Kingdom Purpose

As we are being challenged to read and study the book of John, I wanted to share some of my personal sermon notes with you to help you understand the book. I preached through the entire book over the course of 1 year when I pastored First Baptist Church Del Rio. Enjoy!

Introduction—What would it look like if a person lived with a Kingdom purpose? What would it look like if a church lived with a Kingdom Purpose? Imagine your life lived out with a Kingdom agenda. Sometimes we are so consumed with our own agenda, we forget that we are supposed to be living our lives for Jesus. We ought to serve Him and come to church to offer our worship up to Him. Our corporate worship is for Him. Worship Him today with Kingdom purpose. It is about Him. I have good news for you today; Jesus has your Kingdom purpose available to you.

Rick Warren, purpose driven life quote—The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose.

ReadJohn 18:28-40

28 Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace, because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?”

30 “If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.”

31 Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.”

“But we have no right to execute anyone,” they objected. 32 This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death he was going to die.

33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”

35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”

36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. 39 But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?”

40 They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising.

Pray

Explanation—John’s account of Jesus trial before Pilot is the longest of the four Gospels, which are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. John places emphasis on Jesus’ concern with Pilate and Pilate’s shifting attitude. Jesus wants everyone to come to a saving faith because He knew what His Kingdom purpose was. 

2 Peter 3:9—The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

John’s testimony of this conversation between Jesus and Pilate is very similar to the story we read in John 4 when Jesus encounters the woman at the well. After the back and forth conversation, Jesus ends the conversation in John 4:21-2421 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

John brings out details of these intimate conversations that Jesus had with people about His Kingdom purpose. That is why John’s gospel is known for the Kingdom principles that are explained throughout the book. 

In order to have A Kingdom Purpose, we need to have:

  1. Understanding
  2. When you understand that you are part of a bigger picture or plan, you begin to realize the impact you can have for the Kingdom of God.
  3. Verse 28-31—The Jewish law prohibited sentencing someone to the death penalty. They needed the Roman leaders to be the ones to make the judgment of execution against Jesus. So they take Jesus to Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect, who just happened to be in Jerusalem for Passover.
    1. The group goes to Pilate but they don’t enter the Roman courtroom since this would make them unclean for 7 days. If they were unclean they couldn’t participate in the festival of Passover. 
    1. Pilate is ready to dismiss the case because he asks them what are the charges? The Jewish leaders wanted the Roman leaders to make the charge so that an execution could take place. Pilate no doubt knew that Jesus wasn’t guilty of any Roman law. 
    1. Pilate wasn’t falling for the elusive question that the Jews gave him. They said, “If he wasn’t a criminal we wouldn’t have handed him over to you,” in verse 30
    1. The Jews couldn’t execute Him, the Romans had no basis to execute Him, so how is possible for Jesus to be put to death over charges that can’t be proven?
    1. Jesus knew what His Kingdom purpose was. He knew He would die for you and for me not because some court of law brought up charges, or for a crime He didn’t commit, but for the love He has us. Jesus chose to die of His own free will.

Illustration—In order to understand your part of the Kingdom process, you must know what you are supposed to do: 

“Success is not what you have done compared to what others have done. Success is what you have done compared to what you were supposed to do.” ― Tony Evans, Kingdom Man

In other words, you can be successful in the world’s eyes, yet unsuccessful in God’s eyes. What you are supposed to do is when you and God meet together and He tells you what your Kingdom purpose is. That is how you receive your understanding of your Kingdom purpose. 

Application—Do you understand what your Kingdom purpose is? If not, today would be a great time to begin this process. Don’t just live your life with purpose. Live you life with Kingdom Purpose!

In order to have A Kingdom Purpose, we need to have:

  • Knowledge
  • Knowing what your kingdom purpose is will ensure that you fulfill the call God has on your life. 
  • The way you gain knowledge is through a study of the Scriptures. Yes, we have homework to do. We have our textbook for life. If you don’t know how to read and study God’s Word, then ask for help. 
  • Every week, we offer small group Bible studies to help you engage in the knowledge you need to succeed in your Kingdom calling. 3 times a week, there is Biblical teaching available to you. Sunday mornings at 9:30 am, and then during this hour at 11 am, and Wednesdays at 6:30 pm. This Wednesday, a new 5-week study is beginning entitled “Sharing Life.” 
  • Knowledge is offered to you, but you are to have a daily time where you sit at the feet of Jesus and pray, listen, read, and study His love letter to you. 
  • In our text today, Jesus is asked by Pilate in verse 33, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Pilate was taken back by the demeanor of Jesus and how confident He was. Jesus didn’t look like the person that was being charged with a criminal offense. 
  • But Jesus has all wisdom and knowledge an He asks Pilate a question in verse 34, “Did you come up with that all on your own?” or “Did someone give you that answer?” 
  • Pilate’s back and forth conversation with Jesus is now beginning to irritate Pilate. In verse 35, Pilate asks, “Am I a Jew?” “Your people handed you over to me, what is it you have done?” 
  • Jesus understood fully His Kingdom purpose, when He said in verse 36—“My Kingdom is not of this world.”Jesus had no military support or any geographical locality. Jesus has a Kingdom that is eternal and it will never fade or pass away. His knowledge comes from His Father. That is where we need to gather our knowledge—from the Father. 

Application—Do you have the knowledge you need to know what your Kingdom purpose is?

In order to have A Kingdom Purpose, we need to have:

  • Truth
  • Jesus lets Pilate know in verse 37, the reason He was born was to be a testimony to the Truth! Jesus wanted Pilate to listen to Him so that even Pilate could know the truth. 
  • If we would listen to Jesus, we can know the truth. 
  • Jesus said in John 8:14—Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going.
  • Wouldn’t you like to know where you going?
  • Having the truth about your Kingdom purpose will allow you to know your destiny. 
  • Here is the truth—Jesus came into this world so you could understand, so you could know, and so you could have the truth about your designed Kingdom purpose.
  • Pilate knew the truth. He found Jesus innocent of any charges, but caved to the pressure of the Jewish leaders that had made up their mind to execute Jesus. 
  • Jesus was paraded in front of His own people to be released or exchanged for the prisoner Barabbas. Pilate must have assumed that the popularity of Jesus among His own people would be enough to free Jesus. He didn’t know the truth. 
  • Jesus knew the truth of His Kingdom purpose. He was sent here to be a sacrificial offering for the sins of the world. 

IllustrationProverbs 3:5-6—Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. 

When you have real knowledge of God and His kingdom purpose for your life, this verse allows you to come to a real sense that God is the one who is in control.

Application—Do you know the truth of your Kingdom purpose? 

Conclusion—Out Kingdom purpose has had the groundwork all laid out for us. Jesus understood it and He had knowledge of the truth. If we are to be a light for others to follow, we too must follow our Kingdom purpose. Living the rest of your life for the glory of God will require a change in your priorities, your schedule, you relationships, and everything else. It will sometimes mean choosing a difficult path instead of any easy one. 

Even Jesus struggled with this. Knowing he was about to be crucified, he cried out: John 12:27  “My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Thy name.”

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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Accused & Arrested

As we are being challenged to read and study the book of John, I wanted to share some of my personal sermon notes with you to help you understand the book. I preached through the entire book over the course of 1 year when I pastored First Baptist Church Del Rio. Enjoy!

Introductions—Accusations happen all the time. Have you ever been accused of something you did not do? And then, the gossip colony gets a hold of nice juicy story and watch out. You are now associated with guilt. You may not even know what is going on and your name is being drug through the mud. It happens.

We have an accuser and His name is Satan, Lucifer, the Evil One, etc. His mission in life is to accuse you of anything that will make your life a living hell. John 10:10b says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Satan is a thief.

Our Lord Jesus is now on the hot seat with authorities. They want to arrest Jesus because He has shaken up the religious system that the leaders had come to love. The Pharisees had power and Jesus was taking it away from them and giving back to God, where it appropriately belonged in the first place. If anyone was guilty of Blasphemy it sure wasn’t Jesus. All they needed to do was look in the mirror. The Pharisees and the Sadducees made up laws to protect their own sinfulness in order to be sinless. All their tracks were covered, and now Jesus had uncovered their pious, prideful, and powerful lifestyles.   

The charges that this group was trying to get Jesus on were blasphemy. Blasphemy means to speak about God in the most sacrilegious way. You have zero respect for God. So making yourself equal to God was profane to the religious leaders.

They needed Judas to be the accuser for them, after all he was an insider. 

Exodus 34:14—Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

ReadJohn 18:1-14

When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.

Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.

Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.

“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.

Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”

10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)

11 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”

12 Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him 13 and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it would be good if one man died for the people.

Pray

  • Accusations need a testimony – verses 1-9
  • Jesus had just finished praying for the world, for His Disciples, and for you and me. He then takes His disciples to a familiar place where they would meet together regularly, the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus wanted to get away from the crowd since it was Passover season and there wouldn’t be any lodging available. Camping was the mode of lodging for the disciples since they were poor.
  • Judas knew where to find Jesus since He had been involved in gatherings with the other disciples. The accusers always know where to find what they are looking for. 
  • Judas leads an entourage of soldiers, leaders, and accusers carrying torches and weapons to arrest Jesus.
  • They only needed one more thing to make the arrest legitimate. They needed a testimony. So the question was asked by Jesus, Who is it you want? Jesus didn’t wait for them to ask, He knew why they were there.
  • They answered Jesus, with a statement that they were looking for Jesus of Nazareth. 
  • And Jesus literally blows them away, when he says, “I AM HE.” Much has been made of this proclamation of Jesus statement, “I AM HE.” Some scholars have said that this was the same claim the God gave to Moses, when Moses asked God whom shall I say is sending me in Exodus 3:14—God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
  • So if this was the same “I AM” claim, then no wonder they fell to ground. 
  • I believe that because Jesus was so assuring and had a calm demeanor, not to mention a command, that is why they soldiers were startled. They had come to extract a testimony in order to have the valid accusation they needed to make the proper arrest. I could see them doing a double take as they fell down. 
  • They may have even been thinking to themselves, “that was too easy” He just admitted to us that He is God, and now we have what we need.
  • Jesus makes sure they know what they are doing so He asks again in verse 7, who is it you want?
  • The answered again with Jesus of Nazareth. I wonder if they all huddled together and braced each other for Jesus’ answer. 
  • Jesus says once again, “I AM HE.” But this time, He goes into protection mode. If you can remember from last week, Jesus prayed for God’s protection over His disciples. He loved them and knew they were to fulfill the great commission, which is to go into all the nations to proclaim the Gospel and to baptize believers in the name of the triune God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
  • Jesus prophetic proclamation that not one of His followers would be lost in verse 9. When a person places their faith in Jesus as Lord, there is no way that you can lose your salvation. 
  • I don’t know about you, but after being thrown to the ground, and told twice be Jesus that His is the great I AM, and then a prophecy proclamation, I think I would have called a business meeting to reassess the situation. I would have believed that Jesus was the anticipated Messiah!

Illustration—Testimonies are some of the evidence that is needed to make a case for a conviction in the court of law. Eyewitness testimony is the sometimes the best evidence, especially if it comes from a credible witness. It carries a lot of weight. 

The irony of accusing Jesus for saying He was God, to me, makes His testimony even more amazing. I would think that if they didn’t believe He was God, then why would they arrest Him. He wasn’t the only one to come along and make those claims. 

In any society you have people claiming to be God, or even Jesus. Just Google it and you will be amazed at the list. Of course we don’t accuse them of blasphemy because we think of them as crazy or ludicrous.

Jesus was definitely different because He glorified God and brought all the fame to His Father as He deserved.    

Application—Have you believed in the testimony of who Jesus says He is, or who someone else says He is? When was the last time Jesus’ words blew you away?  

  • Accusations can lead to an arrest-verses 10-14
  1. Peter takes up for Jesus and defends Him by swinging his sword and cutting off the special deputy to the high priest’s ear. I see that as a courageous act on Peter’s part since 600 highly soldiers were there and could have taken out Peter after this assault. 
  2. Peter proclaimed in John 13:37—Lord, I will lay down my life for you. So, he was keeping his end of the deal.
  3. Jesus didn’t approve of Peter’s action in verse 11. He tells Peter that He will drink of the cup that His Father has given Him. The cup is connected to Jesus prayer in this very Garden where they stand. 
  4. Matthew 26:39—Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
  5. Matthew 26:42—He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
  6. Then it happens, Jesus is arrested. He is bound and taken before Annas who is the father-in-law of Caiaphas. John makes note of this because, Caiaphas was still the real power behind the throne. He still had great influence to make sure things went the way they were supposed to. 
  7. Jesus is on His way to the place of pain and suffering for our sins. 
  8. We are the ones He was loving as He accepted this “cup.”

Illustration—The cup. Jesus’ cup was a heavy cup. His was one that represented the sins of the world. There’s no other cup like it in the world. We all have a cup to bear. Everyone has been given a mission and purpose. Have you found yours? 

Conclusion—When we deny Jesus in our lives, we make personal accusations that he really isn’t our Lord. We can get caught up with the majority calling out insults and lies about our God. In a sense, we too arrest Jesus because He isn’t able to be free living through us. We handcuff Him, not allowing Him to do what He came here to do, and that is to set us free from a life of bondage. Jesus is the One you have been looking for. He says to you this morning “I AM HE!” 

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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Praying for the World

As we are being challenged to read and study the book of John, I wanted to share some of my personal sermon notes with you to help you understand the book. I preached through the entire book over the course of 1 year when I pastored First Baptist Church Del Rio. Enjoy!

Introduction—The world is a huge place. 148,940,000 square miles of land to be exact, and over 7 billion people that are living today. That can seem overwhelming if you took up a challenge to pray for the world. Your prayer would have to be a generic prayer with maybe a few knowledgeable tidbits of information, like, praying for safety for our soldiers, praying for peace in the Middle East, and things of that nature. But if we, the body of Christ, are committed to praying for the world, we start by praying for those in our circle of influence, since they are part of the 7 plus billion people on the planet. 

There is an old saying that goes like this: How do you eat an elephant? The answer is one bite at a time. It isn’t possible to pray for the world, but it is possible to pray for some of the world.

Jesus could pray for the world, because He was God in the flesh. Jesus is about to go through the toughest part of His ministry and so He turns to His father and asks Him to strengthen the disciples because the world will come to know Christ through them. 

Read-John 17:1-26

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal lifeto all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you,the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

Jesus Prays for His Disciples

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

Jesus Prays for All Believers

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

  1. Jesus prays for everyone to Know God, verses 1-5

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

  1. Verse 1—Jesus’ hour has come. He knows what lies ahead, but instead of a prayer of self-concern, He prays for God to be glorified through the crucifixion of His Son. Wow what a prayer.  
  2. Verse 2—Even though Jesus is praying about Himself, He prays with awe to His Father. He prays with anticipation about what God will do through Jesus’ death. 
  3. Verse 3—Jesus gives the definition for Eternal Life—to know God and His Son Jesus. That is it. Webster’s dictionary defines the word eternal as continued without intermission, having infinite duration, characterized by abiding fellowship with God
  4. Verse 4—God receives glory when the task is completed. When you come to Christ by faith that completes a task.
  5. Verse 5—Jesus is excited to know He will be back in the presence of His Father. 

Application—Do you pray for others to come to know God? How about praying for an opportunity to share your story about how Jesus changed your life?

  • Jesus Prays for All Believers Jesus prays for His followers, verses 6-19

Jesus Prays for His Disciples

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

  1. Verse 6—Jesus prays to God about how He has been obedient to His calling. Can you pray that prayer to God? Have you been obedient to God?
  2. Verse 7-8—Jesus knows that anyone who follows Him must accept that He came from God and that everything He taught came straight from God. 
  3. Verse 9—Jesus is so faithful to pray for those God has entrusted to Him. 
  4. Verse 10—Everything belongs to God
  5. Verse 11-12—Jesus prays for God to protect His followers by covering them in prayer in His name. Wow, the Lord of the universe is praying a prayer covering over His disciples. I would say they were good to go! 
  6. Verse 13—Jesus wants His followers to enjoy the full measure the joy that is available to all who would make Jesus their Lord
  7. Verse 14—Christians are not of this world. It is a temporary dwelling. 
  8. Verse 15-19—Jesus doesn’t ask God to remove Christians from the world rather that He protect them by sanctifying them by the Word of God. Sanctification means to be set apart. Set apart for what, you ask? Being set apart for God means that you are an instrument of purpose for the King. You have a task that God has specifically designed just for you. No one else can do what God has asked you to do. 

Illustration—Song “I Refuse”

Sometimes I, I just wanna close my eyes And act like everyone’s alright

well no they’re not

This world needs God, but it’s easier to stand and watch

I could say a prayer and just move on like nothin’s wrong

But I refuse 

cause I don’t wanna live like I don’t care

I don’t wanna say another empty prayer

Oh I refuse to sit around and wait for someone else

To do what God has called me to do myself

Oh I could choose not to move but I refuse

I can hear the least of these cryin’ out so desperately

and I know we are the hands and feet of You oh God

So if You say move it’s time for me to follow through

and do what I was made to do

and show them who You are

Cause I don’t wanna live like I don’t care

I don’t wanna say another empty prayer

Oh I refuse to sit around and wait for someone else

to do what God has called me to do myself

Oh I could choose not to move

but I refuse

To stand and watch the weary and lost cry out for help

I refuse to turn my back

and try and act like all is well

I refuse

To stay and change to wait another day to die to myself

I refuse to make one more excuse

Application—Have you accepted the calling God has given to you?

  • Jesus prays for His future followers, 20-26

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. 25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

  1. Verse 20-21—Jesus ends His amazing prayer by praying for future believers. He prayed nearly 2,000 years ago for you and for me to come to a saving knowledge of Him.
  2. Verse 22—He prays that He has given us the Glory of God so we can be one. Christians all over the world are our brother and sisters in Christ.
  3. Verse 23—Unity is the cry of our Lord. He wants us to be together and love each other so others can know and believe in God
  4. Verse 24—Now Jesus come to a climax in the prayer. He wants us to be where He is so we can experience His glory, the glory that was before the creation of the world!
  5. Verse 25-26—Jesus prays for the world to know Him through us. You have been bathed in prayer by Jesus Himself, so you are free to move about the country proclaiming Christ to the Nations. You need not fear because he has you covered.

Closing—This is Jesus final blessing over his followers as He is about to begin the process of His trial, crucifixion, and resurrection. Jesus powerful prayer for you and me in order to change the world. 

Are you ready to change the world? What is stopping you? You have already been prayed over, not it is time to move forward. Wherever you go, He is with you.

Joshua 1:6-9—Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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Asking in His Name

As we are being challenged to read and study the book of John, I wanted to share some of my personal sermon notes with you to help you understand the book. I preached through the entire book over the course of 1 year when I pastored First Baptist Church Del Rio. Enjoy!

Introduction—Names are important. They identify who you are. You carry your name for life. Last names are also a way that people are associated with a particular family. Some names carry more weight than others. 

Jesus’ name is the weightiest name in the world. In His name anything can be asked. There is power in His name.  

Stand & Read: John 16:16-33

16 Jesus went on to say, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”

17 At this, some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” 18 They kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying.” 19 Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’?

20 Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.21 A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. 22 So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. 23 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. 25 “Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. 27 No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”

29 Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. 30 Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.” 31 “Do you now believe?” Jesus replied. 32 “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

  1. Asking in His name, even when you don’t understand, verses 16-19
  2. Verse 16—Jesus has repeated Himself several times now in the Gospel of John by saying to His followers you will not see me. 
    1. In the first part of verse 16, He continues to assure them that He will be leaving them for the greater purpose that He came here to do. He came to rescue us from the enemy and the power of death. 
    1. In the last part of verse 16, Jesus alludes to His resurrection, by saying, “and then you see me in a little while.” He is not talking about the Holy Spirit here, because He has made the distinction of Himself and the Holy Spirit. 
    1. We don’t have to understand everything to ask God. In fact, when we ask God and aren’t really sure what to say, our faith is relaint on the Holy Spirit. 
    1. Romans 8:26-2726 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
  3. Verse 17 & 18—Here are the closest followers completely baffled by Jesus statements. They admit they don’t understand. It is very confusing since they had abandoned everything to follow Christ, and now He is saying that He is leaving. The disciples are completely immersed in their current situation. Jesus is trying His best to explain to them what is going to become of Him.
  4. Verse 19—Jesus loves us and wants us to know that He can tell when we are confused and He really wants to help us to understand, so He interjects and asks, “do you want some help deciphering the statement I just made to you?”

Illustration—Jesus heals a possessed boy, Mark 9:14-29 

14 When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. 15 As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him. 16 “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked. 17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” 19 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” 20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. 21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”“From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” 23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” 25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” 26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. 28 After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” 29 He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”

Application—Does your not understanding keep you from asking God in His name?

  • Asking in His name, brings favor, verses 20-28
  • Verse 20—in life, there will be times of mourning, grief, and things that don’t go our way. Jesus wants you to know that if you have your life placed in His name, our troubles will turn to joy. We have the comfort of knowing we are not alone. Isn’t that what is needed in those turbulent times?
  • Verse 21—Women who have had a child know the pain and the joy of childbirth. We (men) can know about it, many of us have been in the delivery room when our children have been born, but we were the supporters. We will have to take women at their word that have a child has pain associated with it, but the results of going through all the misery is worth all the joy that follows. Jesus said you will have joy following the pain.
  • Verse 22—Wow! Jesus assures us that because of His resurrection, we will experience joy; joy that cannot be taken away.
  • Verse 23—Jesus says once you realize I have been resurrected, His reason for death and leaving the disciples physically will be self-evident. Jesus then says, you will now be able to direct your asking to the Father Himself in the name of Jesus. God Himself will be taking requests and responding to us directly. 
  • Verse 24—Jesus now is giving a prayer class to His disciples. He tells them before when you prayed, you prayed to the Father without any attachments. Now He says since I will not be here physically the next time you pray, you can ask my Father and attachment my name to the prayer. When you do that He will receive, Jesus says. What do we receive? Complete joy. Joy in knowing He will hear you and He will respond. God’s responses vary. Just because He doesn’t answer yes to your request, doesn’t mean He didn’t respond. His response can be no or even wait. But to know that you will receive even if it is no, should make your joy complete. If God answers no, then it is for your best interest He has at heart. Receive it and be joyous. 
  • Verse 25—Jesus limitation about what He discloses to us has a lot to do with our faith maturity. When we are immature in our faith, the knowledge the Spirit imparts to us will be limited to our willingness to seek Him in all that we say and do. So the more time you spend with God, the more wisdom, knowledge, and illumination you will receive. God is not in your life to hold back information from you; He is in your life to lavish upon you the riches of His mercy and grace through your asking in His name. 
  • Verse 26-27—Jesus explains one more time that we can go straight to God with our prayers. When we place our faith in Christ, we are automatically added to the guest of honor list. Our prayers go to the head of line since Jesus’ name carries favor. 
  • Verse 28—Jesus sums up His entrance into the world and explains that He is now going back to His Father. 

Illustration—Do you know that you are favored by God? You carry the name that is above all names that garners favor all over the world no matter where you go. At the name Jesus, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. The name Jesus means everything. 

Application—Have you received the favor of God by asking in His name?

  • Asking in His name, brings clarity, verses 29-33
  • Verse 29-30—There is finally a breakthrough with the disciples. They get it. After many explanations of why He came to earth and why He is now leaving, the light bulb comes on. Do you ever feel that way about God? You go through periods of confusion, unbelief, and not having a good understanding of who He is and what He wants for your life. You are not alone. You see it takes time to understand what the complex creator to impart His wisdom and understanding to us.  
  • Verse 31—What a question Jesus poses—do you know believe? After they just told Him that they understand and believe. The reason is Jesus knows that when He goes through the trail of crucifixion, they will have their faith tested again.
  • Verse 32—Jesus knows that only God will be able to sustain Him through the upcoming turmoil that He will endure. It serves as a reminder to us that no human being can fill the void that only God can fill. God is the only one who can help us through some of the trials we will endure. Others can support us around us, but ultimately it is God that carries us. 
  • Verse 33—What a beautiful ending to our text this morning. Be peaceful about what God has explained to you toady. Take heart in knowing that Jesus has overcome the world! He has defeat the last foe of God, and that is death. He has overcome and it is clear.

Illustration—A.C.T.S., Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication

Application—Clarity comes from God as you ask in His name

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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Financial Series: The Guide to Truth

As we are being challenged to read and study the book of John, I wanted to share some of my personal sermon notes with you to help you understand the book. I preached through the entire book over the course of 1 year when I pastored First Baptist Church Del Rio. Enjoy!

Introduction—Truth means different things to different people, wouldn’t you agree? Whatever is true for me isn’t necessarily true for you, right? Is there an absolute truth that we can know for sure is foolproof? 

Let me give 3 things that point to an absolute truth, and once we establish that, then we can move into our second sermon of 3 on finances. 

  1. Human conscience—something inside of us says there is a way that is right or the way things should be. When things are wrong like, rape, murder, starvation, pain, evil, etc., it gives us the knowledge of the right “way” when we know that love, peace, generosity, and such. 
  2. Science—science it the study of knowledge of how things are and the pursuit to know more. There are absolute truths involved, if there wasn’t, then there would be no guidelines or facts for scientists to follow.
  3. Religion—gives humans a reason to seek God for a more purposeful life other than the simple existence here on earth. Religion gives meaning and definition to life. We seek God for knowledge, purpose, forgiveness, peace, and answers to our deepest questions.

Read: John 16:1-15

“All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things.But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

  1. Financial Guidance comes from God—verses 1-3
  2. Verse 1—the All that Jesus is talking about is found in John 15:26-27 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.
  3. When you start grasping the concept of Biblical financial giving, spending, and living, the liar, who is Satan will tell you that you don’t have to follow Biblical guidelines when it comes to your money. Let me ask you a very personal question—how is that working for you? If you have been listening to the world about how to manage your money, it doesn’t work. Our own country is in debt that will eventually crush our future generations. We have mortgaged our grandkids all for the sake of living our lives anyway we choose. It doesn’t work. Being a slave to the lender is a lie from the adversary himself. Satan will tell you all that you want to hear. That is why Jesus warns us about him.
  4.  He says in verse 1, I am giving you advanced warning so you continue to rely and believe that God’s ways are always the best when it comes to your finances. 
  5. Verse 2—Jesus says this statement in verse 2 that is directed at his disciples so that they will know to follow Christ is to place your life on the line. 
  6. In our world today it is very much like this isn’t it? If you claim to be a Christian, you are telling the world come and get me. Hatred is from Satan and He has blinded the eyes of many. 
  7. When it comes to your finances, the normal way of handling money doesn’t take into account God. When you apply for credit, the bank isn’t going to take your tithe as a deduction so they only lend you less credit. They want to lend you the maximum amount available to you so they can have a longer lasting relationship with you, or with your money I should say.
  8. When God is cut out of the equation, the worldly view sees that as a service to God. He is removed from the scene, so now you have more money.  
  9. Verse 3—makes it clear that there is a reason people act the way they do. They do not know Jesus. When you know Jesus, you know he wants the best for you. He wants you to peace in all areas of your life, including your finances.  

Application—Are you ready to take financial advice from God?

  • Financial Conviction from comes God—verses 4-11
  • When Jesus says I told you and I am warning you, I believe Him more than anyone else. I take to heart those signs. 
  • These warnings are for all of our lives. They remind us of our need for a Savior. What better way to be convicted of truth?
  • If you really want to love out your faith in the truth, then be reminded of Jesus Words. 
  • Verse 7—This is the second time Jesus reinforces the good of His departure. Without His departure, we would not experience the Holy Spirit. He is adamant the our Paraklete, our comforter, our Advocate will not come to us unless He leaves.
  • Verse 8—Since the arrival of the Holy Spirit indwelling us as we confess Jesus as our Lord, He has proven to the world that they are wrong about sin. Therefore, how is it possible for our financial convictions to come from anyone other than the Holy Spirit? The world wants you to be in debt so they can continue to keep you in bondage. This is not a truth form God. Listen to the Holy Spirit today. 
  • Verses 9-11—Give us a detailed explanation of why we should believe what the Bible has to say about our money.
  • About sin—people don’t even believe in me. Are you willing to trust your resources to the world’s system? It doesn’t work. A court can convict a person of a crime, but only the Holy Spirit can convict a person of their sin and unbelief.
  • About righteousness—Jesus enforces the absolute standard of truth. It reflects the character of God. It penetrates our thoughts and actions so that it can be compared to sin.
  • About judgment—Judgment always occurs when an act or thought is evaluated by an absolute principle. In this context, judgment is against Satan and his self-willed rebellion as the prince of this world. Your financial convictions are far better off in the hands of Holy God verses the blind, selfish worldly status quo. 

Illustration—Truett Cathy founder of Chick-Fil-A died in 2014. His convictions led him to close for business on Sundays in order to rest up for the coming week. 52 days a year closed!

Application—When God in His Word challenges you about your money, what do you do about it? Ignore it or accept it?

  • Financial Truth comes from God—verses 12-15
  • Verses 12-13—Only Truth will come from the God who has He has revealed Himself through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 
  • What truth has been revealed about your finances in Scripture:
  • Proverbs 24:3-4
  • Luke 14:28-30
  • Psalm 112:5
  • Proverbs 13:4 NLT
  • Luke 16:10-12
  • Ecclesiastes 5:10
  • Matthew 6:31-33
  • Verse 14—If the Holy Spirit is here to glorify Jesus so that He can be made known to you and me, what should our response be to Him? Is your money worth more than God? If you aren’t in a place to be a good financial steward of what God has entrusted to you, it is ok. Maybe you haven’t understood these principles before now. But you know now. 
  • Verse 15—The Father owns it all, and He has given everything to Jesus and now the Holy Spirit has enlightened us to that fact, so we are now without excuse. Amen.

Conclusion—Jesus came to fulfill the law, not abolish it. When you hear that tithing is an Old Testament law for Jewish decedents only, how do you react to that? I hear it a lot, and it is all over the Internet. Listen Jesus would never lower the standard if He fulfilled the law. Jesus always raised the standard. He made the law come to life. Murder didn’t just mean killing someone physically, Jesus said you could murder someone’s heart with your words. We want all the benefits that come with being a Christian, like God being our God now, instead just the God of Israel. We want all the same benefits of being a child of God, including eternal life, co-heirs to the throne of God, and on and on, yet we pick and choose the things we want to be part of, like obedience, prayer, going to church, and tithing. The Christian life isn’t about picking and choosing, it is about following the leader, Jesus. He is our guide to the Truth. He would never lead you astray. God is faithful.

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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Financial Series: The Bearing of Fruit

As we are being challenged to read and study the book of John, I wanted to share some of my personal sermon notes with you to help you understand the book. I preached through the entire book over the course of 1 year when I pastored First Baptist Church Del Rio. Enjoy!

Introduction—Fruit is one of those foods that we are privileged to be able to consume. Apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, strawberries, watermelon, blueberries, pears, peaches, mangos, and the list goes on and on. As you well know all fruit has a shelf life. It is only good for a short period of time. When fruit is in it’s prime, in it’s natural state, in it’s juiciest of the juiciest, it is great. 

Our lives are a lot like fruit. We only have a season or shelf life to make a difference. We are accountable to God for the life He has given us. Life is a gift. Let’s make it count and allow Him to use us to the fullest. 

Today begins a 3 week series about financial matters. I know we are in church and some of you would prefer we just focus on Jesus, and I promise to do that even though we are talking money. 

Ministry takes money to execute. If we want to be the church God wants us to be, then we must take a hard look at what that is. Let’s connect to Christ, and allow Him to decide what is best for our resources that \He has entrusted us to.  

Read—John 15:1-17

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

Pray

  1. Your finances matter to God—verses 1-4
  2. God wants all of you including your financial life.
  3. Every branch that does not bear fruit in Christ will be cut off. 
  4. Every part of your life should be in Christ. 
  5. God has no interested in partial commitment.
  6. Verse 1—Jesus said, “I am the true vine and my father is the gardener.
  7. Do we have any green thumbs here today? You know the ones who can keep a plant alive no matter what. They just have the touch.
  8. Jesus would love for God to be the green thumb of your finances. He knows how to manage your money the best. You see a true gardener makes sure they have the right tools in order for plant survival. Shovel, tiller, rake, hoe, water, fertilizer, soil, etc. 
  9. God can garden your finances because He owns it all. He has an investment plan like no other. It is eternal. When you give to Kingdom ministries, churches, etc. you reap Kingdom results. Kingdom results start with God as the gardener.
  10. Verse 2—Jesus said, God cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, but every branch that produces fruit, He prunes so it will be even more fruitful. 
  11. If your financial state seems to be a vicious cycle of never ending expenses, it is time cut off the dead branches. What would be considered a dead branch?
  12. Anything that is not producing fruit. You know your life better than anyone else, so these are just examples, so if it applies to you then let God redeem you from it.
  13. Cell phones. Some people need them, others of you don’t. We have allowed the cell phone to control us when the initial use was a just in case of an emergency. I am saying to go out cut off your cell phone. I am saying that if your $200 a month or more bill is not necessary, then by all means cut off the dead branch, especially if it is a smart phone that you have to pay a monthly data plan for. Facebook isn’t more important than giving to an eternal God.
  14. Credit Cards. If you are in debt up to your eyeballs with credit cards, then cut off the dead branch. Get help. And by all means stop charging anything. Stop digging the grave any deeper than 6 feet. You don’t need an 8-foot deep hole to bury yourself in.
  15. A large car payment. It is easier to qualify for a new car than almost anything else in our country. If you need to sell your car and get a smarter payment in order to pay down other things so you begin to breath, then cut off the dead branch.
  16. Eating out. Did you know that the average American spends $1,000 a year on coffee, and $2,000 a year eating out. Tomorrow a very popular coffee shop will open here in Del Rio, and the lines are expected to be out of bounds. If you are wondering where to find some extra cash, cut off this dead branch.
  17. The other half to verse 2, is God will prune the fruit producing branches in order to produce bigger, better fruit. When you give to the ministries of God, including here at First Baptist, God will make sure it is pruned so that your giving goes as far as possible.
  18. Here are some examples of your investment into God’s work: children are loved and cared for, and taught Godly principles. Youth are cared and loved for and given opportunities to serve God in our community, state, and around the globe. Babies are played with, kids are sung to, adults are taught the Bible, marriages are nurtured, everyone is prayed for, and Biblical guidance for areas of life are available to all. Your financial giving is guaranteed to make a difference. God promises to prune it.
  19. Verse 3—When you are given the Word of God, it washes over you in order to cleanse you from any wrongdoing, including the mismanagement of the resources He has entrusted to you. God wants the best for you and your family by speaking the truth in love.
  20. Verse 4—The key to a better financial life is to remain in Him, so that he can show you and teach you Kingdom principles. Jesus said you can’t bare fruit without me. 

Illustration—A mother wanted to teach her daughter a moral lesson. She gave the little girl a quarter and a dollar for church “Put whichever one you want in the collection plate and keep the other for yourself,” she told the girl. When they were coming out of church, the mother asked her daughter which amount she had given. “Well,” said the little girl, “I was going to give the dollar, but just before the collection the man in the pulpit said that we should all be cheerful givers. I knew I’d be a lot more cheerful if I gave the quarter, so I did.”

Application—Do you believe you matter to God? If you matter to God, then your finances are of His concern as well.

  • Your finances belong to God—verses 5-8
  • Verse 5—Jesus repeats the saying I am the vine, but He now says that we are the branches, so in order to bear fruit, or as He says it “much fruit” we must remain in Him. 
  • If we are to experience all of Jesus, everything about our lives must remain in Him, including our money.
  • You see spiritual fruit is what Jesus is referring to. If following Christ seems undesirable, it is not. Our understanding of God and what is His is skewed. As the old hymn goes from The Wonderous Cross: His love is so amazing it demands my soul, my life, my all.
  • We are unable to accomplish financial responsibility apart from Christ
  • Verse 6—Jesus implies that we are to live fruitful lives that are evident of a Savior that we say we believe in. Jesus says if we aren’t, then our Salvation comes into question. Dead branches are thrown away to be burned. He is eluding to an eternity apart from Him. Mature Christians understand their purpose. Mature Christians aren’t offended when challenged to do the Lord’s will. It is natural to bear fruit.
  • Verse 7—If you follow God’s will and plan for your life including for your finances, then Jesus says ask for whatever you wish. So ask Him to guide you in the decisions you need to make to be the best steward of your money. 
  • Verse 8—Jesus simply states that asking in His will is God’s desire and it shows you to be His disciples. And isn’t that what we want? To be known as a disciple of the most high God. When people come to FBC  

Illustration—Tithing

Malachi 3:6-12—I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.

“But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’

“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.

“But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’

“In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty. 12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty.

Application—Do your finances belong to God?

  • Your financial obedience expresses your love for God—verses 9-17
  • Verses 9 & 10—Jesus loves you more than you could imagine. He is asking you to remain in that love in by being obedient to His commands, which include financial giving.
  • Verse 11—if you want to experience all that God has for, all that He wants for you, and all that He has purposed for you, be complete in Him. Be assured that as you give you express that complete mature love
  • Verse 12 & 13—Jesus never held back anything from us. He loved us so much that He laid down His life for us and He calls friends. All He asks for us in return is to love each other
  • Verse 14—the way we know if we are Jesus’ friends is if we do what He commands not asks of us. He commands us to love each other. It is not an option whether want to or not. We are commanded to do it. Through the love you have for Jesus and each other, giving of our money becomes a normal part of our expression to God. It shows our love.
  • Verse 15—We are to serve Christ with all that we are, have, and do. Jesus wants to give us a new title and that is friend. You are a friend of God when you show love.
  • Verse 16—God loves you and He want you to produce the best fruit possible. He want you to produce fruit that will last past its shelf life. He wants you to produce fruit that is eternally ripe. When you give your financial resources to God’s Kingdome work, there is no telling how much eternal impact that your generosity will affect. 
  • Verse 17—Love each other

Illustration—Proverbs 22:7—Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender. 

Application—Have you been expressing your love for Christ through your financial giving? If you haven’t, today you can commit to do that. 

Conclusion—God wants the best for you. He knows how much money can control and enslave us. You can do so much in this world when you have the resources to do it. We must never allow ourselves to be controlled by money. Jesus said in Matthew 6:24—No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

Money is one of those things that we can manage or it will manage us. It can bring joy or it heartache. Jesus wants us to be free in all areas of our lives including financial issues. 

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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The Promise of Comfort

As we are being challenged to read and study the book of John, I wanted to share some of my personal sermon notes with you to help you understand the book. I preached through the entire book over the course of 1 year when I pastored First Baptist Church Del Rio. Enjoy!

Introduction—Promises are made all the time. Many of them are kept, but you know a lot of them are broken. 

One of the most famous promises of all time happened in 1988. The promise went something like this: Read my lips, no new taxes. For those of you that remember that famous promise, you know that it come from George Bush Sr. during the Republican Nation Convention. He probably won the presidency because of that one promise. 2 years later after many, many, vetos, George Bush caved into the pressure to have legislature pass and he agreed to raise taxes on the American people. That broken promise probably lost him the presidency in 1992 to Bill Clinton. 

Jesus made us a promise that He has kept for centuries upon centuries. He promised that He would send a comforter to help us and to be with us as we walk through life. He said that we will have the Holy Spirit forever, and He is the Spirit of Truth. 

Wow-what a promise! What comfort. What a gift for you and for me.

Read: John 14:15-31

15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”

23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. 30 I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me,31 but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

Pray

  1. The promised Holy Spirit will never leave you, verses 15-21

Jesus’s promised to leave with us with a comforter, a counselor, a helper, and an advocate. These characteristics allow us to understand the role and person of the Holy Spirit. 

  1. Verse 15—if you love me, you will keep my commands. Easy enough to hear, but very difficult to follow. Following Christ was never meant to be easy. Creating character in you is hard work. It requires discipline. Jesus said 
  2. Verse 16—Jesus said He will ask the Father to help you keep His commands, but here is the key: not in your strength or your understanding. He is going to give you an advocate. One who is by your side. In the original Greek, the word used here is Paraklete, which means one who comforts or consoles. John’s Gospel explains that it is another advocate who is coming, meaning that Jesus Himself is also our advocate. Now we have One who is on the same level as our Lord. Jesus tells us that this Paraklete will be with us forever. He will never leave us.
  3. Hebrews 13:5—Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
  4. In the Greek language there is something called a “double negative.” The double negative occurs slightly less than 100 times in the New Testament. Although double negatives are considered bad speech in English (i.e., I ain’t got no money), double negatives are proper in the Greek language, adding emphasis where necessary.
  5. One of the most precious Scriptures in the Bible is Hebrews 13:5, our verse we just read. There are 2 double negatives used and then another single negative. There are 5 total negatives in Hebrews 13:5, reassuring the us that the Lord will never, ever, no not once, never forsake nor leave us. This is a beautiful truth. God has PROMISED never, no, not ever, never, to leave nor forsake us.
  6. Verse 17—Worldly standards do not understand spiritual standards, nor should they. We know who God is as we pray, study, believe, and see Him at work. So, you can understand – if Christ is alive in you.
  7. Verse 18—Jesus promises not to leave us as orphans. He reassures us that we won’t be helpless because as Jesus is our strong spiritual parent that we can call on at any time! He will come to us. 
  8. Verse 19—Jesus knows that once He leaves the physical presence of His followers, the unseen world is all they will have. But as a person lives, talks, and becomes a Christ follower, the unseen world is becomes visible. How do I know that? Can you determine whether or not a person follows Christ without them ever saying that they follow Christ? Of course we can. Therefore, the invisible is now visible. Last Sunday we as we studied John 13:35, Jesus tells us the world will only know that you are His disciples by the way you love each other. It is not by how great the music is, how good the preaching is, how wonderful the ministries are. The criteria by which an unchurched, non-believing person can see the invisible risen Lord is through your love for each other by the power of the comforter, know as the Holy Spirit. 
  9. Verse 20—On that day when Jesus Christ was nailed to the Cross for you and for me, physically leaving His earthly body behind, we have this assurance that He (Jesus) is “IN THE FATHER,” and “YOU ARE IN ME (Jesus)”, and I (Jesus) am “IN YOU”. This coming of the Spirit to indwell us bring to a realization that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are untied in purpose and operation so that there would be a new intimate relationship between God and us like never before. 
  10. Verse 21—If you have the commands of God and keep them, then you love God. Your obedience to Jesus is a direct reflection of your worship of Jesus.

Application—Did you know that the Holy Spirit will never leave you?   

Verse 22—Judas (not the betrayer) wants to know how Jesus would be seen by only the disciples and not by everyone else. Do you know anyone who doesn’t know Jesus as his or her Lord? Exactly. The can’t see Him.

  • The promised Holy Spirit allows you to live in freedom, verses 23-24
  • Verse 23—Another testimony to the truth of the Trinity. If you have ever wonder what the Trinity was or meant, here is a verse to help you understand.
  • Verse 24—Here is where the freedom comes from having the Holy Spirit. We are free to love Jesus under the influence of the Holy Spirit. So you can follow Christ, you can understand His will, and you can obey Him. Of course you can’t do it on your own, that why He sent the comforter. 

Illustration—What does freedom look like of feel like? You came to church as a choice, well some of you did anyway. 

Application—Have you asked the Holy Spirit of God to free you today?

  • The promised Holy Spirit gives you peace and comfort, verses 25-30
  • Verse 25—Jesus never said anything He didn’t mean. He has always spoken Truth. 
  • Verse 26—Jesus tells His followers and us, and whoever would believe that the Holy Spirit is the representative to act on His behalf. As Jesus represented God here on earth, the Holy Spirit would make the living Christ real to His followers. The Holy Spirit will teach us all things. 
  • 1 John 2:27—As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.
  • The Holy Spirit will cure your memory loss. He will remind us of everything that Jesus said. 
  • This verse reiterates the fact that the Holy Spirit will never leave forever. 
  • Verse 27—I am going to leave you peace, I am going to give you peace, and it won’t be like any other peace. It will be that comforting peace; one that says everything is going to be all right. You don’t have to afraid anymore. You don’t have heavy hearts anymore. The comforter has come.  
  • Verse 28—Jesus reminds His disciples that it is a good thing that He is leaving. You want to why? If Jesus doesn’t go, then He doesn’t take up our iniquities, or sins, and our transgressions. He stays and tries to convince others of His Lordship. That not what God sent Him here to do. He was sent here to become sin on our behalf so that we might be saved into eternal life. He was done convincing the crowds that He was the Messiah. It was time to prove it. He says it is good for me to go away.
  • Verse 29—Jesus says these things so we can believe it is true.
  • Verse 30-31—Jesus was constantly aware of Satan and his tactics. He knew Satan would be ready for Jesus. He had already tempted Jesus. He got to Judas and had him betray Jesus. He has frustrated the hopes of many. And now, Satan would try to convince many that death would be the end of Jesus. We know that is not True. Jesus conquered death because there is an empty tomb that proves out Savior lives.

Application—Do you have the peace that only Jesus gives?

Conclusion—I wish I could say the magic words, or pray, or lay hands on you to receive the Holy Spirit, but it doesn’t work that way. The only way to receive the Holy Spirit is to believe in Jesus Christ and His death on the cross as the payment for your sins, your transgressions, and your iniquities. 

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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