Sunday, July 15, 2012

Don't Be Left Behind

As we are without a minister at the moment I am being called upon to do more and more sermons. Here is one from last week...

Earlier this year Fred Barrett’s home group did a study on the End Times.

I am not one to like this sort of thing as I find it a bit frightening. But as we went through it I realised I did not need to fear for myself as I have made a commitment to Jesus. For we read in

9 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11 As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 

It is a continuing journey and I am not there yet. I have confessed my sins, received forgiveness from God, tried to turn around from the sin and live a life that will bring glory to God even if I fail to live up to His expectations of me. His grace is enough to cover my sins and I know I have come a long way so far, but He continually shows me how He wants to refine me more.

I came away from the studies feeling grief for those who do not know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour; who do not know the sins they make; and how these sins are going to separate them from God and be saved from the awful things in the end times, unless they have learnt about Jesus, believed in Him, confessed their sins, repented and allowed Him to rule their lives.

It says in

14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” 

Fred has had it on his heart to reach the people of Tirau and when he obtained permission from the Parish Council and asked for those who would like to join him in the door knocking I just had to help and join in.

As we started out I suddenly became very concerned as to what people would say/think of me.

I have lived in Tirau for 27 years and seen a lot of people come and go and know a good number of the locals. My mind started to have a field day as Satan grabbed at my insecurities and told me untruths as to my worth, qualification to be doing this and my inadequacies.

Each day we went out there was a team of people praying in the church for us the whole time. The first day they had visions of Angels. Not just one or two but huge ones standing at the gates of all the houses we door knocked on, protecting and going before us.

In Mark 6:6b-13 this morning we read
Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. 7 Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits. 8 These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. 9 Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. 10 Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. 11 And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”12 They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them. 

We went out in twos. If we were invited in we would enter stay and talk for as long as we were wanted. We found people in need, to talk, to have prayer, who didn’t know what we as a church do, who needed food parcels or other help. Some are now coming to the cooking classes, some have sent their children/teenagers to the youth activities we do. Some have asked for us to come back and others would like to come to the study we are going to have on Explaining Christianity. Only a few did not want us and we whipped the dirt off our shoes as we left their gates.

In fact the more often we went out the stronger the need to share came upon us and I for one wished I had been a bit more confident in the first homes we knocked on.

Reading in 2 Corinthians 12, Paul talks of boasting about knowing a man who was taken up to Heaven and saw things. People who prayed for the door knocking had visions and I will boast about them because the visions are what gave us all encouragement to know that what we were doing is in God’s hands and He is with us.

Paul goes on to say that he will not boast about himself and that he was given a weakness, something that he prayed and asked God to take away three times, but God did not. Instead God gave him something else far greater – “grace”.

9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 

With this, Paul was able to live with his weakness and in doing so let go and allowed God to be in control as Paul couldn’t be. Then God was able to come through and be strong, make Paul strong and so reveal Himself.

My ‘thorn’ is a feeling of not measuring up, to God and to other people. This in itself is a sin for in God I am a new creation, an image of Him, so I am contradicting what He says. But God says I am a new person in Christ Jesus “let Christ’s power rest on me”

Made Alive in Christ 
2 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 

Allowing the truth that is in the bible be real to me means that the enemy cannot take it away - I will be triumphant in what God has for me. In the Old Testament reading for today (2 Samuel 5:1-10) it talks about David finally being anointed to be King over Israel. He then attacks the Jebusites who had invaded Jerusalem and is able to claim Jerusalem back. In

2 Samuel 5:9-10 it says 
9 David then took up residence in the fortress and called it the City of David. He built up the area around it, from the terraces inward. 10 And he became more and more powerful, because the Lord God Almighty was with him. 

The Lord God Almighty was with him. He was able to do things he would not have been able to do on his own but because God was with him he became more powerful.

Even though I was feeling weak and inadequate and in our group of two; I was asked to do all the talking while my partner would do the recording – I was able to do far more because God was with me.

Did you know that even just this year we have broken families where the father/husband has walked out. People have had diagnoses’ of cancer and other life threatening medical conditions. People have lost their jobs and some cannot make ends meet.

Many think that they “know” it all because they went to church as a child. They don’t have a bible but hope they will go to heaven.

There are Jehovah Witness’s, Mormons, Muslims, Atheists, Witches, Diviners, Ratanas and Spiritualist just here in Tirau.

Detestable Practices 
9 When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord, and because of these detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. 13 You must be blameless before the Lord your God. 

Some people don’t even have a Bible or have an understanding even of who Jesus is.

My heart grieves for these people who are lost and mislead but I find some peace in knowing we are doing what we can as directed by God and that even today there is still time for something to be done right here in Tirau.

They need Jesus just as we do too. Jesus loves us. He desires to have a relationship with us and to give us a life full of joy and purpose.

Here are 3 reasons why we need Him in our life:
  1. We have a past. You can’t go back, but he can. The Bible says, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He can walk into those places of sin and failure, wipe the slate clean and give you a new beginning. 
  2. You need a friend. Jesus knows the worst about you, yet He believes the best. Why? Because He loves you not only as you are now, but He sees the potential for all you can be with Him. What a friend! 
  3. He holds the future. Who else are you going to trust? In His hands you are safe and secure – today, tomorrow, and for all eternity. His Word says, “For I know the plans I have for you… Plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray; I will listen” (Jeremiah 29:11-13
Let us pray - Lord Jesus I invite You into my life. I believe You died for me and that Your blood pays for my sins. I now turn from everything I know is wrong. Thank you for the gift of eternal life. By faith I receive that gift and I acknowledge You as my Lord and Saviour. 

 All scripture is from New International Version 1984

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