Sermons

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.

A memorial is a object, place or event that bring you to remembrance of something.

Every year, we celebrate Memorial Day. This is 1 of 3 military holidays that most look at as a 3 day weekend or something on sale, but Memorial Day is when we remember those who died in the service of this country.

  • Armed Forces Day = Those Still in Service – Active Duty
  • Veterans Day = Those who have served
  • Memorial Day = Those who never came home

For many of our fallen military heroes their actions became the memorial for others. Their sacrifice is remembered by those who lived. So many soldiers died protecting the innocent, others dove on a hand grenade to save his comrades. We can look back on those men and women and see their lives as a memorial to what we have today.

If it was not for the sacrifices of these heroes we would have seen the brutality of Hitler, the oppression of Stalin, the corruption of communism, or the terror of those who hate all we stand for as Christians; would have never come to pass. There sacrifice allows us to enjoy the freedoms we have as Americans. The ability to come to church, drive from state to state with no soldiers demanding papers.

The K-bar, the Compass and the Flag

When I was going into the military, I was given a few things by my Father. These were a K-Bar Knife, a Compass and an American Flag. He then told me the meaning of these gifts.

  • The K-Bar – This knife can take a life of save one… It all depends on the hand it is in.
  • The Compass – This compass will help to show you the way home, if you know where home is.
  • The American Flag – The Flag is flown where home is.

God sets Himself as a Memorial

Psalms 135:13  Thy name, O LORD, endureth for ever; and thy memorial, O LORD, throughout all generations.

The Word of God becomes the memorial, the object that brings us into remembrance of His love, His Wrath and His forgiveness. Many things we have seen God do in our lives shat must be shared. So many today people today have not seen God work, no memorials have been placed. In the Bible objects like pillars and signs are there so that when someone comes and ask what that is there for… someone can tell what God did there. We must be the ones to tell the stories.

God seen though Moses

Exodus 3:15  And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.

Moses is remembered in the scriptures for what he did, more than who he was. So much that he declares to the children of Israel the he himself, his actions and what God was going to do through him was going to be that memorial to them.

Good seen through the Sacrifice of the Woman

Mark 14:3 And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.

4 And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made?

5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.

6 And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me.

7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.

8 She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying.

9 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.

There are accounts in the scriptures that will be told through all eternity as a memorial. Not just for who they were, but for what did through them.

Moses set himself as the Memorial… when you see me (Moses) you should see God…

That should be the desire of every Christian today… to say when you see me you should see God, you should see His wisdom, His handiwork, His mercy and His Son.

Let our life be the marker, the memorial, the reminder to the world of what God has done for us.

To understand where this comparison comes from:

  • I started working at a Mercedes dealership on weekends when I was 13 with my Dad. They also had Volkswagen , Alfa Romeo and Sterling.
  • When I was 17, I took my electronics experience and started a small stereo and custom electronics business.
  • When I graduated high school I started working full time in the parts department.
  • From there I went to work for a small auto parts company until I went into the military.
  • When I came out of the Air Force I worked at One Stop Auto Parts while I went to Trinity Baptist College.
  • After that I moved over to AutoZone as a Store Manager while I attended Bright Light Baptist College.
  • Moving to Kentucky I worked on the Management team for BMW, Volkswagen, Oldsmobile and Honda earning the nations highest dealer level every year I worked there, achieved the top 2% customer satisfaction rating in the country and the highest auto certification available in the nation. I also attended Bible Believers Baptist Academy during this time.
  • When I started my own Advertising company I was also working as a Chaplain for both the Sheriff and Coroner’s offices, attending Chaplains school in Indiana
  • Moving to Florida to serve as Pastor I worked at Advanced Auto as a manager as well.

As you can see… my experience in the automotive industry and the ministry have literally gone hand in hand overlapping over 20 years.

Over the years working in the automotive industry I have seen so many mechanical failures due to a lack of maintenance.

It’s interesting that in my ministry, I noted the same. Having a well maintained car will extend the life of the car, as well as, increase it’s value and usefulness; having a well maintain spiritual life, is the same.

Today we are going to look at having a well maintained Christian life.

In order to know how to best maintain your car you must first read the owners manual.

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;

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.

  • The Owners Manual is where you find the specifics for your car, written by those who designed and built the car. Too often people rely on the word of someone who sounds smart, but does not really know what the book actually says. Oil change? Depends who you ask: 3k, 5k, 10k, 15k? Tune up? Fluids like transmission, coolant, brake fluid, power steering, etc… everyone has an opinion; but opinions don’t matter if it’s contrary to the owners manual.

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.

Psalms 68:11  The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it.

Titus 1:14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.

Psalms 119:89  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

Just like with cars, there are many opinions on how you might have a victorious Christian life. Some might say that church membership, praise and worship or spiritual ceremonies will make things better; however, would it not be better to read the Bible? The owners manual for the Christian? Written by the God that created us? People’s opinions change based on the day, but God’s world is never changing.

Car repairing

A well maintained car is inspected regularly

2 Corinthians 13:5a  Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. 

  • There are parts that wear faster and can lead to failure, but because they are not easily seen we often neglect them until it is too late. (Brakes, Coolant, Tires…)
  • That is why an inspection needs to be done on a regular basis to help reveal those problems before they lead to a break-down.
  • These inspections are done against a perfect comparison so that there is a point of measurement. (example: brake pads are measured against the thickness of a new pad.)

1 John 4:1  Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

  • When is the last time you inspected your heart? Have you grown to be closer to God today than yesterday? Are you running with optimal performance, or are you always riding the brake?

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?

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

1 Thessalonians 5:21  Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

Like a car, a good inspection or examination can reveal problems. Just like a mechanic has a perfect example to compare against, we as Christians have a perfect Saviour to measure ourselves by, to see where improvements must be made. You don’t see a mechanic making a comparison against car that is as old as yours… they measure it against a new one. Why would we compare ourselves to another sinner to determine our condition?

2 Corinthians 10:12  For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

Car repairing

Changing the Oil

One of the things that can cause failure is when someone does not get the oil changed, without changing the oil components will get dry, create friction and cause failure.

Psalms 92:10b…I shall be anointed with fresh oil.

  • This lack of oil will cause a premature breakdown of the components causing them to fail quickly and… at times… catastrophically.
  • Oil in the Bible is a picture of the Holy Spirit. Often times in our Christian lives we have a lot of friction in our lives, because we didn’t get fresh oil. We must renew the oil to keep everything running smoothly…

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.

Titus 3:5  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

Psalms 51:10  Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

2 Corinthians 4:16  For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

  • Without the renewing of the spirit, changing the oil… we will become weary, tired… worn out, components begin to fail.

2 Thessalonians 3:13  But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.

Psalms 143:7  Hear me speedily, O LORD: my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit.

Luke 22:32  But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

Conclusion:

To have a well maintained Christian life we must first:

  • Read the Owners Manual
  • Examine ourselves
  • Change the oil.

Sometimes these things are difficult because you are not IN the Car… or IN Christ:

Colossians 1:28  Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

One of the exercises that a good Bible student can do, is to take the different accounts in the 4 gospels and combine them into a single reading. This practice will allow a better understanding of the account rather than flipping back and forth. Below is an example:

Matthew 14:13 When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities.

Luke 9:12 And when the day began to wear away, then came the twelve, and said unto him, Send the multitude away, that they may go into the towns and country round about, and lodge, and get victuals: for we are here in a desert place.

Mark 6:34 And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.

Matthew 14:14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.

Matthew 14:15 And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.

Matthew 14:16 But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.

John 6:7 Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.

John 6:8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him,

John 6:9 There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?

John 6:6 And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.

Matthew 14:18 He said, Bring them hither to me.

Mark 6:39 And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass.

Mark 6:40 And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties.

Matthew 14:19 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.

Matthew 14:20 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.

John 6:12 When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.

John 6:13 Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.

Matthew 14:21 And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.

John 6:14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.

Lessons from these passages:

We should have compassion

Matthew 14:14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.

Jude 1:22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:

Can I say that having love, having compassion is noble but matter not at all without action. Not that the compassion “moved” Jesus to action. By comparison is Jude where we have compassion… but the action is the “making a difference”. Even in John 3:16 … For God so loved the world that he “gave”… again love in action.

Jesus noted an opportunity to teach the disciples something

  1. Ministry takes money and resources
  2. Part of this is the faith needed that the money and/or resources will be provided

John 6:6 And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.

The disciples had with them funds to support themselves on their long journeys. However, they didn’t have enough to fulfill the need before them. Even if they had enough money, they didn’t have the time to go to town, get the resources and come back… In all that was taking place, Jesus worked the circumstances to place the disciples in a position where they couldn’t do it on their own.

(Just because you get taught a lesson, doesn’t mean you learned from it: After the next major event Jesus noted after the storm: Mark 6:52 For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.)

Little is much

In John’s account we find Andrew noticed a Lad that had a lunch. Now whether he got what Jesus was doing… or was making fun of the situation, Jesus shocked them all by taking the child’s lunch and multiplied it for 5000 people, plus women and children to eat; and not just a snack but full bellies with leftovers!. Now I suspect that the first couple of baskets that they were passing out they were like: “Jesus, I’m out… nevermind…” Then again: “Jesus, I’m out… nevermind…” In my minds eye they were got to a point where they would come up to a group of people… “see my basket is empty… watch this: Jesus, I’m out… nevermind!”

It reminds me of the oil and cruse

1 Kings 17:12 And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.

13 And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.

14 For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth.

15 And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.

16 And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah.

Conclusion:

This account has so many underlying things to find in these verses.

1. Are you willing to take time to serve? The disciples were tired from ministering with Jesus:

Mark 6:31  And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.

2. Ministry takes effort, money and resources

3. Are you willing to serve by faith? True faith where you really don’t know the outcome? Where the basket is empty and you expect it to be full?

 

 

Hebrews 9:23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

The Pattern

On the mount God gave Moses a set of instructions, laws and commandments to help establish a people unto himself. This information would help mold and guide this people to a level of understanding and insight never seen before in human history.

As part of these instructions God gave Moses some patterns to follow. These patterns carry through even today as a guide to better our understanding in the areas of salvation, fellowship, the Church and even marriage.

Exodus 25:9  According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.

Pattern of the Tabernacle

The tabernacle was to be built in exacting measurements and materials. This basic level of obedience, as a foundation, was needed to be followed in order to have confidence in weightier matters…

Matthew 25:21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

There is no mistake, when the instructions for the Tabernacle were established in Exodus 25.. it started with the Ark, then the sanctuary, then the border… building around God as the center.

 Let’s look at the basic parts:

  • The walls (boundary) Exodus 25 – 27
  • The Altar – Exodus 27-1
  • The Laver – Exodus 30:18
  • The Courtyard – Exodus 25 – 32
  • The Sanctuary – Exodus 25 – 26
  • Furniture (table of Shewbread, candlestick, altar of incense) Exodus 25
  • The Vail, Veil Exodus 26:31
  • Holy of Holies (containing the Ark of the Covenant) Exodus 25

Details, Details, Details

The pattern as the tabernacle is laid out with a specific order to follow. We see this pattern in many different areas; but first in the area of it detail. Every element of the tabernacle, down to the clothes that the priests wore, shows God’s desire for things to be done decently and in order: (1 Corinthians 14:40) This detail oriented pattern teaches us that everything has a reason, place and purpose. This should be the pattern we follow in our lives as well. Every detail can make the difference. In the work we do and the life we lead we should do all with this pattern and goal in mind.

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.

The Pattern seen in Salvation and the Christian life

The pattern of the temple is a fantastic guide for us to see how we can have true fellowship and worship with God. In order for us to reach the Holy of Holies ,whereby we can have that perfect worship; we must go through the path that God laid out. This path is seen in the pattern of the tabernacle.

The Door

The boundary of the tabernacle only allows one way to get in:

John 10:1  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.

Throughout all of human history God has always made a path to get to Him but, it was always just one way.

Matthew 7:14  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

John 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

The Altar

The first thing you come to after you enter in at the door, is the Altar. The sacrifice of Jesus is the very first and necessary step to true worship and fellowship with God.

Ephesians 5:2  And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

Laver

Right after the Altar is some cleansing. The laver is used to wash off the dirt of the world. In order to get to the point that you can have fellowship is to get the dirt of the world, the sins of the flesh washed off.

Ephesians 5:26  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

Note: The Laver was polished brass to a mirror finish… always reflecting the Altar

Area of Fellowship (Church)

Hebrews 10:25  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

This is the area where we can fellowship with others, share stories of God’s goodness and mercy. In this area of fellowship we see some parts:

Hebrews 9:2  For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary.

  • Candlestick – Psalms 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
  • Table – 1 Corinthians 10:21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.
  • Shewbread – Acts 20:7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.

Additionally there were other items in the Sanctuary

  • Altar of incense – Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

The Veil

Hebrews 10:19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,

20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;

Exodus 26:31  And thou shalt make a vail of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen of cunning work: with cherubims shall it be made:

When Christ died the veil of the temple was rent from top to the bottom opening the access to the Father through Jesus Christ.

Holy of Holies

This is where God would come down to receive the offering. It contained the Ark which held the commandments of God and a golden censer.

Ephesians 5:27  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

The Holy place, where God met at the mercy seat, was a set apart place where only those who were clean and sanctified could enter. However, when Christ made His sacrifice that ripped the veil and gave entry.. THAT fact did not change. The world feels like it has access because the veil is not there but, looking closely at the order that God set of the tabernacle; this pattern is what we are to follow in our Christian life. To have true fellowship, to be right with God… we must go through the order HE set. To try to come any other way is the same as a thief and a robber.

 

Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

There is a struggle that the scripture identifies, and has identified throughout history; where we must choose who we will serve. Good vs. evil… God vs. the things of the world.

In our everyday lives we are fraught with choices. Some of them are simpler like: What to eat, what to where and where to go. However, if we consider this to a Godly perspective even these simpler decisions are made with the mindset of spiritual things. In fact in many things we should have the framed mindset that:

Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Halt between two opinions

In 1st Kings we see an account where the man of God this shows the result of God’s people who chose to serve the world, to follow what was flashy and shiny and “feels good”.

Now I might make the first comparison that God’s people then aren’t too different than God’s people today. So many today choose the easier paths, the shiny things or seek out worldly entertainment in the name of worship.

1 Kings 18:18 And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim.

How many people today that go to church EVEN KNOW the commandments of the things of God. These days we don’t even bring the Bible to church, let alone reading it throughout the week. The seeds of rebellion today align with the ways of the world to the point that even when they learn the things of God… they CHOOSE NOT to obey them.

19 Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table.

20 So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel.

21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.

22 Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only, remain a prophet of the LORD; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men.

23 Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under:

24 And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.

Keep in mind that these are God’s people… the “church” if you will. They answered not a word because they knew there was gonna be a show, something exciting was going to happen… Were they convicted that this is even something that would need to be considered?

The Challenge Accepted

25 And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress it first; for ye are many; and call on the name of your gods, but put no fire under.

26 And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made.

I might interject this thought. As Christians we are told of false prophets, false teachers, false religion; and while there might be those who know what they are doing is designed to deceive… they genuinely believe in what they are saying. These prophets of Baal weren’t “caught red handed in deceit” they actually expected their god to respond.

27 And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.

Yes, the man of God mocked them. Yes, the man of God called them out by name. Yes, the man of God identified their false teachings when presenting the truth… just sayin’.

28 And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them.

Anytime the cutting of the flesh is present there is a satanic presence but, let’s look at this further. There are many religious systems that incorporate fleshly mutilation as part of their practices. Prove to god you are serious, they say. It amazes me the level of commitment that society today has to the cutting of their flesh, marking of the flesh, piercing of the flesh even branding of the flesh… They sometimes even try to justify this practice by marking their body with a bible verse, like this somehow justifies their actions. God’s word doesn’t change because of the beliefs of the day… 

The Silence of Despair

29 And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.

Nor any that regarded is the people, Israel. They stood there and watched the spectacle, expecting their gods to speak, expecting their gods to act. In my minds eye I see during this even of several hours of screaming and leaping and cutting… that the people who followed participated and cried out along with the prophets. I can even see those who were perhaps were desperate for the false god to speak, after all who wants to be proven wrong?

I can then imagine the silence there as the prophets were gasping for breath, looking at the destruction around them and looking at the faces of the people that followed them faithfully; shocked and disappointed in the silence of despair. Questions start: where was he, why didn’t he come, were we not faithful enough, did we not suffer enough to please these gods? 

As a Chaplain and Pastor, I have been with so many that placed their hopes in the things of the world, the government, their family, their friends. Yet when trouble came, they were left wanting and hopeless.

30 And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down.

He Repaired the Altar

Remember this passage is speaking to those inside the “Church (Israel)” God’s chosen people. Not to the worldly, but to those, if you will; of the Church who are following the things and people of the world.

For those who come to the point where they see their status (2 Corinthians 13:5a  Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; …) and turn from the world and back to God… It simply is not enough to replace the world with God. There will be some things in your life that will need repaired. Your prayer life, will need repair. Your Church membership, may need repair. Your fellowship, may need repair. Your Godly fellowship, will need repair. The Altar will need to be repaired in your life otherwise you are trying to build a life for God on the ruble of a broken life!

31 And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the LORD came, saying, Israel shall be thy name:

32 And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD: and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed.

33 And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood.

In order: If we are to have true worship… in needs to be “in order”. Look at the confusion of the prophets of baal, the mess they made in the name of worship. God desires things to be: (1 Corinthians 14:40  Let all things be done decently and in order.)

34 And he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time.

God shines the most when what needs to be accomplished… is impossible. (Luke 1:37  For with God nothing shall be impossible.)

35 And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water.

36 And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word.

Time of offering: Things in our life often need to be in God’s timing. Israel had listened to the prophets of baal, like today; “you can worship God anytime… or anywhere.” God set aside a time when His people were to come together and worship corporately.

Let it be known: Why are we so content today to not share the joy of worship to others? Part of our testimony is to share, not only the Gospel” but how our life is changed from it.

37 Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.

God’s people need to see God work in lives today. This is why, it is so easy to get pulled away from Church, pulled away from fellowship and the things of God. It is a shame that this even needed to take place. But often times it takes God working in a mighty way to show His people WHO HE IS.

38 Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.

39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God.

 

Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

1 Kings 18:21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.

Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

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.

Do you love God?

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

1 Corinthians 8:3  But if any man love God, the same is known of him.

1 John 4:20  If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

  • Actions don’t just speak louder than words… they become the words spoken about you (testimony)

Can love be expressed without action? In John 3:16 we see God’s love to us… placed into action. For God so loved — that He gave. If we want to show God that we love Him… we must take His example and show Him our love… by putting it in action.

Are we serving God’s purpose?

2 Timothy 1:9  Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

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.

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!

John 6:40  And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

… that every one which seeth the Son (Testimony)

One of the reasons that society is the way it is today with all the violence and corruption, lying and deception is that not many people see the Son of God.

How does someone see the Son of God today?

1 Corinthians 2:1  And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.

  • Testimony: Something you was part of.
  • Witness: Telling what you saw.

Philemon 1:3 Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

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.

Hearing of thy Love

Philemon 1:5 Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints;

In verse 5 Paul mentions that he has heard the testimony of this church that is meeting in Philemon’s home. As a church you should have a good testimony or reputation within the community abroad.

Furthermore, this carries over into verse 6.

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

This communication was more than just hearing of their good testimony, but it was a point of communication. This communication was having an effect, and Paul saw that.

Effectual

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

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.

It is difficult to have an effect behind closed doors.

Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

John 6:40  And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

If we want to change the world we must first change ourselves. What does your testimony say to others?

  • Do they see Christ in you?
  • Do they see someone who says they go to church, but your words deny the faith?

In order to see others saved we must show Jesus to others by our testimony.

Have you accepted Christ?

 

 

 

1 John 2:15  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

There are some things that, as Christians; we are supposed to love. Likewise there are things we are not to love.

2 Timothy 4:10  For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.

Demas was a man of God that served alongside of the Apostle Paul. He journeyed with Paul to so many different places seeing all sorts of cool things. In Thessalonica Demas came across wonders that he fell in love with, enough so to leave the man of God and their ministry behind.

  • Note: I have known several Demas’s in my lifetime. The pull of the things of the world can be great.

Hebrews 11:25  Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;

  • But this is the hook, the draw. Commercials, sports figures, movie stars, music videos all show you how fun the sin can be… but they never show you what happens after. The shattered lives, drunkards, drug addicts, gamblers, ending in divorce or even suicide.

The first few bottles.

While in Lexington Kentucky the Pastor was ask to visit a man at the Veterans Hospital that was there drying out, the Pastor ask me to go with him. When we talking with this man and learning of his struggles, he told us of great loss and how he turned to drinking. He drank so much that he lost his home, then he lost his family. He started going to the bars and got to the point he’d be kicked out of every bar in Lexington. He eventually turned to Listerine. Amazed the Pastor and I ask him how could you drink a bottle of Listerine?? He said I won’t lie, the first few bottles were rough… but then the need outweighed the gag reflex. We left there with amazement but to this dismay… he was ok with it. When he got out, he had no plans to change… sad state of affairs.

The Bible goes on to tell us some things we shouldn’t love

1 Timothy 6:10  For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

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

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;

What are things we should love?

1 Corinthians 8:3  But if any man love God, the same is known of him.

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.

Galatians 5:14  For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Ephesians 1:15  Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,

Ephesians 5:25  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

1 Thessalonians 1:3  Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;

2 Timothy 4:8  Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

Titus 2:4  That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

1 John 3:11  For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

1 John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

Conclusion

John 21:15  So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

We are given in the Bible examples of those things we are to love… and are not to love.

1 John 2:15  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

You can’t serve two masters, a tree can’t produce good fruit and bad…

What do you love?

Video games, candy, superhereos, tv, phone…

… lovest thou me more than these?…

As this is Veterans Day, I thought I would bring some insight of someone who has been a soldier as to better understand how to be a soldier of Christ.

I served in the USAF during Desert Storm and the Bosnian Conflict. It was during this time that I worked with weapons that led to the nerve condition that deal with today.

However, for nearly 6 years I was someone who wore the uniform in the defense of this country. I also had the privilege to be in the Air Force Honor Guard and Rifle team under the 23rd TAW. It was this detail where I would play a role of honoring those who had died in the service of their country. I would employ the funeral services and pay last respects to the fallen and their family.

What is a soldier?

A soldier is person who: has set aside themselves, their comfort, their gain and their will to be a servant to a cause.

With the desire to “be all you can be” let’s look at some facts that make a good soldier

A good soldier must be a good servant

The meaning of G.I. = Government Issue

Colossians 3:22  Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:

In basic training you had to learn to not be concerned with yourself but rather to obey those appointed over you.

A soldier knows how to endure hardness

2 Timothy 2:3  Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

When you are a servant you are a tool. This tool is used by the master to accomplish a purpose. This may require doing things that are unpleasant, uncomfortable but never unreasonable.

A Good soldier does not entangle himself with the affairs of this world

2 Timothy 2:4  No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

When I was deployed, the Federal Government would retain my paycheck, pay my bills and send the rest to my wife.

A good soldier knows the tools of his mission

Weapons, armament, communications, tactics & policies may be the very thing that keeps you alive.

I have seen to many part time soldiers get hurt because they didn’t have the understanding of the tools of the mission!

A Soldier of The Cross’s tools:

Bible – our sword

Hebrews 4:12  For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Our Armour

2 Corinthians 6:7  By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,

Our Faith

Matthew 8:5 And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him,

6 And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.

7 And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.

8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.

9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.

10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

Fight the good fight – the cause

1 Timothy 6:11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

Know that you don’t fight alone

Philemon 1:2 And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house:

3 Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.