Trinity Church of Wesley Chapel, Florida, was honored to have Great Hope's Associate Pastor Linda Pugsley speak at their Memorial Day service on May 26, 2019. What a powerful message she presented. Here is the video of the service they posted. Linda's message begins around the 47-minute mark, but please do enjoy the entire service.
John 8:36: "For him who the Son sets free is free indeed."
We all love that scripture but are YOU free? Are you bound up with anger, bitterness, unforgiveness and the like…that’s not freedom, Sugar Pie, that’s for sure!
Here’s a little exercise for you before we start our sharing today:
Forgiveness is a strength, not a weakness. It’s the ability to remove the hurt and keep the person. In the original Greek, forgiveness means a suspension of a just penalty; to release, unconditional favor. Hard to do but it can be done.
There are four stages of forgiveness, as we have taught on before. In review:
Need to be clear on something though…forgiveness is NOT excuse, pardon or condoning the action. Rather, it considers everything…the act, the offense, the penalty and the future relationship. Then you give up your right to punish them. Just like God did for YOU. Leave that punishment to God and eternity to figure it out.
Forgiveness is strength…you don’t hold a grudge; you can still work with people who’ve been unkind to you and you’re willing to clear the record. Remember, forgiveness is removing the hurt and keeping the person.
Toby Mac, the singer, once said, “If you never heal from what hurt you, you’ll bleed on people who didn’t cut you!”
Now…take your papers out that you completed in the beginning. Time to choose…
YOUR CHOICE…MAKE A GOOD ONE!!
NOW GO LIVE IT!
Can you believe it? Today is February 17, 2019! I can remember being in my early 30s when I first came to this church. We had the old posts and the old benches that we always joked were held together by the termites holding hands. Mark and Shirley were just starting a family and their first-born little Shemie used to sit with her toys, on a blanket, in front of them in the front row. Now they have three grown children and four grandchildren.
We had a private school here for 14 years and now they have all grown up. Many are married now and have their own children! How did all that happen so fast!
It’s almost a mirror image of our spiritual growth…lots of “renovations”…tearing down the old, ugly stuff and putting in brand new. Having many changes and seasons, some good, some tough, some time consuming, never-ending challenges, no matter what your age.
So, you ask what in the world could the New Year bring for me? That is a question that many people are asking now...
• Will my marriage survive?
• Will my child be healed?
• Will I get a job?
• Will I be able to repair my car?
• Will I be able to rebuild my savings?
• Will our country be at war?
• Will there be a nuclear holocaust?
• Some even ask, “Is the Lord coming soon?”
I certainly don’t have the answers to those questions, and neither do you. And that could certainly dampen your spirit to say the least…but should it?
For those in Christ, the New Year should be an exciting time--
• A time to see our God in action.
• What profound changes shall occur in our lives in Him?
• Where shall He take us in personal and corporate ministry?
But, for so many, it’s all about them and not about HIM! We dream, we plan…not bad things to do, but we so often do it without prayerful consideration with Him at the center, without Jesus as the director and planner of all actions.
We do our best or what we see fit, or just have a knee-jerk reaction to what comes our way, or even worse, some just “let life happen” to them. Some prosper; some fail…life goes on.
And that’s reality--without God in Christ, you can live a good life here.
• You can be prosperous, you can be healthy, and you can have a semblance of happiness.
• You can think all “religions” are equal and all belief systems are valid. In all likelihood, you won’t die because of those beliefs. But where will you be when you do die?
• Some think that God is so good that He’ll just love everybody and they all go to be with Him.
• Or if their good works outweigh their bad ones, they’ll be with Him.
• Still others think there is or isn’t a God, and this is all there is. They just die and that’s the end of it. Yuk…that’s a redeeming thought, if I ever heard one!
So, what is really TRUE? That’s what our pursuit needs to be, for what is TRUE…not comparing religious ideology, from which you pick what suits you and your lifestyle.
So, this morning, let’s look at this brand new and pristine 2019, untouched by our crummy, stained hands and broken philosophies and see what GOD may have to say.
When God talks about “new”, we need to go a bit deeper…
The Greek word for “new” in the Bible is “Kainos” which means:
• New, as in that which is unaccustomed
• New, as to form or quality
• New, as in fresh
Now that’s the “new” we are all looking for! We long for the bright, the fresh new breeze in our lives. And, sometimes, it’s right here before our very eyes.
But we just get so bogged down with all the details of living life and just keeping our heads above water that we forget all the “NEW” God has for us!
• We argue over heaven and hell, the religious tenets of one group or the other, forgetting all the time that our “thinker, wanter and feeler” that we are born with is BROKEN.
• And that thanks to Adam, whose disobedience to a real good and loving God, separated us and passed down a broken nature.
• And the adversary applauds when we use that brokenness to make our decisions, define our desires and swirl within our emotions.
The rescue, the “new” we are unconsciously looking for, is Jesus. His nature IN us brings the mind, will and emotions of God…and they are perfect, not broken.
He comes in only by invitation though. He will never kick down your door…that would be spiritual assault! You have to invite Him in. Many have invited Him in, but they put Him on a shelf while they browse other entities of life. Be careful. God doesn’t take kindly to that. Oh, you won’t get annihilated by Him, but you won’t live in His anointing either.
So, as we wade into this new year, new season, new time, new epoch…let’s see what God says about “new”.
Isaiah 43:16, 18-19: Thus says the LORD, Who makes a way through the sea and a path through the mighty waters, “Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.”
There are two areas I want to talk about that will hopefully again give us the refreshing, the excitement and sense of mission on this earth:
• The NEW things that the gospel says are ours
• NEW things that are yet to come
Matthew 26:26-28: And while they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And He took a cup and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant (the new covenant), which is to be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.”
EVERY TIME WE EAT OR DRINK—WE CAN REMEMBER THIS NEW COVENANT…THIS GIFT FROM GOD TO HIS PEOPLE…THE FORGIVENESS OF OUR SINS!
John 13:34: “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
• Forgiveness, long suffering, mercy—give a little elbowroom to each other to grow!
• Remember some of that Greek meaning for “new”—“unaccustomed”—“new quality”—“never partaken of before”—we have to dive in folks. With the help of His Spirit we can do this! But HOW, you say…listen to this…
2 Corinthians 5:17: Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature, the old things have passed away, behold, new things have come.
• Some people need to take Him off the shelf they’ve put Him on and embrace Him anew.
Ephesians 4:24: and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
• Not what YOU think, not what YOU believe, but what the truth is.
That REALLY helps explain the next verse…
Ephesians 2:15: by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace.
In other words--
• We have an Adam nature that tries to obey the Laws of God but is born NOT TO!
• This conflict is usually met on our part by excuses as to why our sin is not sin!
• So, what do we do? We make more laws, and then break more laws, then make more laws…all to obey God’s 10!
• It is a futile effort because when you are in the flesh only sin can abound, and you will find some sorry way around the sin and error.
• But if you walk by the Spirit you CANNOT walk by the flesh…therefore—the death of Christ was the word picture of what would happen if you are of Him—the death of the rule of YOUR flesh to sin.
The Laws He wants us to obey are now the Laws we WANT to obey because we are NEW in Him.
To top all that off—God even says there is more to come!
New name – Revelation 2:17
New song – Revelation 5:9
New Jerusalem – Revelation 3:12 and 21:2
New heaven and new earth – Revelation 21:1
Let’s make this a great New Year but let’s do it God’s way…and remember what God says in Revelation 21:5, “I will make all things NEW.” And that includes YOU.
NOW GO LIVE IT!
[Live recording of sermon.]
As a nurse, a Major in the military, a Lt Col Chaplain in the USAF Auxiliary, a teacher in college, elementary and high school grades and a minister with a Master’s and Doctorate Degrees, I have a wonderful life in the most wonderful country. In the military, I had the opportunity to visit many other countries, and many of them have nowhere near such a wonderful life. By comparison, this IS the best country on the planet. In order to convey what is so good about America, I need to review a little U.S. history with us at this time. (This is where my students would groan a bit!)
Back in 1831, a young French aristocrat, Alexis de Tocqueville, was curious about our new, developing government here in the colonies. After a lengthy visit, he wrote a mammoth volume of his observations in a book called, “Democracy in America”. He concluded that, “America is great because she is good; when America ceases to be good, then she will cease to be great.”
However, the freedom and prosperity we enjoy here are fragile things. President Calvin Coolidge said that, “Freedom is not only bought with a great price; it is maintained by unremitting effort.”
Our system of government and economics is good, but just the system by itself is insufficient to bring about the continued order, prosperity and progress we so richly enjoy.
Our Founding Fathers understood a key principle—that government is incapable of coercing good behavior. They realized that good behavior was a result of training in religious and moral principles. John Adams explained it this way. He said, “Our Constitution was made ONLY for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
Noah Webster, in a textbook that he wrote for public schools, told students, “All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.”
George Washington, in his farewell address said, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity—religion and morality are indispensable supports.”
Washington was so strongly convinced of this truth that he believed and stated that no man could be called an American patriot if that man tried to weaken religion or morality in the public arena.
Are we hearing many community and national leaders saying this today?
I firmly believe that the domestic problems and the foreign dangers, which disturb our nation today, are due to the crumbling of the moral and spiritual foundations upon which this great nation was founded. Without moral and spiritual absolutes, our country is doomed to further decay and destruction.
We need to be instrumental in building the future with strong morally excellent families, churches, businesses and schools.
I LOVE this country and am a passionate patriot. I have come to conclude that what is so good about America is its people. And when its people cease to be great so will our nation.
America’s moral decline has occurred, not because those who hate God have done so much, but rather that those who love God have done so little! Unbelief, corrupted church doctrine, secularization of our educational system and the decline of active citizen participation in the political process have all sorely contributed to our nation’s moral decline.
Young people, I share these thoughts and comments with you, not to stir up fear or debate, but rather to stir up action.
Our government – of, for, and by the people – will be strengthened only as our people are morally strengthened; and that starts in the home, not in the community. If we continue to hold on to political correctness, instead of moral correctness, our nation shall perish.
I mentioned previously that what is so good about America is its people. However, its people are often naïve and uninformed, relying too heavily on our secularly saturated media reports which tend to be skewed to a liberal, socialist, humanist worldview.
In the past few years, I have had many occasions to visit our local high schools to speak to them about our people and our America. I also have had the opportunity to share some of my experiences I had while serving as a nurse in Vietnam and have been pleasantly surprised to find that many of these classes are full of great kids, just like you guys. They are full of energy and a vibrant, wholesome outlook, much different from that which is often portrayed in the news. I share with them that in Vietnam I had the privilege of working with and trying to help some of the men whom I call the finest threads of America’s cloth.
This is the example of the kind of young people America has at its heart. I believe that there are many more of our youth with this kind of bravery, moral code, sense of duty and love of country who are willing to work hard for a good future. I think the voice of truth is going to get louder and louder because it is YOU who must speak. Our country is full of Americans who look upon work as a blessing, who deeply appreciate a free enterprise system, which helps us maintain our privately owned, for-profit production and distribution systems.
Our great country is a unique blend (that I believe has been orchestrated by God). We have many people of high moral character with a will to work; we have the greatest degree of individual responsibility and freedom the world has ever seen. We have an abundance of capital, natural resources, a labor supply and good transportation. The blessings of capitalism are most abundant in America. That is why I urge us all to make sure the “curses” of capitalism are held at bay ... the curses of greed, bribery, sensuality, thievery, lies and immorality of all kinds. I do not want that part of the free enterprise system to reign. We cannot just do as we please. We cannot have freedom just for the sake of freedom, to say and do ANYTHING! That’s not freedom … that’s a “free for all!” General Eisenhower, from WWII, so aptly said, “A country that values its privileges more than its principles shall soon lose both.”
We as a nation have been a good nation. We have not always done it right but we strive to. Our Democratic Republic form of government is “messy” sometimes, but it works. This country has produced the greatest industrial, agricultural, financial, scientific and medical progress and educational advances in the world.
I urge YOU to keep it that way. But my eye sees some decline creeping into its fiber and that frightens me because a country not worth living in, is a country not worth dying for.
We need to have a love for our lives, our families, our church, our community and our wonderful country.
We are a nation who has gone to the defense of many other nations, seeking their freedom, not just our own personal defense. We were instrumental in liberating nations such as Japan, France, Germany, South Korea, a valiant attempt in South Vietnam, and the liberation of Kuwait. (Have we received the thank you card for that yet? Hm-m.)
Unfortunately, many of these same nations have quickly forgotten our generosity and sacrifice. We often stand alone to face a complicated and almost impossible task to resolve the battle with worldwide terrorism and the fight for Iraq and Afghanistan’s rescue from its long history of pain, torture, despotism and the loss of its people’s fundamental rights and comforts.
We are a nation that does not revel in the spoils of war. We do not rule over the conquered. We have destroyed cities in war, but we are the only nation to work so diligently to rebuild them! We give billions of dollars to poor nations (which is often stolen by the their rulers for their own riches). We bring free medical care, food, agricultural assistance, transportation, tools and a mountain of other helps to those who are suffering in other nations, often the same nations who despise and hate us. That is what is so good about America, not just what we do, but why we do it – because it is RIGHT TO HELP OTHERS and because we value the importance of the individual and let our deepest convictions be carried out in the kindnesses of our people.
In closing, I would like to share some remarks made by a young, Vietnamese woman named Huong Le. Her comments stress how very different our country and people are from most of the world’s people and governments of the past or present.
Huong Le was one of the 123,000 Vietnamese refugees airlifted to the U.S. just before Saigon fell. She was just a kid then and spoke little English. Yet in this great country, she finished her studies and delivered the valedictory address at her graduation from Forest High School in Ocala, Florida.
The following is an excerpt from her speech in which she said, in clear English, “I owe my very presence on this stage tonight to you and this wonderful nation. When we could no longer prevail against our enemies, you accepted over 100,000 of us to your shores, gave us freedom, gave us a new start, and gave us a new nation.” She said she had yearned for peace because she had only known war. She said, “I know there are some things worth dying for. The freedom you have here is one of those things.” She continued and said, “I have come to appreciate the United States as the greatest nation on earth. This nation is worthy of your fullest loyalty and greatest sacrifice. Treasure her. Love her. Defend her.” She went on to say, “I treasure the things you have done to give us freedom. You helped us find a home, provided food, found us jobs, helped us learn the language and provided us an education…”
“Thank you, America, for standing as a nation of freedom in a world of oppression. Thank You God, for giving me the opportunity to live in a free country which You have so richly blessed…may God richly bless you for being the warm, kind and generous peoples you are.”
WHAT A TESTAMENT TO OUR PEOPLE!
So, I too, with a soaring heart and a happy expectation of good know that we can look forward to these challenging days that face us and our nation. We can look forward to teaching strong family values and the precepts of life that come from God.
I am not talking pie in the sky here! There are many problems that assail our nation. As rich and great as we are, we face pockets of poverty, despair, poor educational performance, teen pregnancies, racial discrimination, drug abuse, sexual perversions, and corruption in all levels of our society. However, by returning to the Godly, moral principles that developed this great nation, YOU can stem the downward spiral.
Organizations such as U.S. Air Force Auxiliary/Civil Air Patrol are instruments of this change. There are dedicated cadets and seniors to teach, lead, inform and lobby for keeping our country on track on its appointed journey. Get down to business with moral excellence; get involved in your families, businesses, churches and schools.
And may we not only proudly wave our nation’s flag, but also valiantly wave the banner of excellence so that we will also be “what is good about America”.
God bless us all.
NOW GO LIVE IT!
[Live recording of sermon.]
My usual routine is to make some coffee and sit down and listen to the news so I can wake up a bit and then spend some time in Scripture and prayer.
Lately, I’ve had to reverse that. The news is so bad and negative sometimes that I need to have my coffee, try to wake up, and get right into the Word of God so I can live in the “world” of God and not the one blaring in my face.
There is great comfort in the Scriptures, even though your life or the world around you may sometimes not be so comfortable, which is why you need to read the Good News so you can face the bad!
Be warned though…this is not a cakewalk!
I was as ease, but He shattered me, and He has grasped me by the neck and shaken me to pieces.
Oh yeah, real comfort in that! But listen to the rest of the story…
My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him.
1 Peter 4:12
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you.
The intended result in all this mess of trials and bad news will be our SANCTIFICATION and the BUILDING UP OF OUR FAITH AND TRUST IN HIM!
All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
ADDENDUM to this…
HOPE is a key element in reading the Good News so you can face the bad.
The Greek word for hope means “confident expectation,” a happy anticipation of good.”
Job 13:15 – I will hope in Him
Psalm 39:7 – my hope is in You Lord
Romans 5-5 – hope does not disappoint
Romans 12:12 – rejoicing in hope
Colossians 1:27 – Christ in you, the hope of glory
Titus 3:7 – the hope of eternal life
1 Peter 1:3 – born again to a living hope
If you’re not grounded in GOD’s truth, you’ll fall for anything. In today’s world of negative news, fake news, exaggerated news, opinionated news, you better have the hope of glory!
Make sure you read the Good News, so you can face the bad!
NOW GO LIVE IT!
[Live recording of sermon.]
Folks…have fearless trust in God. Be encouraged, not discouraged, especially as we look at the world around us:
• Pretty unstable in many ways
• We have a steady moral decline underway
• The war-torn Middle East remains a threat
• Immigration control is out of control
• Terrorists still exist and are trying to breach our borders
• And on and on
Hmm, do you feel squeezed in all this? Remember though, God is not causing all of this confusion. But because He’s not stopping it, He’s doing something with it…squeezing those grapes! And if you’re squeezed by Him and not by your own stupid mistakes, you can count on some good wine coming forth. Now that I think of it, even in your own mistakes, “All things work for good to those that love God and are called according to His purpose”. (Romans 8:28)
Some things are physical “squeezings” and you’re in control of a bit of it…your money, emergency preparations with clothing, water, food at the ready, loss of electric. And even in some of your control, you’ll still be squeezed!
Expect the pressing but look forward to the wine, so to speak. Don’t fear the squeezing or the times we are in:
• You may be the poured-out wine for someone else
• Your suffering may be the can opener God uses to get into someone else’s heart
• Perspective is everything…take a look at Psalm 27
Do not fear…nothing but success is ahead…onward Christian Soldiers!
NOW GO LIVE IT!
[Live recording of sermon.]
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EPHESIANS 4 - UNITY IN THE BODY OF CHRIST
Ever notice how God so often talks about “team”, “no man is an island” stuff. He teaches us about the Body of Christ, the Church, the believers (plural), etc. But just a word of caution here…your salvation is not a team sport; you don’t get into the Kingdom of God on the team’s coat tails. Nope, your salvation is your personal and intimate relationship with Jesus. Make sure you are on His team first.
As I speak today on the unity in the body of Christ, it so reminds me of many of the principles in the military. Any of you who have been in the military will know what I mean.
Military leadership means that you:
• Inspire others
• Don’t just bark out commands
• Ensure that justice prevails
• Establish and promote programs that promote health and happiness (the military now calls it Resiliency Training)
• Pursue absolute integrity and honesty in thought, word and deed for yourself and those you lead
• Know your people
• Meet with them frequently and regularly
• Focus on areas that need to be improved
• Are accountable, thoroughly and accurately communicate and live by the Core Values
• Are not a know it all; are open to ideas, corrections and knowledge
• Are decisive and not wishy-washy
• Are consistent, not driven by good and bad hair days
• Are visible, with the people and don’t micromanage them
• Have high expectations and lead by example
• Take responsibility for things that fail and praise others when success prevails
Many of us have lived that, or at least tried our best; very difficult to do with only a broken Adam nature. These higher goals can only be reached by a higher nature inside. So, ask Jesus inside and go from there!
Let’s take a look at God’s Army:
Ephesians 4:1-16: Walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called.
• With all humility, gentleness, patience. Showing forbearance with one another in love (you are NOT the boss, bully or king!)
• Being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, for there is one body and one Spirit (inspire others, ensure justice)
• Just as you were called in one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all
• But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift, He gave gifts to men
• He gave some as apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers
For the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ (like Basic Training!)
FOR HOW LONG?
• Until we all attain to the unify of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to the mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ (AIT, Air Staff and Command College, Air War College!)
TO WHAT RESULT?
• That we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming (be decisive and not wishy washy)
• But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ
• Jesus, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies (each and every one of us)
• According to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love
LEADERSHIP MESSAGE … YES, GO TEAM!
God bless you all.
NOW GO LIVE IT!
[Live recording of sermon.]
Your “robe of righteousness” was custom made for YOU…a gift of God. Don’t throw it off and put on the garments of the world, the flesh and the devil.
Isaiah 61:10: “For He has clothed me with garments of salvation; He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness.”
• You may get out of trouble by lying
• You may get more money back on your income tax by cheating
• You may feel more loved in an adulterous relationship
• You may feel vindicated and relieved in anger
• You may feel victorious in revenge
But you’re still nowhere! Sort of like “the one who dies with the most toys…is still DEAD!
You may have all those things, but you’re still dead in unrighteousness.
What can you do? Break free and change clothes! Get on your face before God and ask for that “new life” and “new creature” existence with a “new robe of righteousness” that God tells us about.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21: “Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
• NEW command
• NEW Covenant
• NEW and living way
• NEW heart
• NEW way of thinking, feeling and wanting
But what does that kind of change mean? Well, just a physical change – behavior modification, so to speak, is not what God is talking about. It is not about rules and religion – it’s about relationship with God. THAT is the change so many need to make.
Many people have grown up dutifully performing and participating in the religious ceremonies, celebrations and traditions of a “denomination” rather than as a “disciple” of the Lord. A church, a belief system or religious leaders often have had more of a direct influence on people than God Himself!
Romans, Chapters 6-8 – make sure you read those chapters sometime soon. They are RICH in telling us of:
• The deliverance from sin
• Leading a balanced life
• The victory we have in the Spirit of God
But I will emphasize Romans 6:6 and 11-14: “…knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin…Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace.”
In Ephesians 4:22-24, we read, “that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
And the “new man” must be put on, like a new set of clothes.
Now, that takes a SPIRITUAL DECISIVENESS ON YOUR PART!
In finishing, this message of the new nature is not a dark and dire message…it is a message of supreme hope! The Spirit of God can accomplish a life-changing transformation for anyone who comes to Jesus and remains bound to Him.
Ephesians 1:13-14: “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.”
Don’t go out with the old robe of unrighteousness with which you were born…but put on the robe of righteousness that God made for you and stand tall in His beauty. God bless!
NOW GO LIVE IT!
[Live recording of sermon.]
God is putting the pieces together. Paul wrote to the church in Rome, "...do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:2)
The Greek word for transform is metamorphoo (meta, meaning change and morphe, form). In biology class, we learned that through metamorphosis a caterpillar changes into a butterfly, and a tadpole transforms into a frog. Likewise, when we come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we begin a lifelong journey requiring us to submit daily to the Holy Spirit who teaches us, enables us, and empowers us to be conformed and transformed into the image of Christ. Our mind is actually renewed to prove and know the good, acceptable,and perfect will of God.
Yes, it is a battle, a spiritual warfare to die to self and old habits and to live for Christ in the refreshing newness of the Holy Spirit. Paul's own words cry out in this struggle to put off the old man - "Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?" He answers his own question, "Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Romans 7:24, 25) You are like a complex puzzle - are you willing to let go and let God put the perfectly fashioned pieces together to transform you in 2018 and beyond?
NOW GO LIVE IT!
The next time you think God doesn’t love you or can’t use you, think on these things:
• Abraham was too old
• Isaac was a daydreamer
• Jacob was a liar
• Joseph was abused
• Rahab was a prostitute
• David had an affair and was a murderer
• Jonah ran from God
• Peter denied Christ
• The disciples fell asleep while praying
• The Samaritan woman was divorced more than once
• Paul was too religious
• And Lazarus was DEAD!!
You see, God IS love.
• 1 Peter 4:8—love covers a multitude of sin
• Galatians 5:13—through love, serve one another
• Hebrews 13:1—let the love of the brethren continue
• 1 John 4:7—love is from God
• Jude 21—keep yourselves in the love of God
But what is this “love” God talks about. It’s not the squishy, emotional feelings we have from the broken Adam nature. No way. The love God talks about is found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
God’s kind of love:
• Is patient
• Is kind
• Is not jealous
• Does not brag
• Is not arrogant
• Does not act unbecomingly
• Does not seek its own
• Is not provoked
• Does not take into account a wrong suffered
• Rejoices with the truth
• Bears all things
• Hopes all things
• Endures all things
• Never fails
Broken humans can’t love like that. Only by inviting Jesus into your heart and letting HIS love come out through you, can we ever meet that measure. So, go on now…live an awesome life with an awesome God who loves YOU!
NOW GO LIVE IT!