Now and Forever

Now and Forever Part 2

January 15, 20180 Comments

The preaching notes for the sermon are posted here on Online Ministry Training.

Last week we looked at

John 10:10 (NIV)
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Galatians 2:20 (NIV)
20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

The life I live now, we talked about lifestyle and belief systems and I said that God is interested in you and that He created you to love you, your life matters and that we have a purpose. I want to dig a little deeper today and talk about our response to His interest in us. What does God want me to do? What does it take? Why should I do it?

Scripture Reading

Ephesians 5:15-17 (NIV)
15 Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

Be careful. Don’t be careless about your life. Be thoughtful. Be wise. Make the most of every opportunity. Know what God wants you to do.

1. What does He want me to do?

Live by doing the next tight thing.

Put Him first in everything.

Matthew 6:33 (NIV)
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

C. S. Lewis once said, “The only thing Christianity cannot be is moderately important.”

Luke 14:16-20 (NIV)
16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ 19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ 20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’

The three excuses..wealth, work, and wife.

Here’s the amazing thing about the Kingdom of God. When you seek Him first He takes care of everything else.

Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness – and all these things will be given to you as well.

2. How do I do that?

How do I put Him first?

1 Timothy 4:7 (NIV)
7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.

1 Timothy 4:7 (NKJV)
7 But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness.

1 Timothy 4:7 (NASB77)
7 But have nothing to do with worldly fables…., discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness;

Train, exercise, discipline…

You cannot be a disciple of Jesus Christ without being disciplined. The two words go together.

The word “discipline” means delayed gratification.

We are going to develop some new habits.

Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

3. What is my motivation?

2 Corinthians 5:15 (NIV)
15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

Jesus gave His life completely for you and He wants your life completely in return. And when you do, He gives you now and forever, full and abundant life!

Romans 12:1 (NIV)
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.

Ministry Chat – Now and Forever Part 2

January 9, 20180 Comments

This week on Online Ministry Training we are going to continue our discussion on the full and abundant, now and forever life we have in Christ. We will be using Ephesians 5:15-17 as the main scripture passage:

Ephesians 5:15-17 (NIV)
15 Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

How do we live carefully? How do we make the most of every opportunity? How do we know what the Lord’s will is? Those are the questions we will be raising and attempting to answer this week.

Now and Forever Part 1

January 8, 20180 Comments

The preaching notes for the sermon are posted here on Online Ministry Training.

Scripture Reading

Galatians 2:20 (NIV)
20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:20 (NKJV)
20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Everybody you’ve ever met is in the process of living a lifetime. Every one of them has developed a certain approach to life; we call it a lifestyle. Behind every lifestyle is a system of beliefs that determines attitudes and actions.

A Belief that God exists or a belief that there is no God.

Bertrand Russell was considered to be one of the greatest philosophers of the 20th century. He was also an atheist. He said, “Unless you assume the existence of a God the question of the meaning and purpose of life is irrelevant.” What he is saying is if you don’t believe in God then there is no meaning and purpose to life.

For the purpose of this series we will assume that there is a God.

Even for those who believe in God, there is often the question of whether He is actively involved and interested in us or not.

Today I hope to show you that He is very interested in you.

1. Why am I here?

Ephesians 1:4 (MSG)
4 Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love.

We are the focus of His love.

2. Does my life matter?

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV)
11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

You matter to God so much that you were made to last forever.

2 Corinthians 5:1 (NIV)
1 Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.

3. What is my purpose?

To find you purpose you need to talk to the creator and read the owner’s manual.

Ephesians 1:11 (MSG)
11 It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living,

He had designs on us for glorious living, now and forever. We will pick up this discussion again next week.

Now and Forever Introduction – F.L.O.W.

January 7, 20180 Comments

The preaching notes for this sermon are posted here on Online Ministry Training:

Scripture Reading

Revelation 22:1-2 (NIV)
1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

The water flowing from the throne is a picture of the water of eternal life, crystal clear to reflect the glory of God in a dazzling, never-ending stream.

Those who believe in Him will have streams of living water flowing from them.

John 7:38 (NIV)
38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”

I want to start this year by talking about flowing in this life. This now and forever life we have in Christ. As an introduction, this week I am going to talk about an acrostic I want you to learn to help us experience and enjoy this amazing now and forever, full and abundant life that Jesus came to give us.

F.L.O.W.

During our Advent series I said that one of the most amazing gifts that God gives us is that we can experience His peace. Peace that passes understanding. And when we are not at peace it means that something is wrong and that it is on our end. I always remind you of the prayer, Help! I think that if after you realize that you need help you follow these 4 little ideas that you can get back into the flow of eternal life.

1. Focus

Isaiah 26:3 (NIV)
3 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.

I often find myself saying this verse:

Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)
2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

I think about Jesus. What He has done for me. That because of my relationship with Him I have been reconciled to God. I am a new creation. That I am the joy set before Him. And it goes on and on… Then, as I begin to rest in Him again…

2. Listen

Isaiah 50:4b (NIV)
4 …. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.

We need to better listeners. With God and with others.

James 1:19 (NIV)
19 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,

I think we have a tendency, particularly if we are not flowing in His life, to be quick to anger and quick to speak and slow to listen. Just breathe and listen. And then…

3. Observe

Isaiah 42:20a (NKJV)
20 Seeing many things, but you do not observe;

Get your perspective right. Throne room perspective. Get yourself out of the center. See beneath the surface. It’s like looking at the ocean and then looking at it again with polaroid glasses. See with the eyes of your heart.

Ephesians 1:18 (NIV)
18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,

And then,

4. Wait

Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)
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.

Colossians 3:12 (NIV)
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

We are going to be digging into this now and forever life that we have in Christ in the weeks ahead. But when you are not at peace and rest in your soul, just think of this little acrostic and get back into the flow of eternal life.

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