we should not sow discord. Also, a church that suffers from discord, from disharmony and disunity is a tragedy for the cause of Christ. We don’t want to be part of that. I want you to keep this in mind as we go into the message.

Psalms 133:1-3
  1. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
  2. It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;
  3. As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.

The high priest, when he got anointed, they didn’t do like we do nowadays, just a little bit on the forehead. They would pour everything. So this oil would go through everybody; everybody would get anointed. So this verse says it is as the dew of Hermon. Hermon is a big mountain, very high, by the dead sea. So the dew would cover all the smaller mountains. So everybody would get covered. Is this true for the opposite? Yes, in the opposite, everybody gets covered also.

Jesus is talking about unity, that it is the most important thing for the church. He gave his life for the church; he would be willing to do anything to keep the unity and harmony. As brothers and sisters, we should be willing to do anything to keep this unity and harmony, also.

John 17:20
  1. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

He wasn’t just praying for his disciples then, but for you and me also.

John 17:21
  1. That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

Jesus wants unity. Jesus wants harmony. That is why he has given us the ministry of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:18-19
  1. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
  2. 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.

Now you probably read this scripture many times, but don’t get the fact that you have a ministry. A lot of time you pray to God asking “What do you have for me?” Jesus has for you the ministry of reconciliation. Jesus left to give us this ministry: to reconcile. This is not the seed of discord.

Anybody can enjoy a little bit of peace; nobody has a problem with peace, unless you are really, really a troublemaker. Jesus said:

Matthew 5:9
  1. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

There is a huge difference between peacemakers and peace-lovers. It’s huge. The peacemakers shall be called the children of God. We all like to be called the children of God. Peace-lovers only have to enjoy the peace. The peace is there; they only have to enjoy it and have a good time. But the peacemakers have to sacrifice. It is a hard thing. If you want to be called the children of God, you have to be prepared to make a sacrifice.

Ephesians 4:1-3
  1. I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
  2. With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
  3. Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Pay attention to the word endeavoring. It means “to force; to work hard.” You don’t just get the unity of the spirit without the bond of peace. It says in verse two:

Ephesians 4:2
  1. With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

You can forbear somebody, but forbearing in love is something else. We know what love is; we may not mean love; we may not live love, but we know when the Bible talks of love what it means. Telling the truth without love is brutality. When Jonah went to Nineveh, there wasn’t love in it. He wanted God to destroy everybody. He was glad about it; he was probably saying, “I can not wait for this day to come.” Sometimes we take the word of God that we should be telling in love, and use it like a sword to cut off the ear, like Peter did. And Jesus is saying “No, no; that’s not what I came for.” And he puts the ear back and heals them. You have to tell the truth, but it must be done in love.

1 Corinthians 1:10-13
  1. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
  2. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
  3. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
  4. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

I spent most of my time preparing for this sermon thinking about this scripture. We know what we mean when we say “our church” but sometimes we need to think about it. It isn’t “our church”; we didn’t die for it. The church is the church of Christ. We have pastors, but they didn’t die for us; they weren’t crucified for us; we didn’t even get baptized in their name. We are talking about the church of Jesus Christ; he died for this church. And he doesn’t want discord; he doesn’t want disharmony.

The next thing I am going to show you is what Paul and Barnabas went through. I looked and searched, and it doesn’t seem like these guys were doing things right.

After their first journey, Paul said, “Hey, Barnabas, let’s go back and visit the cities where we first preached.” And Barnabas said, “I am determined to take John with us.” But John had not stayed with them the first time, but departed.

Acts 15:36-41
  1. And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the LORD, and see how they do.
  2. And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark.
  3. But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.
  4. And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus;
  5. And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.
  6. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.

You know it’s a scripture that we all know, but as I was reading the scripture I thought “who is right and who is wrong?” Anyway you look at it, it is wrong. There is probably some good in it, because God can make good. The Bible says however Christ is preached, he is preached, and we should be happy about it. Barnabas was determined; no matter what Paul thinks, he was bringing John along. Paul was thinking, “I wouldn’t have a problem with John if he hadn’t left us.” I wish we had a tape of the argument. It says that Barnabas took John, but Paul chose. He had his reasons: Silas was a Roman citizen; he was a prophet; he was recommended by the brethren. But after many years, Paul was talking about Mark, which is the same John who Barnabas took with him:

2 Timothy 4:11
  1. Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.

So in the fullness of time, he found John Mark to be profitable for ministry.

You probably know the story, where a fellow in the church took his father’s wife. In the church!

1 Corinthians 5:1-5
  1. It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.
  2. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
  3. For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,
  4. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
  5. To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Now he says, “Come on! I am not here; I am far away. But even in the world, this man should be delivered unto Satan. Take him out from among us. He should not be here.”

Now in the second letter he wrote to the Corinthians, they took this guy out. But meanwhile, the guy repented, and he wanted to come back to church. However he made it right, he wanted to come back, but people didn’t want him to come back. There was discord.

2 Corinthians 2:5-7
  1. But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all.
  2. Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.
  3. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.

In that making peace, we need not only to watch out for what is bad, but we need to also watch out for when somebody repents. When someone repents, we do not have a choice. It is not for us, but for Christ’s sake. He is the one who died; he is the one who suffered. I find it amazing when people say that so-and-so should not be in church; it is like they would be leaving if so-and-so is there.

2 Corinthians 2:8
  1. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.

It is very hard when people ask questions and they say “I don’t have a problem with so-and-so, but I will keep my distance.” How do you confirm your love? There must be action to confirm your love.

2 Corinthians 2:9-11
  1. For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.
  2. To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;
  3. Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

We are fighting a battle. Satan has his plan, and he has all kinds of ways to go about accomplishing his plan. We should not be ignorant of his devices; we should not be ignorant of his ways. I believe that Paul was right in choosing not to take John Mark, but we should realize when he has repented. We should not say, “Well, if you repent it is between you and God, but you are not going to be here.” Satan has his devices, and we should not be ignorant of his devices.

I don’t know how long I have been speaking, but I am asking if you would forget everything I have said, do not forget this one thing. Don’t ever be a part of a group, small or large, that seeks to bring discord in the church. Not only you cannot be the one sowing the seeds, but don’t ever be a part of a group, small or large, that all they are doing is sowing the seed of discord in the church. When your pastor does not speak to you for many years, you should pay all the more attention when he speaks. If you would have any part in a group that sows discord in the church that Christ died for, you will lose. Christ will not tolerate … he died for it.

I have observed how my Mom would talk to my sisters. You know like David said, “I was young, but now I am old.” I have observed that everything my mother said is coming true. If you do not listen to your mom and your dad, at the end, you will be the one paying the price. I remember when I was choosing a wife, I had to talk to my Dad. I talked about why I was making the choice, but you know what is in your heart. There was a thing going on before I was born between the two families. This was new to me, I did not know what was going on. I really wanted to make this happen, so I talked to my Dad. So he took an audio tape to my wife’s family, (this is how they resolved this kind of problem in Haiti,) and they made some kind of deal. It was better than my wife and I saying “I don’t care what you think, we are doing this thing.” We had to find a way to bring them together. If we did not, then it doesn’t matter if we are right or wrong, in the end we will be wrong.

Proverbs 6:12-15
  1. A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth.
  2. He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers;
  3. Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord.
  4. Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy.

I was pastor in a church in Haiti, and I had a partner. He was truly a partner. I never met a Haitian who loved God like he did. And we worked very hard from the beginning. We were close, so close that even my own family used to get jealous of how close I am to him. It seems like I spent all my time with him, and all my secrets. Everybody wanted to tell me that he is a bad man, that nobody likes him, but I could only say “I know he loves God.” After years and years, suddenly the rumors became louder and louder. Even there were rumors of him having his own church while he was my associate, working together. But I know that it is not my church; it is God’s church. If I have to fight to keep the church of God, then like Gideon says, he is not God if he cannot defend his own church. People would say “Are you not going to do something about it?” I say, “I would like to do something about it, but I do not know what.” I know that when you are in a position that you have to make a decision but you do not know what it should it be, the best thing to do is stop. There is a very good chance that whatever decision you make will be a bad one. So I said to God, “I want to love this man; if he doesn’t want to love you the way he should, that is between you and him. But I am going to love him.” So finally there came a time when God said, “Do something now.” Besides having his own church, which was his own personal business, he started going to the parents and telling them to not send their kids to the church anymore. So I went to his house. I went openly; people were saying to me that there was something going on, but to me there wasn’t anything going on. I went to his house and said, “Pastor, I tell you what. You can hurt me, hurt my family, do whatever. But don’t be part of any group who will sow discord, because there will not be a remedy when you are broken.”

Proverbs 6:15
  1. Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy.

He wasn’t very happy, because I didn’t come laughing. I told him that he needs to stop it, or it will not be good for him. I told him on Monday, and on Wednesday he disappeared. I say disappeared, even unto this day. Nobody knows where he has gone. Because the word was that we had something between us, my prayer to this day is that they find him. Because there are people to this day who believe that I did something. I don’t know what happened. Maybe he was ashamed and hid somewhere; maybe he went straight to heaven; I don’t know. But I know that God will not tolerate you being the one to sow discord. I know that.

So my prayer is that every single action that you take, you will think:

Proverbs 6:16-19
  1. These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
  2. A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
  3. An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
  4. A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

> Pastor Thomas

I will assign a little homework. Read Numbers chapter 16. It is about people who were men of renown; they were important people. They stood up against Moses because they didn’t like what he was doing. And there were a thousand people who were supporting them. It is amazing. We cannot let our arrogance, our self-importance overpower us. I have screwdrivers in my toolbox that are bent and twisted, because I needed a pry-bar or a chisel, and didn’t have one. There have been times when God wanted to use me for something that I didn’t like, and I protested to God. But God said, “Shut up; you’re in my toolbox, and I’m going to use you.

These Things Doth The Lord Hate: A False Witness That Speaketh Lies

Sunday Morning Service, 4/18/10

Songs

  • [ Shout To The Lord]
  • [ Jesus Messiah]
  • [ Made Me Glad]
  • [ Oh The Glory Of It All]
  • [ I Have A Hope]
  • [ Because Of Your Love]
  • [ Today Could Be the Day]
  • [ Great In Power]

Testimonies

> Parrish Lee

Wow!!! Did y’all feel that? I give honor to God first, in all things. To my wife and family, to my bishop and his family, and to the pastor who saw me saved, Pastor Thomas, I give thanks.

I thought I came down here for a wedding, and the wedding was wonderful. But then I thought of the scripture:

1 Samuel 12:24
  1. Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.

Then I got a taste of the fellowship. This is what the world needs: the spirit that this ministry has been birthed with. It is the Lord that has done these great and wonderful things. I have been a recipient of blessings; God has been good to me. But if everything else is gone, Jesus is enough for me.

> Sonia Giebler

It’s great to be here in Norfolk with you. I thank each and every one of you for welcoming us. It’s been a great time of worship. I thank God that he saw fit one day to touch this lonely heart of mine, and I thank God for a ministry that is doing the work of God. Sis, it’s good to be home with you. Many people don’t know what you’ve done for this ministry. Pam, I could spend days just thanking you. All of you have been very special to me, and have done more for me than even my natural family. Thank you, Pastor Paine and Pastor Thomas for your faithfulness and dedication. I’m thankful that God brought me to Waukegan to meet such a wonderful family.

> Andy Giebler

It’s good to be here. I look and see people who have been growing up with me, spiritually, for twenty years. I look at more than friends; it’s brothers and sisters. We have a bond of the spirit of God. We’ve grown and changed, but God hasn’t changed, and the message hasn’t changed.

> Jeff Lynch

It’s overwhelming. It’s good to be here. Our trip has been a blessing. Parrish, you laid it out. From Pastor Paine to the newest … who got baptized recently? My heart went out to you when I heard, and all the angels in heaven rejoiced. I could go on and on and on. Thank you so much for all you’ve done. Be still and know that he is God.

Message: These Things Doth The Lord Hate: A False Witness That Speaketh Lies

> Pastor Ulysse

We are continuing this morning the things that the Lord hates. We find these things in Proverbs 6:16-19

  • A proud look
  • A lying tongue
  • Hands that shed innocent blood
  • An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations
  • Feet that be swift in running to mischief
  • A False witness that speaketh lies
  • He that Soweth discord among brethren

The reason for this series is for us to check ourselves. We need to find out if we have any of these things in our life. When God hates something, it should be a subject of our hatred ourselves.

Today we are going to cover a false witness that speaketh lies. We are going to take some time to understand what it means grammatically. We are going to understand the spirit.

A lying tongue refers to one who lies in matters of everyday conversation. A false testimony, a false witness refers to a public setting in front of others, or in a court of law. It is speaking lies when asked to tell the truth in a specific situation. This scripture is talking about a false witness that speaketh lies.

To apply this definition to our own lives, we have to dig deeper. Sometimes the words we read in English don’t really explain the deepness. I want to share with you a true story of a translator who wanted to translate the Bible to a dialect used in Panama. In one part where Jesus spit and healed the blinded eyes, he looked for the word that would show how Jesus did spit. Did he spit on the ground? Or did he spit in his hand? In their language these are different words. In Exodus where Moses gave the commandment to not bear false witness, I looked up the meaning of the word false.

false
untrue

So when the Bible says “thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” it means “untrue witness.” But many years later, Moses used a different word that gives a wider meaning:

Deuteronomy 5:20
  1. Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour.

In this verse, the word “false” has a different meaning.

false
insincere, empty, worthless
Matthew 26:59
  1. Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death;

The only reason they needed false witness against Jesus was to put him to death. The witness would be against Christ, but in our lives a false witness is anything that would be contrary.

Matthew 26:60
  1. But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses,

They had many people who testified, but what they said didn’t make sense. Before you can kill somebody, you must have witnesses that at least make sense. This has a lesson for those of us who want to be good witnesses for Christ. We may want to be good witnesses, but our witness doesn’t make sense in representing Christ.

Matthew 26:61
  1. And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.

They finally found a good witness, but they didn’t use it. Sometimes you have the right information but the wrong implication. You may talking the right thing, but using it for the wrong reason. I don’t know if this man was telling the truth or twisting it, but that wasn’t what Jesus said:

John 2:18-21
  1. Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?
  2. Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
  3. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?
  4. But he spake of the temple of his body.

He did not say that he would destroy it; he was saying “if you destroy it.” But they thought he was talking about the Jewish temple; they didn’t understand that he was speaking of his body.

Acts 1:8
  1. 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.

As long as you accept Christ and have his spirit in you, you are a testimony and witness of Christ. Unlike false witnesses, we are to provide true testimony. We have to speak the truth; it isn’t enough to just be a witness. We have to speak the truth in love. And we are in trouble, because we say “It’s not easy in this world to be that testimony; it’s impossible.”

Hebrews 12:1
  1. Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

It’s talking about the witnesses that we see in chapter eleven. If we could choose, we wouldn’t want to be in their shoes.

Hebrews 12:1-2
  1. Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
  2. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

So there; we don’t have any excuse. We can do it, and God wouldn’t have us face this if he knows that we could not.

There are different signs that you can use to check yourself to see if you are being the witness that you are called to be.

Sometimes you are walking with Christ, but you keep your distance. If you find yourself walking with distance, like you don’t want to admit that you are representing Christ, check yourself in that. I use the example of Peter. We all know how Peter loved Christ. I truly believe that he was sincere when he said, “I would die for you.”

Luke 22:54
  1. Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off.

Peter wanted to be with him, but he wanted to be as far as possible. We all know why.

Luke 22:55
  1. And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them.

So he didn’t want to be in the dark, so he sat among them.

Luke 22:56
  1. But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him.

That should have been an opportunity for him to say “yes.”

Luke 22:57-59
  1. And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not.
  2. And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not.
  3. And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean.

We can hear his accent; we know he is from Galilee.

Luke 22:60-62
  1. And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.
  2. And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.
  3. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.

He wept bitterly. Have you ever been in a situation where you blew it? You had your opportunity; you had your chance to lift Christ as high as possible, but you blew it. That is where Peter was. But Christ didn’t look at him to make him feel bad or put him down. Christ could have looked and said, “I told you!” But he didn’t.

This is one thing that I love about the Bible: the Bible is fair. It doesn’t just talk about heaven; there’s hell, too. It doesn’t just talk about the good things of the disciple; there is fault and failure, too.

Galatians 2:11-14
  1. But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
  2. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
  3. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.
  4. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?

I just can’t imagine how hard it must have been for Peter to have received this blame from Paul. But it is important for this operation, this surgery to be made. It hurts, but it is needed. We all fall short.

I wen through the list of witnesses in the past, and I picked father Abraham, because it all started with him. We need to see his testimony and follow after him. Abraham was called out of his country. Abraham was not called because he was the best; he wasn’t. Abraham worshiped other gods, too. But God didn’t choose anyone because they were right; he chose them because he loved them.

When Joshua was giving his last speech:

Joshua 24:2
  1. And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods.

They served other gods; that was their heritage.

Joshua 24:14
  1. Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.

So even Abraham wasn’t the perfect person when he was chosen. So don’t look like you are good and that’s why God called you. That’s not the case at all.

Now, Abraham was called out of Ur. God chose Abraham to be a light, to be a witness of God’s ways. If you look at where Abraham came from, it was a large city. When we are called out of the world, we are called to be a witness and a testimony, so people can get jealous, so they would want to follow God too.

Isaiah 44:23
  1. Sing, O ye heavens; for the LORD hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel.

God wanted to glorify himself in somebody, and he chose Israel.

Isaiah 49:6
  1. And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.

That’s why God chose Abraham. He chose him from among the Gentiles. Abraham was a pagan; that’s what he was. But God chose him to be a light to the gentiles. And that is obviously the reason God chose you and me.

God chose Abraham to be a keeper of God’s words.

Romans 3:2
  1. Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.

You know what we have in the word of God? For us who have been changed by the word of God, imagine if the whole world had that word? We wouldn’t have to wait for the trumpet to sound, because we would have heaven here.

The children of Israel forgot why God had chose them. Instead of being a light to the gentiles, they saw the gentiles as wood to keep the fires of hell burning. They had laws that if you came in contact with a gentile, then you had to be separated for a time to be cleansed. That wasn’t the purpose. The light is there to shine, and you have to shine where it is dark. In this they fell terribly. They exalted themselves instead of bringing that light into the darkness.

Through Abraham, everyone else is blessed.

Genesis 12:3
  1. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

So through Abraham, Jesus Christ came, so the whole world can be blessed.

Let’s go a little deeper into his testimony, but let’s keep in mind the verse:

Romans 11:29
  1. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

God sent you; he expects you to be that testimony.

Genesis 20:1
  1. And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar.

Even when God called him in chapter 11 or 12, he spent at least twenty years before he would go. He didn’t want to leave his dad, but finally it was his dad that took the initiative and said, “Let’s go.’ So they went to Haran and they stayed there until his Dad died.

Genesis 20:2
  1. And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah.

We all know that he told a half-truth, but what is “half-truth?” A half-truth is a whole lie. He might have said the right thing, but it was with the wrong implication. He was saying to Sarah, “I want to live, but I don’t care much what happens to you.”

Genesis 20:3
  1. But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man’s wife.

I took some time to look up “dead” and in this scripture it means to be dead sexually.

Genesis 20:4
  1. But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, LORD, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation?

Abimelech was pleading with God. God said unto him, “Yea.”

Genesis 20:5-6
  1. Said he not unto me, She is my sister? and she, even she herself said, He is my brother: in the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this.
  2. And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her.

God took what he said very seriously. He said, “I know. That’s why I came down; that’s why I withheld thee from sinning against me. I know my buddy lied to you.” It was God that handled him. Put this in your toolbox. If we choose to live honestly and with integrity, if we really want to be the true witness, God will keep us from sin. If he did it for Abimelech, a pagan, he can do it for us. But sometimes we are not sincere in our testimony; that’s why it multiplies in sin.

Genesis 20:7
  1. Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine.

God proudly said, “He is a prophet. He represents me.” Sometimes, even when you know that you blew it, when you hang your head in shame, God is still telling people, “He is my man.” The calling of God is without repentance. Does that mean that we can go ahead and … ? I tell you what. God doesn’t love you any less when you are in a bar drinking. He doesn’t love you any less when you lie like Abraham. He doesn’t love you any less when you do whatever you can imagine doing. Because God is love. So if you want to take this as your liberty to do whatever you want to, I tell you that God will still love you. But the consequences are not worth it. Because when you blow it, you cannot speak with confidence. You want to go into hiding. I know that you don’t understand what I am talking about, because you haven’t blown it. But Peter will definitely understand what I am talking about. Abraham will definitely understand what I am talking about. You can blow it and God will still love you, but there are things that you cannot just go back and fix.

Genesis 20:7
  1. Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine.

This same man who lied to you is a prophet, and he will pray for you. Because you are worthless. And some day, you will die.

Genesis 20:8-9
  1. Therefore Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and told all these things in their ears: and the men were sore afraid.
  2. Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said unto him, What hast thou done unto us? and what have I offended thee, that thou hast brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? thou hast done deeds unto me that ought not to be done.

I don’t have a tape of the tones that Abimelech used, but I will take this as a rebuke. Have you ever been in a position that your boss was reproving you, and you were in front of other people who know that you are a Christian?

Genesis 20:10-11
  1. And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What sawest thou, that thou hast done this thing?
  2. And Abraham said, Because I thought, Surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife’s sake.

That is a sad answer. Abraham said, “because I thought.” We are not the testimony that we should be, sometimes, because we thought… We should just trust God. Abraham should have just trust God.

Sometimes when you are a pastor, people look up to you like you are superior. But you may look at that same person and think, “I wish I was just like that person.”

So Abraham was quiet.

Genesis 20:12-13
  1. And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.
  2. And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, that I said unto her, This is thy kindness which thou shalt shew unto me; at every place whither we shall come, say of me, He is my brother.

Abraham walked to sin; he did not fall to sin. It was planned way before; it was a way of life for him. And Sarah definitely went along with him. Check yourself. I have checked myself. It is one thing to fall into sin and it is another to just set up for it. To be that testimony, we need to do whatever it takes not to set up for failure; not to set up for sin. It is important because of the blessing that is written for him and for us: we will not be receiving it until we get it right. You know the twenty years that Abraham spent in Haran? Haran means “delay”. So he had to stay there twenty years until his father died, and then God told him to rise and go. Many years passed, and Abraham lived in Abimelech’ territory. After a long time, Abimelech came to Abraham, and said “I know God is with thee, because I see how he has blessed you. And I come humbly before you now so that you will sign a contract saying that you will be good to us.” When you blow it, it isn’t over yet. Abraham didn’t exalt himself; he just took the blame. But after many years of just living the testimony, Abimelech saw the light of his testimony. It takes time. One bad thing that you do can take years to overcome. God balances things; he knows what is good and what is bad in us. So after everything is settled, Abraham got it right, and Abimelech saw it. Only after that did he receive the son that he had been promised.

Isaac is there for you. God doesn’t worry about time; if you want to take your time, take your time. But God is not the one who is getting old; you are getting old. So be that testimony that God has called you to be, and people will come to you. Then you will accomplish what God has for you; God called you to be that light.

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