Preparing for His Presence. Getting Your House In Order Part 2

Title of Message: Preparing For His Presence. Getting My House In Order Part 2

Speaker: Tyrone Jones

Text: 1 Chronicles 15 New Living Translation (NLT)

 1David now built several buildings for himself in the City of David. He also prepared a place for the Ark of God and set up a special tent for it.2 Then he commanded, “No one except the Levites may carry the Ark of God. The Lord has chosen them to carry the Ark of the Lord and to serve him forever.” 3 Then David summoned all Israel to Jerusalem to bring the Ark of the Lord to the place he had prepared for it. 4 This is the number of the descendants of Aaron (the priests) and the Levites who were called together: 5 From the clan of Kohath, 120, with Uriel as their leader. 6 From the clan of Merari, 220, with Asaiah as their leader. 7 From the clan of Gershon,130, with Joel as their leader. 8 From the descendants of Elizaphan, 200, with Shemaiah as their leader. 9 From the descendants of Hebron, 80, with Eliel as their leader. 10 From the descendants of Uzziel, 112, with Amminadab as their leader.  11 Then David summoned the priests, Zadok and Abiathar, and these Levite leaders: Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel, and Amminadab.12 He said to them, “You are the leaders of the Levite families. You must purify yourselves and all your fellow Levites, so you can bring the Ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to the place I have prepared for it. 13 Because you Levites did not carry the Ark the first time, the anger of the Lord our God burst out against us. We failed to ask God how to move it properly.” 14 So the priests and the Levites purified themselves in order to bring the Ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to Jerusalem.15 Then the Levites carried the Ark of God on their shoulders with its carrying poles, just as the Lord had instructed Moses. 16 David also ordered the Levite leaders to appoint a choir of Levites who were singers and musicians to sing joyful songs to the accompaniment of harps, lyres, and cymbals. 17 So the Levites appointed Heman son of Joel along with his fellow Levites: Asaph son of Berekiah, and Ethan son of Kushaiah from the clan of Merari. 18 The following men were chosen as their assistants: Zechariah, Jaaziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, and the gatekeepers—Obed-edom and Jeiel. 19 The musicians Heman, Asaph, and Ethan were chosen to sound the bronze cymbals. 20 Zechariah, Aziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah, and Benaiah were chosen to play the harps.[c] 21 Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-edom, Jeiel, and Azaziah were chosen to play the lyres.[d] 22 Kenaniah, the head Levite, was chosen as the choir leader because of his skill. 23 Berekiah and Elkanah were chosen to guard[e] the Ark. 24 Shebaniah, Joshaphat, Nethanel, Amasai, Zechariah, Benaiah, and Eliezer—all of whom were priests—were chosen to blow the trumpets as they marched in front of the Ark of God. Obed-edom and Jehiah were chosen to guard the Ark. 25 Then David and the elders of Israel and the generals of the army[f]went to the house of Obededom to bring the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant up to Jerusalem with a great celebration. 26 And because God was clearly helping the Levites as they carried the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant, they sacrificed seven bulls and seven rams.

 27 David was dressed in a robe of fine linen, as were all the Levites who carried the Ark, and also the singers, and Kenaniah the choir leader. David was also wearing a priestly garment.28 So all Israel brought up the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant with shouts of joy, the blowing of rams’ horns and trumpets, the crashing of cymbals, and loud playing on harps and lyres. 29 But as the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant entered the City of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. When she saw King David skipping about and laughing with joy, she was filled with contempt for him.

1.       PREPARING FOR HIS PRESENCE REQUIRES OBEDIENCE

·        David was careful to follow the Lord’s instructions regarding carrying the ark.  He was not sloppy with it. He followed the specific instructions the Lord gave. 

o   He prepared a special tent for the Ark of The Covenant

o   No one except the Levites were to carry the Ark of The Covenant (Vs. 1-2)

o   CAREFULLY OBEY What the Lord told you to do for His presence to show up

o   GET IN LINE WITH HIS COMMANDS. 

o   Don’t compromise. Partial obedience is disobedience. FULLY OBEY THE SPECIFIC THINGS GOD TOLD YOU TO DO!

o   Reflection: If His presence is not showing up in your life, ask yourself if you are walking in full obedience and doing what He has called you to do.

 

2.       PREPARING FOR HIS PRESENCE PURIFICATION

o   Purify Defined: remove contaminants; those things that defile me; make ceremonially clean; to free from undesirable elements

o   Sanctification Defined: set apart; consecrate; free from sin; purify

·        purification speaks of holiness

·        The ark of the covenant represented the presence of God and for them to carry the presence of God they had to be purify themselves.  The Levites in the Old Testament were the priest but the New Testament has called us all to be priests unto God. 1 Peter 2:9 tells us that we are a royal priesthood.

·        When the veil of the temple ripped in two it gave us free access to the presence of God, but we must also remember that God still requires purity.

o   Psalm 24:3-4 Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? 4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.  

·        In order to usher in and experience the presence of God, it requires that I live a certain way.  If not, I can’t carry the presence of God; I will not experience the presence of God.

 11 Then David summoned the priests, Zadok and Abiathar, and these Levite leaders: Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel, and Amminadab.12 He said to them, “You are the leaders of the Levite families. You must purify yourselves and all your fellow Levites, so you can bring the Ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to the place I have prepared for it. o Gathers the priests: Zadok and Abiathar & these Levite

 o Leaders are not exempt from being holy/sanctified.  They are called to be an example in the pursuit of purification and holiness. (Vs. 11)

 PREPARNG FOR HIS PRESENCE REQUIRES HUMILITY

o David humbled himself and repented publicly and confessed that he messed up.

Verse 13 Because you Levites did not carry the Ark the first time, the anger of the Lord our God burst out against us. We failed to ask God how to move it properly.” 14 So the priests and the Levites purified themselves in order to bring the Ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to Jerusalem.15 Then the Levites carried the Ark of God on their shoulders with its carrying poles, just as the Lord had instructed Moses.

 

o   David acknowledges his mistake; Levites did not carry the Ark the 1st time.  David owns what happened and owns Uzzah’s mistake as well. It was a huge mistake to not inquire of the Lord how to properly move the ark.

o    In 1 Chronicles 13 David “inquired of the captains and generals of the army” and how to carry the Ark instead of doing it God’s way and having the Levites carry it.

o   Their actions caused God’s anger to come against them & Uzzah died when the oxen stumbled and he reached out his hand to steady the Ark.

o It is a huge mistake to not seek God in all our decisions.  (Proverbs 3:5-6-Trust in the Lord with all your heart, do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path).

o   when we fail to ask God how to move/steward the assignment he has given us, we set ourselves up for failure.

David not only confess his mistake, but he did not repeat it, this time around He sought the face of the Lord on how to transport the Ark.

 

REQUIRES EMBRACING OUR ASSIGNMENT (Vs. 3-24)

o David solicits several men to help carry the Ark of God back to City of David  

o Over 800 Levites from the descendants of Aaron were involved in the process.

 o The men worked in unity to transport the Ark; We need to be on one accord for the presence of God to show up. In the book of Acts they were gathered together on one accord!

  • David embraced his role – wore linen ephod

    • Verse 27 David was dressed in a robe of fine linen, as were all the Levites who carried the Ark, and also the singers, and Kenaniah the choir leader. David was also wearing a priestly garment.28 So all Israel brought up the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant with shouts of joy, the blowing of rams’ horns and trumpets, the crashing of cymbals, and loud playing on harps and lyres.

    • Wearing the priestly garment shows that he was making God #1

 

The Following Things Happen When We Prepare for His Presence

1.      God’s Grace helps us!

1.      God’s grace helped them carry the Ark. In verse 26, God was clearly helping them!

2.      When we prepare for His presence and God shows up, He gives us the grace to Fulfill our divine assignment and it is not overwhelming.

2.      Heaven comes down. God’s presence visits us. When we prepare for His presence and He shows up, heaven comes down and we can’t help but to praise!

 

·        David offered up praise to the Lord, not for show (not for public display)

1.      Verse 29 But as the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant entered the City of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. When she saw King David skipping about and laughing with joy, she was filled with contempt for him.

2.      David danced, not for show, but to God.  David offered up crazy praise!

Reflection:  What is your response when God presence shows up?

 

 

Getting My House In Order (Part 1)

Title of Message: Getting My House In Order

Speaker: Tyrone Jones

Text: Joshua 24:14-25

14 “So fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone. 15 But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”

16 The people replied, “We would never abandon the Lord and serve other gods. 17 For the Lord our God is the one who rescued us and our ancestors from slavery in the land of Egypt. He performed mighty miracles before our very eyes. As we traveled through the wilderness among our enemies, he preserved us. 18 It was the Lord who drove out the Amorites and the other nations living here in the land. So we, too, will serve the Lord, for he alone is our God.”

19 Then Joshua warned the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord, for he is a holy and jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. 20 If you abandon the Lord and serve other gods, he will turn against you and destroy you, even though he has been so good to you.”

21 But the people answered Joshua, “No, we will serve the Lord!”

22 “You are a witness to your own decision,” Joshua said. “You have chosen to serve the Lord.”

“Yes,” they replied, “we are witnesses to what we have said.”

23 “All right then,” Joshua said, “destroy the idols among you, and turn your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.” 24 The people said to Joshua, “We will serve the Lord our God. We will obey him alone.”

25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day at Shechem, committing them to follow the decrees and regulations of the Lord.

 

1.     Serve God exclusively

a.      14 So fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone. 15 But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”

b.     Making the choice to serve God exclusively means turning your heart to the true God, the God of Israel and serving no other gods.

c.      Idols are objects of extreme devotion and Idolatry is the worship of something created as opposed to the worship of the Creator.  The Israelites were given a stern warning to forsake idolatry. 

                                                    i.     The children of Israel were very familiar with idolatry because they saw it first hand when they were enslaved in Egypt.  The Egyptians were an idolatrous people.  Each of the ten plagues were a direct assault against the things the Egyptians had made into a god. The supreme God was making a point, that He alone was God.

d.     We can make anything into an idol if we are not careful.  Idols come in many forms and are not restricted to an object or statue.

                                                    i.     We can make our children, our careers, our spouses, our hobbies, etc. into idols.  Anything that takes the place of God in our lives is an idol!

e.      God is a jealous God and he will not share his glory with no other.  We must destroy every idol in our life.  God wants our complete devotion.  

                                                    i.     “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.”  Exodus 20:4

                                                  ii.     In the New Testament, Jesus continues this warning against idolatry.  He warns us not to make idols out worldly things ( Matt 6:24 “You cannot serve both God and Money”

                                                iii.     Ephesians 5:5 For [a]this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

f.       Take some time to reflect on this point.  Do you serve God exclusively or have you made other things an idol?

 

2.     Choose Wisely

a.      In life we are presented with choices and one of those choices is who we will serve.  Choose wisely like Joshua and make the bold declaration as he did in verse 15, that he and his household will serve the Lord.

b.     This was not just a statement for Joshua, this was the way that he lived his life.  He had owned this choice! 

                                                    i.     When the 12 scouts were sent to spy out the land, Joshua was willing to reject the report of the majority and declare that God would give them the victory.  In that moment Joshua chose to walk by faith and not by sight.

                                                  ii.     Joshua was willing to embrace the call of God on his life.  He served as Moses’ assistance and when it was time to become the leader of Israel, Joshua assumed that responsibility with great courage.

c.      Joshua was the priest of his home and realized that his wise choice would have an impact on his family.  It is important for men to lead their household well by FIRST making the wise choice to serve the Lord.

d.     Do your actions reflect who you have chosen to serve? 

 

3.     Forsaking God is costly

a.     God is a loving and just God, so we must remember that there are consequences if we CHOOSE not to serve him.

b.     There is a huge cost if we choose to forsake God.

c.      God will turn against you and destroy you (verse 20)

d.     When making your choices, do you think about the fact that there is a cost for forsaking God?  How do you think your life would be different if you often considered this warning?

 

4.      Take your choice seriously!

a.      Making the choice to serve God is not a one-time decision, it is a daily decision to pick up your cross and follow Him. (Mathew 16:24)

b.     It is not just about the outward things that you have done (i.e., getting baptized, saying the sinner’s prayer).  It is about living out this decision DAILY!

c.      Do not allow compromise to dominate our lives, take your choice to serve the Lord seriously!

d.      Are you taking your choice to serve God seriously or are you in a place of compromise?

While I Am Waiting

Title of Message: “While I’m waiting”

Speaker: Tyrone Jones

Text: Luke 2:22-35

 22 Then it was time for their purification offering, as required by the law of Moses after the birth of a child; so his parents took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. 23 The law of the Lord says, “If a woman’s first child is a boy, he must be dedicated to the Lord.”[a24 So they offered the sacrifice required in the law of the Lord—“either a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”[b] 25 At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him 26 and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, 28 Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,

29 “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. 30 I have seen your salvation, 31which you have prepared for all people. 32 He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!” 33 Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. 35 As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”

 

Merriam Webster Definition of Wait: To stay in place of expectation!

 Why does God allow us to wait (Purpose of waiting)

·       Waiting develops and matures us!

·       Waiting strengthens us:   Isaiah 40: 31 But those who wait on the Lord, Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

·       Many times there is a waiting period between when God makes us a promise & its manifestation

o   Gen 12: Abram receives promise from God, he was 75 years old when God told him his descendants will be given the land.

o   Gen 21:1-5  Abraham is 100 years old when Isaac is born  (Had to wait 25 years)

o   Joseph had to wait 13 years for the full manifestation of what God had promised. He was 17 years old when he was sold into slavery. In Gen 41, Joseph rises to 2nd in command under Pharaoh, 13 years later.

 Why does God allow us to wait (continued)?

o   Waiting molds us and shapes us to become the servants God calls us to be!

o   In the waiting room, our trust in God develops and we learn how to depend on Him!

o   We cannot circumvent the waiting process because waiting is part of the journey of faith!

o   Many tests come during the waiting period!

o   Our response to the test determines the length of the waiting period!

·       Waiting guides us!

·       Waiting allows God to be glorified – the longer we wait, the more glory we give to the Lord

·       Waiting increases our appreciation!

o   Once God delivers, we learn to give Him genuine praise!

o   A good parent does not give a child things prematurely, the parent waits until the child is able to receive what is being given.

o  When we allow the waiting process to accomplish a work in us, we appreciate the blessing even more when we receive it.

 

Scriptures on waiting

Psalms 27:14 “Wait for the Lord; Be strong, and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.

Psalms 37:9 “For evildoers will be cut off, But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.

Isaiah 40:31”But those who wait on the Lord, Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.”

 

Simeon: Had to wait on the Lord

·       Hidden figure; 10 verses devoted to him

·       We don’t know much about him; devout, holy ghost filled, probably elderly

·       He received the promise that he would not die until he see the Lord’s Christ

·       The Holy Spirit speaks to him and gives him revelation that he won’t die until he see Jesus

·       God orchestrates a delay between what he declares and when it is accomplished

·       All Simeon had while waiting, was the Word that God had given him. No sign, no external cue; no angelic visitation

·       Learns to wait because he got a Word (Simeon got internal revelation)

·       Simeon didn’t need any sign, learned to trust God and take God at his Word

·       While he’s been waiting on God’s promise, he still goes to the Temple to worship God

·       God is worthy of our worship while we are waiting. Don’t abandon worshipping God in the waiting process.

·       God wants to see if we can still worship him while we are waiting

·       God wants to see if we are only willing to worship Him for what He does or are we going to worship Him for who He is?

·       When it doesn’t look like God is moving, can I still worship Him?

·       When my situation doesn’t change, can I still worship Him?

·       Simeon didn’t die until he saw Jesus!  We should be the same way. Don’t die until we see Jesus/experience Him! Say yes to Jesus!

 

 Mary & Joseph

After 40 day of purification, Mary can now go out. Mary and Joseph take Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem to be dedicated.

 While I’m waiting…

1.     Remain committed!

a.      Simeon was righteous and devout. He remain committed to God as he was waiting for the promise. We should remain committed to God as we are waiting for our promise to manifest.

Lamentations 3:25 “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him

b.     Remain committed by spending time with God & His Word. Spending time in prayer and meditating on His promises!

c. We must learn to be content while waiting on the Lord.

d. While we are waiting we must remain connected to the people of God. Fellowship with like minded individuals provides encouragement.

e.       Don’t lose hope and forsake your relationship with God while waiting.

f.       Don’t try to do things in your own strength while waiting

                                                    i.     Don’t try to help God out by running ahead of him and getting in the wrong relationships, placing our careers over our pursuit of God, taking revenge on those who have wronged us, etc.                                          

2.     Don’t dismiss what God said!

a.      Don’t dismiss what God has spoken/revealed/etc.

b.     Hold on to every Word from the Lord! (Simeon held on to what the Holy Spirit revealed to him)

c.      Keep God’s promises near and dear to you, don’t forget them!

d.      Do you know what God has promised you? Do you live in that promise?

3.     Remember God is working behind the scenes!

a.      God was orchestrating and working it out for Simeon to see the consolation! The Holy Spirit moved on Simeon to be at the Temple the same time Mary and Joseph were there to dedicate the baby to the Lord!

b. This was not a coincidence, God was working behind the scenes!

c. As you wait, be encouraged and know that God is working behind the scenes. He is doing more than you can see. Walk by faith and not by sight as you are waiting for the promise to manifest.

The promise God makes Simeon, manifest while Simeon was in that place of worship. Remain connected to God and continue to worship Him as you wait!

The Road To Redemption

Title of Message: Road to Redemption

Speaker: Tyrone Jones

Text: Luke 2:10-20 NKJV

 1Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a [a]manger.”

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill[b] toward men!”

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made [c]widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

 

Road to Redemption

1.     Redemption can shock you! The shepherds were startled by the angelic visitation.

a.      Presence of God can startle you!

b.     Move of God can shock you!

 

2.     Redemption requires seeking after Him! The shepherds had to respond to the visitation and go to the place the angels told them to go.

a.      Must get on the road to seek after Jesus!

b.     We often seek after everything else, but Jesus

                                                    i.     We can seek for the “perfect job”

                                                  ii.     We can seek for the right “boo/mate”

                                                iii.     We can seek for the right home, right car

                                                 iv.     We can even seek for the right retirement plan

                                                  v.     But can we use the same energy/effort to seek after Him?

c.      There has to be some effort on my part to know Jesus.

d.     We want CONVENIENCE! We live in a society that is all about convenience and we can treat our relationship with God the same way.

                                                    i.     We want a Microwave and Amazon Prime religion.

                                                  ii.     Can’t operate that way with God!

e.      If you seek redemption, you will find it!

f.       The shepherds had to make a decision to seek after Jesus or remain in the fields? The same is true for us, will we seek after Jesus, or stay where we are.

                                                iii.     If we stay, we will be limited to just HEARING about Jesus

                                                 iv.     If we seek after Him, we then SEE and EXPERIENCE Jesus!

g.     Redemption is not automatic, it requires effort on our part!

h.       God will give us crumbs on this journey. 

                                                    i.     It is up to us to follow the crumbs!

                                                  ii.     He gives us more when we seek after Him!

 3.     Redemption is SIMPLE– not elaborate.  (verses 11 & 12)

a.      Shepherds given simple instructions: A child has been born in the city of David (which is called Bethlehem). This child is not just any child, but the baby is CHRIST the Lord.

b.      Baby wrapped in simple clothing.

c.      No room at the inn for Mary & Joseph!  (Mary & Joseph had to make due with what they had)

g.      Baby lying in a simple crib called a Manger! It wasn't the most ideal place for a king according to our standards.    Manger is an open box or trough for horses or cattle to eat from!

                                                    i.     11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a [d]manger.”

h.     Manger is simple, nothing fancy, extravagant, or elaborate. Manger symbolizes the humility of God!

i.       Manger contained hay that was soft, the box was probably high off the ground, probably had sides tall enough to keep her child safely inside. 

j.       God could have had Jesus enter the world through different means, but He chose a stable and had the baby laid in a manger. He didn't chose the palace or the temple, but instead He chose a stable with stinky animals.                                                 

k.     Baby Jesus came in simplicity reminding us that redemption really is not that complicated!

                                                    i.     You don’t need to have a special status or be special according to society’s standards to experience redemption.

                                                  ii.     As a matter of fact, when we have that “special perspective” we miss redemption

4.     Redemption satisfies you!

a.      Manger may seem like an accident, but it wasn’t!

b.     God had a plan even in having His son laid in the manger!

c.     Animals (horses, cattle) go to the manger for natural food.

d.      Jesus laying in a manger symbolized our ability to go to Him for spiritual food.

e.       Jesus has an infinite storehouse of nourishment available for those who are looking to be redeemed!

f.     We can come to Jesus at any time and never go hungry!

g.     Jesus feeds us with His Word, His life, His teachings!

                                                    i.     Jeremiah 15:16 Your words were found, and I ate them,
And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart;
For I am called by Your name O Lord God of hosts.

                                                  ii.     Ezekiel 3:1 Moreover He said to me, “Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and He caused me to eat that scroll.

h.       Jesus wants us to feast on Him.

i.      We must chew on His words, digest it and make it part of who we are!

j.     Jesus’ Word is like no other food! It has power to save our souls!

                                                    i.     James 1:21 21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and [d]overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

k.       The babe wrapped in swaddling cloths lying in manger is the Bread of Life

l.    John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”

m.     The babe laying in the feeding trough is the true bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever!

n.     John 6:51 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”

o.     When we eat on the Words of Christ and receive the Lord’s Supper, we get well fed spiritually speaking.

p.     When we eat Jesus Words, it satisfies us! It nourishes us!

q.       Redemption satisfies us!

r.     The shepherds feasted on the child first, now it is our turn!

 

5.     Redemption sets you on fire (verses 17-20)

a.      17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

b.     How could these shepherds rejoice at a child born in the manger?

c.      How could these shepherds glorify and praise God after smelling the smells in a manger?

d.    The shepherds were able to rejoice because they saw with their own eyes what was told to them when they were in the field. Everything occurred as it was told to them.

g.     We should be set on fire when we hear about God’s redemption and we see Him at work in our lives and the lives of others! We should also be set on fire when He confirms that we can take Him at his Word and that He holds his promises!

k.     Shepherds responded to the message, retold the message and  rejoiced at the message.

The Unusual Road to Redemption

Minister Joseph Lewis preached part 3 of our Road to Redemption Series. The title of his message was, “The Unusual Road to Redemption.” The text and sermon notes are below.

Text: Matthew 1:18-25 NLT

18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement[h] quietly.
21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus,[i] for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: 23 “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel,[j] which means ‘God is with us.’” 24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. 25 But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.

 An Unusual Road to Redemption

 un·u·su·al

not habitually or commonly occurring or done.

remarkable or interesting because different from or better than others.

Main Points

 Unusual Courage - Fear Not

●       Joseph is engaged to Mary which in this day was a strong commitment before the consummation of their marriage.

●       It was and still is highly unusual to become pregnant before this happens even more unusual and offending to bear someone else's child while engaged.

●       Joseph first course of action was to do the common or usual thing which was to divorce her but because he loved her and knew what the common penalty for this action was he elected to do so quietly.

●       While contemplating this an angel appears to Joseph in a dream. The first thing he says is “Joseph, Son of David’”..

●       Before you can receive impartation, revelation, or instructions sometimes God has to remind you who you are.

●       A few weeks ago Pastor Ty shed light on a genealogy that is often overlooked in Matthew. This segment known as the House of David is critical to today's understanding of what was to come next

●       Do not be afraid...now with the embracing of who he is and who’s he is, listening to his next critical assignment which is to take Mary as his wife without fear. Fearing what?

  1.        Social status, ridicule, rejection, judgment, loss of livelihood, family acceptance, their lives

●       This dream is an unusual sign that precedes an unusual path to redemption. Anika spoke last Sunday about having a willingness to receive the new. However, it also requires patience and discipline to not only accept the new but to operate in the new.


Unusual Sign - Gods reveals his plans in unusual ways
 

●       Road trip signs reassure us of our end destination, it confirms where we are and where we are going. In the case of Joseph, it confirmed the situation he was in and what God was about to do through Mary and ultimately through Jesus.

●       Signs help us to keep things in perspective and they bolster our faith.

●       ( Verse 23 parallel to Isaiah 7 ) King Ahaz faced a great threat and receives an unusual sign but lacked the faith to receive the sign that God gave.

○       “This invasion will never happen;
    it will never take place;
8 for Syria is no stronger than its capital, Damascus,
    and Damascus is no stronger than its king, Rezin.
As for Israel, within sixty-five years
    it will be crushed and completely destroyed.
9 Israel is no stronger than its capital, Samaria,
    and Samaria is no stronger than its king, Pekah son of Remaliah.
Unless your faith is firm,
    I cannot make you stand firm.”

○       Later, the Lord sent this message to King Ahaz: 11 “Ask the Lord your God for a sign of confirmation, Ahaz. Make it as difficult as you want—as high as heaven or as deep as the place of the dead.[e]”

12 But the king refused. “No,” he said, “I will not test the Lord like that.”

13 Then Isaiah said, “Listen well, you royal family of David! Isn’t it enough to exhaust human patience? Must you exhaust the patience of my God as well? 14 All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin[f] will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).

●       He most likely rejected this sign because it was not a usual sign of victory. His perspective did not allow him to understand what was happening. He instead makes a deal with the Assyrian government for protection. Little did he know that the usual course of action led to his demise and the capture of his kingdom.

●       Instead, God who is all knowing, directs the sign to not only King Ahaz and Judah, but to the entire the House of David.

●       God can still bless you in spite of your past decisions, disobedience, stubbornness, and pride. He will fulfill his promise (Davidic Covenant) through your children or descendants and cause your name to be counted among great men..even Jesus

●       If you receive a sign from God ask him what it means or let God reveal to you who you can trust with your sign….don't just resort to human knowledge or proven methods.

 

 Unusual Relationship - God With Us

●       It was not uncommon to have other gods during the times of the prophets. In fact, it was widely accepted to build multiple altars to multiple gods “as many as the streets of Jerusalem are the altars you have set up to the shameful thing” (Jeremiah 11:13)

●       What was uncommon was to have a God (Yahweh) who wanted to commune with us, to walk with us, talk with us, tell us that we are his own. To protect us, heal us provide for us. The interaction between Moses and Yahweh was the template to what God wanted to fully accomplish through Jesus

●       Jesus number one priority which is stated in verse 21 is that he came to save us from our sin. This fact is further validated in the first of Jesus’s last words “Father forgive them….”

●       This name that Joseph was to name this unborn child conceived by the Holy Spirit was to be called Jesus but Isaiah mentions that they will call him Emmanuel which means “ “God with us”

●       So now not only do we have a God who wants to commune with us in spirit but now also in the flesh. This personal relationship which is a combination of a spiritual indwelling and physical embodiment is the totality of the phrase “God with us”

●       This unconventional path to redemption was and still is the will of God to accomplish in our lives

●       God wants to do something Unusual in your life. It will take Unusual courage, an awareness of unusual signs, and an unusual relationship that brings you into God's perfect will of redemption.

Reflection Questions:

What are some unusual signs that the Lord has given you on your road to redemption? Have you demonstrated unusual courage and followed those signs or have you operated in fear?

Redeemed From Shame

I had the honor of speaking this Sunday. Below are the text and notes from my message, “Redeemed from Shame.”

Text: Joshua 2:1-17

Shame Defined : a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior. Embarrassed or humiliated

Causes for shame

  • Shame can be caused by our own sinful choices or the sin others have committed against us (abuse, harsh words, etc.)

Main Points

 God pursues us in our shame. He’s always looking for ways to cover our shame.

  • The spies went to Rahab, she didn’t go to them.

  • The first shameful experience took place in Genesis 3 after Adam and Eve sinned.

  • God pursues us in our shame, Adam was hiding and God came after him.  Notice that even after they sinned, God still came to talk to Adam.

  • Shame will cause us to run away from the very one (God) we should be running towards.

  •  We not only run away from God after doing wrong, we also run away from His people.  We may stop attending church after we have sinned because we are ashamed of our choices. When you sin, that’s when you should run to church to be covered, to receive encouragement, to have the saints intercede on your behalf. 

By product of shame

  •  Shame can cause you to walk in fear

  • Shame can cause you have a very low self esteem and make you continue to do things that devalue your worth (i.e. sexual promiscuity, remaining in an abusive relationship because you feel you deserve it and cannot do better)

We do things to try to cover or mask our shame

  • Some turn to alcoholism or drug use to numb the memories associated with the shame.

  • Some are workaholics and think that if they keep busy they wont have to sit to think about how ashamed they feel.

  • Some may be people pleasers, saying yes to everything because they don't know their worth and think if they say yes then they will be loved by everyone.

  • Some are slanderers and think that if they slander others they can deflect the shame they are carrying.

How to get delivered from shame?

  • It starts with receiving the gift of salvation that is made possible through the blood of Jesus Christ.

  • In Joshua 2:17 a scarlet rope is mentioned as the means for Rahab and her houselhold being saved. This is symbolic of what the blood of Jesus does for us and a foreshadowing of what Jesus would do on the cross. We see a similar foreshadowing during the first Passover in Exodus 12 when the people were given instructions to smear the blood of the killed animal on their doorpost. The death angel would then pass over any door that had the blood on the doorpost.

  • We also see this demonstrated in Genesis 3:21 after Adam and Eve sinned. The Lord clothe them with animal’s skin. An animal had to first be sacrificed and its blood was shed so that they could be covered. In the same way, Christ’s blood was shed on the cross for our sins to be forgiven and for us be covered!

  • Jesus bore our shame on that cross.  He was willing to be publicly humiliated, spat on and beaten for me and you so that I don’t have to hold on to shame.

  • As a child of God, shame is not my inheritance, FREDOOM IS!

 

God not only delivers us from shame but He also promotes us. 

  • He is a God of multiple chances

  • Rahab was not only spared but she was living among the Israelites, she didn’t come as an outsider, she was invited in as part of the group. (Joshua 6:25)

    • Rahab was redeemed from her from her past.  Her past didn’t disqualify her from her prosperous future.

    • We can accept that we are forgiven but somehow we think that God forgives us but that we are automatically disqualified form a bright future.  Not so, there is room for you at the table!

    • John 3:17 reminds us that God did not send His son to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved!

  • Rahab was delivered and then given the opportunity to be a wife and a mother. The things that shame perhaps told her that she could never have and be, God gave it to her in a loud way! She ends up in the genealogy of Christ in Mathew 1 but it doesn’t stop there! We see her name in Hebrews 11, also known as the hall of faith.  How did she end up there?  Here you have Abraham, the patriarch of the faith, Moses the deliverer, Noah the one who was righteous and was saved, and then you go down to verse 31 and there is Rahab the prostitute.  HOW DID SHE END UP THERE!  Listen you belong, don’t let people make you feel that because of your past, because you didn’t grow up in a  Christian home, because you don’t have the same resume as they did, that God cannot use you.  Don’t let them make you think that you don’t belong.  YES YOU DO! The blood of Jesus makes it possible for us to break free from our pass and have a seat at the table!

It’s not our past that disqualifies us, its our unwillingness to receive the new that Jesus wants to do in us.

  • 2 Corinthians 5:17: If any man is in Christ, He is a new creation, old things are passed away, all things have become new (Rahab’s story testifies to this fact)

  • The next time the devil reminds you of your past remind him of his future. Revelations 20:10 says that he will be cast into the lake of fire. The devil has no chance to be redeemed but he knows that you do.

  • Don’t be a hater. Don’t hold people’s pass over their heads like the devil does.

    • Make sure we are not excluding the very ones God wants us to include. God’s heart is to go after the one

      • The one who Is lost

      • The one who is broken

      • The one who is a liar

      • The one who is a cheater

      • The one who is an abuser

       When God gets the one, he forgives him and promotes him!

  •      Don’t make church into a country club for the elite or at least the ones that look like it but make it a family gathering for the broken people who have been redeemed and accepted!

Tell your redemption story.  In others words testify of what God has done and how he delivered you. 

  • Your testimony will have an impact on others. Share your testimony!

  • Rahab was the mother of Boaz. Boaz was Ruth’s kinsman redeemer. Ruth was a foreigner. 

  • Rahab must have told her story to her son Boaz.  Boaz didn’t despise Ruth, he was probably aware of his mother’s testimony of being a foreigner among the Israelites. Boaz probably heard of how God redeemed his mother’s life and thought if God can do it for my mother, he certainly can do it for Ruth. 

  • Don’t be afraid to tell your story of how God has delivered you.  Has the Lord redeemed you, then speak up and tell others He has redeemed you from the hands of the enemy (Psalm 107:2).

  • One of the best ways to know you are delivered from shame is your ability to share where God has brought you from.

 

The Fab 5. Road to Redemption Part 1

Pastor Tyrone preached from the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1:1-17. In this message, “The Fab 5,” he focuses on the story and lessons learned from the 5 women listed in this genealogy. Below are the text and notes.

  Text: Mathew 1:1-17

This is a record of the ancestors of Jesus the Messiah, a descendant of David and of Abraham[a]:

Abraham was the father of Isaac.
Isaac was the father of Jacob.
Jacob was the father of Judah and his brothers.
Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah (whose mother was Tamar).
Perez was the father of Hezron.
Hezron was the father of Ram.[b]
Ram was the father of Amminadab.
Amminadab was the father of Nahshon.
Nahshon was the father of Salmon.
Salmon was the father of Boaz (whose mother was Rahab).
Boaz was the father of Obed (whose mother was Ruth).
Obed was the father of Jesse.
Jesse was the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon (whose mother was Bathsheba, the widow of Uriah).
Solomon was the father of Rehoboam.
Rehoboam was the father of Abijah.
Abijah was the father of Asa.[c]
Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat.
Jehoshaphat was the father of Jehoram.[d]
Jehoram was the father[e] of Uzziah.
Uzziah was the father of Jotham.
Jotham was the father of Ahaz.
Ahaz was the father of Hezekiah.
10 Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh.
Manasseh was the father of Amon.[f]
Amon was the father of Josiah.
11 Josiah was the father of Jehoiachin[g] and his brothers (born at the time of the exile to Babylon).
12 After the Babylonian exile:
Jehoiachin was the father of Shealtiel.
Shealtiel was the father of Zerubbabel.
13 Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud.
Abiud was the father of Eliakim.
Eliakim was the father of Azor.
14 Azor was the father of Zadok.
Zadok was the father of Akim.
Akim was the father of Eliud.
15 Eliud was the father of Eleazar.
Eleazar was the father of Matthan.
Matthan was the father of Jacob.
16 Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary.
Mary gave birth to Jesus, who is called the Messiah.

17 All those listed above include fourteen generations from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the Babylonian exile, and fourteen from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah.

 Purpose of Gospels: Why are there different accounts? Differ in structure, chronology

1.     No gospel is meant to give you an exhaustive list about Jesus

2.     Each Gospel writer had a target audience and a specific agenda.

a.      Matthew clearly writes to a Jewish audience to authenticate Jesus as the Messiah

  • Matthew links Jesus to Moses!

  • Matthew wants the Jews to know that Jesus is a prophet just like Moses but even greater! 

  • Matthew begins his gospel differently than other gospel writers

 3. Starts with the genealogy of Jesus Christ because genealogies were IMPORTANT to the Jews. For the Jews, your destiny was often determined by your genealogy

  • Couldn’t be priest if you couldn’t trace lineage to the tribe of Levi

  • Couldn’t be King if you couldn’t trace back to David

  • Couldn’t be a Jew if you couldn’t track back to Abraham.

4. In order to understand the redemptive work of Jesus, I must understand His genealogy. Must understand where he came from, must understand his kinfolks

  •       Mathew includes the names of 5 women in the genealogy of Jesus(Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, Mary)

  •      This went against the Patriarchal male dominated society of the time.  To demonstrate your importance, one typically linked himself to the men not the women! Women were considered as property and weren’t deemed as very important.

  • By listing these 5 women, Mathew demonstrates that there is no way to tell the story of God’s grace if you don’t include the women!

The 5 women that Matthew included in Jesus’ genealogy did not have the best resume!

·       None of them were considered successful according to the culture’s standard

·       All of them had some scandal attached to them

1.     Tamar (Genesis 38). Tamar played the harlot and slept with her father in law Judah and conceived twin sons, Perez and Zerah. Both her sons became ancestors of King David and Jesus!

2.      Rahab (Joshua 2). Rahab was a prostitute that helped the two Israelites spies as they spied out Jericho. Her life was spared and she married an Israelite, Salmon.  From their union came Boaz. Their son Boaz married Ruth and became the father of Obed, the grandfather of Jesse, and the great-grandfather of King David.

3.     Ruth (Book of Ruth).  Ruth was Moabite/foreigner who followed the advice of her mother in law Naomi.  She married Boaz and had Obed.

4.     Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11).  Bathsheba was the wife of Uriah who slept with King David. Bathsheba conceived a child but the child died. David and Bathesheba had 4 children, one of them was King Solomon.

5.     Mary (Luke 1).  Mary was a teenage girl engaged to be married to Joseph but ends up getting pregnant before she got married. People must have thought she was crazy when she shared what the angel told her in Luke 1:35, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. that she conceived after the Holy Spirit

 

5 Fabulous Points

1. God can save anybody!

2. God can use anybody!

3. God can work through anything! God can work in any situation!

4. God can redeem my story!

·       God can redeem any story!

o   Once Jesus enters on our resume, things can change!

5. God can change the course of my destiny! God can give anyone a testimony!

 

1st POINT: God can save anybody!

  • We must be careful not to disqualify others because of their past mistakes.  God wants to save and redeem! Don’t disqualify others from the goodness of God.

 

2nd Point:  God can use anyone!

  • God can use anyone.  It doesn’t matter what people think or say about you.

  • God picks people that others may think are unqualified

  • God picks and uses flawed people to show forth his glory

  • People will try to disqualify you based on your flaws!

  • People will try to disqualify you based on your past!

  • Why does God use flawed folks? Because that is all he has to choose from, we are all flawed!  All of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God! (Romans 3:23)

  • I am not perfect or without sin, but God chooses to still use me.

3rd Point: God can work through anything!

  •     According to the standards of man, the 5 women listed in the genealogy had something that would have disqualified them from being used by God.

  •   It doesn’t matter how ugly, messed up, or broken it is, God can still work through anything!

  • In the genealogy of Jesus, we see sexual scandal, deliberate disobedience, 70 years of exile, captivity, conspiracy to commit murder, the destruction of temple, etc.  However, God worked through all of that to bring forth the birth of Jesus! God can work through anything!

  • No matter what is going on or what is going wrong in my life, God can work through it for His glory.

  • When I repent, God can also work through my mistakes!

4th Point: God can redeem any story!

  •    God can move in ways that add value to the life that looked like it was worthless

  • After I put Jesus on my resume, I am NO LONGER Defined by my sin.

  • When I accept Jesus as my Lord, He redeems my story!

 5th Point: God can change the course of my destiny!

  • People may know your history, but only God can determine your destiny!

  • You may have been going down the wrong path, but when God redeems our life, the course of our destiny is changed!

How Do I Say Thanks?

Pastor Tyrone taught from Psalm 116, and the sermon title was, “How Do I Say Thanks?” Below is the text and sermon notes.

I love the Lord because he hears my voice
    and my prayer for mercy.
Because he bends down to listen,
    I will pray as long as I have breath!
Death wrapped its ropes around me;
    the terrors of the grave[a] overtook me.
    I saw only trouble and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
    “Please, Lord, save me!”
How kind the Lord is! How good he is!
    So merciful, this God of ours!
The Lord protects those of childlike faith;
    I was facing death, and he saved me.
Let my soul be at rest again,
    for the Lord has been good to me.
He has saved me from death,
    my eyes from tears,
    my feet from stumbling.
And so I walk in the Lord’s presence
    as I live here on earth!
10 I believed in you, so I said,
    “I am deeply troubled, Lord.”
11 In my anxiety I cried out to you,
    “These people are all liars!”
12 What can I offer the Lord
    for all he has done for me?
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
    and praise the Lord’s name for saving me.

14 I will keep my promises to the Lord
    in the presence of all his people.

15 The Lord cares deeply
    when his loved ones die.
16 O Lord, I am your servant;
    yes, I am your servant, born into your household;
    you have freed me from my chains.
17 I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving
    and call on the name of the Lord.
18 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
    in the presence of all his people—
19 in the house of the Lord
    in the heart of Jerusalem.

Praise the Lord!

 

Psalms 116: The psalmist is reflecting and thinking about what the Lord has done

·       The Psalmist declares that when we serve God, there are some BENEFITS!

 Benefit #1: God answers prayers!

·       A God that answers prayers is a BENEFIT.

·       Verses 1-2 I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!

·       God answer prayers even when we don’t know what to pray sometimes

·       God answered some of my prayers even when I messed up. He didn’t give me what I deserve.

·       God goes above my petition. (verse 7)

·       God does not do the bare minimum when He answers my prayers, He goes above my petition

·       Paul says, God does exceedingly abundantly above what I think

o   Ephesians 3:20 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,

·       When I ask God for a little, he goes above my petition!

·       When I ask for just enough, he gives abundance!

 Reflection question:  List at least two prayers that you prayed that God answered.

 Benefit #2: God shows me mercy! (Mercy is a form of kindness)

·       Verse 5: How kind the Lord is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours!

·       The Lord has been merciful towards me.

·       The Psalmist knows that he has messed up, he has fallen short, but God still forgave him!

·       He didn’t do right, but God!

·       We have been the recipients of mercy!

·       My resume is filled with mistakes, but the Lord didn’t give me everything I deserved!

 Reflection question:  How have you received the mercy of God in your life?

 Benefit #3: God has kept and protected me! (verse 6 & 8)

·       The Lord protects those of childlike faith;  I was facing death, and he saved me

·       He has saved me from death my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.

·       The Lord protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and he saved me. Let my soul be at rest again,  for the Lord has been good to me. He has saved me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.

·       .The Lord has kept me!

·       The Lord has delivered me!

·       God has been my protector!

 Benefit #4: God has delivered me! (verse 16)

·       16 O Lord, I am your servant, yes, I am your servant, born into your household;
    you have freed me from my chains.

·       The psalmist reflects on how God delivered him from his chains that had him imprisoned.

·       Chains: things that had me tied up, that I was bound to that I couldn’t get free from on my own. God delivered me.

·       Chains: addictions, illicit lifestyle, drugs, alcohol, sexual immorality, destructive decision making, destructive behavior.

Reflection Question:  What chains has God broken for you?

 What shall I render to this God who has given me so many benefits?

·       Psalmist ask this question in verse 12, “How can I say thanks? What shall I render to this good God of mine?”

·       When I think of what the Lord has done, what can I do for that God?

 

 Ways to say thank you. How can I say thanks? What shall I give to God?

1.     Take the cup of salvation

a.      12 What can I offer the Lord for all he has done for me?
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
    and praise the Lord’s name for saving me.

b.     Take the cup of salvation

c.      In order to truly give thanks, I must take the cup of salvation

          i.     Accept the offer of salvation that has been made available to me and you!

          ii.     Drink from the cup of the forgiveness of sins

          iii.     Develop a relationship with the Lord

          iv.     Receive the offer of eternal life

          v.     Surrender my soul to the lordship of Jesus Christ

 

d.     Here is an analogy to make this point clear.  When you are invited to a home, you express gratitude by receiving what is offered. When someone makes a sacrifice for you, it is your responsibility to receive what they put on the table.

e.      The cup of salvation is when God put flesh on His son Jesus, and He walked this earth and eventually died a gruesome death on the cross for our salvation.

f.       Jesus offered his life for the propitiation of sins.

2.     Don’t just take the cup of salvation, but lift up the cup of salvation

a.      How do I say thank you Lord? How do I show that I am grateful?

b.     It is not enough to say the sinner’s prayer, we must lift up the cup of salvation

c.      12 What can I offer the Lord for all he has done for me?
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
    and praise the Lord’s name for saving me.

d.     Not enough to receive the cup of salvation but lift it up!

e.      When we lift something up, we make it visible.

f.       When we lift something up, it is not hidden.

g.     When we lift something up, everyone around us knows and can see it.

h.     When we lift up the cup of salvation, we ae not ashamed to let the world know that Jesus’ blood saved us and that He is our Lord.

i.       Lifting up the cup of salvation means that you are not a secret agent Christian and are not ashamed to let people know you are saved!

j.       Lifting up the cup is not just about you wearing a WWJD, fish symbol, or a cross.

k.     Lifting up the cup of salvation means you are going public!

l.       Lifting up the cup of salvation is how you are embracing the crucified life of Jesus. How you are denying yourself and living in a way that pleases the Lord.

m.    Lifting up the cup of salvation means you are not a chameleon!

n.     A chameleon blends into his/her environment

o.     We are called to be anti-chameleons for Christ. 

p.     We are not thankful if we are not lifting up the cup of salvation

3.     How do I say thanks? I’m going to call on the name of the Lord!

a.      The psalmist says I’m going to say thanks by taking the cup of salvation, lifting up the cup of salvation, and calling on the name of the Lord.

b.     One of the ways that I show my gratitude is to continually call on the name of the Lord in prayer.

c.      His testimony in verse 1 is that God answers his prayers, he recognizes the power in prayer.

d.     Prayer should be my first option, not my last.

 

4.     I will keep my promises to the Lord.

a.      14 I will keep my promises to the Lord in the presence of all his people.

b.     Keeping my promises is a way to say, “Lord I thank you!”

Reflection Question: What promises have you made to the Lord?

 

5.     I will offer a sacrifice of Thanksgiving

a.      17 I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord. 18 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people-19 in the house of the Lord in the heart of Jerusalem.

b.     Sometimes giving thanks is not easy to do.

c.      Sometimes giving thanks is a SACRIFICE.

d.     Sometimes life is so busy and so difficult that giving thanks is very difficult.

e.      Psalmist says that I’m going to thank him even if I don’t feel like it, even if things haven’t been working out, I’m going to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving!

Reflection Question: Do you only give thanks when you “feel” it?

 

 

 

Are you Thankful?

Are you thankful?          

Pastor Tyrone preached a powerful message this Sunday on the thought, “Are you Thankful?”  Below are the text, notes, and questions for reflection.

 Text: Luke 17:11-19 NLT

11 As Jesus continued toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. 12 As he entered a village there, ten men with leprosy stood at a distance, 13 crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

14 He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.”And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.

15 One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!”

 16 He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.17 Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine?

 18 Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.[c]”

 Leprosy in Biblical times

Leprosy was a skin disease and those who had it were excommunicated from society.

 "The person with such an infectious disease must wear torn clothes, let his hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of his face and cry out, 'Unclean! Unclean!' As long as he has the infection he remains unclean. He must live alone; he must live outside the camp" (Leviticus 13:45-46).

 

 Healing happens when we do what God instructs us to do.

  • The ten lepers cried out to Jesus and asked Him to have mercy on them.

  • Jesus instructed them to go and show themselves to the priest because it was the priest’s job to look over the lepers and determine if they could be re-admitted into society.

  • As the lepers obeyed the instructions of Jesus, they were healed.

  • When they obeyed the word of the master, leprosy began to disappear.

  • Every step of obedience that they took made their situation improve.

  • The lepers operated in FAITH as they began to take steps to get to the priest. They didn’t argue with Jesus and tell Him it didn’t make sense to go and show themselves to the priest when they were clearly still lepers.  They moved in faith and Jesus responded to their faith and healed them.

  • When we operate in FAITH, when we lean and depend on Jesus, miracles happen!

  • When we follow Jesus’ instructions our situation improves

Reflection Question:  Are you in a difficult place right now?  Have you obeyed the instructions God has given you?  Are you focused on being BOTH a hearer and doer of the word? Do you find that you wait until it makes sense before you obey?

 

Giving thanks vs. being thankful

All ten lepers were healed but only one decided to come back.  This one leper realized that Jesus wasn’t obligated to heal him. This realization made this leper return and he didn’t just say “thank you,” his actions demonstrated thanksgiving.

  • There is a difference between saying thanks and being thankful

  •   Many say thanks, but how many of us live in such a way where our actions demonstrate that we are thankful.

  •    Anyone can say thanks, but my life should exhibit gratitude to the one who has given to me the gift of life

  •     Difference between thanksgiving and thankful living!

Reflection Question: Take inventory of your recent actions.  Are you in the habit of  JUST saying “thank you” or do your actions demonstrate that you are truly thankful for all that God has done?

 

A thankful person walks in humility!

Philippians 2:3-4 gives us the perfect definition of Humility: a willingness to put others before yourself; not looking out only for your own interest but consider others as well. A truly humble person is also filled with thanksgiving because they recognize that all the glory belongs to God.  They didn’t make things happen on their own.  The one leper who returned demonstrated true humility when he came back to demonstrate how thankful he was.

  •   This leper demonstrated true humility when he returned and threw himself at Jesus’ feet.

  •    This leper did not think he was too good to come back. He realized that he didn’t get healed because of his own merits, it was only because of the grace and mercy of God. He took the time to humble himself before the one who showed him mercy.

  •     When we are humble, we don’t try to take credit for what Jesus has done nor do we ignore it, we come back and show how thankful we really are.

Reflection Question:  Have you been taking credit for things that God has done by not coming back to tell God thank you and living a life that demonstrates thanksgiving?

 A thankful person knows how to give thanks, how to praise God!

  • Saying thanks is a form of WORSHIP!

  •    You cannot say you are thankful and not express it through praising God.

  •     In verse 15 of the text, the lepers make a loud request to be healed.  After he received his healing, one leper came back with a loud voice of thanksgiving!

  • His “thank you” was louder than his request.

  •   His prayer led to his praise. My prayer should always lead to my praise.

Reflection Question:  Do you only spend time asking God for things or do you also spend time giving prayers of thanksgiving?

 A thankful person blesses God wherever God blesses him.

There are many suggestions as to why the other 9 did not return. Some say the other 9 were thankful but they were just waiting until the right time to express that gratitude. Some say the other 9 were waiting until they got into the Temple to give God thanks. However, the one who returned was willing to bless God in the very place that God had blessed Him!  He was not going to wait for the “perfect” scenario or place to offer thanksgiving!

  •  God blesses many of us and we don’t give Him the thanks that He deserves right there and then.  We feel that we can’t give God thanks unless we are in the sanctuary and the choir is singing our favorite song. 

  •    Wherever God displays his power is where I am going to display my praise!

Reflection Question:  Is it easy for you to bless God in the same place that he has blessed you?

  A Thankful person returns to the Lord, even when they don’t want anything!

The one leper who returned received what He wanted from God, but he still returned to say thank you. We must have the same mindset of returning to God even when we have received what we wanted.

  •    God wants us to come to Him even when we have received what we wanted.

  •     Many come to God to get from Him but not to be with Him.

  •     He wants to be in fellowship with us

  •     When things are well, I should still run to God!

  •     Our mindset should be, “God you have been so good to me and I have to come back to be with you, just to worship you!”

  • Thankful saints come to church even when they don’t want anything from God.

  • Thankful saints STILL pray when all is well, and there is no pressing need.

  • Thankful people STILL press to read and study the bible even when they are not in a fire.

Reflection Question:  Do you only run to God when you want something?

 A Thankful person gets closer to the Lord!

  • Initially his leprous condition kept him distant from Jesus, but when he came back to say thank you, His praise put Him at the feet of Jesus!

  • Our praise brings us into God’s presence, praise makes us closer to God!

Reflection Question:  Do you feel distant from God?  Have you considered offering up thanksgiving to Him to get into His presence? Is it difficult for you to offer thanksgiving to God?

 

 

 

 

Going After Progress

Pastor Tyrone taught on the thought, “Going After Progress,” and used Philippians 3:10-14 as his text.  The notes are below.

 Philippians 3:10-14 NLT

 10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11 so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!

12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,[a] but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

 Pressing: move or cause to move into a position of contact with something by exerting continuous physical force. To continue in one's action.

 GROWTH is a sign that we are in good health. When our children were infants, we had to take them to the doctor every month.  The primary reason was to measure their growth, and a lack of growth was reason for concern. Growth was an expectation, not an exception. 

The same is true for our walk with God.  He expects growth from His children. It is problematic if we remain in the same place.  Our understanding of God’s word should deepen. As time progresses, we should know more than “Jesus wept.”

·        Our faith and knowledge of God should grow with time.

·       We must get out of shallow waters and launch into the deep.

·        Our trust in Him should increase causing doubt to be a thing of the past.

 How do we measure our growth in God? Notice I didn’t say, how do measure our growth in church, nor our growth in religion, but how do we measure our growth in our relationship with God? Our ability to press will determine our level of growth. Are we pressing?

 In this text, Paul writes to the church in Philippi telling them that since he has not crossed the finish line, that he has to keep on pressing, he must keep on growing.  The same is true for us today.

 Obstacles that keep us from pressing/growing in God

1. Your past- past sinful behavior, mistakes and relationships can hold us hostage. We need to leave these things in our past and press forward. Don’t allow condemnation for past sins to hold you, repent and press ahead!

 2. Past progress/victories –Earlier on in Philippians 3:5-6 Paul lists his resume from the past.  He says if anyone has a reason to boast, he certainly does.  He was, “circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.” However, he realizes that those things mean nothing.  Paul recognizes that there is something greater that is before him if he presses.  That greater is the finished line, the prize in Christ that is awaiting him.

 It is easy to highlight our victories, religious activities and accolades from the past and become complacent. While our past accomplishments may have been great, there is still greater in front of us.  We must hunger for more of God and press to the finish line.

 It is important to note that religious activities are not synonymous with growth in Christ. There is a difference between being in church and being in Christ.  God desires for us to be in relationship with Him.  This means that our worship should not be restricted to church attendance and activities.  God never intended for church to be the primary and only place of worship. Worship should start in the home, and not restricted to Sunday. As a matter of fact, true worshippers’ worship during the week and church is just a culmination of what they have been practicing during the week. 

How is my growth in Christ measured?

1.     My willingness to sacrifice

a.      How much do I give up for God’s will to be accomplished in my life?

b.     Jesus said, if anyone wants to follow me, they must deny themselves, and pick up their cross daily. That is a true sign of a disciple of Christ.

c.      How much do I sacrifice for Jesus?

d.     How much am I willing to say “no” to myself and my selfish ambitions and say “yes” to the will of God?

e.      Do I give of my time, talent and treasure to God or are they all used to fulfill my own agenda?

f.       Am I willing to be inconvenienced for the sake of Christ? 

2.     Do I share Christ with others or am I ashamed?

a.      All believers have been called to fulfill the Great Commission, to go and make disciples of all nations (Mathew 28:19).

b.     Share our testimony, not just in words but through our actions.

c.      You don’t need to have a degree in theology to share Jesus

d.     Sharing Christ is not limited to answering people’s questions or even sharing our testimony. It also includes our action, our ability to forgive, our ability to love, etc.

e.      We share whatever we are excited about and if we are embarrassed about something, we keep it to ourselves. Mark 8:38 reminds us that if we are ashamed of Jesus before men, He will be ashamed of us before His father. 

3.     Am I committed to studying the life of Christ?

a.      How much time do we spend studying the bible?

b.     It is impossible to grow in God without studying His Word.

c.      We must be intentional about setting aside time to daily study the word of God.

d.     Commit scriptures to memory.

e.      Knowing the Word builds our faith, gives us wisdom and hope.

f.       Word of God will increase your appetite for more of God

g.     Word of God will deepen your ability to discern truth

h.     Word of God will give you joy

i.       Word of God will give you a backbone not a wishbone

j.       Word of God will give you a greater understanding of your purpose

k.     Word of God provides direction.

 4.     Silent time to pray and to hear His voice.

a.      Prayer is crucial!  We cannot grow without having that time to speak to God and waiting to hear His response.

b.     Prayer is a great expression of our faith in God and our love for Him.

c.      Prayer changes situations

d.     Prayer changes us. Wrong mindsets and attitudes are changed in prayer.  The more we pray the more we reflect the image of God.

e.      Prayer helps us to hear the voice of God amid so many voices.

f.       The devil knows how powerful prayer is and that is why he resist us in this area.

g.     Don’t just pray when you need something.  Don’t use prayer only as a means of getting something from God or getting us out of trouble.  He wants to be in constant fellowship with us.

h.     It is good to make it a habit to get into prayer before we start our day.

Before all the business and clutter closes in on us, we should spend time with God in prayer.

 

5.     Show the love of Christ?

a.      John 13:35 tells us that the world will know we are followers of Christ by the way we love each other.  John 3:16 tells us that God loved the world so much that He sent His son to die for their sins.  We are called to demonstrate the love of Christ, even to those we deem as unlovable.  We are called to love those who may not look, or act like us.

b.     Our growth is measured by our ability to walk in love, not by our church attendance or even our ability to just quote scripture.

c.     1 Corinthians 13:13, says that the greatest is LOVE!

d.      How can we claim to be in union with a loving God and be mean and selfish?

e.       The Lord will reveal ways for us to show HIS LOVE, just ask Him.

 

6.     Am I submitted to Christ?

a.      Submit: accept or yield to the authority or will of another person.  Submission is simply surrendering our all to Christ and yielding to His authority.

b.     In Matthew 10:39 Jesus says, “If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.”

c.      Am I completely submitted to God in all areas of my life, or do I pick and choose based on what is convenient and comfortable?

d.     Am I giving my entire life to Him?

Prize for pressing

 Finally, we must remember that there is a reason to press.  There is a reason to pursue growth.

The last part of the text (Philippians 3:14) reminds us that there is a prize awaiting us when we press, when we pursue progress.  That prize is the privilege to spend eternity with our savior.  KEEP PURSING PROGRESS, THE END PRIZE IS WELL WORTH IT!