Sermons

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

One of the lost doctrines in the Modern Church is that we are physically transformed when we get saved. It not JUST some spiritual decision, if is a transformation. Without this realization there is little desire to allow God to change our lives, because many make a profession out of guilt rather than grace. It is this that leads people to make a profession and not a change in position, Christianity becomes nothing more than a club that you join to sear your conscious and justify our sins.

A Change that Needs to Take Place

Ephesians 4:21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:

Paul is speaking to saved people early in the Church that are just adding to their daily existence without removing the things of the world…

22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

(This is the point when you decide which way to go…)

24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Part of why the world does not take Christians seriously, is because Christians don’t take it seriously.

We should PUT OFF

Colossians 3:8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

We should PUT ON

Colossians 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

When you get Saved there are some NEW things you get…

  • A New Name

Revelation 2:17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

  • A New Nature

2 Peter 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

(David and Daniel called this an Excellent Spirit)

The OLD nature likes: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth, lying…

  • A New Heart and Spirit

Ezekiel 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

  • A New Song

Psalm 40:3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.

The Transformation

If we truly get saved we are indwelt with the Holy Spirit. Literally having God with us all the time. So many fight against the still small voice because they never desired a change, they just desired to get rid of their guilt. It would be good if we show salvation as it truly is, not just a way to go to Heaven, but a transformation whereby we are a New Creature… old things are passed away… all things become new.

John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

This verse MUST be put into context. This is one of those verses that people mis-quote and stick on tshirts and plaques on the wall, with never really understanding the importance of what Jesus is trying to convey. 

In this verse Jesus was referring to Himself as He was going to lay down His life for the sins of mankind…

— however, this has some conditions.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Jesus Continues in John 15 to identify who is His friend…

John 15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

IF…

This sacrifice (laying down His life) that Jesus is WILLING to give is conditional… the whosoever (John 3:16) is the friend that Jesus is talking about. This teaching that Jesus died for the sins of the world, and as a result the penalty of sin has been removed (fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of man) is a false teaching.

God LOVED the world so much that He gave His only Son… that WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH… would receive the gift and be a friend of Jesus…

But it goes further…

Note the stipulation when you take this in context: John 15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

1 John 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

This isn’t some circular reasoning. The commandment that God, through Jesus commands is basically… get saved, and love one another.

Back to our Base Text…

John 15:15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

This is why the Word of God is so important. There’s no mystery, God provided everything we need to know in His word. He has made known everything we need. As such we are not kept from the information, like a servant would be; but the truth is shared with us.. like a friend would receive.

Jesus wants to be your friend. A friend of Jesus is someone who follows His commandments… that commandment is basically… Get Saved. (And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another)

The opposite of this is just as true

James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

Society today has come to the point that it does not take Christians seriously. This is because many Christians don’t take the word of God seriously. How can we effect a world with the change that the Bible speaks about, if we don’t allow it to effect us, first.

1 Peter 2:5 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.

??? What are some spiritual sacrifices someone might offer up to God?

  • Name something that can be: spent, haggled for, bargained with, wasted, squandered, and redeemed and even sacrificed… but you can never get any more than you have? (answer: time)
  • Remember a sacrifice must cost you something… and be acceptable to God

What do you have that you can offer up to God? That will be acceptable?

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Today’s modern Church wants to tell God what HE should accept for a sacrifice…

Hebrews 11:4a By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous,…

A Testimony of having an effect

Philemon 1:4 I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers,

5 Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints;

6 That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.

7 For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother.

Effectual

The term effectual is a noun and a verb. It means that something not only had an effect but also the act of having an effect. (Life changing)

Paul could see that when people spoke to each other about the testimony of the people that were meeting at Philemon’s house that it was having an effect on their lives. That their testimony was challenging them to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of others.

If you examine the passage carefully you will note that Paul was not addressing what the this group at Philemon’s house was saying to the world (the witness)… but rather what the world was saying about the church at Philemon’s house. (their testimony!)

  • People today need to see our testimony, the need to see Jesus Christ in us.

An Effectual testimony, lifts up Christ

6 That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.

Note again: what was causing this effect was the testimony of this church that was causing a communication. People saw all their good works and it got them talking.

What about you? What is your testimony? Do the people around you see you as a Christian?

Do you even know the difference? Because those watching your testimony DOES.

God can do something special when you do it together

  • We are His hands, feet and voice

Acts 19:11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:

Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

What is the value of your sacrifice?

If I were to offer up $100 to each person in here that genuinely wanted to:

  • Come to church
  • Dress in a manner honorable to God
  • Act in a way honorable to God
  • Memorize just one verse a week (not just 3 minutes before quoting it) Thy Word have it hid in my heart… not head…
  • Bring your Bible
  • Bring a visitor

Is that worth $100? Or is that your “reasonable sacrifice?”

But like Cain some look at that and offer up the worldly effort and dare God not to accept it.

Like some arrogant gansta you pull out your own $100 just so you don’t have to go by God’s terms… but your own.

Even to the point that this effort isn’t WORTHY of your sacrifice…

These are the efforts that the world sees (our testimony), Is your sacrifice something that will have an effectual testimony? When people see YOUR faith… will it change peoples lives?

 

The King James Bible is a book that God provided, that was written over a 1500 year span where God used 40 men of God to write down God’s words from Shepherds to Kings across three continents (Asia, Africa, and Europe) in three languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) and translated for the English speaking people to a point of perfection in circa 1611 with no errors and no contradictions.

There is no book in history that has ever came close to meeting any criteria that the King James Bible can stand upon.

It is important to recognize that God Himself pinned the scriptures so we can learn about Him, and about ourselves.

We Teach What We Have Learned

2 Timothy 3:14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

It is important to recognize here the importance of the local church and the importance of Pastors, Teachers and Evangelists. God uses these individuals to help teach and administer the scriptures to our benefit. As such we see Paul telling Timothy to remember whom he has learned the scriptures from. It is also important to identify how important it is to make sure that those you choose to gain knowledge from, preach and teach it straight.

15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

It is important to teach children to love the book. To understand how to rightly divide the word and how to discern truth when it is provided. As such we can help parents help their children to grown in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

How the Bible is Written: (Inspiration)

The Method

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Practical exercise:

Find someone to write down a verse or statement exactly as its said:

(Example) Write Down – Psalms 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

  • Now who wrote it?
  • Who Authored it?

Now have another student copy the words from one paper to another exactly.

  • That is a Scribe – and how God spread the written word abroad.

Now hold up both… Which one is the Word of God?

Now if someone wrote this from English to Spanish – it is Translated.

This is the method that God used to write and spread the word of God.

The Purpose

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Profitable: For our benefit.

Mark 8:36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

Doctrine: Principle, a position or truth.

2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Reproof: Is Blame – To take responsibility for your actions

This has so much truth as reproof in today’s society has been removed. We need to know and grow from our mistakes. We often deny them, ignore them or blame others rather than acknowledging them.

Proverbs 15:31 The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise.

32 He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.

NOTE: We can not seek correction without reproof.

Correction: To right those things that are wrong; the physical change after reproof (false doctrine, world’s information)

Proverbs 3:11 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:

Instruction in Righteousness

2 Timothy 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

That we may be perfect

Throughly: Complete to the end. This is a correct spelling. Some modern publishers change this to thoroughly, so let me show you the difference. If you wash the dishes thoroughly, they are clean (or should be). However, they will get dirty again. Throughly means that they will be clean again and again until Jesus comes.

Furnished: Have every thing you need provided

Good Works: What we do to show what God has done for us.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Let’s break that down:

God will furnish everything that we need through the word of God until He comes for His Church so that we may be perfect before him.

I recall sitting with my Father and listening to him tell a story and ask him how I might be a good storyteller, he replied; all you need to do is place yourself in the story, then tell others what you see. As a youth I used this storyteller mindset in my school papers writing in such a way that allowed my teachers to participate with me in the story. I found that when I added the three S’s that it added substance to my stories. Those three S’s are Sight, Sound and Smell.

This inside out viewpoint was the method I used as I began in areas of ministry. I tried to stand on the boat next to the sailors looking at Jonah, I was sitting on a bale of hay when David was in the lion’s den, I was the standing in the corner of the pool when the Jesus made the lame to walk; then I wrote what I saw, heard and smelled. My goal was to have people experience the scriptures with me.

Character Study

Part of having someone experience the scriptures, either in written or speech format, you will benefit from studying the people that make up the story or account. The more you know about them, the more you can better relate to them.

Character method of Bible study is simply: putting yourself in their shoes. By looking at the different people in the Bible, their reactions, successes, and failures; you can truly get into the heart of the passage. There is 2 main ways to use the character study:

  • The Personage: looking at the character specifically by name, their history, position, responsibility, ect.
  • The Nature: looking at the nature, attitude, personality, character attributes.

It might not even be the major characters as you might need to see it from a different perspective to truly experience it. My favorite example is the sailors on the ship in the account of Jonah. Looking at what is going on from their perspective allows you to see that decisions have consequences… all decisions. These sailors lost nearly everything, all because of the transgress of one.

Set the Scene

Before jumping into the moral of the story, set the scene, and let people look around with you. Was it hot or cold? Rain or sunny? Day or night? Was it loud with the crowd shouting or whispers of murmuring? Did it smell like flowers on a spring day or the smell of pigs in the trough. How were they dressed? You see the more info you can provide to set the scene, the better your audience will be able to relate to it.

4D Experience

When you can bring in a physical element or demonstration you can tap into the other senses to establish a lasting memory or impression. Some of my more powerful sermons and presentations was where I was able to take a verbal description and add physical elements to it. I once preached the account of Jonah with the light off and the Sanctuary lit by lanterns. I had the sound system playing storm sounds and creaking of the ship, a strobe for lightening, rotten fish smell blown from a fan… then I walked up and down the isles with a spray bottle of water. Eleven people were saved that night in that little church. By placing them in the sermon through a physical setting it takes the message to a whole new level where they can set aside misconceptions to see and feel the experience of the scriptures.

An additional sermon example was to have children’s church separated into groups with each group having a responsibility. The sermon was the disciples in the storm, a row of kids lined up as the disciples rowing, another group with metal chairs was the thunder and another was the sounds of the waves and water.

Other examples might include images, measuring tape to show scale, science experiments and other visual props to provide an audio/visual experience that will allow the mind to recall the sermon more clearly because they feel like they were “involved” in it.

Not Causing a Distraction.

It is important to note that a physical demonstration, activity, or description can cause more of a distraction than adding charcter to the sermon. I must insist this mindset through experience that it must be Lord led, and well thought out and even rehearsed before you present it to God’s people. Sometimes I had what “I” thought was a great idea, but in practice or application; it created more of a distraction where people were more interested in the experience, they did not hear the message. It should also be done occasionally, so that it is something special, not normal. By having a balance that God can use for His glory, this method can see greater fruit in your ministry.

Experiencing the Scriptures in your Own Life

The Bible is written in such a way that it helps set the scene so that you can better understand and experience it. However, you must read it as such. To read the Bible just to read it you lose the message that the Lord wants you to understand. Slowing down and looking at the scriptures with empathy will help you understand how the man that fell among the thieves felt laying in the ditch, stripped of his clothes and left half dead. How you might feel with your outstretched hand as those who could help walked by; and the last person you’d ever want to help picked you up and took care of you.

Even the Book of Revelation is written from the point of view of a man placed in heaven, and simply described what he saw and wrote it down.

Like my Father said… place yourself in the story, then look around and tell others what you see. The mind’s eye can be used by the Holy Spirit to allow you to see, hear and smell details that will help you understand the scriptures better.  

Numbers 27:15 And Moses spake unto the LORD, saying,

16 Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation,

17 Which may go out before them, and which may go in before them, and which may lead them out, and which may bring them in; that the congregation of the LORD be not as sheep which have no shepherd.

This passage is speaking about when Joshua was called and anointed to be the leadership of the children of Israel and lead them into the promised land. In our illustration we will use it as a launching pad for the needs of a Pastor, to be allowed to be the leader and voice of God for the management of the congregation, and gathering people into it. 

As a leader, a called Pastor was to be the voice of God, whom God would use to see His will done through His people.

Today, in the modern church, we have a Pastor; anointed by God to lead a local congregation. This leadership goes with a charge go into the highways and hedges to bring them in (the lost) into the fold (church) so they are no longer without guidance and leadership.

I would note that this is becoming more of a challenge each day and year as the sheep are finding other spirits to lead them. Now we are not the only voice speaking, or even at times the loudest one. Competition with the souls of this world is fierce, if we do not recognize this challenge the we are doomed to fall short in our local churches and ministries.

The Spirit of this world

1 Corinthians 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

This worldly spirit produces works of the flesh:

Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

These works of the flesh draw people to them, sometimes because God’s people are more concerned with what happens inside the church building, that the fields we were called to harvest.

The world is lost like sheep without a Shepherd

The world is often identified as sheep, and God makes this comparison wisely, and accurately.

Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

The rebellious nature in society today is such a powerful force. It has made it fashionable to be rebellious. In fact all anyone needs to do lately is make a stand for something, and the world will rally in rebellion against it. This passage says “we have turned everyone to his own way”, simply not God’s way. From a child we see untamed rebellion being nurtured by society with this: you can be whatever you want to be or identify as, mentality. It screams Romans chapter 1:

Romans 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

In the absence of the truth the world will LISTEN TO WHOEVER IS SPEAKING, and take it as the truth.

A local Pastor is the Shepherd that God set to help bring them in

Titus 1:9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:

11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.

The voice of the church in the community MUST be the voice of truth, available and ready. With as many churches we have in this country, if we were to stand behind a singular voice and a singular message, delivered by faithful men of God; more concerned about souls rather than the size of the building they preach in… we would begin to see the world’s spirits to be nothing more than a tempting whisper to those who are rebellious or weak.

However, we hid the gospel behind closed doors.

2 Corinthians 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

It is time to come out from withing the walls of the church and go into the highyays and hedges and compel them to come in.

Stop undermining the authority of the Pastor

Part of this rebellious mindset is to look at the Pastor of the local church as more of a moral position rather that a spiritual leader. Placing ourselves under the leadership of the local Pastor is part of God’s organization of the church.

1 Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

We need to find those lost sheep and bring them in

Everyone has a friend, neighbor or family member that is lost without Jesus. God’s desire is that we bring them in to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and become saved. We are the outreach of the Pastor, his extension from the pulpit to the community.

Essentially, God speaks through the Pastor, the Pastor speaks through us.  

When we are faithful to God’s method we can receive God’s message. We then take this message to the community to be the voice that is more powerful than the voice of the world. We can then bring them in, see them saved, disciples and sent out to bring MORE in…

Genesis 39:2 And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.

3 And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand.

4 And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand.

In Genesis 39-41, we see Joseph who was sold into bondage by his brothers. And in worldly terms that would have been the end of the story however, this becomes a lesson where God takes something bad… and uses it for HIS glory.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

The Work Ethic of Joseph

Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

When we look at having the right work attitude and the proper work ethic.. it needs to be more than words. You will find as you get older that much of who you are is defined by the way you work.

In fact if anyone had a reason to be bitter, to be resistant, to be rebellious; it would have been Joseph. Seeing how he came into captivity he easily could have complained, but instead he chose to make the most of a poor situation.

Joseph became known by his good attitude toward the work he was assigned. So much to the point that he earned favor by those over him.

They began to trust him to the point that they put him in charge of the affairs of the house.

God took a bad set of circumstances and used it for His glory. This outcome became part of the testimony of Joseph.

Genesis 39:5 And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field.

6 And he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured.

The Right Attitude is at times more important that the task getting complete

Ephesians 6:5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;

6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;

7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:

8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.

— Things Weren’t Easy for Joseph

Joseph’s story didn’t end there.

Genesis 39:7 And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me.

8 But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand;

9 There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?

10 And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her.

11 And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within.

12 And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.

13 And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth,

14 That she called unto the men of her house, and spake unto them, saying, See, he hath brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us; he came in unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice:

16 And she laid up his garment by her, until his lord came home.

19 And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spake unto him, saying, After this manner did thy servant to me; that his wrath was kindled.

20 And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.

–  – –

21 But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.

Despite this false accusation, despite this changing everything that was going so well turning so bad… the work ethic and testimony of Joseph took a bad situation and used it for God’s glory.

Chapter 40 deals with the time that Joseph was in prison and how he interpreted through the power of God, dreams that the Pharaoh’s Baker and Butler had while THEY were in prison.

Chapter 41 we find Pharaoh also having a dream that all his spiritual leaders and prophets, could not interpret. It was at this time the butler remembered that Joseph interpreted his dream, and told Pharaoh.

This sets up for the next opportunity that God can use to show His glory and take a bad situation, and make something good out of it:

Genesis 41:14 Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh.

15 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it.

16 And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.

In the interpretation and account Joseph basically tells Pharaoh that there will be seven years of plenty and then seven of famine; and God was trying to prepare Pharaoh to this famine as God was to use this to supply the needs of His people. At the end of the interpretation Joseph tells him to choose someone that can be appointed over this business.

39 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art:

40 Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou.

42 And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck;

43 And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt.

Conclusion:

God was able to take Joseph’s bad situation and show HIS glory however, it took the right attitude, the right work ethic and the right heart toward God.

God can use these tools to make a bad situation, good.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

 

 

 

 

The consumption of alcohol, the lifestyle that surrounds it and the draw that it has on Christians is certainly nothing new. Christians often puff out the “Jesus drank wine” claim as justification of drinking, or even the “all things done in moderation” to even a practical excuse of social drinking. However, if we are serious about our testimony as Christians; we might want to see this from God’s position rather than the justification of our flesh.

Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

Deception is the way of satan, not God. If God so plainly identifies the facts that a fermented alcoholic beverage that is called wine and/or strong drink, are not something that God’s people should drink; why is it that those who seek to be called Christians work so hard to justify drinking it?

Isaiah 5:11 Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!

Leviticus 10:9 Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations:

10 And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean;

Allow me to pause here on verse 10. There is or SHOULD BE a clear difference between holy and unholy, clean and unclean. There should never be a question from the lost world about the fact that God is clean and Holy and His children are also clean and holy! When we were lost we knew drinking, smoking, tattoos, piercings, cuttings and branding were wrong; yet when we get saved we want to bring those things into our life and body?

Jesus Drank Wine

Lets tackle this with Bible.

Luke 1:15  For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.

John Chapter 2 gives an account where Jesus turned water into wine.. however:

John 2:9  When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,

It does NOT say that Jesus drank wine, nor is it identified as fermented.

Matthew 11:18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil.

19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.

Note: “but wisdom is justified of her children”, the context of this statement is a contrast to the statement of rather the false accusation that was made; simply… God’s people should know better.

I can elaborate more to deal with “new wine vs fermented wine” but I will say it like this: God’s people should know better. There should be things of the world we stay away from, that we avoid for testimony’s sake if nothing else. But because there are those that like to run to verses to justify their action and their own sin, lets deal with this one too:

As a Medical treatment

1 Timothy 5:23  Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.

It is no secret that alcohol, taken properly, can be used in the production of; and use as a medicinal remedy. However, as a medicine is not the gateway or excuse to have a glass of wine with dinner at your favorite restaurant.

Is your testimony something that is important to you? Is your “liberty” more precious to you that a soul saved?

Galatians 5:13  For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

Something to consider

When someone meets God there is a change that takes place in their life. The things of the world should not compel a Christian, yet we allow them to. Then we work hard to try and justify them with the highest level of authority we can find. They will point at a Pastor, a public figure, a celebrity and even the Word of God and say see… they say it’s ok; even perverting or changing the words to fit their sin.

Drinking alcohol is no different. The witness of your testimony is as important as the subject matter at hand. One final thing on this topic, I often have said that if you want to know what sin is, you don’t ask a Christian; you ask a sinner. Ask someone who has lost their job, their children their marriage, their home… if a Christian should drink. Remember wine is a mocker…

Ephesians 4:14  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

We are living in a time that, like times past; sees God’s people easily swayed from the faith. This is to be concluded in a manner of ways: laziness of people, the weak methods of the church and possibly denotes of the end times. As we look to this as a short study we find the Holy Scriptures has much to say about this. I can speak to this fact, as someone spending much of my life in a position of ministry; that there is a spirit in this world that creates a form of Godliness with a true absence of the truth.

The Bible will keep you from being deceived

One of the main reasons why we have so many that are tossed to and fro, is they have no foundation in the scriptures.

2 Timothy 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Paul encouraged Timothy to hold fast to the truth of the scriptures AND to the person who taught them.

1 John 2:26  These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.

This world is so quick to use the scriptures to manipulate those who are not grounded in the truth. A spiritual movement that has water down the doctrines of the truth and made it more about a feeling than doctrine.

Psalms 12:6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

7 Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

Psalms 119:105  Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Two Sides to Every Story

It is important to recognize that in this fact of deception there are two main players, the one who seeks to deceive; and the one who allows themselves to be deceived. (note: allows)

Ephesians 5:6  Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

Let no man deceive you… we are to educate, study and train ourselves in a way that makes it hard to be deceived.

— In my history I have a background in the automotive industry. So much to the point to be classified as an “expert” in automotive matters. My knowledge is as such that it would be very difficult to deceive me. When I go to purchase a car it is humorous (if not frustrating) how someone who barely understands the terms he is using as a car salesman, is able to pass himself off as the authority… This is because people have not taken the time to become educated in the simplest car related things, and therefore can be deceived or manipulated based on assumption vs facts.

How much more in spiritual things is it for good people to listen to someone who claims to be a Christian, and be deceived; simply because they have not equipped themselves in the simplest of basic doctrines.

2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

Make Merchandise of You

2 Peter 2:3  And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

This verse has so much meaning today… “make merchandise of you”. If you look closely at this deception, money is involved. Christian book stores stand on no principles other that how much they can make. Every Bible version under the sun, pictures and bookmarks with cute little sayings on them, bible covers, cups, hats, t-shirts. Even those “Christian” concerts to politicians who seek the Christian vote all take worldly things and slay a Christian label on it and deceive people DAILY.

2 John 1:7  For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

1 John 3:7  Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

2 Thessalonians 2:3  Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

18 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.

Deception often comes in a familiar way

The most destructive means whereby a deception comes is when the deceiver uses your own story against to lead you in a different way.

2 Peter 1:16  For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

1 Timothy 1:4  Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.

This is so much a matter that people would be willing to walk away from the Church of the Living God. They are seduced by those who would use their vulnerability to show a seaming contradiction or shown something pulled out of context or wrongfully divided to sow division in their lives.

1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

7 But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.

You Knew… Better

Those who lie in wait to deceive are looking to sow contention and division to God’s people. Paul conveys his disappointment that people where so soon removed from the truth… (note:  not the absence of truth)

Galatians 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

Philippians 1:14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:

16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:

1 Corinthians 1:10 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.

11 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.

2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Deceiving themselves

The internet can be a useful and productive way to learn many things however, it’s not God’s favored way to learn. The word of God through the Holy Spirit and stirred through the preaching of God’s Word in a local Church; is God’s preferred way. In fact we live in a time where knowledge no longer requires study. As such we have people who are not exercising the muscle that God created to have critical thinking skills, the brain. As such we have knowledge WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING. Having an answer to a question does not mean you have understanding of the matter. Resulting with so many that have a form of Godliness… but deny the power… why; there was no effort needed to have an answer and no discernment that the supplied answer is right or wrong.

2 Timothy 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,

7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Fundamentally we are dealing with modern day Christians who are NOT founded in the word of God, just familiar with it. As a result we have Christians who can be easily swayed from the truth. Churches have moved to one Sunday at a time mindset of teaching and preaching knowing that they may only get one shot, because the parishioner may or may not come to the next service; or may come weeks later.

2 Peter 2:13 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;

14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:

15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;

 

 

We hear it all the time from the pulpit, and you’ve probably repeated it in some context; but what does it mean? If you ask a group of people, you’ll get quite a few different answers; so I thought I might give you my perspective and some thoughts about being “Sold Out For God.”

I Think of a Store

I have worked at K-Mart (teens ask your parents what that is) One Stop Auto Parts, AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts and a few other retail merchandise businesses where you have product on the shelf. It is this mindset I am using when I define being Sold Out. Now please understand, I’m not trying to say that we should treat the Gospel of Christ like a sales product, not at all. With that said:

Sold out means there is nothing left, the shelves are empty.

What kind of Store do you have? What is on the shelf?

Stores are defined by the merchandise on the shelf. Grocery store, appliance store, variety store… so one might ponder, what have you stocked your shelves with? I mean if a store (Church) is going to be successful, you need to have available that which people need. So often modern Churches have a full stock of music on the shelf, and a light show with drama teams are in no short supply. Other Churches are stocked full of empathy, emotional support centers and even scream rooms. Many Churches with youth programs have turned their Church into activity centers with rock climbing walls and dance teams. However, are these what people need? Is this providing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, doctrine and discipleship? Or are those valuable items found down isle 3, stuck in the back. By the way, compassion is in the discount basket seeming to have no value in Churches anymore.

1 Timothy 4:6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.

1 Timothy 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

2 Timothy 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Some might even call the modern Church as a convenience store. Older Churches an antique store and some even still a variety store, when what we need is a specialty store.

Do you Know What’s in Inventory?

If you’ve ever worked retail there is a floorplan for merchandise, and everything in that store has a place to go. Additionally, it was important to inventory what you had in stock so you wouldn’t run out…

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

If we take inventory (Examine yourselves) we will know what we have available to give. Whether a Church or an individual, a good inventory will help assess our effectiveness to our community. So many Churches stretch themselves so thin trying to help in so many different areas; they miss the most important part about ministry… God’s relationship to the Church and its membership.

Additionally, is the viewpoint to that of management:

Psalms 26:2 Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.

A good Pastor will not compare his Church to another Church to that of growth, but rather work with the resources (inventory) that you have. So many Pastors look at the Churches around them and want bigger facilities, more ministries, more buses, greater outreach; eventually increasing the scope without increasing the resources. The result is a ministry greater than the resources. The facilities go without upkeep with the workers exhausted from the expansion. Often a Pastor will quote Proverbs 29:18a Where there is no vision, the people perish:.. but that vision should be to use the resources that God provided, rather than a vision that causes the people to perish.

If a Pastor is in continuous evaluation of his inventory, the shelves will never be empty.

Matthew 9:37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

Lesson here: He didn’t pray for a BIGGER harvest… he prayed for more labourers. Maybe you should wait till you get labourers before you get bigger than you can handle.

Sold Out For God

Let me just be clear to this process, being Sold Out for God is NOT a good thing! It may preach good but if the shelves are empty, it creates discouragement to those who would come to fill a need. How often have you visited a small Church where the membership is exhausted in the ministry. Sold out every week and never getting replenished. Large Churches will have the same issues in a larger effect because you stretch a small team to do a larger work.

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

In one of the colleges I attended the Church had a huge ministry. This Church seated 5,000, a college with an average of 800 on campus, it even had a full day school, from kindergarten through high school. Yet, when going to workers meetings it was the same small group that seem to do everything. The Pastor would get up and say we gotta do more, we need more on the bus, more visitations, more decisions for Christ; more, more, more… These people in some cases gave all they had to give and often had nothing left. When I looked at the faces when he would he would say that, their countenance was so low.

In retail, when the inventory was low you would line it up on the front of the shelf so it looked like the shelves were full, but in reality they were just barely keeping the doors open. It’s called front and face. So many are weary in well doing, putting on a front and a smile on their face… but inside their shelf is empty in need of replenishment.

Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. A good Pastor, managing inventory will keep his team replenished, so when people show up needing Jesus… they will find the shelves fully stocked and a team not weary in well doing; but rather renewed and ready to help.

Is what’s on the shelf, worth the price?

It’s been my experience that if a product needs to be hyped, it’s probably not worth the price. When you need a hype man to get the crowd pumped up, or to “set the mood of worship”… you might not have your shelves stocked with the right stuff. I’ve often made the analogy that people no longer come to Church hungry for the things of God because they are full on the junk food of the world. Problem is, too many Churches are serving the same candy in a different wrapper. So I ask the question “Is what you have stocked on your shelves worth the price that Jesus paid?” Are you offering faith or fake? Because when the hype music stops, so will the faith apart from the Word of God.

Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. Not Music, not relevant messages, not plans and programs. God’s word preached, sinners converted and discipled with and through the Word of God.

Here’s a thought

A store places valued or eye catching stock in the store window display, to get your attention. Often even having items in the display, that are not even in stock! Churches have started doing the same. Flashy, dramatic showmanship rather that solid preaching and teaching from the Word of God. When you get inside you get a relevant life message, a watered down bible and rehearsed prayer rather than life changing salvation.

Quality over Quantity

So many Churches today have been stocked with cheap, temporary, flashy inventory that simply doesn’t last. It’s like the Dollar Store quality merchandise designed to look like the expensive version but made with cheap parts. The people truly looking to have the need fulfilled should be able to come and see a Church filled with people excited, refreshed and ready to fulfill that need. Where a Pastor works just as hard to keep the shelves full as he does getting people in the store. (Church) But too often people walk out entertained and empty. Still hungry, still searching for that which will satisfy. 

So my question is if your Church and people are “sold out for God” with nothing left to give?

Has the Church’s Vision exceeded the Value?

Is the quantity of people in the building more important that the quality of the message?

Or is your Church stocked up with the very best that Christ had to give. Shelves full of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, staff and members replenished and ready to fill the needs of a lost and dying world. Where the quality of the work mattered more than the quantity in the seats. Because it’s been my experience that when a store (Church) has the best product and the best service, word gets around.