The world around us is changing in major ways...And at incredible speeds!
Technology & information are exploding exponentially. Changing and shaping our world almost daily. Religious and moral views are shifting rapidly worldwide...
Bringing radical changes in our social, cultural, & legal norms.
Fears and threats of...Food and energy shortages...Global weather changes and natural disasters...And more emerging infectious diseases...Fill headlines and news reports daily.
Wars, threats of wars, and shifting nation alignments...Bring new instability in many parts of the world.
Some of the most well-meaning Christians today...Will take every piece of news... Or fake news... Which comes out...And try to distort or exaggerate it…To fit another Biblical prophecy...Or give another presumed date of Christ's Return!
Often bringing discredit to God's Word...And bringing constant fear and anxiety to believers!
This message will change your life or offend you. Others don’t know what you’ve been through, but you don’t know what they’ve been through either. We are going to let the message introduce itself as we study today.
Let's start with a well known Parable of Jesus which He taught during the Sermon on the Mount: Matthew 7:24-27. Jesus is talking about the very foundation of a man or woman—what supports everything they build their very life upon—and He says that His principles and ways are like an immovable rock that cannot be shaken, but that if we build on anything else it is like the sand and we will fall. To fully grasp what we will be discussing today, let's first answer this question: Why does sand fail as a foundation? When rain and floodwaters come, what happens to the sandy foundation? Parts of it wash away with the current and the remaining foundation is moved and shaped by the flow of the water until it's shifted, washed out, weakened state no longer holds. A sandy foundation is constantly effected by the outside forces surrounding it.
We have spent the last four weeks in a Series...Dedicated to giving a Biblically solid beginning to New Christians! Because even with good intentions...We often fall short of giving new believers a proper start...In their New Life with Christ!
Today we will cover one last subject...Which seems to be the biggest issue for Christians old & new...In our CURRENT culture!...And that is... "Exactly what is the Church's role?" And, "WHY is it important that I even attend?"
We have become an increasingly "recluse" society...Able to socialize, shop, play, study and work…From our own homes! Due to this trend... Along with the lingering impact of Covid...Many people legitimately question WHY...They cannot do the same thing with their FAITH!
We are in the fourth and most practical part of our five-part series, which has been designed to introduce, and disciple new Christians in their walk with Jesus Christ; to bring newcomers up to speed with our series. Thus far we have studied: 1) exactly what happens when we "accept Christ" as our Savior (because it is a much bigger picture than most realize.) 2) what our new identity becomes through Jesus—the love, worth, oneness—He died to lavish on us. 3) Sin—what it really is, why it is so horrible, and how to resist it. Now we will study something that will be of tremendous help to most Christians, new and old today. We will place Scriptures into a contextual guideline to give practical, literal steps to take in establishing the new life God would have us to live on our new journey with Him because it is natural to feel intimidated and overwhelmed when making a decision that changes the entire course of your life. Truth be told, many of us "long time" Christians will benefit greatly from this study because a number of us have simply been existing, rather than growing and thriving in His salvation. So far, we have gone deep into how our hearts and souls should change after salvation. Now, we will explore very practical ways in which our thoughts, actions, and very life should follow.
Has anyone ever done an a DNA test? I recently read about a Pastor in Rockville, Maryland--Jay Speights—who took one of these tests to learn of his heritage. After learning about his DNA, he followed up on branches of his family tree to find relatives. He discovered that he actually had royal blood in his veins all along, and was the "Royal Descendant" of King Deka in the Country of Benin, of West Africa (13.7 million people). The pastor traveled to Benin to see his new found family, and was met at the airport with dancing and music. He was later enthroned, given crowns and a white robe to signify the work he had been doing as a "Holy man." He was then given a new name by his family—Videkon Deka—which means, "the child who came back." Pastor Speights said, "I thought I was going to go, hang out with the family, do some sightseeing, but this is something else."
We are in the third week of a Series called, "I Have Decided!" Designed to firmly root a New Disciple of Jesus... A New Convert...In their Whole New World of Knowing and Serving Christ!
Probably more times than not... A new Christian…Is often left to flounder and wonder...What did I just do?...How have I changed?...Where do I go from here to please Him?
With many falling into dark, selfish twists of Doctrine today...And many others... Never learning Who Christ really is... Never learning how to draw close to Him, or trust Him...And because they are not deeply connected and rooted in Him...
They quickly go back to the world for their comfort and joy!
Jesus COMMANDED us to DISCIPLE others... Not just get DECISIONS! He Called us to teach and grow His Beloveds…In His Love and Ways!
Many here today as brand new Christians... Or after many years...Have never received that foundational direction ourselves! Much less... Feeling we know where to start in discipling another!
Thus far... Our Study has revealed:
Exactly what it really means to "Accept Christ!"
What our "NEW IDENTITY" becomes as a Beloved of Christ...
As a New Child of God's Kingdom!
Bought with His Very Own Blood... In Love!
Let me ask all of you... If you had the same experience I had when you came to know Christ?!
I had many people talking to me about…"Accepting Christ as my Savior"... For a long time! But once I DID actually believe and trust Jesus as my Savior...
I DIDN'T have...Many of those same people...To lead, disciple, or teach me about what I was to do next! Or stress to me…Just how utterly life-altering this decision was to be...By drastically changing everything about...How I viewed life, thought about myself and others!
It was kind of like, "Whew! He's safe!... Now let's focus on the next one!"
The "lucky ones" sometimes get the training of..."Now go read your Bible... Start in the Book of John!"
It's not that people don't care at all!! Some just feel that once you are saved, God will show you the way...And others don't feel they have the knowledge or maturity...And still others... Just aren't able to commit to the time and effort!
We have a toilet bowl at the house that started to show a little leak around the bottom of the bowl. The donut ring seal had gone bad. I pulled the bowl from the floor and changed the seal. Just a few days later, it was leaking again and now notably rocking. I pulled it out again and found it had been leaking under the toilet for many weeks before it became noticeable outwardly. Now the foundation (floor) was warped and no matter how many times the seal was changed, it was no good. Why? No seal can work if it's on a broken foundation. It had been looking nice on the outside the whole time, but the mess that was seeping through had destroyed the inside. Jesus had a similar Parable in His days—actually even more harsh and dirty than this one: Matthew 23:27-28, 33. Jesus preached to people of all social and moral classes, from filthy rich to filthy beggars on the street; from extremely religious to the scum of the city. But by far with which group do we see that He was the most forceful and angry? The Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes—those with the most truth in their heads and lives. Those who outwardly lived much more righteous and productive lives. Those who morally felt just a little better than the sinners around them. Since we happen to look most like this group today, shouldn't we look very closely at exactly "why?" Jesus was so frustrated and urgent with them? The comparison just might take us as much by surprise as it did that contented and upstanding group in Jesus' day.
How many here have ever watched an older person unwrapping a Christmas gift…Being slow and deliberate...Making everyone go nuts waiting!
We’ve studied… Through this Christmas Season…How the Gift Jesus Brought at His Birth…Was slowly and meticulously unwrapped throughout His Life!! With every Trait of the Father He Taught and Showed…With every Human Experience He Lived… For us!
Now… How many have ever wrapped a Christmas Gift for a toddler...And after watching them struggle...With trying to opening the package for a while...You had to practically unwrap their gift for them?
Well on this Christmas Morn...We will soon see how God the Father...Helped us tear open the biggest Gift He could Give us as well!
Let's go back six months before the sweet young Virgin Mary was even visited by Gabriel... And read about an Awesome Event…That began the whole Christmas Story... With an old priest named Zacharias!
The first thing we need to examine...As we learn about Jesus' Temptations...Is whether Jesus COULD actually even BE Tempted in Reality...With the actual Potential of choosing against God's Will! (Peccable) Or was He Tempted in symbolism only?! Incapable of Sinning! (Impeccable)
Many scholars are split on this subject...And the answer greatly affects how we view...Christ's Sufferings IN these Temptations! SO... It is well worth taking a moment to explore! I personally feel the answer is overwhelming…Based upon Scriptural Evidence we read!
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