Good morning everyone and welcome to today’s message from J and L Ministries. We have been studying the importance of sharing the Gospel with others for the past couple weeks and there is much more for us to learn, but I felt led to go another direction this morning. I am in hopes that we can pick up where we left off next Sunday, God willing.
Throughout the week, I have had many discussions with believers and non-believers and we will leave it at that, about their relationships with Christ. One of the sites I am blessed to be with called me on something that I added in a prayer that has been heavy on my heart. Friends, anyone can say that they are a believer of Jesus Christ. We can wear t-Shirts with scriptures on them. We can sing songs praising God. We can read and know the Bible from cover to cover, and that will not save you. Satan knows scripture. We can even be deacons or pastors of a church. That does not make us saved. I have had conversations with some who don’t even know why they are saved. Sounds impossible, doesn’t it? There are so many out there, and when you have the compassion to lead others to salvation and you hear testimonies of some who claim to be saved, you will be amazed.
Most of you know that I am on many Christian sites, posting prayers each morning and share the sermons I write. There are some of these sites that post stuff that is more of the world than Facebook. That should not be. When we are saved, we are a new creation. The old man or woman is gone. The things that we did that were sin should not be what we desire any more. Jesus living in us should be what others see. The love and compassion for others should be at the top of our list each day. The filthy talk should be gone. The actions that hurt others should be gone. The garbage of some of the soap operas that people are so addicted to should be a thing of the past. Our whole way of thinking, talking and our actions should be totally new.
Please turn to the book of Colossians, chapter 1. For those who have been with us for a while know that the book of Colossians is one of my favorite books of the Bible. Apostle Paul wrote the church of Colosse. I don’t have time to go through the whole book, but I want us to look at some of the issues Paul addresses to them. I think we can find many of these same things hindering the churches here in America today. Amen? Let’s start in verse 9.
Colossians 1:9-10 MKJV For this cause we also, since the day we heard, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that you might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, (10) that you might walk worthy of the Lord to all pleasing, being fruitful in every work and increasing in the knowledge of God,
Church, I find this to be very satisfying and as a guide for all of us. Apostle Paul said that He prayed without ceasing for this church and… that they be filled with wisdom and spiritual understanding. To me that speaks of a heart cry that Paul had. Do we pray for the church? Do we pray for other brothers and sisters? I hope so. I know that Leanna and I have many praying for us and I am so thankful to God to have those kinds of friends.
Paul prayed that they be filled with God’s will in ALL, not some of His Wisdom and Spiritual understanding. Notice he didn’t say man’s understanding. God’s ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. They are so much better, but we need to come to the place in our life where we can understand that and believe in faith on these things. Praise God!!!
Verse 10, we see that Paul prayed that the church would be walking worthy of the Lord to all - pleasing, being fruitful in every work and increasing in the knowledge of God. My friends, as I go about my daily routine, I don’t see the fruit in many claiming to be Christ like. I hear many of those who claim to be Christ-like using His name in vain. I see them involved in games on-line that I would never dream of being part of. I see them saying hateful things to others, including their children. How is that being Christ-like? How is that staying away from worldly things? Now, I am not faultless, I have my issues, but I try to correct those things when I smarten up to realize that Jesus is watching me at every moment and I do want to please Him. The back-stabbing and back biting? You see and hear it all over the place.
I mention every week that believers need to be in God’s Word every day and in prayer. All human beings who have accepted that there is a God, and that the Bible is His revelation to man, need to seriously apply themselves to finding out its basic message. Many of those calling themselves Christians seem to do a poor job at this. For many, a few verses they may hear on Sundays, a Bible somewhere in the home that is never opened. They may remember a handful of Bible stories. I want you to all think about this. It’s no wonder that with such a laid back attitude to God's mighty Word of truth, there’s so much confusion and uncertainty in the lives and minds of so many. I have witnessed ones that, because they go to church rarely, and own a pew or two, think that they are mighty Christians. Those things are works. Works will not save any of us. We cannot earn our way to Heaven. We cannot buy our way into Heaven. What does the Bible say that one must do to be saved? You don’t have to turn to all these verses, but please, please write them down and when the enemy tries to tell you otherwise, rebuke him with God’s Word. Amen?
John 10:1-18 KJV Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. (2) But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. (3) To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. (4) And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. (5) And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. (6) This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. (7) Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. (8) All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. (9) I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. (10) The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (11) I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. (12) But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. (13) The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. (14) I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. (15) As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. (16) And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. (17) Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. (18) No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
Oh my friends, when we can get a full understanding of what Jesus was saying here, it will change your lives forever. I also would like to mention, and some of you have heard me tell this before....I have raised sheep with my parents. We had in excess of 200 breeding ewes. For those who are not familiar with sheep, ewes are female sheep. Rams are males. Because of the two breeds we raised, we could have two lamb crops a year. In other words, each ewe could give birth twice a year and we would hope for twins or triplets each time. So, when I say 200 breeding ewes, that meant that there were many more sheep on the farm of many different age groups. What I am trying to say is that I know what sheep are like and I know how to be a shepherd, so I can relate to what Jesus was saying here, even if I didn’t have an understanding of the Bible. The ones that were there when Jesus said these things didn’t understand. Let’s look what He said next.
John 10:25-38 KJV Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. (26) But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. (27) My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: (28) And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (29) My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. (30) I and my Father are one. (31) Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. (32) Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? (33) The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. (34) Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? (35) If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; (36) Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? (37) If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. (38) But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.
Praise the Lord!!
I hear so many who when asked if they are saved say, “Well yes Brother Jim, I was baptized when I was 3.” Oh, really? So you gave your heart to the Lord when you were 3 knowing who Jesus was and put your faith in Him? I repeated a prayer after someone when I was 16 or 17 and I went about life like I always did. I know I wasn’t saved; there was no fruit at that time in my life.
Please turn to Mathew chapter 3. A 3-year old knew how to repent?
Matthew 3:1-3 KJV In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, (2) And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (3) For this is He that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
For those taking notes, here are a few scriptures.
Jesus said in Luke 13:3 I tell you, No. But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. The apostles listening to Jesus in Mark 6:12 And they went out and proclaimed that men should repent. Luke 24:47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be proclaimed in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. Peter said in the temple Act 3:19 Therefore repent and convert so that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.
I find there are those with little Christian background who decide to try to figure out the Bible's message, but find that everyone they approach tries to offer them a package deal of doctrines and human philosophies which do not fundamentally reflect the words of the Bible. Dear friends, it is all about an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. The basic message of Scripture has a beauty and strength that only increases after being viewed and proven from many different angles. Grasping the real truth of the Gospel as taught in the Bible's pages will affect every part of our lives, leading men and women the world over to properly give glory to God as He intended, both now and for eternity. Glory to God.
Jeremiah 15:16 Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.
To achieve this, be sure to pray for God's help in understanding the Word before you read the Bible. Catch and understand this next verse.
Acts 20:32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the Word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. Praise Jesus!!
My wife and I are so determined to feed the inner man that dwells within, and also to learn mentally, that we play CD's every night when we go to bed.
Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.
I believe that even when our minds are at rest, or we are asleep, that the Word of God, which is Spirit, feeds the Spirit within. I know for me, because of playing these CD's, scripture seems to come to me much faster. I can speak God’s Word out against the attacks the enemy throws my way. I have scripture memorized when I feel led to pray for those who are hurting.
Acts 17:30, "Truly these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent.
All people everywhere, and that includes you and me, are commanded by God to repent. Repent of what? Repent of our sins. "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves; and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8). Repent of not fully serving and following all that God says. All people everywhere, and that includes you and me, are commanded by God to repent. God is pleading with us to repent. He greatly desires that we turn to him. He tells us in 2 Peter 3:9, The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
God wants us to repent so we can be saved. He is patiently waiting on us. But eventually our time will run out. The longer we put off repentance, the harder our heart gets.
Friends, we are not guaranteed tomorrow. This world gets crazier every day. I don’t wish this, but look at the bombing in Boston, Newtown and Colorado shootings, there are drunk and drugged up drivers running our streets. What about earthquakes, tornadoes, floods and our health? Anything could happen from now till the next 12 hours. Look at what happened in California with that young man who could not find a girlfriend. We are in a very trying time in the world.
Repentance is not just being sorry. 2 Corinthians 7:10 says, "For Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death." If one is only sorry he got caught, then this will not lead to repentance. Godly sorrow helps bring on repentance. Repentance is not sorrow for sin, but one cannot repent without being sorry he has sinned. “Let the wicked forsake his way…let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him…for He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7). In repentance, one must first understand he has sinned, feel sorrow for the sin, and then stop and turn away from that sin. Repentance is a change of heart and a change of mind. We must make up our mind to stop living life our way and start living it God’s way. It is making up our mind that henceforth we are going to serve God with all our might and do everything He says.
Matthew 22:37, Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.
In other words, we must do it with all of our being. Paul says, “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not!” (Romans 6:1-2). To show our repentance we are to “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance” (Matthew 3:8). Why should we repent of sins? “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Spiritual death is separation from God in eternity. Unless one repents he cannot go to Heaven, but will eternally suffer the torments of Hell. We must give up our sin and “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body” (Romans 6:12). “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes his sin shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13). Repentance is a change of heart, which results in a change of actions for the better. Without repentance we cannot receive forgiveness and be saved. Where we spend eternity, in Heaven or Hell, is determined by our repentance. I love this verse. All of Heaven is anxious for us to repent. Jesus says, “Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10).
Romans 2:4 says, "Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing the goodness of God leads you to repentance." God has been so good to us, and this should cause us to want to please Him in every way. God, because of His love for us, has done so much for us, and because of this we read in 1 John 4:19, "We love Him, because He first loved us." This should cause us to want to repent and do all the things that He has asked us to do, otherwise we do not love God. Jesus said in John 14:24, He who does not love Me, does not keep my words." 1 John 2:4 says, "He who says 'I know Him', and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
Do you know and love Christ? If you do, you will want to do everything that He says. In John 14:15 Jesus says, If you love Me keep My commandments.
My heart is breaking because friends, you know there are ones close to us who have wicked hearts. Let's not be hypocrites, you know them. They are good people, but they haven't turned from their sin. For those who may be reading this online, they maybe ones that sit next to you in church. Again, there are so many churches right here in our community not teaching the whole Bible. I am not trying to badmouth these churches, but isn't it our responsibility to share the gospel? To share the truth? I am not saying that a genuine Christian isn't going to sin. I sin. You sin. 1John 2:1 My little children, I write these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
2John 1:6 And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, as you heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.
2John 1:8 Look to yourselves, so that we may not lose those things which we worked out, but that we may receive a full reward.
2John 1:9 Everyone transgressing and not abiding in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ, he has both the Father and the Son.
I love Mathew chapter 7. To me it says it all, but in this verse Jesus tells how to get to Heaven. Matthew 7:14 KJV Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Does everyone truly understand what Jesus is saying here? If you are a genuine Christian, a child of God, you will walk in the way of righteousness as a style of life. And if you step off that path of righteousness, the Father will come for you, discipline you and put you back on the path. Living like the world on some of these sites is not the path that God has chosen for you. There are many who have professed to have gone through the narrow gate and yet they live in the broad way like everyone else of this world.
Matthew 7:16 You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Look at your life, how you talk, walk, dress, treat others, passions, desires.
What kind of fruits are showing in your life? Is Jesus in there somewhere, or is He something you do on Sundays and Bible study nights? He should be the center of each of our lives. What is the fruit in your life? Do you walk like the world, talk like the world, watch the things on TV of the world, dress like the world? Do you experience the same joy of the world? Is God someone that you think of periodically? Here is one that runs wild in this area. The dirty ugly spirit of religion. The Pharisees in this area are terrible. And yes, I know all about that spirit, because I was like that. I would have been one of the ones that Jesus continually rebuked.
Matthew 7:17-21 Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruits, nor can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that does not bring forth good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you shall know them.
Church, I so appreciate you being here today, or reading this online. I want to offer prayer for anyone that needs it today. I pray that when you get home, or have some alone time that you can look at the scriptures used in this message and then pray that the Holy Spirit shows you things that need to be changed so that the light of Jesus shines through you. There were so many things I would have liked to share.