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7. The Peril of Prayer

Mark Howard
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Mark Howard

Director, Emmanuel Institute of Evangelism

Recorded

  • June 22, 2018
    6:00 PM
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I remember my 1st Kant meeting and. I want to tell you I the 1st time ever in the idea of taking a week off of work to go to Kant meeting and I know there are church members today like OK I only got so much vacation man i've was hooked the 1st time I took a in fact my wife was pregnant with our 1st child my son Caleb and we slept in a tent and you know we I am not a camper so I you know I went to the store them to Wal-Mart and I got at 10 and I've bought all tents kept water out I thought that's what they were designed to do so we woke up wet every morning you know 25 Wal-Mart tent doesn't keep water out so every day we'd be hauling and my wife was pregnant I mean she it was 2 weeks before she gave birth not one and we're sleeping on the floor of the tent and and we loved it and we've been a camp meeting ever since now I have to be at camp meeting and work and can't meetings and things like that but I would still be here and I'm glad you are here and I think that well the Lord has a blessing for us this morning and I want to ask that he would bless our time so I'm going to ask you by your heads while I do still other in heaven Oh father you have been gracious to us this can't me your spirit has been pronounced on this campus through all the different speakers and seminars Lord in and just on the moving in our own hearts reminding us of our We're chip of the most high God and Father just morning as become here not to hear any man but to hear your voice to us I pray that you would anoint my lips Lord and may I speak that which is pleasing in your sight May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight for I ask it in Jesus' name. Amen Now I was thinking when I was thinking of the title for the title they came to my mind for today is the peril of prayer which is kind of an odd title because prayer when we talk about prayer it's always positive Prayer is the great thing and it is a great thing and we talked about prayer yesterday in fact yesterday we were talking about our relationship with Christ and we were looking at in the context of relationships in general how all relationships have at least 3 fundamental pieces that Turman their success and those 3 pieces were time and communication and expression time was pretty straightforward we need to make time with God undivided attention time in which we communicate through the process of prayer and Bible study some of the ways we talked about expressing in our relationship was how we express our love and feelings to each other finding out the things that each other like so that we can do those things telling other people about the relationship I just barely touched on that but that last one that's the one I want to spend some time on today and so why the title the peril of prayer did you know there are times when prayer is not a good thing there's an interesting story in The Book of Joshua after after the Israelites conquered Jericho and they were going to go into AI In fact I was such a small little place that they just sent a few people in to take care of it and they were wiped out the Israelites they just conquered Jericho So Josh would get so on his knees and he's praying before the Lord anybody remember the story what the Lord told Joshua get up off your face what are you doing praying you've got work to do this sin in the camp and you haven't dealt with it wow. Now Ellen White in the book steps to Christ shares a powerful statement about when prayer may not be as powerful as it needs to be noticed this from page 101 it says God does not mean that any of us should become hermits or monks and retire from the world in order to devote ourselves to acts of worship and I'm going to be careful here but I know certain ministries over the years who have encouraged people to us to escape to God go off in some remote place and you can raise your kids in some room remote isolated whatever and I'll be honest with you those have been some of the hardest church members have ever had to work with and here's why because they're not involved in anything because they think their only mission field is their family do yourself a favor and do a search on the writings of Ellen White for this phrase me and mine me and mine she talks about people who think that's their only service she says God has called you to reach others besides just your family and I'm not saying that we don't have a responsibility in our number one responsibility is to our families I'm not saying that but notice in this where she's going God does not mean that any of us should become hermits and monks and retire from the world in order to devote ourselves to acts of worship the life must be like Christ life between the mountain and the what the multitude he who does nothing but pray will what soon cease to pray or his prayers will become a formal routine when men take themselves out of social life interaction with others out away from the sphere of Christian duty and cross bearing that word duty is not a popular word today when they seize ceased to work earnestly for the master who worked earnestly for them they lose the subject matter. Of prayer and have no incentive to devotion so you were talking about the relationship in devotion of life yesterday and I know multitudes of 7 the evidence you struggle with this unbeknown to them because they're missing a key component and you know what a tripod is don't you a tripod has how many legs try 33 legs right and then in you make tripods for different purposes you set things on them cameras or what have you and of course those 3 legs are essential you lose one of those legs and you don't have a tripod you have a buy Pod It doesn't work as well right well in the Christian life you've got you've got a tripod of a foundation you've got your Bible study and we've got your prayer but you also have that expression part of witnessing and I'm going to tell you that if you don't have that in your in your active Christian experience this is what's going to happen you're going to lose the subject matter for prayer and you're going to lose the incentive for devotion see when you're sharing your faith. I'm just going to be honest with you here I've been in this for 20 plus years as a Christian shirk my faith the whole time and I still on a regular basis encounter people asking me things I don't know the answer to now sometimes laypeople think well you know if I were a pastor if I read this or that then I would witness more because I would know more. No but that's how you learn in fact that's how I've learned as much as I have is when people ask me things I don't know and I have to study it out and it drives you to devotion see the incentive to devotion often comes from interacting with others the subject matter for prayer like what I pray about look when you're out witnessing somebody you know what to pray about and when they're asking you questions you can answer they might even tend to shake your faith you know what to pray about it but when we pull ourselves out of that part of Christian life. It says we lose the subject matter of prayer and have no incentive to devotion their prayers become personal and selfish they cannot pray in regard to the wants of humanity or the upbuilding of Christ's kingdom pleading for strength wherewith to work wow indeed me I want you to turn with me the gospel of Matthew and I were going to look at a parable today maybe a little bit different than you have looked at it in the past Matthew Chapter 12 is very short just 2 verses we're going to look at here 3 verses man to 12 we're going to look at verse 43 Matthew 12 in verse 43 the Bible says in verse 43 when an unclean spirit goes out of a what out of M A N he goes through dry places seeking rest desert places right there is nothing he's not finding anything seeking rest and finds none then he says I will return to my what OK What was his house it was a me it was a person so this demon is evil spirit is drilling in this person he's kind of like there but then the Bible says He goes out of the person I want you to track with me here when if if an evil spirit needs a place to live which is the way this is painted up just in the imagery so I don't want to take it too literalistic Lee but you get the idea that why does he leave the man in the 1st place let's be real clear on this he gets it when does the evil spirit get evicted from a man when he accept Christ don't miss it this man reading about this old house is somebody who accepted Christ so the spirit gets evicted and he goes around he looks for another place but he doesn't find any so he says I'm going to return to my house maybe I'll get back in. And when he comes he finds it what empty swept and put in order then he goes and takes with him 7 other spirits more wicked than himself and they enter and well there in the last State of that man is worse than the 1st Jesus is so shall it also be with this week a generation now when you're going to move into a place how many of you have ever looked for a place and you'd find a place you like but it needs cleaned up never had that happen nothing better than finding a place not only that that is is it you hate it's empty that's key but it's move in ready sometimes people advertise it that way is cleaned up the guy goes back and he finds it cleaned and swept and in order and empty and of course it's describing the old house which is the man this person this person who had it some point given their life to Christ and that's why the spirit got evicted but he comes back looking and he finds it empty now how many of you read this before and when we look at the emptiness what would you say is empty what's missing what isn't there OK Holy Spirit I've heard Christ is those are the more common answers and that's true but I want to look at something a little different this morning OK So here's the main and when he comes back obviously he came to crisis some point but there's the emptiness allows for that spirit to come in I'm going to come back to that OK I'm going to come back to that a little bit I want to talk a little bit about what it means to be a disciple of Christ I would call his disciples we look at the other day when Jesus called Peter right here called the others had the great miracle the fish and then he says you know Peter says Depart from me promise sinful man oh Lord and the Lord said From now on you're going to catch men remember that and then the Bible says they forsook all and follow. You know I've asked a question before I'm going to ask you this morning question I've asked other people is there a difference between a disciple and a Christian OK it is there's a did I hear some yeses out there so let me clarify it this way should there be OK good that's a good answer because it really there really shouldn't be and I want to show you that in Acts Chapter 11 we're going to go to Acts chapter 11 and we're going to look at verse 19 not 19 we're going to 26 acts tempered 11 verse 26 alright X. 11 verse 26 says speaking of Barnabas backward look at pick up on verse $25.00 as in Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul and when he had found him he brought him to Antioch So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people and to the disciples were 1st called Christians and into yog their different spin cycle and Christian interesting to me that the early church didn't call themselves Christians they were called Christians by the people who knew them Christ Ians we might say they were called Christians by others and I've shared this with our class this week and some of you may be aware that the Methodist Church did not adopt the name Methodist Methodist was a bad as it was a pejorative name they were called because you see John Wesley had been convicted that holiness was important in the life of a Christian and so he would be particular in how he obeyed the Lord he thought that was important you think that's important read the book of Deuteronomy over and over says be careful in how we observe. The Lord Anyway the statutes of the Lord might have you so they called well as you said you got a method for everything you're Methodist. And the name stuck that's where they got it from they got it from somewhere else well same with the name Christian you guys are a bunch of Christ Ians Now why would you call somebody a Christ in all they were they live like Christ they talked about Christ they ate and Brit breathe and slept Christ and you're just a bunch of crazed in the name stuck but make no mistake that there was no difference being the disciple in the Christian Now some of you said yeah there is you know there is a difference and I know what you meant by it if there was a difference if we were to say there was a difference between a disciple a Christian what we didn't say what is the difference a disciple is different from a Christian how their active Christian right is kind of sad that we would have to make that distinction now isn't there an active Christian should there be such thing as an active Christian Well let's look at it a little bit I want to I want to you know the Great Commission is that we go and make what disciples while we better be clear on what we're supposed to be making sure to me what is a disciple before I go anywhere I don't know and I don't hold on a minute we're going to back out of Christianity altogether. We're not going to go we're not becoming heathen That's all I'm saying but I don't want Christian terms because disciples a term that goes beyond Christianity you don't have to be in Christianity to say disciple there are other there are other faiths and even outside the whole faith community there are people who use the word disciple what is in that broad sense what is a disciple OK I hear follow worse student both good answers a follower for what reason how many would agree that it cycles a follower OK it or students and student is good to why are they following. Because they want to be like the person they're following I mean it's a distinctive about a disciple right would you agree with that a disciple follow somebody not just to follow but for the purpose of becoming like the one they're following now we see that Luke Chapter 6 if you go to Luke 6 with me Matthew Mark Luke Luke Chapter 6 and. We're going to look at verse 40. In Matthew 6 I do this sometimes and I thought there is no verse 40 here do I have the verse right Luke 6 and verse 40 you know I tell you things like that incidentally because sometimes it's easy for you sitting and listening to think that the guys up front got it all worked out you talk about devotional life you know like I sure wish I could get mine down and you imagine I've had I have had people it's not always just the person up front I can't tell you how many members have struggled and I visit with them and they say Pastor Why is it easy for everybody but me it's not all in the same boat together we all have the same Savior Jesus we all need him. Luke 6 verse 40 says a disciple is not above his teacher but everyone who is perfectly what change will be like his teacher now the idea here is just what we said about discipleship that's what Jesus is saying this is discipleship of discipleship the goal of the disciples to become like the teacher well that follows with what we were just saying so that's not should be a great great revelation now I want to go somewhere else here to Luke Chapter 9 Luke Chapter 9 we're going to look at verse 23 this is a very common verse you've probably heard it before again I me want to look at it a little differently than you have been accustomed to Jesus is giving the qualification for a disciple if you want to be a disciple you this is how it is so he says in the $923.00 The Bible says then he said to them all if anyone desires to come after me. We could say follow me let him do what deny himself and take up his cross day in the end following. Whoever desires to save his life will lose it but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it now this is a really great verse for lots of reasons 1st thing he says 1st qualification of disciple is the disciples got to be willing to deny themselves what does that mean I mean to say what do yourself know that's part of Christianity and how often in the context of this verse because it died the denying yourself and taking up the cross is together and it's on a daily basis I'm going to tell you saints and this is I know people well meaning when they do it but I've had Christians say there's some things that go around today like people say Oh it's easy to be saved and hard to be laws OK I guess I could make a case for that. You know when you just you just need to you can't do it yourself so you just need to ask God in Heaven Take it away well. There are some instances I could flesh that out but here's what I have a problem with that for one it contradicts what Jesus says here and now if you let me put it this way when I 1st became a Christian I head in this is back in the Navy and some of you remember this some of you won't it doesn't matter but there was a there was I was into these action movies and there is this movie called Die Hard as well my favorite movies but in fact it's on the top 100 list top 10 I think of all time even today a lot of people just love this movie Well you know any time a movie hits big then it becomes number one number 2 number 3 number 4 because Hollywood knows it's a money maker right so I saw Die Hard and I saw die hard too and I became converted right before diehard 3 came out and you know I am just like I and I'm convicted I shouldn't be going to these but I'm like I really want to go see 3. And I remember talking to a young man in my in my church who said hey you know what if you feel like gone go ahead and go because if God didn't want you to go he's going to take away that desire. And even in mine and I want to tell you I did not know a lot at that time at all I was fairly new but something told me that would not be a good idea. OK but I does this mentality today that God's going to take everything away and I can tell you stories about things God taken away in my life I worked construction and I swore I didn't bears a sailor the way I swore every other word I swore and all of a sudden I mean it was within like a week of time boom it was gone. But that isn't the way it works with everything and I don't know why sometimes I think the Lord just wants you to see his power and then he says now you know I have the power and I want you to put forth some effort and show me that you believe me I don't know for sure but I'm just telling you it just doesn't always work automatically no Jesus is saying that here there's going to be this denial there are times you've got to say no to yourself there are times on a regular basis that's the Christians part of the Christian life and I'm sharing that with you so you don't. Get discouraging I thought to myself at one point well maybe I'm not cut out to be a Christian because it's not just all taken away or the lord take it away as you choose the path I'll give the power but Jesus says anyone if anyone wants to come after me let him do not himself and I kind of when I even start have started venturing down that road now because when we read this what do we usually think of what does this mean Jesus if you want to come after me you need to do was give me some practical thing don't go see Die Hard 3 right wealth OK Love your enemy hear somebody say don't watch things you shouldn't watch what are you saying no to yourself about. Right bad habits and things like that and that's true I mean that's absolutely true and I and for so long that was where my focus was that you deny yourself of your bad habits so that you can prepare for Heaven however it was Mark Finley that asked this question once and it prompted a whole different thought process he said because you see this is discipleship Jesus says if anyone will come after me right and so the whole idea is we're we're following him he already did it and we're going behind him that's what it means because that's discipleship whatever he's had in us to do is what he did it and so finally asked the question what bad habits did Jesus deny so he could have a for be on the right path or Well that's ridiculous I thought Why that you obviously it is a he didn't he didn't give up anything bad so that he could be say he gave up something good so we could be saved not right let him deny himself and take up this cause now listen where did you take up a cross in Jesus day you don't see a guy carrying a cross in the marketplace or those kumquats there I'll take some of those old as things get heavy you're not going to have that you take across to one place your crucifixion right that's what you're carrying it and that's where you're going in most cases where did Jesus take his cross to his crucifixion for what purpose for us to be saved to follow along here Jesus didn't give up bad things so he could be saved he gave it a good thing so we could be say he was even willing to lay down his life so others could be saved and he says if you want to be my disciple you need to do what I did you've got to be willing to say no to yourself even to good things if that's what it takes or others can be saved. You've got to be willing to do not lay down your life and let's just be real clear here lay down your life doesn't mean you think going to be a martyr maybe it means instead of going in finishing up that medical degree so I can make lots of money like I want to do and have that big house on the boat and everything else the Lord called me to be a missionary in China and nobody's going to know my name and I'm going to live a hard life but I'm willing to do it because my master laid down his life so I could be say it and let me just give you a little hint here this morning you don't have to be you know have to go to China to do that there's a lot of missionary work to do right where you live now is what Jesus called his disciples to that's what I meant when they forsook all they they put all behind him and put Christ 1st and they played everything down to be a part of that ministry to other humans are you following them again if we're going to follow that discipleship is following Jesus is the master because we want to emulate him let's just ask this question What was Jesus' life about if you were to sum up the life of Jesus in a sentence now here's some people said. This favorite summaries is Luke 1910 where Jesus and some of my summary is the words of Christ the Son of Man is come to see can save the last let me ask you a question Is there any part of Christ's life his ministry on earth that that doesn't fit can you say well there is that one time he really wasn't thinking about seeking and saving the last and there was a time over there you can't do it can you there's not a time in Moment in Christ's earthly existence where he wasn't stinking about seeking safety laws what about now what about his heavenly existence do you think there's a time where the Lord says you know what I'm going to sit down and go watch Netflix for a while and kind of burned out on on saving people I'll start again in the morning. It's ridiculous isn't it there's not a moment there's not a moment passes that Jesus isn't thinking about seeking and saving the laws that's why his parting words to His disciples was the great commission every gospel shares in a little differently but those were supporting words in every case the heaviest thing on his heart so how can it be that a person would call themselves a disciple of Jesus Christ and have no desire to see can save the laws I mean of discipleship of following the master in order to be like him and that is the sum and substance of his life let me illustrate it this way how many of you know who Michael Jordan is Michael Jordan is a basketball player former retired now but he's. Arguably one of the best players if not the best player that was and in the day in my day there was in there was even a song Gator Aid had a commercial and they made a song called be like Mike anybody remember the song about be like Mike I'm sorry I couldn't do that to you want to do that then you know sing it all day I didn't intend that but you know there are a lot of young men who wanted to be like Mike they want to be like Michael Jordan is a great basketball player now Michael Jordan one of things Michael Jordan pioneered was the Air Jordan had his own shoe that's. The 1st edition Air Jordan there and all they bottom up people bottom up and they were cheap shoes why did people buy him up because he wanted to be like Mike right that was they were emulating they were they wanted to be his disciples in essence. And you can you can you can buy the Air Jordans you can buy the 23 jersey right you can there's all you can and people did young young guys did this because they wanted to be like Mike now I want you to just put yourself in the mindset you grew up in maybe it wasn't Michael you grew up with a hero at some point you were emulating wanted to be like whoever So let's just say it was Mike I'm going to be like Mike and I'm going to get the Air Jordans and I'm going to and I'm going to get the jersey you know I'm an even shave my head bald I mean I'm going to do are going to go away I'm going to be like Mike except for one thing you really hate basketball you just can't stand it best ball does not interest you in it in the least does it make any sense that you would choose a hero to emulate who the substance of their life is something you're not interested in like the one thing they're known for it's like God I'm not into that does that make any sense at all brothers and sisters why would we dare call ourselves Christians if we have no interest in the last this is what discipleship means and Jesus said we're to be making disciples and I want to ask your question is that what's happening today or are we just making church members are we ourselves disciples I want you to notice a statement you maybe have heard this before from the book Christian service page 58 Ellen White says here it is evident that all the sermons that have been pre have not developed a large class of what she calls self denying workers is just another word for what a disciple right into the cycle denies himself and follows the master in his in his cause all the sermons that have been preached. I have not developed a large class that means all the conservative sermons and all the liberal sermons that means all the last sermons and all the great sermons that means all the convicting sermons and all the encouraging sermons and all the fire and brimstone and the Mormon fuzzy and you name it we can sit around and debate the apology Oh Dale Oh no now I'm on this side and you're on that side in and yet statistically in North America only 2 percent of Christians that's not just 7 am It is share their faith on a regular basis we dare to call ourselves disciples of the Master because we can debate the ology I should have heard in a manner I have mercy to that one this is what Ellen White continues to say this subject is to be considered as involving what kind of results the most serious results are future for eternity is at stake the churches are with the ring up because they don't have a good preacher because they don't have enough money because they don't have this that or the other know because they have failed to use their talents in diffusing light it's not the way it was in the early church take your Bibles to go with me to the Book of Acts Acts Chapter 8 I mean that sometimes there are some temptations that are good temptations maybe maybe a goodish and that is I just love to start chapter one and plow through there's just so much powerful stuff in the book of Acts So if we're going to chapter 8 I'm thinking man I'm just missing all this good stuff but we're going to go to. Chapter 8 and verse one follow along here it says in Chapter 8 in verse one of the book of Acts no Saul speaking of Saul the persecutor incidentally just so you know Saul was the Hebrew name Paul was the Greek name because people say once per pre-commercial one supposed that's not true because sometimes they call themselves even afterward. So Paul was consent to Stephen's death the 1st mart of the Christian church at that time of great persecution arose against the church was reduced. And they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and some area except Who except the Apostles it says in development carried Stephen to his burial and make greed limitation over him as for Saul he made havoc of the church entering every house and dragging off men and women committing them to prison therefore those who were scattered went everywhere was now preaching the word you need to understand something in the New Testament the word that's translated preaching when we think preaching we think what I'm doing this is preaching but in the Greek language preaching is just verbal we communicating I mean it could be like this it could be down there me just talking one on one to want to be sitting beside you have it on a park bench and that's preaching in this sense the reason I'm telling you that is I don't want to get the idea that everybody everybody went everywhere and they hired out some hall they did some big meeting that someone is talking about it it means the ones who are scattered went about everywhere virtually communicating what they knew about Christ OK now here's what I did 1st time this hit me I could see I when I came into the church my mindset was that the church was built up by the Apostles they did all the preaching they did all the converting a baptizing in the lay people just hear them on and so when I read this and it said that the whole church was scattered accept the Apostles and I so appreciate that Luke records it that way then when we come to verse 14 says oh by the way though it was those who were scattered that went and did the preaching of the word. Wait a minute just didn't just say the Apostles were everybody the scattered ones did not include the Apostles right it was everybody except the Apostles which meant all the rest of the church members which meant you right when everywhere preaching the word powerful now that doesn't mean the Apostles didn't preach it just meant everybody had a part in it this is why the church grew the way it did you don't you know we just read 3000 today that's awesome and I have to say somebody mayhaps be upset with this but you know we've talked about and I'm not I'm not saying I'm not glad about it but you know you've heard that we're baptizing is 77 church for baptizing 3000 a day today you know that right statistically the worldwide have an assert in you know it's give or take but why would you even choose the name because I've read it and I've heard it in public. You know programs and things why would we even choose the language of 3000 a day because it makes us feel like the early church right I mean when we hear 3000 a week a just like X. But here's the problem in the book of Acts 120 we're baptizing 3000 a day today 20000000 or baptizing 3000 a day a little bit different and so I'm glad for the 3000 but Saints it ought to be a lot more but it can't be until the church goes everywhere preaching the word I want you to follow along here to something really fascinating because this group point out they're scattered and they're preaching everywhere and we don't find them again until X. 11 we come to Axel Levin and we discover this little group you know acts temper 11 in verse 19 acts of leaven in verse 19 this is what the Bible says. Says Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen So like there's no question here right we just read that Saul was holding Stephen's Garman's he'd just been stoned and we know who that is and then afterwards the persecution they were all scattered it's the same people the same group now after now those who were scattered after the persecution that rose over Stephen travel as far as Phoenicia Cyprus and Antioch preaching the word to no one but the Jews only at that point in time but some of them were men from Cyprus and Sirene who when they had come to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists those are just a Greek speaking Jews preaching the Lord Jesus and the hand of the Lord was was brothers and sisters listen to me there are those of you listening right now and I will guarantee with what we've already looked at in scripture that the conviction of the Spirit has come upon you and you're thinking I should be doing more for the cause of Christ but then you're saying the reason I'm not I know I am not because I'm not that good at it and you know what that means your focus is in the wrong place you're thinking about you the hand of the Lord was upon them the hand of the Lord was with them that's the key and it's going to be with you and me the lawyer didn't call us to share the gospel because he thought we were good at it because he knew what he could do through us so it says that the hand of the Lord was with them and a great number believed in turn to the Lord then the news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem where is that where the Apostles That's D.C. headquarters OK the word gets back to G.C. headquarters what the church members are doing is so powerful word gets back to D.C. headquarters now like maybe you got to send a representative out there and just to be clear this morning. Your pastor in your church is the representative from Michigan headquarters to help you in your work that's the idea and when that idea goes forward we'll see the growth that we see here now they go back were gets back to D.C. headquarters so they sent out Barnabas I was as they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch verse 23 and when he when he came and had seen the grace of God He was God and encourage them that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord for he was a good man full of the Holy Spirit of Faith and a great many people were added to Lord knows now you've got to G.C. representative in the church members working together now in front of a stir didn't showed up they didn't also know who that was hard Barnabas you go they kept working he kept working Amen Now in verse $25.00 we're kind of coming full circle here and since then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to Sikhs although we read that earlier but now you know the context he's like soul you got to come see this this is great you have to see the growth of what's happening in Antioch he comes to get Tarses and it's a come to Saul of Tarsus and he says. Verse 26 when he had found him he brought him to Antioch So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people and the disciples were 1st called Christians. Now you know why they were called Christian because they were acting like Christ seeking and saving. Oh brothers and sisters we need this today don't we we need a revival of among us today that missionary spirit. Steps to Christ page 78 says No sooner does one come to Christ then there is born in his heart a desire to make known to others sorry should be a period there what a precious friend he has found in Jesus the saving and sanctifying truth cannot be shut up in his heart I'm going to come in on this in a minute you remember this it's impossible for a person to come to Christ and not have that desire I'm going to I would have an edge in that with many of you today who maybe are not as active as you would want to be you remember having that desire and you remember going out and sharing your faith and you messed up and learned you shouldn't be doing it because I run into that all the time I'd This is what I do I'm a trainer and I go and I train and this is the story I get you know I know I remember ma'am when I 1st came in the church but then I went and told my whole Catholic family who the in a Christ was and then the mark of the beast was and I shouldn't have done and I realized I just better leave it to others Saints let me tell you something this morning that's the way you learn nobody starts witnessing perfectly it's just not going to happen I mean you think you're surprising the Lord you think the Lord ask you to go wit like he does in Scripture the commission is clear and then you went out and talk your family I'm sorry I didn't mean you I didn't realize you would do that now don't ugh ugh somebody else he could use the angels he's not doing that he knew what was going to happen he knew what you were going to say and the reality is even that wrong thing you said might be the 1st step in that person you said to getting their selves awakened to spiritual things and turning back to Christ the Lord in charge of it we're too hard on ourselves sometimes you know who put that in your mind that you've got it all messed up and you should stop it wasn't the Lord Jesus. I'm going to get to that a little bit more in a minute notice the statement substrates page 81 the love of Christ revealed to us makes us what debtors to all who know him not God has given us light not for ourselves alone but to shed upon them I mean what is the problem of the Jewish nation why were they in the condition they were in in the mindset they were in when Christ came to reject him it's because they had so long a hoarded delight to themselves that they forgot their mission and their purpose you know when I talk about witnessing and this is one of the one of the ways that we fight conviction and this is one of the most common ways I hear this on too often I hear this is it's not my gift you ever I don't want to ask if you've ever you could have heard it may have said it even it's just a common thing it's just like oh and I mean I know members that are kind of educated I could go and pick shelves books off the shelf in the A.B.C. They're like don't let anybody guilt you into witness like yeah. I like that well it may make you feel good until that day when you realize that you could have been a means of somebody being in the kingdom and you wouldn't let yourself get guilt in a witness because it wasn't your gift we say it's not my gift why do we do that I'm going to tell you why we do it at least in part one of the worst one of the biggest challenges that I think that we have and if we didn't we didn't come up with then we haven't heard we borrowed it from other churches is the spiritual gifts inventory or the spiritual gifts test never take one of these don't be ashamed if you take them on and I mean it's I'm not going to not criticize you for taking it I just want you to understand it I mean is kind of a fun little exercise but honestly you're answering a bunch of questions according to what what you like how you feel and the presupposition is this The presupposition is that God would never ask you to do anything you don't feel comfortable with no really are you are you living the same Christian life I am. Honestly you know goes on to ask you do anything that makes you uncomfortable let's just have a news flash here the Disciples of Christ I'm not going to look the text up I want to quote it for you but Matthew 1028 says Do not fear Him who can kill the body fear Him who destroys both soul and by who can destroy both soul and body and hell fire you remember that text Matthew 10 the context of Matthew 10 is Jesus has just sent the disciples out to witness and by the way I've sent people out to witness a long time I never had to tell him Don't worry some of you are going to come back I. Told him hey don't worry if they kill the body but he tells them in that context don't be afraid now what kind of people do you say don't be afraid you'll say to bold people you'll say to brazen people you say to a free people what does that tell us about the Disciples of Christ Oh they were afraid to let you know this morning that witnessing is not there only for spiritual gifts listen the Bible witnessing is not on any one of them I always tell people it's like standard equipment we buy a car there are options you can get but there's an industry be an engine in it unless you're buying a body for something or the other but when you get a car they just become one then you have me an option when do but they come with that they come with tires they come a steering wheels right and a Christian Christianity comes with witnessing it we see that in the early church and when I says the steps to Christ the opinion has prevailed that only those who are especially talented are required to consecrate their abilities to the service of God those special few that have that ability it has come to be understood by many that talents are given to only a certain favored class to the exclusion of others who have course are not called upon to share in the toils or the reward but it is not so represented in the parable She's speaking of the parable of the talents when the master of the house called his servants he gave to every man his word is not true I love this statement here you are not to wait for great occasions or to expect what. Extraordinary abilities before you go to work for God God would use what you have we see this again and again I mean what's the loaves in the fishes What is that what's said illustrating I'm not it is not allegorical to real story it's really happened but there's a boy who brings all he's got to Jesus look I've got 5 loaves and 2 fish OK we're going to feed a multitude of people who are still going to be left over how did that happen let me ask you honestly can you explain how it happened doesn't matter if you're going to explain it to happen because Jesus was there and when you go to share your faith Jesus is there and in the same way that he multiplied the physical bread he'll multiply the spirits of bread you give him what you have you say all I've got is this that's OK All you've got is enough for Jesus he can use it people say I'm not qualified I don't know enough I mean the. Incidentally all of these excuses we give or sell focus you know you're in I'm saying I mean you know to think about it I don't know I can't do I'm not with who's at all about me let's see does Jesus no no can he is he qualified OK and have the angels able to help us then what's the problem well but I'm the problem well quit thinking about you. So thinking about him he's look Jesus Coley you know going to call us to do this not just send us on out there and say I'll come back and check on you guys later I'm not qualified I don't know enough how much is enough What's the text you've got to get to where is the point in your spiritual experience where you're going to hear one day and Sabbath school or some sermon or your personal study you know like that there's the text now I'm ready Has anybody here ever had that where you had that moment it's like now I know enough because of that I just learned this thing it's not going to happen it's not I'm telling you it's not going to happen because I if that were the case I would be witnessing I would be preaching living for myself and I be laws I'm not qualified. You ever look at the disciples. I praise God for choosing the disciples I praise God that Jesus chose the disciples he did I mean he could choose guys who didn't ever mess up but that's not the case and I've told I've told the students this week Peter I mean one of my favorite stories is on the Mount of Transfiguration and in a way mark records and I just love it because you know Moses is there a lie just there Peter goes up to Jesus you say this is great Moses Alija it's good for us to be here should we make 3 tents and set up 3 tents Lord one for you one for most one for lodges this and the Bible goes Mark goes on to say this in his gospel that the reason Peter said. Is because he didn't know what to say now here's a good rule of thumb if you don't know what to say just don't say anything but you know what I don't follow that rule I say things all the time I shouldn't say and if I did have a Peter there and see what the Lord was able to do I could get discouraged by say praise God for Peter because I make those kind of mistakes you know Peri's going to be daring and bolding cut I don't know he's probably trying to cut the guy's head off but he cut the ear off right Peter gets up on the water to walk on the water gets all proud of himself and looks at the guys look at me right and then he falls in the water and I say Peter gets a bad rap because he was the only guy who had enough faith to get out on the water I mean at least he had now so I I mean you look at the Disciples of Christ you know who the most qualified what was. Judas from earthly standpoint brothers and sisters God has called us to the Most Noble and amazing work that we could ever do and he has promised to qualify us for that work and I want to tell you we have too often been kidding ourselves about our I mean there's so much talk today about Christ centered innocent lifting up Jesus I agree with that if we're if we're talking about the real deal but I want you to consider this statement as we close. Have you so deep in appreciation of the sacrifice made on Calvary that you are willing to make every other interest subordinate to the work of saving souls that's what that sacrifice meant for Christ he put he laid down His life for others if you do you appreciate it so much you want to talk about the cross let's talk about the cross across means I'm going to do like my master did because of we he did for me I'm laying down my life for others have you that kind of appreciation the same intensity of desire to save sinners that mark the life of the Savior marks the life of his true follower the Christian has no desire to live for self he delights to consecrate all that he hasn't is to the master of service he is moved by an inexpressible desire to win souls to cries those who have nothing of this desire might be better be concerned for their own salvation let them pray for the spirit of service I'm going to be honest with you brothers and sisters I've had a pretty for the spirits are in us to love others like Christ but it's what we're called to and we need to pray that the Lord will continue to put that in our hearts and then when we take even the littlest bit that we have and we put it into his service he's going to magnify it for good not going to share a story that maybe you heard me share before I hear shared a lot because one of my favorite is the story of a man who is out on a on a cruise ship and this was back in the day before they were all lit up as well as there are today you see why that significant in a minute and while he was on that he got seasick he went down into his room feeling sick and laid down on his bed had little porthole window in his room and he as he's laying there he hears a yell and then a splash and then somebody says Man overboard. And immediately he wants to help and so he jumps out of his bed and remembers real quick why he's laying there as he starts to feel sick and he's doubled over and he goes over to the window any just torn because he wants to be able to do something to help and he was so helpless and he takes this lady and he looks out the window and he tries to see it's dark out he tries to see any can't see anything and after what seems like an eternity goes back and he lays down on his bed and he's just now he's feeling sicker than ever and he's tossing and turning wondering about what happened to the main in the morning he's feeling better and so very early he's up on the deck and he sees the captain Any was up and he says Captain I have to know what happened to the man who fell overboard did you get him and the captain says listen I thought it was a lost cause we couldn't see anything in those dark waters and just when we were about to give up somebody shined a light out of a port hole and we saw I mean we pulled them in brothers and sisters maybe all you have is a little light you shine out of a poor hole but God will use it Christ will use it to win souls if you're just willing to give it how many of you today will say Lord I don't have much but I'll use it for your call as here I am send me how many of you want to commit to that this morning Jesus will take that commitment you know turn it into souls in the kingdom Father in heaven Oh father we say we so praise your name for giving us the privilege of fellowshipping with you in service Lord there is nothing that we have that would do serve having a part in people being saved Oh Lord in that your spirit would only impress our hearts and minds now with the the level of joy I will have to know in your kingdom not just that we're there but others are there because we shined our little light father thing. We love. I pray Lord renew in us the spirit of service we ask and prayed in Jesus. This media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse if you would like to listen to more sermon leader Visit W W W audio verse or.

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