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July 29, 2008

Knowing Nothing But Jesus

The following is the sermon that I preached, at the invitation of Pastor Wayne Magruder, to the congregation of Colonial Hills Baptist Church in Bedford, Pennsylvania, on July 27, 2008.

This was so much harder to do, compared to my experience in the Marine Corps. Much harder than facing a Marine Corps Drill Instructor too. I wasn't so much afraid to speak in this type of setting either. My fear was of God. I wanted nothing of my own agenda to speak of, only the Word of God to those who would hear.

I was not able to sleep well for a few days prior to leaving my house on Saturday the 26th and I was really nervous too, not shaking nervous, but just nervous to actually be in a pulpit for the first time preaching.

Saturday night I couldn't sleep at all. My arms got numb and so did my legs, I tossed and turned a lot and even got up to pray, to try and calm down, but it didn't work. I was even quoting Scripture to help ease my fears and maybe help me fall asleep, but that didn't work either. I probably had maybe 2 or 3 hours of sleep total for the night too.

Sunday morning I couldn't eat breakfast, but I had some coffee to help wake me up, though I probably didn't need it.

I was told my sermon was very good and a few people in the congregation really enjoyed it. I preached from 1 Corinthians 2:2 which says, "For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified."

My sermon was centered on the passion the apostle Paul had to go and preach about the Person whom he was once throwing people into prison for because they were preaching about Jesus Christ. He didn't want to hear such preaching take place since he was a Pharisee and knew the Law of Moses quite well and such preaching opposed what he had be taught too.

I preached for about 45 minutes altogther and it was a great experience. Before I left the pastor's house to go to the church on Sunday, I had prayed and realized I wasn't afraid of whom I would be preaching to, but that I only feared God at that point. I had such a holy reverence for Him at that moment that I just didn't want to say anything that would bring disgrace to His name and thank God I didn't.

I even preached a bit on Sunday evening too, teaching for about 30-minutes on prayer and how important it was in the life of a Christian. I talked about the importance of prayer, examples of when Jesus prayed and why, the importance of fasting and prayer, praying for others and some examples why our prayers are hindered or not answered.

My voice was sore Sunday night and I was very tired on Monday from the drive home and from preaching too I think. Now I know why pastors have the day off on Mondays.

I realized that my restlessness Saturday night was probably more because of an even more intense battle over me spiritually and it was probably closer than it ever had been before, because I was going to preach. But I thank God for sustaining me, for protecting me, for those who prayed for me and for God giving me His strength and wisdom, to boldly proclaim the Gospel of His Son to all who were listening on Sunday.

I look forward to the next time, whenever that may be.

My sermon wasn't recorded though I'm hoping it might have been, so if I don't receive a CD in the mail from the church then it certainly wasn't recorded. Maybe the next time at the next church it will be.

This is an edited version of the sermon. God bless you as you read it.


For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:2

For the last few years, I have had an increasing passion and desire in my heart, to know the Lord Jesus Christ, more intimately each and every day. It began with a commitment. Not a New Year’s resolution, but a commitment to know Him by spending time with Him in prayer, studying His word and going out and telling others about His life, death and resurrection.

I Could Teach, But Send Someone Else

In 2001, I had been part of a men’s small group bible study and we were following a curriculum that was designed by Edwin Louis Cole who wrote Maximized Manhood, a book that has changed my life in understanding his life message that manhood and Christ-likeness is synonymous. I looked forward to these studies as we grew in different parts of the boroughs of NYC. I have always enjoyed leading small groups and I believe it is a character trait that I gained from my experience as a United States Marine. I enjoyed leading these small group studies, but to go out and talk about Jesus, to be a witness for Him! No way! Let the professionals do that! The pastor or others like Billy Graham could do that way better than I ever could, but I could help teach, help lead them in discipleship as a born again believer in Jesus Christ, but be the evangelist, not me! Not me Lord!

Unlike the prophet Isaiah, if the Lord had asked me whom will He send, I was certainly crying out, “Lord, send someone else!”

And for a few years this passion and desire grows within me, little by little on a daily basis, without any conscious effort on my part whatsoever. A burden was formed in my heart for people who were living without Christ as their Savior, but how was I going to share the Gospel with them? Who else from my church had this same passion and desire to evangelize?

Fortunately, I did find a few people who did have this same passion and desire as I did and we would go out on Friday nights and hand out tracts and engage people in conversations, to seek and save the lost the way Jesus did. Now that passion and desire has grown into a strong burning flame within me ever since returning from the Billy Graham Training Center where I attended a School of Evangelism, which is where I met your pastor and his wife two years ago.

My focus this morning, to all of you is what the apostle Paul said, “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”

A Consuming Fire

What consumes a man or woman so much to want to talk to others about God’s saving grace through faith in Jesus Christ? What compels them with such a fire within them that they must go out and fulfill the Great Commission?

I would say that it is a deep hunger and thirst for the righteousness of Christ in one’s life. I would say that it is a growing love for the Lord because God reconciled you and I to Himself through His Son Jesus Christ, because He made Him who knew no sin, to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ. I would say that it is because God does not want anyone to perish, commanding people everywhere to repent of their sins and trust in the Savior, Jesus Christ for their eternal salvation. I would say that it is because of His grace, an exceeding and incomprehensible amazing grace that is far above measure we as human beings have committed in sinning against God.

Finally, I would say it is because Christ commands us to go and preach the Gospel to everyone in the world, teaching them what is written in His Holy Word, so that others can become a disciple of Christ and to commit His teachings to other faithful men and women who will do the same to others.

As Jesus entered Galilee to begin his ministry, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, with love in our hearts and as a witness for Christ we should say, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel (Mark 1:15).

George Whitefield said, “if we are ignorant of Christ, God will be to us a consuming fire.” If you were to die today, would God consume your soul with fire by your ignorance to repent of your sins knowing that it is only by grace through faith in Christ one can be saved?

"O LORD, You induced me, and I was persuaded; You are stronger than I, and have prevailed. I am in derision daily; Everyone mocks me. For when I spoke, I cried out; I shouted, “Violence and plunder!” Because the word of the LORD was made to me a reproach and a derision daily. Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him, nor speak anymore in His name.” But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not." Jeremiah 20:7-9
Mocked Daily by Everyone

The prophet Jeremiah was so discouraged from being mocked daily by everyone (Jeremiah 20:7), he just did not want to go and preach anymore. The word of the Lord had become a reproach to him daily and he felt that he did not want to speak anymore in His name (Jeremiah 20:9). Then Jeremiah says, “But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not (Jeremiah 20:9, emphasis mine).

"If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified." 1 Peter 4:14
Jesus said, “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12).

And when people persecute a Christian who witnesses to an unbeliever, or speaks evil or falsely of a God-fearing pastor or evangelist, yes, it hurts, but not nearly enough as the nails felt in the hands of Jesus. Not nearly enough as the whipping the Lord took upon His back, Not nearly enough like the nails that pierced His feet.

The Gospel should be a burning fire shut up within all of us that cannot be held back for those who so desperately need to hear this Gospel!

Now consider the apostle Paul. He was born into a family with a strong Jewish lineage, he said he was a Hebrew of the Hebrews, that’s kind of like someone with the last name of…Corleone who says they’re not Italian just because they are from Brooklyn, but their family got off the boat at Ellis Island that came from Italy, they’re 100% Italian, capeche?! He thoroughly studied and understood the law since he had earned the privilege to be called a Pharisee also. He possessed an uncommon zeal for persecuting the growing Christian church and with pride he said concerning the righteousness which is in the law, he was blameless (Philippians 3:5-6).

From Persecutor to Preacher

Originally named Saul, Paul was identified as a pure Hebrew, a well educated Pharisee who was zealous for persecuting the new Christian church and a prideful, self-righteous and blameless man. Then he received permission from the high priest to extradite Christians from Damascus and while on that trip, he became blinded by the light of Christ whom he met.

Once Saul received his sight after Barnabas laid hands on him, he ate some food and rested in Damascus, then he immediately goes out to preach “the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God” (Acts 9:20).

I want to share with you some of the things that happened to Saul in the beginning of his life as a Christian that provoked him with such fervor and passion for him to preach nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified:
  • There was a plot to kill him after he had confounded the Jews proving that Jesus is the Christ (Acts 9:22)
  • The original disciples feared Saul because they knew who he was and that he had been using fear and intimidation upon Christians and had imprisoned them, but he boldly preached in the name of Jesus in Damascus (Acts 9:27) to prove he was no longer who he once was
  • Again, an attempt to kill him was planned and the brethren aided in his escape to Casearea and sent him to Tarsus (Acts 9:29-30)
  • In Antioch in Pisidia (Acts 13:13-46) he went to the synagogue and preached there
“For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption; but He whom God raised up saw no corruption. Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.” Acts 13:36-39

Such was the fire shut up in Saul’s bones that he could not hold back, grace through faith in Jesus Christ. He was not only preaching Christ and Him crucified, but he was preaching about Christ in his life! How much more should we be doing the very same thing if we have been born again?!

The word believe that is used in verse 39 of Acts chapter 13, comes from the Greek word pisteuo, which means to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), that is, credit; by implication to entrust (especially one’s spiritual well being to Christ): - believe (-r), commit (to trust), put in trust with.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Whoever has faith in Christ, entrusts their spiritual well being to Christ, whoever puts the trust of their eternal salvation in Christ.

This is what Paul was saying to whomever and wherever he went to preach because he determined that, others should know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

It Is No Longer I Who Live

As you read these words from Paul’s letter to the Galatians, I cannot help but feel his passion for the Lord as he spoke these words, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

Paul endured more adverse and serious trials in his life, yet he did not count his life dear to himself, because he wanted to finish his race with joy, and the ministry which he received, from the Lord Jesus, which was to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24). The man who was once enraged to persecute Christians was now evangelistically preaching Christ to the world!

Here is what was profound to me when I was studying this, verses 42 – 44 were a demonstration of Saul’s passion to preach and the effect of it.

“So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God.” (Acts 13:42-44, emphasis mine)

It is not too common today that a congregation actually begs the pastor to preach with such conviction again the following week. If he did, there might be the same effect in his church as it was in Paul’s day, where the whole city would come together to hear the word of God.

There should be more people in church on Sunday than anywhere else in this country. What a different country this would be if America kept the Sabbath Holy as God has commanded! Not just that commandment, but as a nation to repent of their sins, and to want nothing more than to honor God by exalting the name of Jesus Christ.

Back to a few more of Paul’s trials:

  • At Iconium a multitude of Greeks and Jews became believers and he also preached in the surrounding regions of Lystra, Derbe and the cities of Lycaonia (Acts 14:6-7)
  • He was stoned in Iconium and left for dead (Acts 14:20)
  • While imprisoned, Paul preached to a Philippian prison guard and won him and his family to Christ (Acts 16:30-34)
  • In Thessalonica, Paul preached for three consecutive Sabbaths, from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ (Acts 17:1-4)
  • Paul addressed the Areopagus, seeing their religious worship of objects and the altar that was inscribed, “To The Unknown God,” preached Christ to them (Acts 17:22-23)
  • After meeting Aquila and Priscilla in Corinth, Paul reasoned in the synagogues every Sabbath and persuaded both Jews and Greeks (Acts 18:1-4) and for 18 months he ministered there (v 11)
  • For three months he reasoned with the Jews in the synagogues of Ephesus concerning the things of the kingdom of God (Acts 19:8)

Paul’s life in the book of Acts was filled with as man trials as there were blessings after his conversion. The trials he endured were far greater than the persecution he had once carried out on those whom he objected to, whom now had believed in Jesus Christ. Now, he was a believer too and was preaching to people what he tried so hard to keep others from preaching and believing.

Hunger and Thirst

Paul was filled with such a passionate determination to speak of knowing nothing else but Christ and it was God’s grace that was demonstrated to him the day he met Jesus on the road to Damascus.

If you had a hunger and a thirst for righteousness, what do you think would be the result?

Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:6) How hungry are you to know nothing else in your life except Jesus Christ and Him crucified? How thirsty are you to drink from the fountain of Living Water, God’s Holy Word? Are you passionately pursuing knowing Christ more and more intimately in your life?

Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible regarding Paul’s words, “I determined not to know any thing among you” – says that Paul was, “satisfied that the Gospel of God could alone make you wise unto salvation, I determined to cultivate no other knowledge, and to teach nothing but Jesus Christ, and him crucified, as the foundation of all true wisdom, piety, and happiness. No other doctrine shall I proclaim among you.”

Paul said that the preaching of the cross is foolishness to them that are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18). Is it really that foolish, when it is the power of God to save someone? You can let Satan have power over your life and he’ll keep you from wanting to know that saving power of the cross, but that will not stop the Lord from relentlessly pursuing anyone whom He is longsuffering towards, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

"You Know of My Son"

When I was on my first deployment to Okinawa in August of 1992, I was on a temporary assignment with an infantry company, to go up to the NTA for a few days of jungle training. Just two months earlier, there had been a few helicopter crashes and I think one or two Marine fighter jets that had crashed into the Pacific Ocean as well. We were flying on the CH-53 Sea Stallions, the big monsters that are also old and costly to maintain, but they are awesome flying war machines the Marine Corps uses. Well on this particular day, I was nervous and I took a moment to pray and ask God to protect me, protect the Marines I was flying with and to keep the pilots and crew safe too.

I did not know back then if God heard my prayer, but I did want to make sure that I did pray, so that He couldn’t say he never heard my prayer. I was not saved back then and God probably did hear my prayer back then because we all made it safely there and back when our training was over. But had the helicopter experienced a mechanical failure and crashed, I did not know Jesus Christ as my Savior and would never have entered His kingdom of heaven when I died.

He probably would have said to me, “I heard you when you asked me for protection during your training, but you failed to obtain the protection of your soul from the sin that I still see in you that has not been cleansed from you.” He might also have asked, “Do you know my Son?” and I would have answered and said, “yeah, I went to Catholic school as a kid, Jesus is your Son, born of a virgin, who suffered, died, was buried and on the third day rose again and sits at Your right hand.” “You know of my Son pretty well, but has your spirit been born again? Have you confessed your sins to Me, repented before Me and been cleansed from all unrighteousness and redeemed by My blood?” I would have answered in pure Marine Corps fashion saying, “Uh…say again” and would have stuttered trying to provide something of a justifiable and acceptable answer to God that would have been completely worthless.

“Hear the word of the Lord, you children of Israel, for the Lord brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land: “There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land.”” Hosea 4:1.
Wise people store up knowledge, but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction. Proverbs 10:14

Paul said to the Corinthians, “Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe (1 Corinthians 1:20-21).

Where are the people who seem to have intelligence that is greater than God? Which authors have surpassed what God has written that is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16)? Where and who is the one who will contend with God and win their argument against Him? Who could possibly believe their way of salvation could be contended with God and win, only to be eternally wrong and lost forever? That person does not exist.

As it is written in the book of Hebrews, For our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary says, "See that you do not refuse Him who speaketh from heaven, with infinite tenderness and love; for how can those escape, who turn from God in unbelief or apostasy, while he so graciously beseeches them to be reconciled, and to receive his everlasting favour! God's dealing with men under the gospel, in a way of grace, assures us, that he will deal with the despisers of the gospel, in a way of judgment."

That consuming fire will be not because of your passion for His glory but of punishment for the guilt your sin.

All For Christ

In his letter to the Philippians 3:7-9, listen to the passion of Paul’s words, “But what things were gain to me, these things I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss for all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;”

What are you willing to count as a loss in your life for knowing Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Would you be willing to lose your fear of rejection, persecution and even being mocked at, so that you could help lead someone else to gaining Christ and to be found in Him?

Jesus said in Luke 15:7, “I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents then over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”

Will you be the one today, tomorrow or this week, who will help bring joy to heaven, to lead someone to repent and trust in Christ for their salvation?

Will you obey the words of Jesus when He said, “Repent, and believe in the Gospel?”

The Standard

God’s standard that He will judge of any person by to enter His kingdom of heaven, is to obey His law, the Ten Commandments. Unfortunately, everyone has failed in keeping even one of them and is considered to have broken all ten (James 2:10).

  • Is God, the Lord Jesus Christ, your one and only God?
  • Do you worship any created image that would be considered idolatry?
  • Have you blasphemed the name of Lord? He will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
  • Have you kept the Sabbath Day holy? Not just this week, but every week.
  • Do you honor your father and mother and could they vouch that you do?
  • Have you hated anyone? God sees hatred equivalent to murder (Matthew 5:22, "That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment" for the Scripture says, “You shall not murder.” (Exodus 20:13)
  • Have you committed adultery? Jesus said that if you looked upon another with lust you have committed adultery against God in your heart.
  • Have you stolen anything? Regardless of the value.
  • Have you lied?
  • Have you coveted anything of another person’s property to possess wrongfully as your own?

Is anyone guilty according to these commandments? Everyone is guilty and that may certainly be bad news if this applies to you.

The Good News

The apostle Paul said, “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh.” (Romans 8:3).

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17)

Finally, my friends listen closely to these words from George Whitefield. He said, “Your friends and carnal acquaintance, and, above all, your grand adversary the devil, will be persuading you to determine not to know any thing, but how to lay up goods for many years, and to get a knowledge and taste of the pomps and vanities of this wicked world; but do you determine not to follow, or be led by them; and the more they persuade you to know other things, the more do you "determine not to know any thing, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." For, this knowledge never faileth; but whether they be riches, they shall fail; whether they be pomps, they shall cease; whether they be vanities, they shall fade away: but the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and him crucified, abideth for ever.”

The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17


Reference

Meyers, R. (2006). e-Sword. The sword of the Lord with an electronic edge (Verson 7.8) [Computer software].

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Whitefield, G. (n.d.) The knowledge of Jesus Christ is the best knowledge. Retrieved July 22, 2008 from http://www.biblebb.com/files/whitefield/gw045.ht

July 17, 2008

Timeless Truths

"Now, I say, for the Scripture says, 'To-day is the accepted time, to-day is the day of salvation.' The only way to end your excuses is not by praying nor resolving, but by looking to Christ. There hangs the bleeding Savior on the cross, He dies the just for the unjust to bring us to God; He suffers there that sin may be forgiven. Look to Him, trust Him, and you shall be saved. My hearer, I give you now in God’s name this invitation, this command, trust your soul to Jesus, the Son of God, who suffered for sin, and you shall be saved. But mind this. I may never meet you all this side the grave, but I will meet you all at God’s great day, and if you receive not Christ and trust in Him, I am clear of your blood. Upon my skirts your doom cannot fall. You have heard the gospel, you have been told to trust Jesus as you are, you have been assured that He is able to save to the uttermost them that come to Him. You have been bidden to come, and now on your own heads He your soul’s rain if you come not. But may the Spirit of God take these things and apply them to your souls. May He be as a fire and as a hammer in your souls: as a fire to melt, or as a hammer to break; and may you today with brokenness of heart take Christ to be your Savior, both now and forever. Amen."

~ Charles H. Spurgeon


Thanks to Tony Miano from The Lawman Chronicles for posting this.

July 10, 2008

The Trumpet Is Sounding But No One Is Alarmed

A year and a half ago, I began attending Times Square Church in New York City and my visit that day in December was to find out if this church be a place for me to call home since I was seeking the Lord about leaving the church I had been part of for nearly five years.

Pastor Carter Conlon's sermon was titled, "Believing the Whispers of God" (December 10, 2006) and it was a message I believe the Lord was speaking directly to me, with regard to my situation. The Word spoken that day acknowledged that I had found a new home church without a doubt.

Since Times Square Church was founded in 1987 by Pastor David Wilkerson, there has never been a compromise to preach the Gospel so that people would not be offended. In my eighteen months attending TSC, I have not heard a single word of Scripture compromised, for the sake of not offending the people in the congregation. They are "not ashamed of the gospel" as the apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome (Romans 1:16).

Yet, there exists today, a compromised society and even a compromised church.

Society has begun to call that which is evil, good and that which is good, evil (Isaiah 5:20). Homosexuals who want to marry one another and those who support it say that this is good yet is a compromise to the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, wild sexual immorality among teenagers and young adults is greatly in excess, corporate greed and financial abuse is popular news where profits mean more to CEOs and shareholders while eliminating the jobs of hard working and dedicated employees with the stroke of pen, political and governmental corruption with prostitutes...should I go on?

And within the church there is a compromise of the Word of God.

In a sermon titled, "The Trumpet Is Sounding But No One Is Alarmed" Pastor David asks the question, "Does your pastor not preach a sin-exposing word? Is there no godly reproof, no call to repentance, no warning to forsake sin?"

In many of the seeker-friendly, emerging or purpose driven type churches there is none of that. No preaching about sin, no godly reproof, no call to repentance, nor a warning to abandon sinful habits in ones life.

A habit of fasting and prayer is probably minimal in the lives of these pastors and the congregation too. How can one draw intimately toward God by ignoring such an important and vital habit in the life of a Christian? They shouldn't, but they do. When was the last time you fasted for an entire day, three days, or a week?


I finished reading one of Pastor David's sermons from 2002 titled, "The Trumpet Is Sounding But No One Is Alarmed" and this is yet another message that is as relevant today as it was almost six years ago, when it was first delivered to the congregation at Times Square Church.

Wilkerson (2002) said, "There is a divine law echoed throughout Scripture. It says, in essence, "The greater the measure of grace poured upon a people, the greater the judgment will fall on that people, if God's grace is despised." If a people have been given much truth, they're more responsible. And if they corrupt that truth, their judgment will be doubled."

It is evident today that society and the church are corrupting truth and the judgment will be doubled, unless repentance occurs.

Click the title to read the sermon in full, "The Trumpet Is Sounding But No One Is Alarmed."

July 6, 2008

Ancient Tablet Ignites Debate on Messiah and Resurrection

By ETHAN BRONNER
Published: July 6, 2008

JERUSALEM — A three-foot-tall tablet with 87 lines of Hebrew that scholars believe dates from the decades just before the birth of Jesus is causing a quiet stir in biblical and archaeological circles, especially because it may speak of a messiah who will rise from the dead after three days.

Click on the blog title to read the article in full.

July 3, 2008

God's Overwhelming Grace

Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abound much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ. Romans 5:20-21, NKJV.

In Romans 5, the apostle Paul describes three different things whom his letter is addressed. He mentions first how a person has peace with God (vvs. 1-5) where he or she has been justified through faith in Jesus Christ. This I believe he was speaking to those whom had not yet understood or known that the Messiah had come and the salvation that God provides through His Son.

Next, in verses 6-11, he explains the how God demonstrated his love for those who have sinned against him, through the death of his Son. When a sinner has acknowledged that it is only through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross that will satisfy God’s wrath and judgment of their sin, His blood that was shed completely acquits the sinner, saving them from the wrath of His judgment.

Finally, in verses 12-21, Paul explains how sin entered the world through Adam’s disobedience where all have inherited the sinful nature to find pleasure and satisfaction in sin, yet its consequences brings a pending judgment that is warranted. Redemption and justification from sin comes through Jesus Christ, whom was obedient to suffer and die on a cross (Philippians 2:8) that brings peace while removing His execution of wrath and judgment upon the sinner who has now repented and trusted in Jesus Christ for their eternal salvation.

Three verses stand out to me when reading Romans 5, first, that we have little strength within ourselves to do anything meritorious enough to satisfy God’s pending judgment of sin in our lives, yet Christ did (v. 6). Next, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (v. 8).

Most people do things for others because of some good that we find in a person and we just want to be a blessing to them. We find pleasure in doing good for others and it is a reflection of the Golden Rule too, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophet.” (Matthew 7:12).

Isn’t there a contradiction here between the focus text and Matthew 7:12? Jesus Christ and his sinless life became a sacrifice of sin, for those who have willfully sinned against God? That just does not make sense. Shouldn’t it be that because we have sinned against God that we deserve to receive His righteous judgment? Shouldn’t the Golden Rule apply here, where God would do to us what we have done to Him? Don’t we deserve the reciprocal effect of sin, which is condemnation?

When a murderer is caught and the evidence against them for the murders he or she has committed is overwhelmingly incriminating, the judge must, in their righteous judgment to uphold the civil law, sentence the guilty party to prison, where it may likely be a life sentence without parole. That is civil justice.

Finally, there is verse 20 that says, “Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abound much more…”

These four words in verse 20, "grace abound much more," is a tremendous comfort to any person who has obtained salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, or to the believer who has fallen into temptation and sinned against God.

Even reading Romans 8:3 is comforting too, “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh.”

There is not a born again believer in Jesus Christ on the planet who could claim they had never sinned in their walk with Christ. That would be a complete lie. Even in my own life when I look back on when I fought the temptation to sin and succumbed to it, I felt so ashamed of myself, regretting my actions and realizing I had just taken for granted the grace and sacrifice of God through His Son.

The word grace in Greek comes from the word charis (khar’-ece) and it means a divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life of a person.

The word abound in Greek is the word pleonazō (pleh-on-ad'-zo), which means to do, make or be more, that is, increase, by character of transition.

These two words bring forth a profound meaning to the recognition of what God has done for us, with regard to saving those who have sinned against Him. God’s divine influence upon the heart of a person, who has realized that no matter how great their sin may be, His grace is greater than any sin, through faith in Jesus Christ.

The apostle Paul said Christ came into the world to save sinners and he considered himself to be guilty of a long list of sins against God (1 Timothy 1:15). One could say he was an accomplice to consenting to the stoning of Stephen too (Acts 8:1).

Paul's name was Saul before his conversion where he met Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). Saul was on his way to persecute Christians, threatening them with murder or throwing them in jail for becoming followers of Jesus Christ and evangelizing cities with the Gospel. He did not want to see people following or preaching about repentance and salvation through Jesus Christ.

It is no surprise that these same sentiments are relevant today as it was 2,000 years ago. Yet the Gospel continues to be preached to all who will listen.

When Saul was knocked off his horse on the road to Damascus, one would think that it would have been better for the Lord to be more severe in His discipline towards Saul for his persecution against Him and His church. But He was not. Instead, the Lord said that Saul would go to the city learn that he had been chosen of the Lord to preach that Jesus Christ is God’s Messiah, who had come and had risen from the dead.

One of the first places that Saul preached was in a synagogue where he preached the Jesus is the Son of God and He is the Christ (Acts 9:20,22).

The Jews realized this was the man they had heard about who was on a mission to destroy those who were Christians and now he was the one proclaiming that they should follow the other Christians too.

Another example of God’s abounding grace is in the story of the woman who was caught in adultery (John 8:1-12).

The scribes and Pharisees caught a woman in adultery (v. 3) and wanted to know from Jesus if it was right according to the Law of Moses that she should be stoned for her impropriety (v. 5).

When they persisted Him for an answer he replied, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” (v. 7)

These words convicted those who were willing to execute their justice for catching her in adultery, who were unable to cast the first stone because of their own guilt of sin in their lives, yet Jesus spoke to this woman saying, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (John 8:10-11).

God’s grace certainly did abound much more for this woman and so it is the same for us today.

We may not be caught in adultery and brought before the public in shame, but our sin is before the Lord where the writer of the book of Hebrews says, “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13).

How beautiful this verse is to find comfort and peace in its truth, He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities.” (Psalm 103:10). Now that is amazing grace!

May the following verses be a comfort to your soul, knowing that regardless of how great you feel your sins are that God could not forgive, they can be because “in Christ, we have been redeemed by His blood, the forgiveness of our sins, according to the riches of His grace.” (Ephesians 1:7).

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man who trusts in You! Psalm 84:11-12

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8.

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16.

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18.

Amazing Grace by Chris Tomlin




Reference

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

July 1, 2008

It's Time to Weep for America by David Wilkerson

Although this sermon was delivered to the congregation of Times Square Church in July 1996, the message is as relevant and carries the same warnings today, as it did 12 years ago when it was preached.

Synopsis
I have never claimed to be a prophet. But there comes a time when the Word of God becomes such a fire in my bones, I have to speak out what I see and hear. Call it a watchman's message, or whatever you will - but I have to tell you what God has put on my heart concerning this nation!

I do believe God has true prophets - those who are occasionally moved upon by the Holy Spirit to foretell future events and coming judgments. Indeed, on a few rare occasions, the Spirit has compelled me to warn of impending judgments. But the prophecy I bring you now is not predictive.


"There simply aren't many pastors or Christians in America who see judgment coming and who are broken over it."


Click here to read the full sermon online.