Sunday Morning 3-24-2013

Posted by Sherry


WHY DO THEY CALL IT “PALM SUNDAY”?
Matthew 21:1-11
CBC 3/24/13 Palm Sunday SM

INTRO
  • b/c they greeted the Messiah waving palm branches (custom & tradition.. a long-standing symbol of Jewish nationalism) when He entered Jerusalem thinking He was there to deliver them from the Roman occupation.
  • When they found out His plan was to deliver them from their sin instead...they crucified Him.
    • Do we do the same thing?
    • Do we have presuppositions when we are introduced to Jesus?
    • Are we disappointed when we find out His agenda is not the same as ours?
    • Do we crucify him (fig.) by ignoring, denouncing, or denying His existence?
    • Are we self-centered or Christ-centered?

Why Did The Cheering Stop? 
  • Jesus, 
    • the son of a carpenter, 
    • educated in Nazareth, 
    • one who gained favor with men, 
    • one who was cheered and praised, 
    • would soon be mocked, 
    • scorned, 
    • and cast aside by the same ones who did the cheering.
  • Jesus was aware:
    • of the conditions surrounding the people
      • Roman oppression
      • heavy taxes
      • restrictions
      • numerous executions by crucifixion
    • of the condition of the people’s heart
      • Jews searching for someone
      • a king
      • a conqueror
      • someone to set them free
      • they had witnessed the works of Jesus
        • sight to blind
        • healing the lame
        • feed the multitude w/ little boy’s lunch w/ leftovers
        • raising Lazarus from the dead
        • taught w/ authority
        • w/ power like that overthrowing the Romans would be a snap
  • Timing was right
    • Passover feast - deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage

  • Roman Soldiers were aware:
    • the meaning of Passover
    • tradition of skirmishes and violent reactions
    • Theodus previously rode into town & launched a revolt
    • He ended up w/ his head on a stick on the garrison wall

  • Jesus rode into Jerusalem
    • the crowds waved palm branches
    • They shouted, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord.”
    • Cheering, praising, exalting…but then something happened. 
    • The cheering stopped.
  • Jesus didn’t gather any troops. 
    • He didn’t lead a revolt. 
    • He didn’t do what they expected. 
    • He drove the moneychangers out of the temple. 
    • He paid tribute to Caesar. 
    • He taught that giving out of poverty is worth more than giving out of abundance.
    • He taught that in order to be great, you must be a servant. 
    • Jesus did everything the people didn’t want, and so the cheering stopped.
  • when Jesus rises to our cause; 
    • it’s easy to cheer. 
    • what about when He doesn’t? 
    • What happens when we face oppression? 
    • What happens when we experience troubles? 
    • Too often, the cheering comes to a stop. 
    • Words of adoration and praise quickly fade when we face life as it really is.
  • Sometimes God does give us what we want,
    • He always gives us what we need. 
    • sometimes we experience a little problem. 
    • Often our wants and desires blur our vision to our real needs. 
    • The same thing happened to the crowds that lined the Streets to cheer Jesus.
    • There were some things that they didn’t see, but Jesus did. 
    • Luke19:41-44.

“And when He was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, “If thou hadst even known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee; that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.”

 “Why did the cheering stop?”

First, because they did not recognize His purpose. 
  • v 44, “because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.” 
    • visitation-someone visiting to bring relief or deliverance. 
    • they failed to see their opportunity for true relief.
    • people were looking for the kingdom of God and 
    • Jesus had already told them that the kingdom is already in their presence, 
    • aware of His claims to be the Son of God. 
    • witness to His miracle working power. 
    • Jesus even told them once that they could look at the sky to discern the weather, but they could not discern the time in which they were living. 
    • They could not see Jesus’ purpose because they had their eyes on their immediate circumstances instead of their current condition.
  • We are the same way today. 
    • When we experience trials or certain hardships, and 
    • we suffer through various difficulties, and 
    • we get our eyes on our circumstances; 
    • we focus is on everything around us that is wrong, 
    • then something happens. 
    • our prayer starts to change. 
    • our prayer shifts from one place to another, and 
    • it becomes, “Lord, deliver me, help me, fight for me, uplift me,” 
    • instead of, “Lord, mold me, use me, grow me through these things, change me, and get glory for yourself.” 
    • Too often the desire is for God to change the circumstances, instead of God changing the person in those circumstances. 
    • sadly, it has an effect. 
    • In time the cheering stops. 
    • we loose sight of Him and His purpose, and 
    • we diminish in our worship of Him. 
    • we go through the motions of service, and 
    • we praise Him for what we want Him to do, 
    • instead of praising Him for who He is.
  • people desired deliverance from oppression. 
    • Jesus came to deliver them from the bigger problem of sin. 
    • In their desire to escape their immediate circumstances to have their brand of peace, 
    • they missed the fact that they walked in the very presence of the Prince of Peace. 
    • Don’t let that be what causes your cheering for Him to stop. 
    • Don’t loose sight of the fact that through any circumstance, you are in the presence of the Prince of Peace. 
    • John 16: 33 “These things have I spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” 
    • It’s hard to get peace from the world when it is clear that it is full of tribulation.
    • With Jesus, we can have peace, even in the middle of tribulation.

Second, they refused to accept His terms. 
  • v 42, Jesus said, “If you had known the things which make for peace.” 
    • look at the word know, 
    • realize that it is not used in the sense of being aware of something, 
    • or to have knowledge of something. 
    • It is used in a different sense. 
    • It’s use is one that is common in Scriptures such as 
    • Matthew 7:23 when Jesus said, “Depart from me, I never knew you.” 
    • Certainly He knows everything there is to know about you. 
    • What is meant in that passage is that He never approved of you
    • (lit.), “Even though I know you, and am aware of every little detail about you, you must depart from me because I do not approve of you.” 
    • same as in v 42. “If you had APPROVED the things which make for peace”
  • Jesus’ terms clearly spelled out. 
    • Luke 14 they involved a cross
    • “Take up your cross and follow Him.” 
    • The terms involved careful consideration
    • “Count the cost.” 
    • The terms involved submission
    • As two kings prepared for battle, the weaker would send an ambassador to request the terms of peace from the stronger army. 
    • It was then up to the weaker king to submit to those terms if he desired peace.
  • Jews desired peace, 
    • but wanted it to come through conflict. 
    • Jesus was offering them peace in conflict. 
    • And Jesus said of Jerusalem in Luke 13:34, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!” 
    • And the city of Jerusalem, who’s name means founded peaceful, refused Jesus’ terms. 
    • Why? 
    • b/c they wanted to set the terms of peace.
  • How often do we as Christians do the same thing? 
    • We want peace, and 
    • we want blessings, but 
    • at the same time, we want to do things our way in order to get them. 
    • attitude is, “God, I want peace and blessings, and I’m going to do this, and that, and the other, because that’s how I want to handle it. And Lord, your job it to just bless me in my actions. 
  • How about the one who has not accepted Christ as their savior? 
    • There are many who want to set the terms themselves. 
    • “Oh, I’m going to get to Heaven one day, but I’ll get there on my own terms.”
    • Jesus was clear when He said, ‘I am the way, and no man comes to the Father but by Him.” 
    • But, time and time again we have refused His terms. 
    • There is a way that seems right to man, but the end of it is destruction. 
    • Why? 
    • b/c we refuse to accept His terms. 
    • Jesus is the only way; 
    • the only provision for salvation has already been made. 
    • The blood that was shed on the cross of Calvary is the only means whereby you can be forgiven of sin, and 
    • it is the righteousness of Christ that must be applied to you if you desire to be in Heaven for eternity.
Thirdly, they did not realize that it would bring judgment. 
v 42-44, “but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave one stone upon another.”
  • Jesus describes the future judgment of Jerusalem. 
    • They had been warned, 
    • they knew the terms, 
    • they knew who Jesus was, 
    • but they refused to accept these things, and 
    • so it brought judgment.

  • In 70A.D, a Roman general named Titus, 
    • set siege against Jerusalem because they did finally revolt. 
    • The people did it their way. 
    • They went according to their purpose, 
    • they acted upon their terms, and 
    • it brought about judgment.
  • According to the historian, Josephus, 
    • over one million Jews were killed. 
    • He recorded that the blood flowed down the steps leading up to the temple, just like water. 
    • The temple was destroyed.
  • Things happened just as Jesus said they would. 
    • It was because they would not recognize His purpose, 
    • they refused to accept His terms, 
    • so, they were judged. 
    • It was God who said, “you are done.” 
    • end of v 42, “but now they are hid from thine eyes.” 
    • They knew His claim, 
    • they knew His terms, 
    • but they would have no more opportunity to accept them. 
    • They wanted it to be their way, and 
    • so the cheering stopped with one more silencing blow…judgment.
  • How does that apply to us? 
    • We cannot approach God on your own terms; 
    • We must come through Jesus. 
    • We cannot come to Him in your own time; 
    • No man comes to Me unless the Father draw them. 
    • When we come to Him we must accept His claims; 
    • Jesus IS the Son of God, 
    • the sacrifice for sin, 
    • the Lord and Savior. 
    • If we refuse these things, 
    • we may nail the coffin of our opportunity shut, and 
    • all that will be left for us to hear is, “it’s too late.” 
    • Our cheering will stop. 
    • All that will be left is destruction
    • for the unsaved... in a place called Hell. 
    • It is a place of eternal judgment. 
    • There is a “too late” in dealing with God.
  • Maybe our desires have been self-centered instead of God-centered. 
    • You are saved, but perhaps you have never accepted His terms of service to Him, and 
    • you have been doing things on your own, 
    • and in your own strength. 
    • Shouldn’t you accept what He would have you do, 
    • and serve how He would have you serve?

Sunday Morning 3-17-2013

Posted by Sherry


IN HOT PURSUIT 
Expanding Our Expectations 
Ephesians 3:20 
CBC 3/17/2013 SM

INTRO:
Do we pursue our expectations with anticipation?

Psalms 42:1 Just like a deer that craves streams of water,
    my whole being craves you, God.

Ephesians 3: 20 Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]— 

Productive pursuit is pursuing God in obedience.
(hard to trap a wild hog in my back yard in town b/c a more suitable environment for the hog is in the creek bottom. God operates in the environment of our OBEDIENCE.)

Once I am pursuing Him in obedience my expectations will begin to expand and continue to expand because verse 20 says...

“He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.”

We can’t expect more from God than He can deliver!

Matthew Henry adds this commentary
“There is an inexhaustible fullness of grace and mercy in God, which the prayers of all the saints can never draw dry. Whatever we may ask, or think to ask, still God is still able to do more, abundantly more, exceedingly abundantly more. Open thy mouth ever so wide, still he hath wherewithal to fill it.”

Our expectations limit, WHAT WE RECEIVE FROM GOD.
  • Our expectations do not limit God’s abundance
    • God has it whether we are getting it or not

  • EXPAND - to enlarge or spread out
  • EXPECTATION - eager anticipation
    • Expand my Expectations - Enlarging my Anticipation

ENLARGE MY ANTICIPATION OF CHURCH
  • Beyond the normal
    • I hope Pastor’s Breakfast is good this morning
    • I hope they sing “my” favorite song
    • I hope I get to see my friend
    • I hope the preacher doesn’t go too long
  • How Many Came Anticipating...
    • somebody getting saved
    • somebody uniting with our church
    • a crew of 4 tearing a hole in the roof and letting a cripple down for prayer
  • How many lost people did you pass on your way to Church this morning?
    • we entered our SM “routine” w/out anticipating what God COULD do.
    • ...and God is able to do MORE THAN THAT!
  • Church is more than...
    • a social club
    • a fashion show
    • a dating agency
  • Church is where the unsaved find salvation
    • the sick find prayer for God’s healing
    • the saved lift their joyful noise & praise to worship the King of Kings & Lord of Lords
    • where we are challenged to “GO YE THEREFORE...”
    • Saturday, March 23, Hawthorne Apts. Noon - 2p (cooking hot dogs, passing out care pkgs, Youth leading a 30 min VBS, making the church visible to our neighbors)
  • Enlarge our Anticipation of what church is about
    • think about the best worship service ever...God says, “I can beat that”
    • think about the best SS class/lesson ever...                  “
    • think about the best sermon ever...............                   “
    • think about the best invitation ever.............                   “
EXPAND MY ANTICIPATION OF WHAT GOD CAN DO IN MY LIFE
  • We sometimes don’t dream big b/c we don’t want to FAIL BIG
    • that embarrasses us
    • that leads to a pride issue
    • Moses wanted someone else to speak w/ him to Pharoah
    • God said He would be with him
    • Moses exhibited pride in saying that wasn’t acceptable....????....
    • Phil 4:13 I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who [a]infuses inner strength into me; I am [b]self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].
  • Prerequisites for doing something great for God
    • NOT AGE...
      • David defeated giant as a youth
    • NOT EDUCATION...
      • David was a shepherd
    • NOT RESOURCES
      • Little boy w/ single sack lunch fed 5000 w/ Jesus’ touch
    • NOT STRENGTH
      • Moses parted a sea w/ a stick w/ God’s assistance
  • God can do great things with ordinary, obedient people
    • He loves ordinary people b/c there’s no debate on “who did the job”....God did
    • ask God what it is He wants to do through YOU
EXPAND MY ANTICIPATION OF WHAT GRACE IS ALL ABOUT
  • Grace is not “grace to sin”
    • I can sin all I want, still go to heaven b/c of once saved - always saved, and get forgiveness on Sunday.
  • Grace is “grace to forgive sin in pursuit of perfection”
    • we’re striving to be “Christ-like”...HE WAS PERFECT, REMEMBER?
  • Our mandate is not to be like other people...
    • it’s to be like Christ
  • Let’s enlarge our anticipation of the power and depth of grace
    • grace is for the wretch like me
    • when did you last pray for the Lord to save an ungodly world leader?
    • when have you anticipated all the drug user/dealers in Prescott coming to know Jesus as Savior
    • how often can you picture one or more of our local prostitutes coming down the aisle and being converted from a life of sin to a eternal life through Jesus Christ
  • sometimes we reserve “GRACE” for those
    • we love
    • we’re comfortable with
    • we can “picture” getting saved
    • God says He can beat that
  • Jonah was big on “grace’
    • until that grace was afforded to his enemy (people of Nineveh) 
    • Jonah didn’t want to see those people saved...they needed to burn in Hell
  • God’s grace is for the “WHOSOEVER’S” 
    • no wonder the song says, AMAZING GRACE
    • God can save the person that is 1000 times worse than the worst person we can think of
CONCLUSION
  • to expand our anticipation in these categories or others...
    • we must be in HOT PURSUIT OF CHIRST
    • would you pursue Christ right now?


Sunday Evening 3/10/13

Posted by Sherry


HOW TO CLOSE THE BACK DOOR
2 Timothy 2:2
CBC 3/10/13

INTRO: Elmer Towns, “Throughout the New Testament, those who were saved became active members of an existing local church, or local churches were formed and they became active in them.”

TEXT: 2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

EIGHT SURPRISING FACTS ABOUT HIGH ASSIMILATION CHURCHES
  1. Long Pastoral Tenure
  2. Location is not a factor
  3. Mission Statements are more important than Vision statements
  4. Expository Preaching (verse by verse)
  5. Pastor “Gives Away” ministry (Acts 6:2-4 Apostles turned ministry over to Deacons)
  6. Critical Importance of Youth & Children’s Ministry
  7. Importance of Worship Service (every hymn & chorus promotes discipleship)
  8. Weekday Ministries are not effective in closing the back door
    1. day care
    2. cell groups
    3. church-affiliated schools
    4. recreational activities
    5. other weekday ministries 

SEVEN MAJOR ISSUES FOR HIGH ASSIMILATION
  1. The High Expectation Factor (clearly stated expectations in all ministries) [Churches that expect more from members are more likely to retain them in active membership]
  2. The Primacy of the Sunday School in closing the Back Door (number 1 method)
  3. The Critical Role of Visitor Follow-Up
  4. The “New Program”: New Member/New Prospect Classes (point of entry)
  5. Prayer: The Forgotten Power of Assimilation (teaching new converts to pray...)
  6. Leadership, Leadership, Leadership (common trait among pastors of High Assimilation churches: trial & error learning ranked over seminary, mentors, conferences, books or leadership experts.)
  7. Doctrine: Clarified and Followed (unapologetically conservative in doctrine)

ABOVE ALL: SUNDAY SCHOOL AND THE BACK DOOR

  • In all the “high assimilation” churches, Sunday School was the gauge by which they determined if effective assimilation had taken place.
  • Assimilation - how you know when a new member has a sense of belonging and is thus involved in the ministry of the church
    • FOUR STEP STRATEGY TO ASSIMILATE NEW MEMBERS
    • 1. Believing - leading people to a life-changing commitment to Christ.
    • 2. Belonging - guiding people to commit to Christ’s church through believer’s baptism and meaningful church membership.
    • 3. Becoming - helping people become what God has created them to be, particularly through involvement in discipleship.
    • 4. Behaving - encouraging people toward regular attendance, ministry involvement, community impact, and personal evangelism.
    • Also included is a Spiritual Gift Assessment, Ministry Involvement, Sunday School and completion of a New Member class.

  • Sunday School is so important...
    • an annual appreciation banquet for Sunday School Workers
    • an annual new Sunday School worker installation service

  • Effectiveness of Selected Assimilation Methodologies (0 not important - 5 essential)
    • Sunday School - 4.9
    • New Member Class - 4.1
    • Discipleship Training - 3.8
    • One-to-one discipling - 3.3
    • Support Groups - 2.9
    • Lay Groups 1.5

  • The EXPECTATION FACTOR
    • Sunday School is neither neglected nor accidental, but HIGHLY INTENTIONAL
    • Teachers covenant to prepare their lessons and attend a weekly worker’s meeting
    • Each class would form care groups of no more than 5/group. The care group leader would have the responsibility to see that ministry to the others in the group was carried out.
    • Each class would have an outreach leader to make certain that all guests were contacted and members were accountable for developing relationships with unbelievers.
    • Teachers and other leaders would covenant that they would arrive early for Sunday School each week.
    • An annual covenant renewal service where Sunday School leaders make these and other commitments formally.
  • Recorded Benefits of High Expectations:
    • attendance increased among regular members
    • attendance increased among nominal attenders
    • turnover among teachers dropped
    • ministry through SS increased exponentially
    • people were won to Christ through SS ministry
  • Problems Encountered:
    • some teachers & leaders refused to agree to stricter requirements
    • some teachers dropped out of ministry and service
    • others resisted, implying high-expectations hinted of legalism
  • Results:
    • in every one of the 287 churches, “the pain was worth the gain”
    • Sunday School is the primary teaching & assimilating arm of the church
    • Sunday School can become the primary evangelism arm also

  • The Organizational Factor
    • care groups
    • regular worker’s meetings
    • ministry involvement of class members
    • quality teaching
    • enrollment emphasis
    • opportunities for fellowship
  • Well Organized SS Principles:
    • effective teaching
    • effective evangelism
    • the ministry of all believers
    • Christian fellowship & relationships
    • weekly Teacher training
    • new members assigned to SS class (after description & discussion)
    • Care groups in all classes
    • Outreach and evangelism organized through Sunday School
  • Cost:
    • hard work
    • persistence
    • perseverance
    • short-term losses for long-term gains
  • Ministry Factor:
    • SS is the glue of assimilation in fast growing churches
    • Teaching
    • Care group ministry
    • Evangelism & Outreach
    • Hospitality Ministry
    • Leadership & Organizational ministry
    • Prayer Ministry
  • Sunday Schools In DECLINE: (Barna Research)
    • weak teaching
    • lack of leadership
    • lack of accountability
    • confusion of purpose
    • inadequate child care

  • THE RELATIONSHIP FACTOR
    • where people get to know one another best
    • unlike morning worship - SS class notices when you’re not there

  • THE DOCTRINE FACTOR
    • the clear teachings of biblical truth are demanding and convicting
    • the Holy Spirit speaks through God’s Word so that the cost of discipleship is understood
    • No higher expectations could be placed upon believers than these truths of scripture.
    • High expectations are clearly related to assimilation.
    • a comprehensive plan to teach the Bible to all age groups is imperative
    • many people in churches are woefully ignorant of the Bible & doctrinally weak SS is to blame
    • weak doctrinal teaching can take as long as ten years to show up

  • The Evangelism Factor:
    • The only reason churches are not evangelistic through the SS is that they make no intentional efforts to do so.
    • The SS organization engenders evangelistic accountability. 
    • The SS can be a natural training ground for personal evangelism.
    • If the leaders emphasize evangelism through the SS others will follow.
    • Evangelism through the SS will not be effective unless evangelism is a priority in the entire church.
    • These evangelistic SS classes could be called high-expectation Sunday Schools. (benefit is members of class more productive and active in church with no intention of dropping out.)
    • Sunday School based evangelism results in more effective assimilation.
    • Percentage of New Christians who remain active in the church 5 years later:
      • 83% those active in Sunday School
      • 16% those active in worship only

  • Why Not Cell Groups?
    • while cell groups can be used as an auxiliary of SS it can never take it’s place
    • SS is easier to organize and administer than cell groups
    • SS more easily included all age groups
    • Always a concern of doctrinal integrity of cell groups
    • Sequencing SS and worship on the same day provided many practical benefits

  • CONCLUSION
    • Research is clear and overwhelming
    • SS is the most effective assimilation methodology in evangelistic churches today
    • A place for: 
      • teaching
      • discipleship
      • ministry
      • fellowship
      • evangelism
      • relationships
      • bonding to the church
  • mere existence of SS does not produce assimilation
    • expectations must be clear that ministry and evangelism should take place within the class
    • organization should run well with good records and strong administrative leaders
    • Sunday School works, but only if we “work” Sunday School

Sunday Morning 3/10/13

Posted by Sherry


Living In the Expectation of His Return
Revelation 22:7, 12-17
CBC 3/10/2013 SM

INTRO: How often do you think about the return of Jesus in the clouds?
Acts 1:11 “Men of Galilee, why are you standing here looking into the sky? Jesus, whom you saw taken up from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you saw him go.”
We say we want Jesus to return...
We say we want to see heaven...
We say we’re tired of the sorrow and pain...
But do we LIVE IN EXPECTATION of Jesus coming again?

TEXT:
7 And behold, I am coming speedily. Blessed (happy and [a]to be envied) is he who observes and lays to heart and keeps the truths of the prophecy (the predictions, consolations, and warnings) contained in this [little] book.

  • Warning & Promise (vs. 7, 12-13)
  • 12 Behold, I am coming soon, and I shall bring My wages and rewards with Me, to repay and render to each one just what his own actions and his own work merit.(B)
  • 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last (the Before all and the End of all). 
  • coming speedily
    • not just looking for something to happen...
    • we are looking for someone to come
  • if we believe Jesus is coming...
    • what are we doing about it?
    • how are we getting ready?
    • how does one prepare for such a coming?
ILL: how would we prepare if someone of importance to us called and said they would be dropping by our house, but didn’t give us a definite time, but assured us they were coming?

Being Ready - We need to be examined! (vs. 14,15)
14 Blessed (happy and [c]to be envied) are those who cleanse their garments, that they may have the authority and right to [approach] the tree of life and to enter through the gates into the city.(D)
15 [But] without are the dogs and those who practice sorceries (magic arts) and impurity [the lewd, adulterers] and the murderers and idolaters and everyone who loves and deals in falsehood (untruth, error, deception, cheating). 
  • some have already prepared spiritually
    • initiated a personal relationship w/ Jesus Christ
    • John 14:6 Jesus said to him, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me.
      • going to church does not mean you will see heaven
      • being kind to animals doesn’t save you
      • helping little old ladies across the street gets you a merit badge, not heaven
      • Paul said, “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
      • Jesus said, “not everyone who says, ‘Lord; Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.’”
  • some have not prepared
    • dogs - scavengers living outside the city walls because of the destruction they would cause
      • Sorcerers - magic arts - If you think you can tell the future, or look to horoscopes to save your days
      • Sexually Immoral - Anything outside the confines of man/woman in marriage
      • Murderers - knife wielders and people who cut others down
      • Idolaters - placing things/other people before God
      • Lovers of Falsehoods - liars/ gossipers
  • Sin cannot be in the presence of a Holy God
    • a person may fool others, but God sees the heart and cannot be fooled
    • Rev 21:8: But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
    • 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, NLT - Don’t you know that those who do wrong will have no share in the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, who are idol worshipers, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, abusers, and swindlers—none of these will have a share in the Kingdom of God.
    • Galatians 5:19-2, NCV - The wrong things the sinful self does are clear: being sexually unfaithful, not being pure, taking part in sexual sins, worshiping gods, doing witchcraft, hating, making trouble, being jealous, being angry, being selfish, making people angry with each other, causing divisions among people, feeling envy, being drunk, having wild and wasteful parties, and doing other things like these. I warn you now as I warned you before: Those who do these things will not inherit God’s kingdom. 

Divine Invitation - Come (vs.17)
17 The [Holy] Spirit and the bride (the church, the true Christians) say, Come! And let him who is listening say, Come! And let everyone come who is thirsty [who is painfully conscious of his need of those things by which the soul is refreshed, supported, and strengthened]; and whoever [earnestly] desires to do it, let him come, take, appropriate, and drink the water of Life without cost.

  • Spiritual RSVP
    • invitation for salvation to all people
  • a) The Spirit & The Bride Say “Come” - 
    • This is a gospel appeal. 
    • Bible will not close before an opportunity is given for the unsaved to trust Christ. 
    • This invitation by the Spirit remains open to anyone who will come by faith to Christ to accept the Lord’s gracious offer of eternal life.
  • b) The Hearers Say “Come” - 
    • We are the hearers and the Bride. 
    • If we truly believe that Christ is coming back to take His church to be with Him, then it is our job to invite people to Christ. 
    • This takes more than just saying that people need Christ, we need to do something about it.

Matthew 28: 19,20 NIV - Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Acts 1:8 NIV - But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

  • c) Call for the thirsty to “Come” - 
    • invitation to the unsaved to come to Him for the water of life (salvation) and thus be ready for His return. 
    • The invitation to men is to come and to take the Water of Life. 
    • The Lord Jesus stood and said, “… If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink” (John 7:37). 
    • That is the invitation that goes out today. 
    • If you are tired of drinking at the cesspools of this world, He invites you to come, What an invitation this is to come to Him!

Conclusion

  • How do you respond to the promise of the Lord’s return? 
  • John’s last chapter can help you take inventory.
    • Are you treasuring His Word and obeying it (v. 7)? 
    • This is His message to you (v. 16), 
    • and it must not be altered (vv. 18–19). 
    • There is a special blessing for the obedient (v. 14).
    • Are you doing the work He has called you to do (v. 12)? 
    • He promises to reward faithful servants (Luke 12:35–48).
    • Do you really want Jesus to return today (v. 20)? 
    • Do you “love His appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8)? 
    • If Jesus were to come today, would you be disappointed and your plans be upset?
    • Are you urging lost sinners to trust Him and be ready for His coming (v. 17)?
    • The Holy Spirit works through the church to bring lost people to the Saviour.
    • The people described in 21:8 and 22:11 can be saved (1 Cor. 6:9–11) and become new creatures ready for the new heaven and earth (2 Cor. 5:17). 
    • Will you tell them?