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Sunday, February 18, 2018
The Church, The Way It Ought To Be!
There is much being made out of what the church ought to be in the United States today. Conferences, Books, Seminars.
You will notice this chapter is all about Jesus. He said that He would build His Church.
I get concerned when the church is spoken about before Him. He is the head of the Body. I am impressed with what He is enabling us to accomplish but if we get the church before Him, if we talk more about a certain gathering or group or even association or denomination than we do about the LORD then we have missed the mark! It is all about Jesus.
Another way of putting this is in the question, “What is exalted in the Word of God?” The LORD Jesus Christ.
We have worshiped the worship rather than the LORD in statements like, “The worship is wonderful!” We are exalting the instruments. Now we are talking about how spectacular of great a particular church is and we are missing the mark of exalting Christ. God help us.
If you took away the building, the ambiance, the lights and the technology and were just left with the people you would not change it one iota that is church! People loving Jesus and loving one another is the church. He is supreme! He is the One! He is what we are all about. He is building His Church.
Believe this comes from believers who are more experiential than they are grounded in the Word of God. How we need to fix our eyes on Jesus these days!
What are we to do with the church?
Where then is a description of what the church ought to be? Right here in God’s Word!
1. A Devotion To The Word of God.
The Apostle’s teaching was about what Jesus began to to teach, the “opening up of the scriptures” like on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24) and things the Holy Spirit were showing them. “Did not our hearts burn while He was on the road with us and opened the scriptures to us?” Luke 24.32
We have the Apostle’s teaching (Paul, John, James and Peter and Matthew. Mark and Luke) in our New Testament.
We need a steady intake of His Word, everyday. Would that we could go back to meeting everyday!
The church, the believers, there in the first church to form at Jerusalem devoted themselves to the Word of God.
If that is not present then it is not the way God intended for the church!
Many teach from the Word. We have attempted to teach the Word.
God’s Word is under attack today within the church!
Educated men who ought to know better questioning God’s Word.
Believers not grounded in the Word expressing opinions.
Our culture is shaping the view of the Word many have rather than the Word shaping our culture. Our own nation has laws against God’s Word. God help us. We do our best to speak out but as Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “I’m talking about Christ and the church.”
2. A Devotion To Fellowship
Bind Us Together
We Are One In The Bond Of Love
The Family of God
This is a caring and loving group being described by this word. The church ought to be the Safest Place On Earth. Here people should come and not be afraid to confess their sins, share their burdens, open their hearts to the things that they are hurting over. They should be able to do that and be fully excepted and loved as a follower of Jesus Christ.
New Spirit Group for recovering alcoholics... “LORD, I messed up this week. Please forgive me.”
Everyone who is part of the Body of Christ gets an equal share. Everyone’s opinion is important, who loves the LORD.
We are Christ’s Body.
3. A Devotion To Sharing Meals
We don’t see it here is much But in many places in the world where I have traveled eating is more than just taking in food. It is sharing in the lives of the people. It is eating their food and drinking their tea or coffee.
Hofstra law school graduation for Rudy Jr. 2015
“If you cannot drink my tea, you cannot have my business.”
-Justice Sallie Marzaret Daniels, quoting a business person in the Far East
First We Have Coffee book about Norwegian Immigrants to America 1900
What happens in our Bagel Time downstairs is important. It may be one of the most intimate times we have. Ladies are baking and cooking and preparing with their own hands and bringing it for all of us to eat. Then we sit down and talk to each other.
Eating together in the time if the early church still hallens in much of the world. Meal times are not hurried. Their main purpose is to take in nutrition but right behind that is taking time to talk, to listen, to stop, together.
Ordering Chinese Food vs. McDonalds when I was growing up is a perfect example!
4. A Devotion to Prayer
to adhere to one, be his adherent, to be devoted or constant to on
to be steadfastly attentive unto, to give unremitting care to a thing
to continue all the time in a place
to persevere and not to faint
to show one's self courageous for
to be in constant readiness for one, wait on constantly
So much could be said of this. The church is to be a house of prayer for all nations.
We seek to do that when we meet during the week and in our homes. When we are together let’s pray, not forced but if the LORD is leading us to...
Pastor Johnson this week... beautiful! Right outside the nurses’ station. PA excused himself for interrupting.
It is so important...
For our faith to be expressed
For our faith to be strengthened
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Sunday, February 11, 2018
All That Jesus Began To Do And To Teach
The Bible is full of beginnings.
It begins with a beginning!
The Beginning of Creation in Genesis 1
The Beginning of the Hebrew (Jewish) Nation in Genesis 12
The Beginning of the New Covenant in the Gospels
The Beginning of the Work of Christ Building His Church Acts 1
The Beginning of the New Heaven and the New Earth Revelation 21-22
The Bible ends with a Beginning!
He is the beginning and the end!
All that Jesus began to do and to teach...
The four Gospels... so much more John 21.25
Outline of Biblical Usage:
to be the first to do (anything)
to be chief, leader, ruler
"began" is the key word here.
The Gospel of Luke is the story of the beginning of the ministry of Jesus Christ in the earth. His teaching, His works. The idea conveyed here is that the ministry of Jesus Christ did not end with His ascension into heaven. But He continues to work and teach, only now, it is through His apostles. “I will build My Church.”
What Luke is saying is that the works of Jesus and the teaching of Jesus continues. He continues to work and teach, only now it is through the power of the Holy Spirit, in the lives of the believers.
Thus the book of Acts of the Apostles is an open ended book. It continues to the present day, and will continue until He returns.
The work of Jesus continues today throughout the world.
Jesus said in John 14, "He that believeth on Me, the works that I do, shall He do also, and even greater works than these shall He do, because I go unto My Father."
The book of the Acts of the Apostles is a continuation of the Gospel of Luke/ the work of Jesus.
1. Jesus is the Trailblazer/Author of Our Faith. Hebrews 12.2
Author= one that takes the lead in any thing and thus affords an example, a predecessor in a matter, pioneer
We do it through His power.
Ephesians 2.For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
We find our greatest contentment and joy when we are walking and working in these things. Now your greatest work could be prayer. I am convinced that much is accomplished by those who lift up prayers to heaven.
These prayers and God answering them enable God’s servants to do His work through His Spirit.
We teach through the Spirit
Billy Graham had a prayer team praying each time He preached.
Whenever anyone asks me what I need I say, “Pray that I will have wisdom.
What an Amazing Teaching and Healing Ministry He Had!
Continuing to work through His Church
Hospitals around the world
2. Jesus Opened Up the Way to The Father.
John 14-17 detail that.
The curtain in the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom. Matthew 27.51
We can come boldly to Throne of Grace. Hebrews 4.16
There is one Mediator between God and man- the man Jesus Christ. I Timothy 2.5
3. It is the Beginning
It is a time for missions and what a time it is! vs.6-8
It is a time to be concerned about the whole world.
That is what Jesus is saying to the disciples then and now. His Eternal Word.
Just here in this little church... Our Sunday Morning Message is being read around the world and used in places by pastors. France, Italy, Russia, The Ukraine, Germany, Romania, Brazil, South Korea, Poland, Argentina, VietNam, China, Spain, Sweden, Norway, United Arab Emirates, and many other places.
Mission vs. settling
Haiti 3 1/2 years, my 7th trip a week from Tuesday.
Friday, February 9th
I woke up with this song in my heart:
Come, let us worship the LORD,
For we are His people, the flock that He shepherds
My thoughts had gone several times before and after as I laid in bed thinking about the upcoming trip to Haiti. My mind went back to that meeting downstairs in the living room, when I was 14 years old, sitting in that rocking chair at that Teen Missionary Council Meeting with Dr. John Stark, Hope Crawford and Don Arey and myself. 14 years later I became the Pastor and moved into this house. They did not even have Work and Witness trips back then.
16 years later I went on my first Mission Trip to the Dominican Republic. We stayed with Pastor Lyswa Renee, a Haitian refugee who had come to the Dominican to work for a $1 a day plus housing in Dominio Sugar Cane Fields. He planted the Church of the Nazarene there on the Lima Bayta. On that Sunday in January, 2000 when he was bringing us to meet up with the other pastors to go back to the mission station he pointed to the mountains and said, “Haiti”
14 years later I went to Haiti for the first time. It was God’s plan, although I had no idea what He was going to do. A week from Tuesday, Pastor Maurico and I will leave around 4:30am and head into Kennedy and prayerfully, God willing land in Port Au Prince by noon and meet up with Pastor Jorge and another brother.
Added to that my daughter and son-in-law and grandkids and nephew and niece have all joined me on trips prior to this one along with about 40 souls now.
1988 Cairo, Egypt conversation with Art about short term missions.
Technology into Muslim nations
To the ends of the earth!
Michaelle, the cook, with a little cell phone, showing me a Christian song on her phone.
Here too! Drug Crisis, Immigration, Dessert Social
Pray we will find that place God wants us in and that this fellowship would touch the hearts of the people in the heart of the South Shore of Long Island.
God is still working beginnings, 2nd chapters, new things
Sunday, February 4, 2018
From Nothing To Everything
Family Feud Game
Name something that would make you rich overnight.
Going from nothing to everything.
Night fishing on the Sea of Galilee.
After His Resurrection He revealed Himself to those He chose to reveal Himself to. It was not for public viewing. It still is that way. We need to submit to His Authority here, with ourselves and others we are praying for. He is an all wise God.
His Revelation is Amazing.
He comes at times when we desperately need Him.
He shows up when we reached the end of our hoarded resources.
He meets us where we are.
We see Christ revealed in this account as we close our journey in John’s Gospel.
1. After A Night Of Failure vs.1-5
Following Peter, they caught nothing.
Peter was making a career decision here, leading others with him. With so many of my friends retiring I am being asked the question about my own retirement. Being led down a path that is not for me would be letting others or myself make the decisions, not God. Jesus told them He would see them in Galilee when they were in Jerusalem.
They were waiting and wondering. Peter got restless. We have to do something!
We know at least three of these were fishermen who left their nets to follow Jesus. Thomas, we are not sure of, Nathaniel definitely not as Cana is about 20 miles from the Sea of Galilee.
Disappointment, defeat, struggles, even pain prepare us for new manifestations of God’s Wonderful Grace.
Failure in business can be good preparation for spiritual and future success.
Lessons they learned in failure:
*We cannot do it on our own.
*We need direction from the LORD and faith in His Word.
*We need to continually look to Him.
Their work was a failure because the LORD was not with them or in this venture.
Night, not just a time for fishing, but a season in the disciples’ lives. That morning as the sun rose there was the darkness of their failure.
Notice a few things.
Weeping may last for the night but joy comes in the morning.
Jesus was standing there but they did not recognize Him.
That was Jacob’s story. Genesis 28.16
Too often it is true of the followers of Jesus.
God loves to write last chapters. He puts commas where we often put periods.
What seems like an end can be a new beginning.
What was a wasted night turned out to be a complete turn around.
Don’t let failure be the end. Look to Jesus!
2. Jesus works miracles. v.6
I love the way He asked them if they had any fish... anything to eat.
Totally honesty here.”No”
He was turning their failure of fishing all night and catching nothing into a complete success.
Their obedience and faith produced a great catch.
Total defeat turned into unprecedented success. Joseph is an example, a grand example.
In a moment He turned their failure into an overwhelming success.
Joseph went from the prison to the palace in a day.
God brought his family to him... in His Time.
The difference between success and failure was the width of the boat! You never know how close you are to victory, to a tremendous blessing! It could be just a few feet or inches!
Spurgeon told how he got depressed right before a great blessing came from God.
3. We can see Christ in Everyday life. vs.7-14
Supplying our daily bread. We need to recognize that He is the provider, the supplier. So much easier to recognize it in third world countries. We have a problem. Our wealth has an appearance that we have all we need. Conversation this week with some young people
The Laodecian Church thought that way and actually bragged about it. Israel fell into that trap. God had warned them. They serve as examples for us.
There is always a new day when Jesus shows Himself to weary souls.
His Providential provisions.
The hopeless things in our lives and in our nation and in the world can be changed in a moment by Jesus. All that is needed is His Word or His touch. It may be closer than we think. He is able to take us from nothing to everything!... in a moment, in a few steps across the boat... if we listen and obey.