Playing our Part “Why we share the Gospel” May 29, 2016

Evangelism 2 Title.2 Luke 24:36-53

Why do we share the Gospel message?

In society there are two kinds of people, those who cannot stay in the same place for any length of time and those who dread uprooting and moving to another house, or city. Most people cannot imagine what it would be like to move to another country. This is the way God has wired us, neither is good or bad. Which of the two describes you? And what is your part to play in the mission of the church?

Last week one of our church members left for Cameroon and in a few weeks a team will be following her. Why do we go to foreign lands? For most people this is illogical, crazy even wasteful. Some would say that if you are going to travel to a foreign land, at least go to an exotic location, but not an African village with no running water? There must be a compelling reason for us to go?

In Luke 24 we read Luke’s account of Jesus revealing his resurrection to his disciples. He is alive! As the disciples are talking, Jesus appears in the room. It must have been frightening, Jesus simply appears out of thin air! Jesus begins to calm their fears and shows them his hands and feet, the scars, the real skin and bones. The fact that Jesus rose from the dead changed everything for them, and it means everything to us.  If he didn’t rise from the dead, the early church would never had started, and there would be no church and no hope.

Jesus proved that he was alive, by showing the disciples his hands and his feet, and allowing them to touch him.  But what proof does the world around us have that Jesus is alive? The reality is that according to the word of God, the world needs to look no further than you and me to see evidence of the risen Lord. Our testimony should be one of a changed life, a different way of living. Let your story be known, so that people will believe in the risen Lord (see Colossians 1:27).

Jesus begins to teach them, he explains the scriptures to them, in that day the Old Testament was established and recognized. This is what Jesus had just done for the two disciples on the road to Emmaus as we read in verse 27.

As Jesus teaches them, he opens their minds so they could understand the scriptures, they were able to fully grasp Jesus in the Old Testament, what an amazing revelation that must have been.

Jesus goes on to tells them the wonderful Gospel message, verse 46; “He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day.” Jesus shows them that the Gospel is prophesied in the Old Testament, this is it!

Jesus continues by declaring that repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name (Jesus’ name) to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem. Matthew records this in what we call the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). This Gospel message, this message of salvation, is for all nations, every ethnic group and tribe.

Great Commission

The Great commission is not just for the disciples who were in the room that day, it is for all believers throughout all of history. It is not just for those who are trained as pastors and evangelists, or missionaries, it is for all who believe that Jesus Christ is Lord.

In verse 49, Jesus tells his disciples to wait, they were not yet ready, they needed one more thing. They needed to power of the Holy Spirit in order to go.  Jesus knew that if they had gone out in their own strength they would have failed, they needed the Holy Spirit to lead in the mission.

We also cannot expect any fruit from the Gospel message without the Holy Spirit. We rely on his leadership and equipping as we share the Gospel message to the world around us. Note Jesus says, “be clothed”, be covered up with the Holy Spirit. Not just take a drink of the Holy Spirit, but be completely covered by the Holy Spirit, so that when you go, you will go in power. Just like being unclothed leaves one naked and vulnerable, without being clothed in the Holy Spirit, we are naked and vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy.

So we have the message, the Gospel of Jesus Christ – we have the empowering Holy Spirit – and we have the commission, the Great Commission. We have to go!

 boarding pass

Where is God calling you to go? Your home? Your neighbor? Your workplace? The streets of the city? Maybe God is calling you to the ends of the earth. We highlight and celebrate the international missionaries, and that is good, but we need to remember that the missionary who is led by the Holy Spirit to reach his neighbor or co-worker is just as important and valuable in the Kingdom of God.

You may say, I don’t have the ability? Have you clothed yourself with power from heaven? Of course you don’t have the ability, but be clothed with the Holy Spirit, it is a promise of God that we need to pray for.

You may say, I don’t have the means? Who is it who is inviting you to go? The maker of heaven and earth, the creator and sustainer of all things? Where He leads you to go, He will provide.

If you know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and savior, you are called to go.

Playing Our Part – The “What” of Evangelism. May 22, 2016

Evangelism 1 Title.2

Romans 1:14-17

It is so important to step back and refocus, to remind ourselves why we exist as a church and why do we do missions and evangelism. Why do we do what we do as a church?

As we look at evangelism over the next 4 weeks, we will look at the “what” of evangelism, the “Why” of evangelism, the “How” of evangelism and the “When” of evangelism.


Starting with the “what”

What is the story, what is the message?

The Apostle Paul was also on a mission to Rome, he was obsessed and passionate to let the people of Rome hear the Gospel message. In verse 14 we read that Paul was obligated. Actually a better translation of what Paul says, is that he is a debtor to all men. Paul encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9), and now he was appointed by God to be a mouthpiece, a herald, an evangelist, someone who was compelled to tell the good news.

Not only does he feel obligated, Paul goes on in verse 15 and 16 to say that he was eager to preach the Gospel, he was not ashamed of the Gospel.

But why would Paul be ashamed?

He had confidence in his message, and he gave us several reasons that explain why he was not ashamed.

Firstly, the Gospel was a message directly from God about the Son of God, it was not a message from any political figure or even from Cesar himself. Paul believed in the authority of the message he was declaring.

Secondly Paul refers to the Gospel message as the Power of God. God is all-powerful and here was Paul going to Rome, the seat of power of the Roman Empire, an empire that ruled by fear and terrible cruelty. But Rome was weak because of its immoral and wicked behavior. The 2nd century writer Juvenal called it a “filthy sewer into which the dregs of the empire flood.”

No wonder Paul was not ashamed: he was taking to sinful Rome the one message that had the power to change men’s lives! He had seen the Gospel work in other wicked cities such as Corinth and Ephesus; and he was confident that it would work in Rome. It had transformed his own life, and he knew it could transform the lives of others.

Do we believe in the power of the Gospel message? The Gospel message is stronger than our greatest fears, because the all-powerful God stands in the middle of the Gospel message.

Thirdly Paul was not ashamed because the Gospel message carried the power of salvation.  That word “salvation” carried tremendous meaning in Paul’s day. Its basic meaning is “deliverance,” and it was applied to personal and national deliverance. The Gospel delivers sinners from the penalty and power of sin. “Salvation” is a major theme in this letter to the Romans and salvation is the great need of the human race today.

This is something that is lost in our modern day preaching and Bible teaching, so much emphasis is placed on living well, getting the most out of life, making an impact or changing society that we forget that every human being is destined for en eternity in hell, without the saving power of this Gospel message.

Paul continues in verse 17 to say; “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

The righteousness of God is the ability to be in a right standing before an all Holy God, not to be ashamed of our past, the blood of Jesus takes away all our sins and we are able to stand in the presence of God.

Paul states that this righteousness is by faith from first to last.

Salvation first, is when we repent and first asked God to forgive us of our sins, when we first applied to Gospel message to our lives,

Salvation present, is how we need the Gospel daily in our lives. We need the blood of Jesus on a daily basis, we need the Holy Spirit to enable us to live a godly life on a daily basis.

Salvation future, is the eternity that we look forward to in the presence of God.

Salvation from first to last.

You see the Gospel is not simply a message that we need to tell people when we go out on a mission trip or an evangelism event. No the Gospel is our sustenance and our hope on a daily basis. From first to last.

Do we have a passion for people? Are you painfully aware that most of the people you see in the streets every day are lost, and are heading to an eternity in hell?

We need to pray that God would give us a passion for the lost, the ability to feel a glimpse of the heart of God for the lost. If God gives us a glimpse into his heart for the lost, we like Paul will be compelled, we will be obligated, we will be eager, and we will not be ashamed of the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.

Let’s return to our primary objective – the purpose of the church. To declare the Gospel message to a hurting and dying world.

We do this by sharing the Gospel with our friends and neighbors, we will cover this more in the weeks to come.

The purpose of the church is to equip and send. To send people to the nations, to the places where the name of Jesus has not been heard.

The Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of missions. The nearer we get to him, the more intensely missionary we become.” Henry Martyn

Pentecost Title.2

This Past Sunday, we celebrated Pentecost Sunday by praying for 48 hours in the chapel leading up to the Sunday morning service. On Pentecost Sunday, we remember the day when the disciples received the Holy Spirit and how the early church was formed in power. As we look at our own lives today we see that we have two choices, either we live by the Spirit or we live by the flesh. Paul highlights this in the first eight verses of Romans 8.

Our Need

But what does it mean to live according to the flesh? Well it just so happens that Paul gives a list in his letter to the Galatian church (see Galatians 5:19-21). We may look at that list and say, well I am not sexually immoral, I don’t practice witchcraft or I don’t participate in Orgies – but what about impurity (impure thoughts), what about selfish ambition, or dissensions and factions (gossip with the intent to create division). If we are honest, we all struggle with some of these things, we constantly wrestle with the desires of the flesh. The real battle is in the control of our minds. As Christians, we are to be self-disciplined not only in our physical appetites but also in our thoughts.

How often we fail in disciplining that vital part of life. Our thoughts begin to drift from the God centered life into worldly things and thoughts we know we should not dwell on, and we let them go and we become anxious, lustful, hateful, prideful and we give in to self-pity.

Someone might say; “well, I gave my life to Jesus, I received the Holy Spirit, but I still had bad thoughts, God didn’t take them away, I am living a defeated Christian life”. The truth is that we have work to do, don’t blame God for your impure thoughts if you spend hours watching late night cable TV. Daily we need to daily surrender to the Holy Spirit’s will and leadership so that we can live in the power of the Spirit. Paul explains this perfectly in Romans 12:2.

What occupies your mind, will ultimately express itself in your character and lifestyle.

God’s solution

It seems impossible, how can we overcome the problem of our mind? God has provided a solution, we need to appropriate that solution to our lives (See Romans 8:9). This verse begins a series of verses that include the conditional clause; “if” 8 times.  If anyone does not have the indwelling Spirit of God it does not matter their profession of the local church they are a member of, they are not a member of Christ’s eternal body. To belong to Christ, the Holy Spirit of God must indwell your life.

The person who gives no evidence of the presence, power and fruit of God’s Spirit in his life has not authentically claimed Christ as Savior and Lord. The person who demonstrates no desire for the things of God and has no inclination to avoid sin or no passion to please God is not indwelt by the Holy Spirit and thus does not belong to Christ. A sobering truth.

But the person who has the Holy Spirit living in and through them experiences life and life abundantly.
Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

The Holy Spirit does not only enable us to live in peace and fruitfulness, the Holy Spirit is also a deposit, or a promise of God that we will one day be resurrected from the dead and given new bodies, incredible resurrected bodies (see Ephesians 1:13-14).

The blessing

Finally we come to the results or the blessings that come from living by the Spirit. Reading Romans 8:14-17 we see that, by the Holy Spirit we become sons and daughters of God. Children of the living God, and we get to call the almighty creator of all things Father. It seems impossible, how can we possibly believe that? The God of the universe allows us to call him Father and come into His presence to worship Him and ask Him for our needs, that is too much for us to comprehend. But then we read in verse 16; “the spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s Children”.

One of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to testify, to convince our own spirit that we are God’s children, because God knows we will find that hard to fathom. Allow the Holy Spirit to testify with your Spirit, and begin to meditate and understand what it means to be a child of the living God.

This is a daily battle for the mind, are you going to be controlled by the flesh or are you going to allow the Holy Spirit to lead and direct you?

The mind set dominated by the desires and activities of the sinful nature leads to death.

The mind set dominated by the desires and activities of the will of God leads to life and life eternal.

Each person is responsible for which mind set he or she pursues.

How am I at mental-discipline? When I catch myself thinking wrong thoughts, do I make myself think about something else?     Where are some of the places I go?

What are some of the things I do that feed my mind with the wrong kind of stuff?

Paul writing to the Philippian church sums it up in one verse; Philippians 4:8 – That is living by the Spirit.

Abandon yourself to the will and purposes of God in your life. You will find that as you live by the Holy Spirit, you will experience a life of adventure, peace and fulfillment unlike anything you could ever imagine.

Revival Part 12


2 Chronicles 7:14; “ if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

We have seen that revival is God’s sovereignty on display in response to our prayers. He decides when and provides for revival. But, there is a part we have to play, we need to humble ourselves and pray, but we also need to turn from our wicked ways.

We don’t like that word, it seems very harsh in our 21st century politically correct world. Wicked means sinful and ways refers to a behavior that we have settled into and become comfortable with.

So what are these wicked ways? The Bible gives us some clear guidelines.

  • In Revelation 3:15-16 we see that the Laodicean church was wicked because of their spiritual luke-warmness. Are we neither hot nor cold for the things of God?
  • In Matthew 6:14, Jesus makes it clear that we are not to hold unforgiveness against anyone. After all we have been forgiven, it is wicked not to do the same for others.
  • In John 17, Jesus prays for unity. We fall into sin, when we create division and disunity in the church through gossip and slander.
  • By not reading the Word of God and applying it to our lives, that is a wicked way. We are neglecting the Holy Word of God to us.
  • In Malachi 3:8, we see that withholding our tithes and offerings is a wicked way, we are literally guilty of robbing from God, by not giving back to him what he has first given to us.
  • Then we have the list of moral failures, lying, indifference to evangelism, losing our tempers and idolatry (putting something before God).

Looking at this list, it makes us wonder if we will ever see revival.

We need to strive for purity and holiness, not so set anything unholy before our eyes and not to speak any unwholesome words.

The verse says that we are to turn from these wicked ways, and we will look at this in more detail in the next posting. But the key is repentance. We need to repent and ask God to forgive us of all our sin. True revival always starts with repentance.

Revival Part 11


Continuing to look at 2 Chronicles 7:14, ; “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray… and seek my face…”

If we were truly honest with ourselves, we are more interested in seeing the hand of God than seeking His face. We want to see miracles, we want people healed, we want God to provide money and we want families reconciled. All these things are not bad if our motives are pure, but when we pray for revival, our priority must change, we need to pray for a new vision of God, a fresh understanding of who He is.

Praying for revival, is really praying for intimacy with God. When last did you get on your knees and agonize before God. Not praying for new people to come into the church or for our finances to be provided, but rather to pray to know God more deeply and to see His face. This is the prayer that brings revival.

Listen to what David writes in Psalm 27; “One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. Psalm 27:4.

Oh that we would learn to pray like that.

A Mother that Never Gave Up May 8 2016


Matthew 15:21-28

“A Mother that never gave up

Have you ever needed a miracle of provision or healing that seemed impossible? Maybe you are in that position now? Trusting God for what seems impossible. This is faith, faith to believe that God will provide, faith to believe that God will move on our behalf. The truth is that God is pleased with our faith, God rewards faith.

In Matthew 15 we read of a woman who set an example and a standard for what it takes to please God. Do you want to please God?

 This Syrophoenician women comes to Jesus with a problem, her daughter is demon possessed and suffering terribly. She had probably heard that Jesus was coming to town and she trusted that Jesus could heal her daughter. She was desperate, and probably had tried every other avenue to have her daughter set free. This was her last hope, she was desperate.

But it seems like she is being rejected by Jesus and his disciples. We read in verse 23 that Jesus said nothing to her. He completely ignored her and seemed almost callous and cold to her pleas.

The disciples were probably annoyed and they urge Jesus to send her away, because she was crying out persistently.

On the outside it seemed that Jesus didn’t seem to care, it was as if he was testing her. Her situation was desperate, why was Jesus not responding to her need?

Sometimes we face a desperate situation, and God is silent. Has He forgotten us? Does He not see our situation?

Jesus finally responds to all the crying and pleading and says to her, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (v24)

It seems that Jesus is finally rejecting her completely, the door is shut.

But she grows in her courage and faith, and she kneels before Jesus. Now she calls him Lord. She is not approaching him as a Jew; “Lord, Son of David” that she used in v 22, she calls him Lord! She is worshipping Jesus. “Lord Help Me!”

Jesus seems to insult her as he responds further, calling her and her gentile people dogs. Jesus said; “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs” (v26)

But the woman quickly responds, she is getting bolder now, she has nothing to lose and seeing that Jesus is responding to her, she seems to grow in courage (v27).

Her faith is small but it is maturing. Remember Jesus said in Matthew 17:20, that if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can move a mountain. It is not the size or quantity of the faith it is the maturity of the faith.

As Jesus hears her faith and humility he responds immediately by commending her faith and healing her daughter.  Her faith is rewarded and her daughter is healed. It is interesting to note that Matthew records two occasions in his Gospel of people that had the distinction of having great faith. This Canaanite woman and the Roman centurion in Matthew 8. Both were gentiles, and on both occasions Jesus healed from a distance. The reality was that the gentiles were spiritually distanced from the Jews and the ministry of Jesus. But, that is why Jesus came to die on the cross, to reconcile all nations and people groups to himself. It is simply a matter of faith. Jesus still rewards faith today.

 Sometimes it seems like Jesus is saying no, Sometimes it seems like he is blessing others but we are being ignored – this is what tests our faith and matures our faith.

 Today God is looking for people who walk by faith not by sight. The reward of a lifestyle of faith is great. God does not put us through trials for no apparent reason, rather it is to develop our faith and trust in Him.

 Individually and corporately as a church we are being tested in our faith. Read James 1:2-4: Do you see the progression? Trials test our faith, which produces endurance, which perfects us and then we will lack nothing. We will lack no good thing.

Corporately we are having our faith tested, and the Lord is looking to see how we respond. In a few weeks we are going to vote on a re-allocation of our budget to support a church plant. We know that we are running at a deficit budget, giving is down, it seems illogical. So how do we respond? Do we pray and ask the Lord for His will and then move in faith in the direction he gives us or do we respond in fear?

Read the encouragement of the Psalmist in Psalm 37:25.

Individually, what is the desperate need of your heart today? Don’t give up, be persistent, come to the Lord daily, hourly, but keep believing that what His Word says is true and that He is able to give you what you need. Note I didn’t say all our wants, rather all our needs, God knows our needs and The Lord will provide for you in his perfect timing and perfect way, and you will be able to look back with stronger faith.

Not only will you have a stronger faith, but you will be pleasing God and your life will be a testimony to others about the goodness of God.

Faith is pleasing to God. The Bible says in Hebrews 11:6; “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

In order to have faith we must believe that God exists, this is the root of faith.

If we struggle with faith, it is because we struggle to believe that God exists.

God is the all-powerful creator of the universe and He is your Heavenly Father, if we truly understand the depths of God’s love for us, we would have no problem with faith. And the final part of that verse is the promise of God; “that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

Trust in God He will never let you down.

Revival Part 10 – Prayer

tounge-of-fire-32 2 Chronicles 7:14; “If my people who are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray…

If you have been reading this blog each week, you may feel relieved that we have stopped looking at pride and humility, and focus our attention on prayer. But the question today is, how much do you pray? How earnestly do you pray? When last did you stay up late to pray? Or like Jesus, do you rise before sunrise to pray?

Prayer unlocks the immeasurable power of God. A little prayer does some good, but earnest, fervent prayer causes the power of God to be released like a flood.

If we are honest, most of our prayers are selfish. We pray for our own family, or close circle of friends. But we seldom passionately pray for those who are outside of our circle.

One of the excuses we use for not praying is that we simply did not feel like it. Wouldn’t it seem better to pray when we really felt like it and then be able to put in all our effort? However the exact opposite is true. Prayer is a discipline and warfare, it goes against all the natural inclination of man. It seems to the unbeliever a complete waste of time, yet it is one of the hardest things you can do. We must determine to go to God in prayer, schedule our time and keep the appointment you have made with the creator of the universe. After all, you would not miss an appointment with a friend or your boss?

The kind of prayer that leads to revival is earnest, intense, passionate and prolonged. Much like Jacob when he prayed; “I will not let you go until you bless me.” Genesis 32:26

Revival praying is unhurried, it is a passionate crying out to God. Revival praying is hard work.

My wife frequently loses her cell phone, and when she does it is a problem, we all stop and have to look for her phone. There is intense searching, nothing else matters. Revival praying is like that, nothing else matters.

Someone has said: “we will not see revival until we cannot live without it.